Sunday, January 27, 2013

Examining Section 4-AAAA

Greetings, folks. Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. The snow turned everything a little upside down; gave me a surprise day off Friday and sent me to two basketball games Saturday, this one and this one.

With the regular season winding down, I will be taking a look at various playoff races throughout the WPIAL in both girls and boys basketball.

Because this figures to be one of the tightest races, with basically four teams -- Mt. Lebanon, Canon-McMillan, Trinity and Peters Township -- vying for two spots, I figured I would start with Section 4-AAAA in boys hoops.

Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair will battle it out for the top seed. They've split the season series, so a slip-up by either one the rest of the way will probably mean a section title for the other. If both stay perfect, we'd go the tiebreaker route -- which I'll spare you for now, since neither is in our coverage area.

Also don't sleep on Moon, which could creep into the discussion with a couple more wins.

Bethel Park 8-1
Upper St. Clair 8-1
Mt. Lebanon 5-5
Canon-McMillan 4-5
Trinity 4-6
Peters Township 4-6
Moon 3-6
Baldwin 2-8

Bethel Park
Remaining: PT, Lebo, Moon, Trinity, Baldwin (18-31, .367)

Remaining: Baldwin, PT, CM, Moon, Lebo (18-30, .375)

Mt. Lebanon
How they've done: 1-1 vs. PT; 0-1 vs. CM; 1-1 vs. Trin
Remaining: Moon, BP, CM, USC (23-13, .639)

How they've done: 0-1 vs. PT; 1-0 vs. Lebo; 1-0 vs. Trin
Remaining: Trin, Moon, USC, Lebo, PT (24-24, .500)

How they've done: 1-1 vs. Lebo, 0-1 vs. CM; 2-0 vs. PT
Remaining: CM, Baldwin, BP, Moon (17-20, .459)

Peters Township
How they've done: 1-0 vs. CM; 1-1 vs. Lebo; 0-2 vs. Trin
Remaining: BP, USC, Baldwin, CM (22-15, .595)

Remaining: Lebo, CM, BP, USC, Trin (29-18, .617)

Hard to say who will get the No. 1 seed. Haven't seen Upper St. Clair or Bethel Park all year, so I'm going to leave that alone.

I think Moon has too tough of a schedule down the stretch and will, best case, finish 4-10, assuming losses to BP and USC and one win over Lebo/Canon-Mac/Trinity. Two wins over those three would put Moon at 5-9, and even that may be tough.

Predicting the other three, well, that's darn near impossible.

Tuesday's Canon-Mac-at-Trinity game will be huge; if the Hillers win and hold serve by beating Baldwin and Moon, that's 3-1 (7-7 overall) even with a loss to Bethel Park. Splits against Lebo and Canon-Mac, sweep of Peters.

Mt. Lebanon's Feb. 5 home game against Canon-Mac should be equally as important. Assuming chalk (losses to Bethel and St. Clair, win over Moon), the Blue Devils are looking at a win for 7-7, a loss for 6-8.

Canon-Mac has the biggest toss-up. Chalk says a win over Moon/a loss to St. Clair takes the Big Macs to 5-6, with Trinity, Lebo and PT left. Win two of those three, you got 7-7, with potentially two season sweeps. Two losses, including one to Peters? Not good.

Peters Township has the toughest road. The Indians likely need to beat Baldwin, Canon-Mac and upset either Bethel Park or St. Clair, something nobody has been able to do.

Look, all of this is extremely complicated. No way of making a prediction that isn't a complete shot in the dark. What we do know is that every night's results will be pivotal from here out, and we're probably bound for a few upsets along the way, too.

It's what makes high school basketball (really sports as a whole) great.

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