Nick Stevens

Weekly Wrap: Statewide polls, teams flying low, tough week ahead

Posted January 20, 2013

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap â€“ my place to share my thoughts, tidbits, and nuggets of information about the week that was and the week that will be.

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The astonishment continues

I don't put much weight into statewide polls in any sport. I don't vote in statewide polls in any sport. It's nothing against the people who organize them and get the votes tabulated each week, I appreciate their hard work, but it has everything to do with the fact that no one (including myself) knows enough about statewide high school teams to accurately vote in a statewide poll.

Polls are for the fans, they're popular, I get why they're done, but if you're going to take the time to vote in a poll, take the time to do it right.

For the second straight week, the Millbrook girls basketball team was ranked No. 3 in the Media Poll. My fellow members of the media put the defending 4-A state champions in third place, despite the fact that they are undefeated, won a national invitational tournament in South Carolina, and return eight seniors â€“ all of which have signed to play college basketball next year. We won't even talk about the underclassmen who can play.

We talked about it on HighSchoolOT Round Table, and I'm sure some people are sick of hearing us talk, but the fact that the Wildcats aren't a unanimous No. 1 is beyond me.

I've been told by other members of the media that I shouldn't be so harsh because it's hard to find information about basketball teams. Well, this information is in black and white, it's right here, for free, anyone can read it. So study up and better luck on your next ballot.

Under the radar

Sometimes those of us in the media get fixated on a particular team because of expectations. Sometimes that means we fail to recognize some other things that are going on.

I think this has happened to a lot of us in the PAC 6.

Going into the season, Person was the heavy favorite to repeat as the PAC 6 Conference champions. The Rockets have hit a slump since Christmas though, falling to 8-8 overall, 2-2 in the conference, and they've now lost six straight dating back to the Holiday Invitational.

But others have started to separate themselves - particularly Jordan and Hillside.

After starting the season 1-3, the Falcons have won 11 of their last 12 games, including nine straight. In fact, Jordan hasn't lost since Dec. 11, and they lead the conference with a perfect 5-0 record.

Hillside falls right into the same category though. The Hornets won the conference tournament last season, and now they post 12-4 record, just like Jordan.

Two teams, two games, three days

Talk about brutal. Garner and Clayton will be able to tell you what brutal is this time next week.

The two teams will meet each other for what will likely be the de facto conference championship game this week â€“ twice.

Garner and Clayton were supposed to play for the first time in December, but the death of a Clayton student postponed the game to Wednesday. The two teams were already scheduled to play each other on Friday.

Both teams are undefeated in the Greater Neuse River Conference, and both teams have one non-conference loss on the season. Did we mention they're big time rivals to begin with?

Yeah. This could (will) be fun.

Early projections

In case you missed it on Saturday, we have released our first 4-A basketball playoff projections of the season. The playoffs are going to be seeded differently this year. It's kind of a mix of last year and the football pod system (for the lack of a better word).

Each conference is assigned a regional division (which is essentially a pod). There are four divisions â€“ East, Mideast, Midwest and West. Unlike football, these divisions are not determined based on a GPS location of the qualifying teams. The assignments are predetermined.

Inside each division are 16 teams. Those teams will be seeded No. 1-16 based on their overall winning percentage. All conference champions will be seeded first based on their winning percentage, then all teams that finish second in their conference, then third place teams, and so on. Wildcards will be seeded last and will be determined based on the overall winning percentage of all teams that do not receive an automatic bid.

The projections are likely far from the actual thing this early in the season, but they do provide you a glimpse at what things would look like if the playoffs started today (of course they don't).

There are some intriguing match-ups too. A potential Garner-New Hanover first round game in the Boys East Division, while the girls could see seven conference rematches in the current projection (cue the pod system talk). 

Have a look for yourself, we have the boys projections and we the girls projections, and you can discuss the projections in the Forums.


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