In June of 2020, the WIAA Board of Control unanimously approved using computerized seeding for the boys and girls basketball regionals and sectionals beginning with the 2021-22 tournament series.
After looking at a couple of area boys regional brackets released Sunday, it’s too bad the plan didn’t go into effect this season.
I try not to second-guess coaches when it comes to seeding meetings, because I figure they know a lot more about the other teams in the room than I do. But in the case of the Division 1 regional involving Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Milton, Monona Grove and Fort Atkinson, somebody’s got some explaining to do.
When the five coaches left the seeding meeting, Milton was given the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye. The rest fell as follows: Fort Atkinson No. 2; Parker No. 3; Craig No. 4 and Monona Grove No. 5.
So you’re telling me that Parker, in the midst of its best season in 39 years, is only the third-best team in that regional?
I don’t buy it.
Parker’s resume easily trumps Milton and Fort Atkinson’s. The team’s eight losses came against opponents that are a combined 141-37 on the season. Eleven of Parker’s opponents were or are currently ranked according to the wissports.net coaches polls.
Parker handed fourth-ranked Monroe its only loss of the season and beat Beaver Dam when it was 12-0. The Vikings lost by three at Martin Luther, which recently ended Racine St. Catherine’s 59-game winning streak.
Three of the teams on Parker’s schedule this season are No. 1 seeds, and five are No. 2 seeds in their respective regionals. When teams like Delavan-Darien and Wilmot opted out of playing Parker, coach Matt Bredesen picked up games with Waunakee and Verona to fill the void.
Parker certainly deserved at least the No. 2 seed. Fort Atkinson is a pedestrian 9-3 on the season, with two of the wins against a 3-14 Reedsburg team. The Blackhawks beat Southern Lakes Conference schools Union Grove, Elkhorn and Lake Geneva Badger, who are a combined 18-53.
Badger is currently 2-19. Fort Atkinson also beat Jefferson, which is 2-21, Madison Edgewood and Watertown, meaning the Blackhawks have zero wins against teams over .500. How does that resume justify being seeded ahead of Parker?
We’ll get our answer Friday, Feb. 19 when Fort Atkinson hosts Parker in a regional semifinal game.
Putting Parker ahead of Milton is a tougher call but one that should’ve happened. The Red Hawks have a nice team and are currently 11-3, but like Fort Atkinson, they have played a much easier schedule than Parker. Milton’s best wins have come against Beaver Dam and DeForest—which beat Parker—but other than a loss to Monroe, the Red Hawks have not played any team that is ranked.
I was also a little puzzled by the Division 2 regional seedings featuring Evansville, Edgerton, Delavan-Darien, Monroe, Walworth Big Foot and Beloit Turner. Tenth-ranked Edgerton got the No. 1 seed over fourth-ranked Monroe.
My guess here is that the Crimson Tide got the nod based on the fact that they’ve played 10 more games than the Cheeseemakers. Edgerton is 19-4 on the season while Monroe is 12-1. Edgerton defeated Parker in the first game of the season, while Monroe split with the Vikings. Both teams got first-round byes and will host regional semifinal games, so this is a much different scenario than Parker receiving a No. 3 seed.
The bottom line in this COVID-driven season is that nothing should surprise me anymore. And it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a one seed or a five seed, you have to beat whatever team is next on the schedule.
I just don’t think it’s fair that Parker isn’t rewarded for playing one of the toughest schedules in the state and having the program’s best season since the 1981-82 team won the school’s one and only Big Eight Conference title.
Game of the Week
Janesville Craig (9-12) at Janesville Parker (14-8), boys, nonconference, 7:15 p.m., Thursday, Parker High School—The Vikings look for the season sweep against their crosstown rival.
Craig comes in winners of four straight. The Cougars have turned it around thanks to an offense that is averaging more than 77 points a game during the winning streak.
Angelo Rizzo, who recently became the 10th player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points, leads Craig in scoring at 21.0 points a game.
Parker is looking for its first season sweep of Craig since the 2014-15 season.
The Vikings have allowed only 55 points a game and held the Cougars to 51 in a 15-point victory earlier this season.
Parker has three players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Brenden Weis at 16.9 per game.
Best guess: Parker 71, Craig 61.