Saturday, February 2, 2013

Girls Basketball Sectional Forecast #6

I'm going to do something a little different this week and let you know exactly where each team stands in relation to history and what the forecast predicts for them.  I would also like to thank the good folks at the PS Varsity at for providing some box scores I was unable to obtain previously on my own.  This is only my first year doing this and not everyone is willing to cooperate.  Happy forecasting.  Sectional Forecast #6.

Class AA

(1) Bethlehem  14-0
(16) Bye
(8) Bishop Maginn  8-7     down 1
(9) Guilderland  6-7
(5) Catholic Central  10-4
(12) Schenectady  0-13     up 1
(4) Colonie  12-3
(13) Niskayuna  1-12
(3) Shaker  12-1
(14) Bye
(6) Shenendehowa  8-4
(11) Ballston Spa  2-13     up 1
(7) Columbia  7-7     up 1
(10) Saratoga Springs  6-9
(2) Albany  11-0
(15) Bye

Most of the season this bracket was extremely tight, but after the tweak to the model last week, Bethlehem passed Albany and did so by quite a bit.  Bethlehem is currently the only team that is rated to make the final in AA.  Albany and Shaker are within .020 of the final four rating.  In contrast they are roughly .200 better than the final eight rating so even though they don't meet the historical threshold, they are extremely close, especially in relation to their competition.  Colonie trails Shaker by .050 so they are still more than half way between final eight and four.  Catholic Central at #5 falls below that half way point as they are .050 better than the final eight rating.  Shen is the last team to meet the final eight rating and just barely by .001.  Every other team in the AA historically would lose an opening round game.  Two of them must of course as 8 teams advance but 7 through 10 are separated by .128 which isn't a large amount for a first round match-up.  These games are probably toss-ups.
As the standings currently sit, Bethlehem would have the B2, Catholic Central and the S3, Colonie in their bracket.  Albany would have the S2, Shaker and the B3, Bishop Maginn in their bracket.  I don't think either have the edge here because other than Albany, I don't see any of the Big 10 schools knocking off one of the top 3 Suburban Schools.  The only benefit for Bethlehem is they would get the B4 or S5 in the second round, which is Schenectady due to Troy, Amsterdam and Bishop Gibbons all being in lower classes, and Columbia, while Albany would draw Shen.

Class A

(1) Holy Names  15-0     up 1
(16) Bye
(8) Mohonasen  5-9
(9) Amsterdam  4-8
(5) Glens Falls  9-4
(12) Bye
(4) Queensbury  9-4     down 1
(13) Bye
(3) Averill Park  10-5     up 1
(14) Bye
(6) Scotia-Glenville  7-8     up 1
(11) Lansingburgh  0-15
(7) South Glens Falls  9-6     down 1
(10) Burnt Hills  2-13
(2) Troy  10-2     down 1
(15) Bye

Just as I was starting to worry the model would become too static from this point on, the top four teams switched positions.  When I talk about how playing good teams is beneficial and playing bad teams is detrimental, I couldn't prove it any better than this bracket.  Troy played Schenectady twice this week and won both games, but Schenectady hasn't won a game all year.  Troy not only gave up the #1 seed, but did so by having their rating drop by almost a full tenth of a point.  Holy Names is now the only team with a final four rating, though Troy remains close and is only short of that mark by .028.  On the other side of the coin, Averill Park played Bethlehem and Colonie this week and lost both games.  They were rewarded by moving up a spot and only losing .022 from their rating.  Seeds 3 through 5 are all above the final eight rating, but below the half way point to the final four rating.
If this were the bracket selected by the committee and the seeds were to hold, Holy Names would draw either Queensbury or Glens Falls in the final four while Troy would get Averill Park.  I actually like this set up as I tend to think of the Big 10 and Suburban a step above the Foothills and Colonial.  Either way, Holy Names has the easier draw.

Class B

(1) Tamarac  15-1
(16) Catskill  6-10
(8) Emma Willard  9-5     up 3
(9) Johnstown  8-7     up 3
(5) Greenville  9-6
(12) Broadalbin-Perth  8-7     down 5
(4) Ravena  10-5
(13) Schalmont  9-6     down 4
(3) Taconic Hills  13-3
(14) Fonda-Fultonville  7-8
(6) Corinth  10-5
(11) Hudson Falls 7-9     up 2
(7) Cohoes  11-4     up 1
(10) Hudson  9-6
(2) Watervliet  14-1
(15) Ichabod Crane 5-10

Unranked:  Granville, Albany Leadership, Bishop Gibbons, Coxsackie-Athens, Schuylerville, Cobleskill, Chatham, Cairo-Durham

Some big movers this week in the B bracket, but still not much going on up top.  No one is above the final four rating, but only 3 teams are above the final eight rating so it actually improves their odds somewhat.  Watervliet is about equidistant from Tamarac at #1 and Taconic Hills at #2.  Ravena and Greenville are in the neighborhood of the final eight, but I don't think it's going to matter much.  Tamarac would meet either of them in the final four and I believe will beat either, though I wouldn't take either lightly.  Ravena played Watervliet to 6 points so a good shooting night by them, or a bad one from Tamarac could be enough.  Watervliet's road isn't much different.  Taconic Hills has had a very good year and they'll be a tough out, but there isn't a lot of data from the Patroon schools as they have a 16 game league schedule, thus only 2 non-league games.  It's a tough read, but as a group the Patroon Conference seems a little bit below the Colonial and Wasaren this year.

Class C

(1) Berne-Knox  13-1
(16) Voorheesville 5-9     down 1
(8) Hoosick Falls  10-5
(9) Mekeel Academy 9-6     up 1
(5) Fort Plain  13-1     down 2
(12) Canajoharie  7-7     up 1
(4) Hoosic Valley  13-3     up 1
(13) Mechanicville  8-7     down 1
(3) Maple Hill  16-1     up 1
(14) Whitehall  8-6
(6) Galway  11-4     up 3
(11) Duanesburg  9-5
(7) Lake George  11-4     down 1
(10) Middleburgh  10-5     down 3
(2) Waterford  14-2
(15) Greenwich 7-8     up 1

Unranked:  Albany Academy, Mayfield, Stillwater, Saratoga Catholic, Berlin, Hadley-Luzerne, Rensselaer, Cambridge, Schoharie

The big mover here was Fort Plain dropping from #3 to #5, mostly due to Maple Hill and Hoosic Valley's ratings increasing a great deal.  Another example of who you play and not how well you do, Fort Plain's two wins this week were against teams that are now a combined 5-20, while Hoosic Valley's opponents this week are 12-18 (but just played Tamarac last week) and Maple Hill's are now 28-19.
The first four seeds are below the final four rating, but well the half way point between final eight and four.  Fort Plain falls just below that half way barrier.  The 6 through 10 seeds are essentially tied and a good or bad week by any of them could move them up or down that list accordingly, but currently only Lake George and Galway are above the final eight rating, and just barely.  After that it drops off quite a bit but if you looked you might have noticed that the first 14 seeds are all at or above a .500 winning percentage.
Berne-Knox definitely draws the short straw, even at #1 and I wouldn't be happy with any bracket that features the defending State Champions if I were the #1 seed (which means HV will likely not be the #4).

For the record, I do believe the committee will discount Hoosic Valley's loss to Scotia earlier in the year.  As  I have previously mentioned they essentially lost to a team that no longer exists as Scotia is without their best scorer due to an injury.  As I did last week, if that game were removed, HV would be the #2 with all the other just moving down one spot.  I think that's more likely how the committee will play it.

Class D

(1) Fort Edward  14-0
(16) Salem  0-14
(8) Hartford  4-11     down 1
(9) Northville 6-9     up 1
(5) Germantown  9-4
(12) Bolton  3-11
(4) Heatly  10-5
(13) Sharon Springs  0-10
(3) Argyle  10-5
(14) Doane Stuart  2-10
(6) Warrensburg  7-6     up 2
(11) New Lebanon  4-8     down 2
(7) Loudonville Christian  5-7     down 1
(10) North Warren  5-10     up 1
(2) Fort Ann  13-1
(15) St. Johnsville  0-10     up 1

Unranked:   Hawthorne Valley

Fort Edward remains the only team above the final four rating, though Fort Ann is really close.  FE is also really close to the finals rating so the separation between #1 and #2 is fairly large.  Their biggest threat is likely Argyle who has played them closer than any other this season, but with Argyle at #3 that match-up seems unlikely as Fort Ann has routed Argyle in both meetings.  Argyle is above the half way point in final eight and four, though just barely and Heatly is just thousandths of a percent below the final eight rating.  After Germantown the ratings drop off large and rapid.

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