Do seeds matter? Specifically, what does a No. 1 seed mean?
Last year, of the nine No. 1 sectional seeds in Class 4A and 3A, seven of the nine won the sectional title they were expected to win. The year before it was the exact same — seven top seeds winning and two falling short.
So if you’re a No. 1 seed in March, the odds are pretty good (77 percent based on the last two years) you’re getting to the supersectional.
The four non-No. 1 seeds to have won sectional championships the past two years: No. 2 Young and No. 6 Glenbard North last year, and No. 3 New Trier and No. 4 West Aurora two years ago.
There is some bad news for teams seeded outside the top four as only two teams in the past five years — Evanston in 2012 as a No. 5 seed and Glenbard North last year as a No. 6 seed — have played the role of underdog to its fullest and won a sectional championship. That’s just two sectional winners out of 46 in the last five seasons who have been seeded lower than No. 4.
Now onto this year’s seeds …
Here is how the City/Suburban Hoops Report would rank the six top seeds in each 4A sectional.
Ranking the No. 1 seeds in Class 4A
5. Neuqua Valley
Best team at each seed
Here is a rundown of who I believe are the best seeds and the toughest outs for opposing teams for each respective seed.
Best No. 2 seed: St. Rita … Thus, top-seeded Simeon will have its hands full in a sectional title game matchup with the team that beat them back in December.
Best No. 3 seed: Thornwood … The Thunderbirds haven’t lost since the calendar turned 2015, winners of 14 consecutive games. This may sound like a broken record. Thornwood won 16 straight last year before falling to H-F in the sectional.
Best No. 4 seed: Providence Catholic … As if the Celtics need any further validation. Bad news for top-seeded Neuqua Valley in the Bolingbrook Sectional.
Best No. 5 seed: Willowbrook … As long as Alonzo Verge is on that floor with his 30-plus-per-game ability and this team is riding high with 15 consecutive wins, it’s a highly-dangerous No. 5 seed in the East Aurora Sectional.
Best No. 6 seed: West Aurora … It’s been a jekyll-and-hyde team for sure, but it’s a better team than the other sixth seeds and it will be playing the regional on its home floor with a go-to player in Roland Griffin.
Best No. 7 seed: De La Salle … The Meteors have played a quality schedule and there are some weapons with Iowa recruit Brandon Hutton, LaSalle recruit Karl Harris and junior George Wilborn.
Best No. 8 seed: Oak Park-River Forest … The Huskies have closed the season strong winning seven of its last eight, while guard Dallis Flowers has blossomed into a dangerous weapon.
Best No. 9 seed: Zion-Benton … It’s a 15-win team that plays in one of the state’s toughest conferences and has a difference-maker in Tennessee-bound Admiral Schofield. Too bad this No. 9 seed feeds right into mighty Stevenson, making a Cinderella-like run doubtful.
Best No. 10 seed: New Trier … Though few have noticed, the Trevians have 18 wins and have won 12 of their last 15 games. They own wins over Uplift and Maine South, while playing Hinsdale Central to a two-point game in December. This will be a tough game for No. 7 Highland Park in the regional semis.
Best No. 11 seed: Proviso East … The name alone as a No. 11 seed –– Proviso East –– is enough to put a scare into any higher seeded team. Even with all the dysfunction of losing its head coach and all the struggles the Pirates have had, there is still enough speed, athleticism and talent to pull off a regional win or two. Both No. 3 Kenwood and No. 6 St. Ignatius will be on upset alert.
Best No. 12 seed: Warren … There are 12 seeds with more wins than Warren, but this is the 12 seed I find the most dangerous. In losses this year, Warren has lost to Barrington by four points, to Stevenson by nine, to Lake Forest by three and to Zion-Benton by three and four points. That should be enough to at least grab Deerfield’s attention in a potential 6-12 seed regional semifinal.
High seeds hitting the road
To the surprise of some –– OK, me –– Wheaton North was awarded the No. 3 seed in the East Aurora Sectional. The reward for the third seed in that sectional? Going into a tough environment at West Aurora to face the host school in the regional championship.
Kenwood is another No. 3 seed who will have to earn its right to play in a sectional semifinal. The Broncos will have to face coach Rich Kehoe and St. Ignatius on the road, which is never an easy gym to win in. That is if Ignatius can take care of the most dangerous No. 11 seed in the state, Proviso East, in the regional semis.
Who knows if Evanston’s lopsided loss to St. Charles East last Tuesday night ended up dropping the Wildkits down a spot or two –– the City/Suburban Hoops Report had Evanston projected as a No. 4 seed. Regardless, the Wildkits will be home in regional play as the No. 5 seed, which is bad news for No. 3 seed Maine South. The Hawks snuck above both Evanston and Niles Notre Dame but now must play on the road, against a league rival, to get out of the regional.
A pair of No. 2 seeds, St. Rita and Lake Park, will likely have to win a regional final on the floor of a lower-seeded team. St. Rita will likely face seventh-seeded T.F. South and Lake Park could face seventh-seeded Fremd.
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