Class A Blog: Paideia’s Meiere gives his take on the power rankings

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Paideia girls coach Paul Meiere is in his 19th season at tiny private school located in the eastern most part of Atlanta.  He is on course to quality for the state tournament for the 16th time in 17 seasons, has led the Pythons to five semifinals and two runner-up finishes.

In other words, he’s seen it all … until this season.

Meiere is one of a throng of coaches — public, private, girls or boys teams — that are not pleased with the new power ranking system being used to determine playoff teams in Class A.  Here he spells out his reasons for coming down against the system:

“From my standpoint, I can no longer fill my non-region schedule with top teams without any regard for winning since such scheduling would make it all but impossible to qualify for the state tournament unless we win the region tournament. Each game is now critical for qualification purposes. This affects my substitution pattern in all games and lessens the playing time of bench personnel.

“The new system puts a premium on strategic scheduling which results in making it more difficult for coaches to make schedules since everyone is trying to gain a scheduling advantage. [It] makes it more likely that qualifiers will be required to travel longer distances for games prior to the championship game, makes it more likely teams from the same region will be matched against each other in early tournament games, and makes scouting for first round state tournament games impossible as you cannot predict with any degree of certainty who your opponent might be before the regular season and region tournaments are over. You will not know until a minimum of one to two days after the region tournaments whether you have qualified for the state tournament.

“A team does not have a clear goal with certain proof of qualifying for the state tournament. Prior years required finishing in the top four in the region to qualify. Before that it was finishing in the top two. This was a clear goal with certain easily determined proof. Now only the region tournament champion qualifies which lessens the importance of the region tournament games. Some regions are actually cancelling their region tournaments or at least cancelling their third place games in order to achieve an advantage.

“The new system does not reward teams that improve greatly during the season. The idea has always been to have the best teams in the state tournament. This is the reason for region tournaments. By giving the same weight to early season games as late season games, teams that have poor starts but improve drastically by the end of the season have no way to qualify for the state tournament other than winning the region tournament. They would be excluded even if they are clearly the second best team in the region. Also a team with a great player may do very well through most of the season but be a much weaker team if that player is lost to injury very late in the season. That team may qualify even though it is no longer among the better teams. Qualification through the previous region tournament method would prevent this.

“It is impossible to check your school’s power ranking or that of another school. You must rely on the honesty and accuracy of the reporting teams. Next you must rely on the accuracy of the collecting agent (MaxPreps) and their computer program. To verify the accuracy of your power ranking or that of another school you would need to have access to the schedules and results of all games of Class A schools. Schools in higher classifications and Class A schools who know they will not qualify have little incentive to enter scores accurately or check for accuracy the scores listed by the collecting agent (MaxPreps). The new system relies on honesty and accuracy that cannot be reasonably verified. The results of the previous system of qualification are out in the open for everyone to see and verify.”

That’s his take.  What say you?

16 comments Add your comment

SouthGaFan

February 9th, 2013
8:54 am

Maxpreps is used just for information of wins and losses. A guy actually tallies the ranking. The rating on Maxpreps is different from the state rating. I think the point system is good. But when you have weaker teams in your regions, it hurts you to play. If you carry on the current system, some teams are penalized because they have a weaker region. As for his statement about the region tournament, region champions should be determined through the season. I like doing away with region tournaments.

athensbball

February 9th, 2013
10:05 am

Wow. great analysis of this terrible system. ACS is 19-4, and because of their bad region and teams they beat like South Gwinnett and Grayson going .500 (looked like good games before the season)…they may have to win the region just to sneak into the tournament at all. @southgafan: without region tournaments, how could you determine who the best team in the region is when everyone doesnt play everyone? For example, Excel is 24-1, but they have not played ANYONE on the otherside of their own region. Those teams they have not played would include (North Cobb, St. Francis, Whitefield, etc.) Or in region 7, Aquinas is undefeated in region play, but they never played Wilkinson(23-1). So how could we determine region champs from just regular season play, unless everyone played everyone?

atlantafan

February 9th, 2013
10:26 am

@southgafan: not playing region tournaments may work for south ga (since yall wussed out and already decided not to have your region tournament) because there are very few schools down there. That could never work in Atlanta. Region 7 has 15 teams in their region alone!

athensbball

February 9th, 2013
10:35 am

I like a combination of the systems. Have the region tournaments (8 regions) and only the top 2 make it to state. Thats 16 teams. Forget the private/public split mess. And then use the power rankings to seed them. That way we dont have the best 2 teams facing in the first round just because it was region’s 7 turn to play region 8 that year.

CaliphsFan

February 9th, 2013
11:53 am

Regardless of the rankings we have a undoubted #1 in Class A. After St. Francis defeated North Cobb Christian, W.D. Mohammed stands alone at the top of the class with a 22-1 record and no loss to a class A team.

bballmomof5

February 9th, 2013
12:42 pm

I agree with Coach Meire. It is a terrible system, with no rewards for playing larger classification schools. We have been hovering at the 14-16 spot in the power ranking and hope with our win against Athens christian, we can move up higher, but who knows even how far that would be. 9 of our 24 games have been against higher classifications.

Atl fan

February 9th, 2013
4:56 pm

@caliphsfan: WMD is really good this year, but to play devils advocate I could say that the Greenforest win is really the only signature win they have. Outside of region 6 which is loaded, pretty much every region only has 2 good teams. Should be a good tournament. And I think Wilkinson would have something to say about being the best in class a

Stan

February 9th, 2013
6:57 pm

Not 1 of the region 6 teams could beat Greenforest, and what makes their region more loaded than region 5. W.D., Greenforest,holy innocents, and Landmark are just as good as any team in region 6

Weasel

February 9th, 2013
11:04 pm

This conversation sounds like a BCS pitty-party. GHSA created this mess. Lets get back to head to head public-private battles and rivalries. Trash this stupid system that was created to satisfy a few clueless south Georgia football coaches who prefer winning over competition.

ECAFAN

February 10th, 2013
10:46 am

@Stan- North Cobb Christian could certainly beat Greenforest. They are unbelievably good, you’re insane if you don’t think they could/Trust me, they aren’t. Holy Innocents lost a convincing game against Mt. Paran, and we have five or six that are on that level. Landmark proceeded to lose to HI by 20, as well as St. Francis. Greenforest and WD could most certainly hang, but don’t kid yourself by thinking any of the others could hang in a region tournament with NCC, Whitefield, Excel, Mt. Paran, and Mount Pisgah. And you can’t really judge by the records, either,so there may be more. For example, Mt. Pisgah’s record is slightly above .500… Because they play in 6B and their schedule is brutal. Outside of Greenforest and WD, every team in ya’ll’s region would get have a mercy rule hung on them by halftime.

Stan

February 10th, 2013
11:32 am

Enter your comments here

North ga coach

February 10th, 2013
10:28 pm

Basketball is a tournament sport. That is what makes March Madness so great. The regions which choose not to play a region tournament should not be given the same rankings boost as teams that win their region tournament (they should not move to the top of the rankings if they are not willing to risk even playing a region tournament). I do not understand why the lower seeds in these regions would give up a chance to compete for a state tournament berth. They may only have a slight chance to win the region, but without a tournament, they have no chance at all.

Athensbball

February 10th, 2013
11:29 pm

@northgacoach: until we put football helmets on basketball players and yard markers on the court the GHSA doesn’t care how their football rules(yes this was all bc of football and everyone knows it)affect basketball. Heaven for bid different sports have different rules for their respective state tournaments… Nah that might actually make since. We can’t have that now!

bucket

February 11th, 2013
10:19 am

@ Athensbball – you are correct that greater consideration should have been taken by the GHSA to figure out how this was going to affect other sports other than football. It takes a greater number of players to make a good football team so only a handful of teams had a legitimate complaint about not making the top 16 in the power rankings in football. However, roster sizes are much smaller in basketball and baseball, so there are going to be quite a few schools that will not make the state playoffs who have a legitimate claim to be there.

Hoop Fan

February 13th, 2013
3:32 pm

The current system is ludicrous. Everyone needs to email or write the GHSA and tell them how you feel. If enough folks complain, they will have to address the myriad issues.

South Georgia Coach

February 14th, 2013
8:26 am

As some one who doesnt have a dog in this fight so to speak, this whole power ranking system from the begining made very little sense in basketball. To this day I still wonder how did basketball coaches allow for this to system to be implemented without kicking and screaming in protest. All of coach Meiere’s points are valid.