Pospisil: Omaha Burke ruling creates district pairings shuffle

Could Shereef Mitchell miss the state tournament during his decorated four-year career? The ruling against Omaha Burke makes a playoff run more difficult.

Had Omaha Burke not forfeited five wins last week, the Bulldogs would have been the fourth seed in the Class A boys basketball playoffs.

Now they are 13th, across the line from No. 1-ranked Omaha Creighton Prep, and the order of the top seven seeds jumbled.

Omaha Central jumped to the No. 1 seed — its record changes from 20-4 to 22-2 — to push Prep and Lincoln East down one seed apiece. Kearney, Bellevue West, Omaha Bryan and Millard South are the other projected top-seven seeds. Millard South, which lost to Burke 60-58 last Tuesday, would have been the eighth seed without the forfeits.

These are the projected district assignments and pairings for Saturday’s first round of the playoffs:

District 1: Lincoln Northeast (0-23) at Omaha Central (22-2); Norfolk (12-10) at Papillion-La Vista (12-10).

District 2: Omaha Benson (1-20) at Omaha Creighton Prep (21-1); Millard West (11-11) at Omaha Burke (12-12).

District 3: Omaha Northwest (3-19) at Lincoln East (22-1); Papillion-La Vista South (10-12) at Lincoln High (12-11).

District 4: Lincoln Southeast (4-19) at Kearney (16-6); Lincoln North Star (11-12) at Grand Island (14-9).

District 5: North Platte (5-17) at Bellevue West (16-6); Omaha Westside (10-12) at Millard North (12-11).

District 6: Omaha North (5-16) at Omaha Bryan (17-5); Bellevue East (10-12) at Lincoln Southwest (14-9).

District 7: Fremont (6-17) at Millard South (15-6); Omaha South (9-13) at Lincoln Pius X (14-8).

Burke’s infraction was using an ineligible player because of residency requirements. The school, on its unsuccessful appeal last week to the NSAA board, said a clerical error in the Omaha Public Schools central office was to blame.

With the forfeits, Burke’s record stands at 12-12 instead of 17-7. So how do they get treated in the new Top 10? They rise from seventh to fifth.

The rationale: Take away the six games in which the ineligible player saw action, and Burke has a 12-6 record. Good enough for ratings consideration. Next, take into account its wins last week over then-No. 5 Millard South and No. 4 Omaha Bryan. Burke has to be ahead of those two teams, and a No. 5 spot is apropos — it has lost to three of the four higher teams and Central has its two forfeits over the Bulldogs.

I’ve said my piece about midyear transfers and what the state should be studying — a 180-day sit out for students who change schools without their families moving into the district or attendance zone. A clerical error doesn’t rest solely on the high school, but better vetting inhouse — as Burke administrators said they would begin doing — might have prevented this mess.

The forfeits are warranted. They make it more difficult for Burke to go to state. Could Shereef Mitchell get shut out in his four-year career? But there are unintended, unresolvable ramifications for other teams. Prep could be playing the winner of Papillion-La Vista and Norfolk but now gets either Burke or Millard West. West would get Lincoln High in the first round, not Burke.

Class B subdistricts

Monday are the semifinals in Class B’s new subdistrict system, followed by finals Tuesday. The eight subdistrict winners and the next eight teams from the point standings are seeded for Saturday’s district finals — winner-take-all at home sites.

B-1 at Platteview — Platteview (21-2) vs. Nebraska City (1-20), 5:30 p.m.; Plattsmouth (4-17) vs. Waverly (9-11), 7:15: Should be a Platteview-Waverly final.

B-2 at Omaha Skutt — Skutt (20-3) vs. Ralston (2-20), 6:30 p.m.; Omaha Gross (8-15) vs. Omaha Roncalli (17-4), 8: Gross has played Roncalli fairly close twice. But expect Roncalli to play Skutt to break a 1-1 series tie.

B-3 at Gretna — Gretna (16-5) vs. Elkhorn (4-16), 6 p.m.; Elkhorn South (10-11) vs. Elkhorn Mount Michael (17-6), 7:30: Sitting 15th in the point standings, Elkhorn South needs to get past the Knights and perhaps win Tuesday to be playing Saturday.

B-4 at Bennington — Bennington (20-3) vs. Schuyler (5-16), 5 p.m.; South Sioux City (5-16) vs. Blair (12-10), 6:30: Bennington and Blair have split this season.

B-5 at Seward — Seward (13-7) vs. Beatrice (10-12), 6 p.m.; Crete (15-8) vs. Norris (14-9), 7:45: Seward beat Beatrice and Crete beat Norris during the season. Very even subdistrict.

B-6 at York — York (21-1) vs. Grand Island Northwest (8-15), 6 p.m.; Columbus (12-10) vs. Aurora (20-3), 7:45: Columbus lost 58-55 to Aurora on Jan. 13. York has two wins over Northwest.

B-7 at Lexington — Lexington (12-11) vs. Holdrege (7-14), 6 p.m.; McCook (11-12) vs. Hastings (10-11), 7:45: McCook and Hastings are 1-1 this season. Lexington has beaten Holdrege.

B-8 at Sidney — Scottsbluff (17-7) vs. Gering (12-12), 5 p.m. MT; Alliance (13-9) vs. Sidney (16-7), 7:15: Talk about immediate rematches. Friday night, Scottsbluff beat Gering 61-53 and Sidney beat Alliance 67-53.

Other top subdistricts

Class C-1: C1-3 at Waverly has four rated teams — No. 1 Wahoo, new No. 6 Wahoo Neumann, No. 9 Boys Town and No. 10 Omaha Concordia. C1-6 at Burwell could have a final between No. 5 Broken Bow and No. 2 O’Neill.

Class C-2: C2-2 at Wahoo could produce a final between No. 2 Yutan and No. 4 Elmwood-Murdock. Yutan’s only loss was to the Knights in its season opener. C2-4 at Norfolk Catholic has No. 7 Battle Creek and No. 10 Norfolk Lutheran. C2-8 at Grand Island Central Catholic has No. 3 Hastings St. Cecilia and new No. 10 Doniphan-Trumbull.

Class D-2: D2-2 at Malcolm has No. 5 Exeter-Milligan, No. 8 Mead and No. 9 Lincoln Parkview. D2-8 at Southern Valley has No. 7 Loomis and No. 10 Wilcox-Hildreth.

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