Monday, October 29, 2012

WPIAL Playoff Pairings

The WPIAL Playoff matchups were released tonight. Here's a rundown of the first round games. All games at the higher seed's field on Friday at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted. Yes, the Single-A bracket makes no sense. I'll update this post later with some analysis.


1. North Allegheny (7-0, 9-0) vs 16. Altoona (4-4, 4-5)
8. McKeesport (5-3, 5-4) vs 9. Bethel Park (6-2, 6-3)

4. Seneca Valley (6-1, 8-1) vs 13. Hempfield (4-4, 4-5)
5. Mt. Lebanon (7-1, 7-2) vs 12. Butler (3-4, 4-5)

2. Gateway (8-0, 8-1) vs 15. Peters Twp (4-4, 5-4)
7. Woodland Hills (6-2, 7-2) vs 10. North Hills (4-3, 6-3)

3. Upper St Clair (7-1, 8-1) vs 14. Kiski Area (4-4, 4-5)
6. Penn-Trafford (7-1, 7-2) vs 11. Central Catholic (5-2, 7-2)

Analysis: North Allegheny is clearly the best team in Quad-A and the two-time defending WPIAL champions. The top 5 seeds pretty much went down as expected. The only real confusing seeding decision is Central Catholic, the 3rd place team from the Northern Eight Conference, seeded behind a North Hills team that finished 4th in the same conference and that the Vikings beat head-to-head. Bethel Park at #9 makes sense as they do have the best win of the teams in the bottom half - an upset of Southeastern Conference Champion Upper St Clair.


1. Thomas Jefferson vs 16. Hollidaysburg
8. Franklin Regional vs 9. Elizabeth Forward

4. West Allegheny vs 13. Ringgold
5. Montour vs 12. Trinity

2. Mars vs 15. Blackhawk
7. West Mifflin vs 10. Knoch

3. Central Valley vs 14. Belle Vernon
6. Hampton vs 11. Hopewell

Analysis: TJ was the only undefeated team in AAA this year and deserved to be the #1 seed. The 3 teams that tied atop the Parkway Conference are seeded 3, 4, and 5 which makes sense as the committee didn't want to break them up. I'm not sure how a 2-loss Hampton team that dropped a game to Greensburg Salem (whose only other win was over Derry) got seeded higher than West Mifflin, whose only loss was to TJ. All in all, the Committee seemed to think highly of the Greater Allegheny Conference, as its top teams were seeded 2, 6, 8, and 10.


1. Aliquippa vs 16. Steel Valley
8. Burrell vs 9. Mt. Pleasant

4. Jeanette vs 13. South Allegheny
5. Beaver vs 12. Valley

2. South Fayette vs 15. Freedom
7. Freeport vs 10. Beaver Falls

3. Washington vs 14. Shady Side Academy
6. Seton-La Salle vs 11. Greensburg Central Catholic

Analysis: This class is the top 3 teams and everyone else. Aliquippa and South Fayette were the two most dominant teams in all of the WPIAL this year, and Washington was just stomping teams by the end of the year. Clearly, Washington's 60-6 rout of Freeport had an impact on the committee as Freeport (Allegheny Conference Champion) was dropped all the way to the 7-seed.


1. Clairton vs 16. Frazier
8. Springdale vs 9. Brentwood

4. Jefferson-Morgan vs 13. Neshannock
5. Monessen vs 12. Apollo-Ridge

2. Sto-Rox vs 15. Carmichaels
7. Beth-Center vs 10. Union

3. Rochester vs 14. Avonworth
6. North Catholic vs 11. Bishop Canevin

Analysis: This bracket makes no sense. Beth-Center beat Jefferson-Morgan 38-7 and won the Tri-County South yet they are seeded 3 spots below Jefferson-Morgan. Similarly, Neshannock finished 3rd in the Big Seven and beat Union 42-34 yet are seeded 3 spots below Union. For the 3rd straight year, Springdale has a looming second round game with Clairton. Sorry, Dynamos. The only logic I can come up with for the WPIAL seeding the bracket this way is this: They put together a "true seed" list that was Clairton, Sto-Rox, Rochester, Neshannock, Monessen, North Catholic, Beth-Center, Springdale, Brentwood, Union, Bishop Canevin, Apollo-Ridge, Jefferson-Morgan, Avonworth, Carmichaels, Frazier. Obviously Jefferson-Morgan had to be in the top half and Neshannock had to be in the bottom half. So rather than bumping everyone in the top half up a seed, they "flipped" Jefferson-Morgan and Neshannock so that their "true #4" seed (Neshannock) was the actual #13 seed and the "true #13" seed (Jefferson-Morgan) was the actual #4 seed, thus preserving the matchup and keeping the teams in approximate order where they wanted them. From a bracketology standpoint this makes limited sense, but it's the only logic I can come up with. Why even have "bracketing principles" if you're not going to follow them?

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