The next two weeks in Class A are all about jockeying for postseason position.
There are two races — the first is being among the top 14 teams going into districts Feb. 25 to host a first-round game. The second, at higher stakes, is to be in the top seven and be assured of hosting the district final — provided they get past the first round.
The competition to be inside the top seven or 14 is going to be fierce — and every game has an impact.
For instance, the NSAA website Sunday was missing four Class A results from Saturday night (inexcusable for schools not reporting them). When those games were included, Omaha South went from 11th to seventh in the standings. Besides beating Lincoln High, the Packers picked up extra points when Millard South beat North Platte to return to .500 (9-9) and change divisions in the point standings.
A refresher course for the state’s wild-card point system begins with every game is worth points depending on the opponent’s record.
There are four divisions for the point system — the break points are winning percentages of .750, .500 and .250. Wins are worth 50 points in the top division, then 47, 44 and lastly 41 when a team is sub-.250. Losses are on a 39-36-33-30 scale. Teams are seeded for the postseason, be it districts or state, based on wild-card averages.
Class A takes it another step and seeds its districts on the wild-card average, with the higher-seeded team in district games the host.
Here’s how Class A districts would break down today:
District 1: No. 1 Papillion-La Vista hosts No. 28 Lincoln North Star, No. 14 Lincoln Northeast hosts No. 15 Papillion-La Vista South.
District 2: No. 2 Omaha Creighton Prep hosts No. 27 North Platte, No. 13 Millard North hosts No. 16 Millard South.
District 3: No. 3 Lincoln Pius X hosts No. 26 Lincoln High, No. 12 Omaha North hosts No. 17 Omaha Bryan.
District 4: No. 4 Kearney hosts No. 25 Omaha Northwest, No. 11 Millard West hosts No. 18 Bellevue East.
District 5: No. 5 Norfolk hosts No. 24 Omaha Westside, No. 10 Bellevue West hosts No. 19 Lincoln Southeast.
District 6: No. 6 Omaha Central hosts No. 23 Omaha Benson, No. 9 Omaha Burke hosts No. 20 Fremont.
District 7: No. 7 Omaha South hosts No. 22 Lincoln Southwest, No. 8 Lincoln East hosts No. 21 Grand Island.
Pius’ weekend sweep of its two remaining Class A opponents — at Millard West and home against Millard North — solidified its position, though its last six games are against Class B teams.
By my projections, the Thunderbolts (13-2) could go 3-3 and still end up in the top seven.
How the other classes project out for No. 1 district seeds (listed in order of district numbering) and wild cards based on Sunday’s posted wild-card standings:
Class B: Gretna, Omaha Skutt, Omaha Roncalli, Beatrice, Aurora, Scottsbluff, wild cards Alliance and Elkhorn South.
Class C-1: Louisville, Wahoo Neumann, Winnebago, O’Neill, Kearney Catholic, Gothenburg, wild cards Columbus Scotus and Wahoo.
Class C-2: Elmwood-Murdock, Ponca, Neligh-Oakdale, Centennial, Hastings St. Cecilia, Kimball, wild cards Amherst and Doniphan-Trumbull.
Class D-1: Nebraska City Lourdes, Walthill, Norfolk Lutheran, Nebraska Lutheran, Alma, Dundy County-Stratton, wild cards BDS and Johnson-Brock.
Class D-2: Lincoln Parkview, Wynot, Riverside, Wauneta-Palisade, Mullen, Crawford, wild cards Mead and Falls City Sacred Heart.
Top 10/Class A: Pius gets its first ranking of the season at No. 9 in Class A. Lincoln East slips in both the Top 10 and Class A lists for a 58-55 loss at Bellevue East (7-11).
Class B: Newcomers are Omaha Roncalli (12-6) and Crete (11-7) with Bennington, a 56-45 loser to Roncalli, and Alliance exiting.
Class C-1: Columbus Scotus goes to the top after its 53-37 payback win over season-long No. 1 Wahoo Neumann. North Bend (14-3) won the East Husker tournament and replaces Broken Bow, which lost twice.
Class C-2: Conference tournament losses send Laurel-Concord-Coleridge and Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family out of the ratings, along with Twin River. In their places are Oakland-Craig, Sutton and Centura.
Class D-1: Johnson-Brock moved up to third after playing No. 1 Nebraska City Lourdes to one point in the Pioneer semifinals. Nebraska Lutheran returns after previous No. 9 West Point Guardian Angels lost twice in the Mid-State.
Class D-2: Sacred Heart stays second after a one-point loss to C-2’s Southern (10-10) in the Pioneer semifinals. No. 10 O’Neill St. Mary’s returns to the ratings, taking Santee’s spot after beating the Warriors in the Niobrara Valley tournament.
Top games this week
Tuesday: Omaha North at Omaha Creighton Prep, Beatrice at Lincoln Pius X, Millard North at Lincoln Northeast, Millard South at Papillion-La Vista. Wednesday: Omaha Burke at Omaha Central. Friday: Norfolk at Kearney, Papillion-La Vista South at Millard North, Omaha North at Millard South, Papillion-La Vista at Omaha Bryan. Saturday: Lincoln East at Norfolk, Millard West at Omaha North, Kansas City Rockhurst at Prep, Omaha Bryan at Papio South.
Tuesday: Wahoo Neumann at Platteview. Thursday: Elkhorn at Bennington, Norris at Omaha Skutt. Friday: Aurora at Crete, Seward at York. Saturday: Lincoln Pius X at Columbus, Elkhorn South at Grand Island.
Monday: Doniphan-Trumbull at Kearney Catholic. Tuesday: Wahoo at Columbus Scotus, Kearney Catholic at Centura. Thursday: Grand Island Central Catholic at Hastings St. Cecilia, Arcadia-Loup City at Kearney Catholic. Friday: Douglas County West at Platteview, Lincoln Lutheran at Elkhorn Mount Michael. Saturday: Hershey at Kimball, Lincoln Christian at Norris, Louisville at DC West, Boys Town at Milford, Ponca at Wayne.
Monday: Winnebago vs. Ponca (Lewis & Clark Conference final at Laurel). Tuesday: Pine Bluffs (Wyo.) at Kimball, West Holt at Niobrara/Verdigre. Thursday: Elm Creek at Amherst, Mead at Elmwood-Murdock, Logan View/Scribner-Snyder at BRLD, Grand Island Central Catholic at Hastings St. Cecilia, Twin River at Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family. Friday: Centura at Arcadia-Loup City. Saturday: Norfolk Lutheran at Hartington Cedar Catholic.
Tuesday: Overton at Wilcox-Hildreth. Wednesday: Omaha Nation at Walthill. Friday: Boys Town at Nebraska City Lourdes, Johnson-Brock at Freeman, Niobrara/Verdigre at Boyd County, Grand Island Heartland Lutheran at Burwell, Southern Valley at Dundy County-Stratton, Overton at Sumner-Eddyville-Miller.
Monday: Giltner at East Butler. Tuesday: Lincoln Parkview at Boys Town, Falls City Sacred Heart at North Andrew (Mo.), Boyd County at O’Neill St. Mary’s. Thursday: West Holt at St. Mary’s. Friday: Neligh-Oakdale at CWC.
HEARTLAND HOOPS CLASSIC
Saturday in Grand Island: 9 a.m., Grand Island CC vs. Elmwood-Murdock; 10:45 a.m., Om. Skutt vs. Gothenburg; 12:30 p.m., O’Neill vs. Columbus Scotus; 2:15 p.m., Wahoo Neumann vs. York; 4 p.m., Gretna vs. Beatrice; 5:45 p.m., Hastings St. Cecilia vs. Winnebago; 7:30 p.m., Omaha South vs. Aurora; 9:15 p.m., Wichita Sunrise Christian vs. Papillion-La Vista.