The sun is out, the snow is melting as we inch closer and closer to the state basketball tournament fields in Lincoln. We’ll use this post to break down where we stand in each class leading into the boys and girls state tournaments that begin on Tuesday with the girls event.
New look: First reminder, hoops fans. We have a new look state tournament this year that will feature a five-day run in Lincoln for the two events that includes all semifinals and finals at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Great Eight: Eight team fields in six classes advance to Lincoln. How they get there is a little bit different. Here is how we finish it out by Monday when all qualifiers will be set.
- Class A: Seven districts and 32 teams. The teams are placed in each district based on NSAA point standings. Seven champions and one wild card advance to Lincoln. Girls finals are Thursday. The boys open play on Friday, with semifinals on Saturday and finals on Monday night. Pairings
- Class B: Eight sub-districts that are pre-set based on geography with 29 boys and 30 girls teams. The eight winners advance to the district final round in addition to eight more wild cards. Teams seeded 1-16 with a state play-in game. The Class B girls field is set and will be seeded after Class C and D district finals Friday night. The boys final round is Saturday.
- Classes C-1 to D-2: The small classes all operate the same way with 12 geographic sub-districts, with those winners and four wild cards advancing to the 16-team district final round. The girls final round is Friday, with boys sub-district finals and district final seeding tomorrow. Those final games are played either Saturday or Monday.
Class C-1 to D-2 boys look ahead: Here is a quick look at each of the boys classes with the teams remaining that will be playing tomorrow to advance to the round of 16.
Class C-1: Top-ranked Auburn leads the pack here with a current 57-game winning streak for the two-time defending champions who play Fairbury in a sub-district final. The top-seven teams in the point standings will all have the chance to advance on their own, playing lower teams. Should the top-seeds advance, the four teams with wild card preference are North Bend, LVSS, Mitchell and Central City. Boone Central and Columbus Scotus will be the only district final with two teams outside the top-16.
Class C-2: Another class where the top-seven teams are all away from each other. But, it’s a little different at the bottom. Two games will feature both teams that are below 16th in the point standings. They include: Oakland-Craig and Clarkson/Leigh (Sub-District 3), as well as Neligh-Oakdale and West Holt (Sub-District 6). Top four “projected” wild cards — assuming top-seeds win — are Centennial, Tri-County, Wakefield and Chase County.
Class D-1: Some big games at the top of this class tomorrow as No. 1 seed Burwell will play Ansley-Litchfield (fourth in points) and No. 2 HLHF will host No. 5 Howells-Dodge. Only Kenesaw hosting Blue Hill in sub-district 7 will be a game outside the to-16. Besides the losers of the top games above, the wild cards would be Elm Creek and Laurel-Concord-Coleridge should other top seeds move on.
Class D-2: The state’s class with the smallest schools will have three games outside the top-16 making for some ever important sub-district final games as the wild cards could all currently reside in the top-11 of the points standings. Sub-districts 5, 7 and 12 feature six teams at 16th and below right now. Those games are: Elgin Public/Pope John and Spalding Academy (5), Silver Lake and Heartland Lutheran (7) and Hay Springs and Crawford (12). Inside track to the wild card appears to be: Osceola, Wynot, Paxton and Medicine Valley.
We will continue to update this post as games progress tomorrow to give projections on the district finals.