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A crack at the area High School brackets

Monday, Feb, 4 2013

Last week, I had a great idea.  How about taking a "Bracketology" look at the area High School Boy's Basketball tournament.  What I thought was going to be a fairly simple, fairly fun task turned into a bit of a time consuming head-ache!  Anyway, the Coaches will have the ultimate say and that is the way it should be.  But, if the brackets were announced today, hear is how I think everything would fall:

Division 1 - Sectional #1 (bottom half)

The coaches will have their hands-full in a couple areas this weekend.  The top-2 could get interesting between Oshkosh North and Stevens Point.  The FVA appears to be a better conference than the Wisconsin Valley and they will have a 7-2 edge in voting on that. Neenah beat point but an 0-2 mark last week may have locked up the #3-spot for the Rockets.  I don’t know where to begin with slotting 4-7 and could see a case for all-4 teams in any of those spots.  I think the 8 & 9 are clear cut, that’s it!

#1 Oshkosh North (16-3, 13-2) – the overall toughness of the FVA wins out
#2 Stevens Point (18-2, 9-1) – conference championship gives them the edge over Neenah, despite losing to the Rockets
#3 Neenah (15-4, 12-3) – recent struggles put them down a couple spots
#4 Appleton West (11-8, 8-7) – a win over Oshkosh North Thursday should cement the 4 considering their resume (wins over Neenah, Bay Port, & De Pere) despite a 1-4 record against A. North, A. West & Fondy
#5 Appleton East (10-9, 8-7) -  At Menasha Thursday.  A win their keeps the steady Patriots in the middle position
#6 Appleton North (10-8, 7-8) – swept Appleton East & Appleton  West, but swept by Fondy…tough spot for the Lightning.  Big week with games verse D.C Everest & Kimberly
#7 Fond du Lac (9-8, 7-8) – steady like East but no jaw dropping wins like A. North has over Oshkosh North
#8 Oshkosh West (7-12, 3-12) – better resume than Rapids gets them the home game
#9 Wisconsin Rapids (5-13, 3-5) – tough place to be with the balance in the FVA.

Division 1 - Sectional #2 (top half)

The only real debate here is going to be Kimberly verse Manty.  I probably allowed my FVA bias to make this choice but it is probably a coin flip.  Not much else to say

#1 De Pere (15-3, 12-1) – tops in the FRCC makes them thet top choice
#2 Sheboygan North - (16-3, 10-3) – right behind De Pere in standings and seeding
#3 Bay Port (11-8, 9-4) – fit perfectly into the 3-spot
#4 Green Bay Southwest (10-8, 7-6) – best record among the teams in the middle
#5 Kimberly (8-10, 6-9) – tough being the only team from a conference in a meeting but this should be their spot. The FVA is a more competitive conference top to bottom
#6 Manitowoc Lincoln – (8-11, 6-7) – could end up at #5 if the FRCC unites vs Kimberly
#7 Green Bay Preble (5-14, 3-10) – overall mark breaks the tie with Sheboygan South
#8 Sheboygan South  - (3-16, 3-10) – see Preble
#9 Green Bay East (1-17, 0-13) – tough year for East puts them at this spot

Division 2 - Sectional #2 (top half)

When the idea came to my head to try this, I was thinking the 4-7 in the D1-S1 bracket was going to be tough…I feel like this meeting could take a while!  Six teams will have legit arguments to be up to 3-spots higher than they will end up.  It will really comedown to how the best record vs best conference vs best wins debate comes out.  I would put this regional up against ANY in the state as hardest to pick a winner and most wide open!

#1 Pulaski (15-3, 11-2) – losing to Ashwaubenon twice makes things really difficult, but a 20-point win over Wes tDe Pere and a victory over De Pere are just to good to look over
#2 West De Pere (16-1, 11-0) – Ashwaubenon will have a case for this spot but West De Pere’s record earns it
#3 Ashwaubenon (14-4, 10-3) – Pulaski and Plymouth wins keep them away from a tough match-up with Kaukauna in the 4-5 game
#4 Seymour (16-3, 12-1) – could win the bracket but the Bay Port win may not be marquee enough to get into the top-3
#5 Kaukauna (13-6, 10-5) – a stacked non-conference schedule but probably a loss or two too many in the FVA schedule to get ahead of Ashwaubenon and Seymour.  Could be as high as three though...
#6 Plymouth (14-5, 10-1) – loses to Ashwaubenon and Kaukauna hurt in such a competitive bracket despite leading the Eastern Wisconsin Conference
#7 Notre Dame (11-7, 6-7) – a resume that could give them a home game in most regional semis…not this one
#8 Marinette (8-10, 5-8) – overall record gives them a home game over Menasha and GB East
#9 Menasha (3-16, 1-14) – quality of wins (Oshkosh West, FVL & Kewaunee) puts them ahead of GB West
#10 Green Bay West (3-15, 1-12) – wins were over Oneida Nation, GB East & Sevastapol

Division 3 Sectional 2 (top half)

With only 4-teams above .500, the really debate comes between Xavier and FVL.  The Foxes have the better record but Xavier won twice.  Who goes above who in that situation?  Xavier at #4 could mean a match-up with Little Chute who they went toe-to-toe with a couple weeks back.  Back half does won’t be easy to slot, but not because of good teams comparing good resumes. 

#1 Little Chute (18-1, 13-0) - nonconference wins make up for a down Eastern Valley conference
#2 Peshtigo (17-1, 12-0) – a brilliant record but Little Chute has the spotlight giving them the top seed.
#3 Xavier (11-8, 8-6) – last week’s win should seal a spot ahead of  FVL.  Physical style could give Little Chute a run down the l
#4 Fox Valley Lutheran (10-8, 9-4) – losing twice to Xavier drops them here despite a better conference standing.  Tough week ahead with Little Chute and Clintonville
#5 Clintonville (9-9, 6-7) – handled FVL early and get them again Friday.  Could be a tough match-up for the Foxes
#6 Wittenberg-Birnamwood (8-9, 4-6) – middle of the pack in the Central Wisconsin-Eight.  Record puts them in this area with Omro
#7 Omro (7-10, 4-8) – graduation bug hurt the Foxes in 2013 after some successful seasons the past few
#8 Freedom (6-13, 5-8) – a solid start but a tough schedule has dropped Freedom a spot or two from where they were a few weeks back
#9 Winneconne (7-12, 4-9) – have played better than expectations for a team that was picked last in the Eastern Valley by WisSports
#10 Tomahawk (6-10, 1-8) – conference record could be smoke-in-mirrors for the Hatchets
#11 Lincoln Hills (2-5) – reform school who plays a limited schedule…not sure what to think.
#12 Northland Pines (1-16, 0-9) – one win, puts them ahead of Oconto Falls
#13 Oconto Falls (0-18, 0-12) – no wins puts them on the bottom

Division 3 Sectional 2 (bottom half)

The bottom of this sectional is the opposite of the top half.  Majority of the teams are above .500 and will have good cases to be a spot or two higher than where they end up. 

#1 Brillion (16-2, 13-1) – conference leader and the they boast the record to justify the #1 seed.
#2 Roncalli (14-4, 11-3) – split with Chilton and Wrightstown with a manageable week could have the Jets set up nicely for the 2-spot
#3 Chilton (14-4, 11-3) – brutal week of Brillion and Wrightstown will be telling
#4 Wrightstown (14-4, 10-4) – if they beat Chilton, their win over Brillion would break the tie
#5 Two Rivers (11-6, 5-5) – eastern Wisconsin Conference is good, but the top teams are from the Olympian
#6 Valders (9-9, 7-7) – Olympian Conference puts them ahead of SB and SD, but that’s all
#7 Sturgeon Bay (10-8, 8-3) – losses to NEW Lutheran (2) & Southern Door
#8 Southern Door (10-8, 8-3) – losses to NEW Lutheran, Sturgeon Bay, and Algoma…Algoma loss puts them below Sturgeon Bay
#9 Denmark (9-9, 4-8) – tough Bay Conference record drops them lower than they probably should be
#10 Luxemburg-Casco (7-11, 5-8) – better conference record than Denmark but lost to them twice. 
#11 Kewaunee (4-15, 4-7) - probably where they should be
#12 New Holstein (2-14, 2-9) - probably where they should be

The best part of all of this, we have another week that could change A LOT!  I love this time of year.  The games become more meaningful, the crowds become bigger and the outcomes become more important!  Buckle-up, tournament time is just about here!

Follow Justin Hull on Twitter, Facebook or email any questions or comments.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 20 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Driver's retirement suprising to me

Thursday, Jan, 31 2013

I am not going to lie, I was a little surprised to see Donald Driver announce he wasn't coming back.  I thought he had some game left in him and he would take the field in 2013 to prove it.  When the Packers didn't utilize him this past season, my belief is it wasn't because he was done.  I just figured he was passed up by arguably the best receiving core in the NFL.

In the end, Driver exhibited something that is rare in sports today; loyalty.  Most players (and organizations) are about themselves and in situations like Driver's, where a team is ready to move away from an athlete, the player has no problem moving away, also.  Not Donald.  He talked for years about wanting to only be a Packer and as much as I thought it would change given the right circumstances, it didn't.  Rather than prove to himself, the doubters, or anyone else wrong, Driver only wanted to be a Packer.  He should be praised for that.

This guy is going to be very successful in his post playing days, that is obvious.  His way with the media in his 14-seasons helped build him into the beloved player that he is.  However, his "Dancing with the Stars" fame may take him to bigger things outside of Green Bay.  This will not be the last you see of Driver, like some players who go off into the sunset.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 20 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Five ways to make the "Harbaugh Bowl" more entertaining

Monday, Jan, 21 2013

If you are like me, you are probably already sick of the Harbaugh hype.  It hasn't even started with and I am done.  Play the game already!  Anway, how about a few things that would make the game WAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY more interesting.

#1.) Hire Jim and John's dad, Jack Harbuagh, as "Guest Referee" for the game. I am channeling my inner Vince McMahon with this one but why not?  Although, a run in from Archie, Eli and Peyton could sent up a GREAT match at Summer Slam!

#2.) "Play for Pinks!"  Loser of the game loses their job and can never coach in the NFL again.  This is how you avoid having to deal with this unfortunate match-up ever happening again.

#3.) Make Tim Tebow all-time Quarterback.  The hype is going to be very Tebowesque, so why not just make him part of the game?  Flacco and CK may not like this, though...

#4.) Toss John Gruden in the both, just for fun.  Over/under 91.5 guys on the field he likes?  Wait...I was I trying to make this more interesting...

#5.) Have Ray Lewis do a pregame interview attached to a lie detector machine.  The questions would be administered by Bill Belichek.  Now that is must see TV. 

FYI, I am picking the Ravens 27-17.

Follow Justin Hull on Twitter, Facebook or email any questions or comments.

posted by: The Home Stretch with Justin Hull 21 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

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