I still contend that teams who play more difficult teams throughout the season, be it in conference or out, will, on average, perform better in sectionals than those who do not. A long winded way of saying historically Schuylerville has better odds in sectionals than does Greenwich. Now, I'll prove it.
Every league, conference and council has teams that represent multiple classes in sectionals. If for every game that the team has a bye you give them a win, and for every team that does not participate you give them a loss, and add that to their actual win-loss records, you can determine each conference's winning percentage in each class. Then you can compare how each conference does as it moves up the class ladder. For example, the Colonial Council, depending on the year, has teams in classes A, B and C. If you compare their sectional winning percentage in class B to class C you will find it increased by .218. In other words, the C teams won 21.8% more often than the B teams from the same council. There are 13 of these comparisons you can make, the Big 10 from AA-A, Suburban AA-A, Foothills AA-A and A-B, Colonial A-B, B-C, Patroon B-C, Wasaren B-C, WAC B-C, C-D, Adirondack, B-C, C-D, CHVL C-D. In 12 of them the teams in the lower class had a greater sectional winning percentage than the teams in their conference from a higher class. Only the WAC B's (Mekeel Academy, Saratoga Catholic and Fonda-Fultonville before they moved to the Colonial) performed better than the WAC C's over that five year stretch.
If I were a Coach or AD and I played in a class bigger than my conference and thought I had a team who could win sectionals, I would go out of my way to schedule the best teams available for my non-league games. Playing better teams pays off in the playoffs.
On another note, there were a few interesting things I noticed as I was compiling information for this post. These are all from the boys' sectionals as I only have one season of girls' information. Here they are:
- In the past two sectionals, Amsterdam has defeated the two independent schools in the first round, both as huge underdogs from the 12th and 14th seeds. They beat Albany Academy two years ago in AA and Green Tech last year in A.
- Shenendehowa has ended Schenectady's season in each of the past 4 sectionals.
- Nine teams, less than 10% have won 10 or more sectionals games in one classification over the past 5 seasons. That's an average of more than 2 wins in each sectionals, or they average playing at least one game at the Civic Center.
- Fourteen teams have not won a sectional game over that five year span. Of that group, only Green Tech, Doane Stuart, Ravena and Columbia are currently over .500 teams.