5A Boys Bracketology Feb. 12

The 5A boys playoff projection uses the same six criteria that the NMAA uses when seeding the bracket (Overall record, district regular season finish, head-to-head, wins vs. district champs regardless of classification, coaches input and the MaxPreps rankings). Another new wrinkle put in by the NMAA this year is that district opponents can match up in the first round.
As for district standings, the seeding is according to the current placing as if the season ended today and doesn’t projected games that still remain.

1. Centennial (19-4, 7-0 3-5A): The Hawks are atop both the coaches’ and MaxPreps rankings. They could be the best team in the entire state with wins over 6A No. 1 Hobbs and No. 2 Cleveland
16. Los Lunas (9-13, 4-3 3-5A): The Tigers are in right now thanks to a victory over Albuquerque Academy. At 9-13 overall, any slip ups the rest of the way could knock them out.

8. Bernalillo (15-9, 4-2 2-5A): Both Bernalillo and Del Norte sit in a tie for second in 2-5A. The Spartans get the No. 8 seed thanks to a point differential tiebreaker that puts them ahead of the Knights in the district standings.
9. Del Norte (15-7, 4-2 2-5A): The Knights have the only win against 2-5A leader Espanola Valley in district play.

5. Espanola Valley (17-6, 4-1 2-5A): The Sundevils are the leaders in 2-5A and the only team to beat Gallup this season. They only have one loss to a 5A team this year (Del Norte).
12. Artesia (11-12, 1-2 4-5A): Wins over Belen and Lovington have the Bulldogs in the No. 12 spot.

4. St. Pius X (18-3, 3-0 4-5A): The Sartans have a two-game lead in 4-5A at the midway point of the season and should have no problem wrapping up that district.
13. Belen (12-9, 5-2 3-5A): The Eagles have a good overall record compared to some teams above them, but its best 5A victory is against Academy.

6. Grants (14-8, 1-2 5-5A): The Pirates are part of a three-way tie for second place in 5-5A after being upset by Academy. Grants owns the point differential tiebreaker against the Chargers and Moriarty allowing it to keep its home game in the first round. Wins over Farmington and Bernalillo keep them this high in the bracket.
11. Goddard (12-11, 2-1 4-5A): The Rockets are in second in 4-5A, but didn’t beat a 5A playoff team outside of district, losing to Farmington and Piedra Vista.

3. Roswell (18-3, 3-0 4-5A): The Coyotes are the only 5A team to beat No. 1 Centennial. They only beat Goddard by one point in its district opener though and need one more win over the Rockets to lock up the 4-5A title.
14. Lovington: (11-11, 0-3 4-5A): The Wildcats are in the bracket for now, but after being swept by its 4-5A foes in the first part of the schedule, Lovington will need to find some wins in district play to remain part of the playoffs.

7. Farmington (16-7, 4-1 1-5A): The Scorpions have victories over Piedra Vista and Goddard to keep them in position to host a first round game. They will need to take at least second place in 1-5A in order to remain a top eight seed.
10. Piedra Vista (11-12, 3-2 1-5A): The Panthers beat Artesia and Goddard during the non-district schedule to keep them in the top 10.

2. Gallup (21-1, 4-0 1-5A): The Bengals are on a 21-game winning streak since losing its opener. The team owns nine wins over projected 5A playoff teams, more than any other school.
15. Capital (11-13, 2-4 2-5A): The Jaguars beat Academy to get in the bracket and have a better overall record than Los Lunas coupled with three wins against 4A district leaders to keep them from being No. 16.

Last Team Out
Albuquerque Academy (8-13, 1-2 5-5A):
The Chargers are part of a three-way tie with Grants and Moriarty for second place in 5-5A. Head-to-head wins against PV, Bernalillo and Grants keep them in the playoff picture, but losses to No. 15 Capital and No. 16 Los Lunas have them out of the bracket at the moment.

Out of at-large consideration (need to win district tournament to make playoffs): Santa Teresa, Valencia, Aztec, Miyamura, Moriarty, Los Alamos, Chaparral.

District 1-5A: Jan. 24 hoops preview

Piedra Vista's Dillon Mason attempts a shot over Aztec's Nick Weaver on Jan. 22 at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec. Curtis Ray Benally/Special to The Daily Times
Piedra Vista’s Dillon Mason attempts a shot over Aztec’s Nick Weaver on Jan. 22 at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec.
Curtis Ray Benally/Special to The Daily Times

No. 8 Farmington (12-6, 1-0 District 1-5A) at No. 20 Aztec (7-11, 0-1)
Farmington got off to a solid start in district play with a 33-point blowout of Miyamura on Thursday. FHS got the road win it was looking for and has a chance for another against Aztec.
The Tigers had a good first half against Piedra Vista in their district opener, but were unable to close out the game in the final to quarters as they fell to Panthers 61-56.
FHS is at its best when it’s attacking the basket, but Aztec center Nick Weaver has the length to make finishing difficult for the Scorps.
In the first half, Weaver helped to limit the Panthers’ post trio of Dillon Mason, Jimmy Wood and Tyler Edwards to 4 of 18 from the field. PV regrouped down low though in the second half, and the three players were able to convert 6 of their 10 chances.
Offensively, the Tigers never found a consistent option against PV, Weaver struggled with his shot, making just 3 of 14, while the 3-point gunners around him shot 33 percent (6 of 18) from beyond the arc.
If Aztec is to pull an upset over the higher ranked Scorps, it will need to get Weaver going early in order to create open looks for its shooters.
Prediction: Farmington 65, Aztec 55

No. 2 Gallup (17-1, 0-0) at No. 9 Piedra Vista (9-9, 1-0)
The Panthers earned an important road win in their first district game, and will settle in for five consecutive home games over the next two weeks.
PV will open the homestand with 5A juggernaut Gallup. The Bengals will be playing their first district game and are coming off a 79-72 victory at 6A Eldorado on Thursday.
Gallup and Piedra Vista have met up once before during the non-district season with the Bengals thrashing the Panthers 75-50 in a game at the Grants tournament.
PV struggled throughout the contest with the full court press Gallup employs and will need to find a way to break through the pressure in order to hang around with the Bengals.
Gallup comes into the game as the hottest teams in the state, winning 17 straight games since losing its season opener to Espanola Valley.
Prediction: Gallup 75, Piedra Vista 61

District 1-5A boys opening matchups

Piedra Vista's Troy Dixon attempts a layup against Bloomfield on Jan. 13, 2015 at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington. Curtis Ray Benally - Special to The Daily Times
Piedra Vista’s Troy Dixon attempts a layup against Bloomfield on Jan. 13, 2015 at the Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse in Farmington.
Curtis Ray Benally – Special to The Daily Times

No. 22 Miyamura (4-12) at No. 8 Farmington (11-6)
The Scorpions enter District 1-5A play in the middle of a slump. FHS has lost its last three games including a pair of stunners to Highland and Kirtland Central, but will have have a chance to get back on track on the road against Miyamura, the lowest ranked team in the district.
Farmington has had success on the road throughout the season, with seven of their 11 victories coming away from Scorpion Gym. Road wins will be key for Farmington if it wants to keep pace with No. 2 Gallup in the race for the district title, and Scorps will need to find at least two victories away from FHS if they’re going to match the Bengals within district play.
Miyamura comes into the matchup in a slump of its own, dropping its last seven contests. The Patriots have yet to defeat a 5A team this season and their strength of schedule ranks last in the classification according to MaxPreps.
Prediction: Farmington 60, Miyamura 44

No. 10 Piedra Vista (8-9) at No. 20 Aztec (7-10)
The Panthers and Tigers begin the district season with similar records, but 10 spots separate them in the MaxPreps rankings.
Piedra Vista has struggled to find any consistency all season. The team has yet to win more than two games in a row this year and starts district on a three-game losing streak, it’s longest .
The Panthers are 4-5 so far against 5A opposition and own wins against potential playoff teams Artesia and Goddard, but have suffered key losses to under .500 Albuquerque Academy and Durango, Colo.
The pesky Tigers have a history of causing problems for PV, knocking them out of the district tournament a season ago.
Aztec is on the outside of the playoff picture due to a weak schedule that ranks No. 22 out of 24 in 5A, but another upset of the Panthers could put them on the right side of that postseason bubble.
Prediction: Piedra Vista 62, Aztec 55

Overall Projection
1. Gallup 7-1
T2. Farmington 5-3
T2. Piedra Vista 5-3
4. Aztec 2-6
5. Miyamura 1-7

NCAA Seedings: Final Projections

My final projections for the NCAA seedings.
South
1. Florida
16. Wofford
8. Kansas State
9. Colorado
5. North Carolina
12. BYU/Xavier
4. San Diego State
13. Tulsa
6. St. Louis
11. Stanford
3. Louisville
14. Lafayette
7. Texas
10. Iowa
2. Virginia
15. Eastern Kentucky

West
1. Arizona
16. Cal Poly/Texas Southern
8. George Washington
9. Oklahoma State
5. UConn
12. Harvard
4. Syracuse
13. Manhattan
6. Kentucky
11. Dayton
3. Iowa State
14. New Mexico State
7. UMass
10. Pittsburgh
2. Wisconsin
15. Weber St.

Midwest
1. Wichita State
16. Coastal Carolina
8. Gonzaga
9. Oregon
5. New Mexico
12. North Dakota St.
4. Michigan State
13. Delaware
6. VCU
11. Nebraska
3. Creighton
14. Mercer
7. Oklahoma
10. Arizona State
2. Michigan
15. UW-Milwaukee

East
1. Villanova
16. Albany/Mt. Saint Mary’s
8. Baylor
9. St. Joseph’s
5. UCLA
12. Stephen F. Austin
4. Cincinnati
13. Western Michigan
6. Ohio State
11. Tennessee/Xavier
3. Duke
14. NC Central
7. Memphis
10. Providence
2. Kansas
15. American

Last 4 in: Tennessee, BYU,  Xavier, Green Bay
Last 4 out: SMU, Southern Miss, California, Florida State

NCAA Seedings: Version 1.0

Here’s my first look at the NCAA seedings with just six days until Selection Sunday.

1. Florida, Arizona, Wichita State, Villanova

2. Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia

3. Syracuse, Duke, Creighton, Iowa State

4. Cincinnati, San Diego State, Michigan State, Louisville

5. North Carolina, St. Louis, Oklahoma, Ohio State

6. UConn, UMass, Memphis, Texas

7. VCU, New Mexico, Kentucky, UCLA

8. George Washington, Baylor, Kansas State, Gonzaga

9. Oregon, Iowa, SMU, Colorado

10. Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Dayton, Nebraska

11. St. Joe’s, Stanford, Pitt, Tennessee/BYU

12. Xavier/California, Southern Miss, Toledo, North DakotaState

13. Harvard, Stephen F. Austin, Manhattan, Delaware

14. Eastern Kentucky, Georgia State, Boston University, Mercer

15. UC Irvine, North Carolina Central, Robert Morris, Utah Valley

16. Stony Brook, Wofford Weber State/Wright State, Coastal Carolina/Alabama State

Bold indicates team won auto bid

Last 4 In: Tennessee, BYU, Xavier, California

First 4 out: Arkansas, Green Bay, Providence, Minnesota

Next 4 out: Florida State, St. John’s, Georgetown, Missouri

Look ahead to Tuesday’s District 1-4A matchups

 

Kirtland Central's Reese Foutz attempts a layup against Farmington High on Jan. 31 2014 at Scorpion Gym. Jesse Hankins/ Special to The Daily Times
Kirtland Central’s Reese Foutz attempts a layup against Farmington High on Jan. 31 2014 at Scorpion Gym.
Jesse Hankins/ Special to The Daily Times

No. 13 Farmington (10-11, 0-1 District 1-4A) at No. 16 Piedra Vista (12-8, 1-0)
The cross-town rivals are set to face off for the second time this season.

In the earlier meeting, the Scorpions emerged with a victory in the fifth-place game at Roswell’s Poe Corn Invite 53-49 on Dec. 28.

FHS guard Kyle Reynolds led the Scorps with 13 points, but his availability for the contest is unknown after an ankle injury forced him to miss Friday’s game against Kirtland Central.

Alonzo Araiza scored 12 points in the loss for PV.

The Scorps aggressive defense will need to limit Araiza and leading-scorer Troy Dixon’s attempts from 3-point range. The two PV gunners have combined to hit 80 3s this season.

PV will need to keep FHS point guard Alex Whiteley out of the paint, where he’s been able to get opposing teams in foul trouble and find the Scorpion 3-point shooters and FHS forward Max Pinon for open looks.

Whiteley struggled against the length of the KCHS defense, finishing with just three points and four assists.

Prediction: Piedra Vista 55, Farmington 53

No. 25 Aztec (8-12, 0-1) at No. 5 Kirtland Central (14-5, 1-0)
The Broncos dominated the fourth quarter Friday to get a win at Farmington High, while Aztec fell behind early and was unable to comeback against Piedra Vista in their district openers.

If Aztec is to have any chance of pulling out an upset, they’ll need strong defensive performances out of forwards Nick Weaver and Troy Choman against Kirtland’s Christian Mackey.

Mackey comes into the game averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per outing, but FHS found some success double and triple teaming him, limiting the Broncos’ leading scorer to just seven points.

The rest of the Broncos capitalized on the open shots, including Reese Foutz who scored a season high 19 points in the win against the Scorps.

The Broncos 3-point shooting has been a key all season. They are hitting 35 percent from beyond the arc as a team and have three players (Bernel Miller, Seldon Watson and Junior Smith) each averaging least one made 3-pointer per game.

Aztec has an interesting mix of size, shooting and athleticism, but it has yet to come together for the Tigers this season, resulting in the team being ranked 25th out of 26 4A squads.

The two teams have played three common opponents this season — Shiprock, Miyamura and Bernalillo. The Tigers lost five meetings with the three schools by an average of 9.4 points. The Broncos won their four meetings by an average of 17.5 points.

Prediction: Kirtland Central 65, Aztec 45