Class A Blog: Region tourneys marginalized by power rankings; SACA girls, Mitchell boys send messages; updated power rankings

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Something many detractors of the Class A power rankings feared would happen, has indeed happened.

Due to the fact that the importance of region tournaments has been lessened somewhat by the power rankings, the coaches from Region 2 have decided to cancel this year’s tournament. After the regular season comes to a close at the end of the week, basketball will be over for the majority of the teams in Region 2.   The Lanier County boys have the most to lose. The Bulldogs were in the top 16 of the public school power rankings early on but fell out recently.

Lanier (15-7, 7-4) should close out the season this week with wins at Clinch County (7-5, 3-4) tonight and Irwin County (4-18, 4-8) on Friday, which won’t provide a lot of points. Playing extra games in a tournament, especially advancing to the semi finals or the finals against No. 3 Wilcox County or No. 6 Turner County, could have gone a long way toward boosting the Bulldogs’ power ranking.

The seven other regions will still host tournaments next week.  Count Towns County girls head coach Jim Melton as one who is glad that his region, Region 8, will move forward with its tournament.

“Personally, I think that regions should keep their tournaments. Some Regions have elected not to have them,” said Melton, who has led Towns County to a record of 18-4, 10-1 in the region. “Yes, the top four in the region no longer [automatically] make the [state] tournament but having a region championship or region runner-up is still something to play for.

“It is the tradition too,” Melton said. “It would be like the SEC not having a tournament and going straight into the NCAA field of 64 or 65, or whatever it is this year.”

Melton also commented on the impact region tournaments – or not holding a region tournament – may have on the power rankings.

“I think that region tournaments can help, or hurt, some teams that are on the “bubble” of making it into the top 16 in the power rankings,” Melton said. “If a team goes on a run during the region tournament, their rankings could be boosted enough to get in to the state tournament. A ‘Cinderella’ in a region tournament could win the tournament, the regular season champion could still make the state tournament, and the team that is the 16 seed would then be knocked out. This is kind of like mid-majors and upsets in their NCAA Tournaments knocking someone out. The power ranking puts a whole new spin on things.”

SACA girls, Mitchell County boys send messages

Two of the top teams in Class A sent distinct messages last week. The top-ranked Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy girls avenged their only loss to a team in Georgia when the Warriors crushed No. 5 Darlington 68-35 last Saturday. SACA (21-2, 10-1) was upset by Darlington (16-6, ), 47-46, on January 15 in Rome. Also, the No. 4 Mitchell County boys smashed Seminole County 67-41 last Friday. Seminole () took the Eagles (20-3, 10-1) to overtime in the first meeting Jan. 11, but Mitchell County prevailed in that game as well 55-54.

NOTE: Last week’s blog entry mistakenly listed SACA as being defeated by Dalton instead of Darlington. We regret the error.

Updated power rankings

Here are the up-to-date power rankings. There will be one more ranking next week before the final rankings are released after the end of region tournament play. The final rankings will be used to determine the 64 playoff teams – 16 each for public school boys and girls, and for private school boys and girls. The first number in parenthesis is the AJC Top 10 ranking, the second number is last week’s power ranking.

BOYS

Public

1. Wilkinson County (2) (1)

2. Mitchell County (4) (2)

3. Wilcox County (9) (4)

4. Seminole County (7) (3)

5. Dooly County (NR) (5)

6. Turner County (7) (6)

7. Greenville (NR) (11)

8. Hancock Central (NR) (8)

9. Jenkins County (NR) (11)

10. Treutlen (NR) (7)

11. Portal (NR) (10)

12. Claxton (NR) (12)

13. Randolph-Clay (NR) (NR)

14. Stewart County (NR) (12)

15. Georgia Military College (NR) (16)

16. Terrell County (NR) (NR)

Private

1. North Cobb Christian (1) (1)

2. W.D. Mohammed (3) (5)

3. Greenforest Christian (5) (4)

4. Excel Christian (10) (3)

5. Calvary Day School (NR) (5)

6. Holy Innocents’ (NR) (8)

7. Mt. Paran Christian (NR) (6)

8. Aquinas (NR) (9)

9. St. Francis (NR) (11)

10. Athens Christian (NR) (7)

11. Landmark Christian (NR) (10)

12. Mt. Pisgah Christian (NR) (13)

13. Whitefield Academy (NR) (16)

14. Mt. Vernon Presbyterian (NR) (14)

15. Lakeview Academy (NR) (13)

16. Pace Academy (NR) (NR)

16. Savannah Christian (NR) (12)

GIRLS

Public

1. Randolph-Clay (2) (1)

2. Gordon Lee (4) (2)

3. Turner County (10) (3)

4. Claxton (NR) (5)

5. Treutlen (NR) (4)

6. Irwin County (NR) (6)

7. Towns County (8) (7)

8. Marion County (NR) (8)

9. Mitchell County (NR) (11)

10. Wilkinson County (NR) (9)

11. Greenville (NR (14)

12.Clinch County (NR) (10)

13. Calhoun County (NR) (14)

14. Seminole County (NR) (13)

15. Hancock County (NR) (13)

16. Portal (NR) (16)

Private

1. Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (1) (1)

2. Holy Innocents’ (3) (2)

3. Darlington (5) (3)

4. George Walton Academy (6) (6)

5. Calvary Day School (NR) (4)

6. St. Francis (7) (7)

7. Paideia (9) (5)

8. Atlanta International School (NR) (8)

9. Mt. Paran Christian (NR) (9)

10. Providence Christian (NR) (11)

11. Pace Academy (NR) (14)

12. Greenforest Christian (NR) (10)

13. Brookstone (NR) (13)

14. Strong Rock (NR) (12)

15. Savannah Country Day (NR) (16)

16. Prince Avenue Christian (NR) (15)

12 comments Add your comment

athensbball

February 5th, 2013
3:07 pm

That is so IGNORANT not to play your region tournament. Region Tournament champions automatically go ahead of everyone else in the final power rankings. So a team like Lanier (if they won the region tourney) could go from out of the playoffs to a top 3 seeded team. For example, ACS is 10th right now…but if they win the region they will most likely be seeded 3rd or 4th. Leave it to south georgia to screw this up too

S. Thomas Coleman

February 5th, 2013
3:46 pm

@athensball: I see your point. But maybe their thinking is that Wilcox and Turner are head and shoulders above everyone else so an upset is unlikely, and the points don’t look favorable to any other team in the region. But I’ll try to get in touch with their region rep and get the lowdown.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

athensbball

February 5th, 2013
4:31 pm

@STC: That may be true, but upsets always happen! North Cobb Christian was 30-0 going into the state tournament last year and everyone already crowned them state champs…except for St. Francis who knocked them out in the first round. Is this the kind of message they want to send to their kids? “If your not gonna finish first, then just give up and dont even try” Plus…some of these kids are seniors and this is their last chance to play in any sort of “win or go home” tournament. Its just sad.

3rd String PG

February 5th, 2013
4:58 pm

I loved Coch Melton’s point on how it would also be a lot easier for the NCAA to skip their conference tournaments and go right to the Big Dance, but they continue to do them because of the fact that anything can happen. Also, teams tend to play more harder, knowing that their backs are against the wall, and one loss could end their season. Overall, bad idead IMO.

S. Thomas Coleman

February 6th, 2013
12:03 am

@athens and 3rd: For the most part, I agree with you both. However, playing devil’s advocate, even if a lower seeded team that is well out of the top 16 pulls an upset, it would have to pull two or even three to win the region tourney and make the state playoffs. Possible, yes, but not very likely.

metro

February 6th, 2013
1:52 pm

So what exactly is the formula for the power rankings. I see several teams in the girls and boys in the middle that have records that aren’t as good as teams near the bottom of the rankings.

metro

February 6th, 2013
1:53 pm

i should clarify, near the bottom of the top 16.

S. Thomas Coleman

February 6th, 2013
9:03 pm

Weasel

February 7th, 2013
6:56 am

Another strike against public/private separation. This system is imploding and will only get worse.

bballmomof5

February 7th, 2013
9:33 pm

This just in.
AcS upset tonight in Athens by Lakeview. 61-60
I hate that I couldn’t have been there, had to work.. :(
Montgomery hits FT w/ 1.9 sec. left to win it.

Stan

February 8th, 2013
11:24 pm

North Cobb Christian lost to St. Francis tonight, St. Francis dominated the game. That means W.D. Mohammed should be the number 1 team in class A.

TallVolleyGirl

February 9th, 2013
12:54 pm

Now who was it that said Athens christian was going to beat Lakeview?