We are less than a month away from the seeding meetings for high school boys' basketball, so here's my look at how area teams could end up seeded. Please note this includes only results from the games played already in the season and doesn't include any predictions for games the rest of the way. In case of "tiebreakers" I checked the records against other teams in order of how they'd been ranked by record, or common opponents. If it really came down to it, I tossed a coin and hoped for the best. These are my best guesses; lots can happen in a month.
Here we go, our third boys' basketball regional rankings:
Division 1 - Sectional 3 (Sun Prairie)
The Sun Prairie-Madison Memorial game on February 8 looms large (we'll have it on The Big 1070), but there are some great games this week. Madison Memorial hosts Madison East on Friday night. Middleton battles Verona on the same night, which could greatly impact seeding in the middle of the sectional. Mukwonago plays Waukesha North for the conference lead in the Classic Eight tomorrow night as well. A big non-conference game in this sectional happens tonight when Oconomowoc meets Watertown. The winner should be able to lock themselves in to a more favorable seed.
#1 ⬆ Sun Prairie 15-1 - Sun Prairie is putting up some eye-popping numbers, including a 111-65 win over Janesville Parker Tuesday night. They'll get Beloit Memorial this week ahead of our Game of the Week next week which will pit the Cardinals against Madison Memorial.
#2 ⬇ Madison Memorial 14-3 - They're the only team to get Sun Prairie this season, but a loss this past week to Madison La Follette will keep them out of the top spot for now. There's no shame in the loss--the Lancers are VERY good--but Memorial doesn't have time to rest as they'll get a huge battle against Madison East on Friday.
#3 ↔ Madison La Follette 13-3 - Following their huge win over Madison Memorial, La Follette will now play a pair of winnable games this week with last-place Madison West and Milwaukee Bay View (a .500 D2 team) on back-to-back nights. La Follette won't play Sun Prairie again until after the seeding meetings, but will have to contend with Verona a week from tonight and then Middleton a week from Saturday before their rivalry game on February 16 against Madison East.
#4 ↔ Waunakee 15-2 - A 3-0 record against D1 teams this season helps their cause, but so does their path through the Badger North. Not only do the Warriors own a big non-conference win over Whitnall, but they'll have a chance to avenge their only conference loss a week from Tuesday against Mount Horeb. This week, they'll get Beaver Dam on Saturday. Waunakee should be competitive in D1 this season, since the sectional games are played at neutral sites. So, a four-seed wouldn't be a bad spot at all for the Warriors. The other loss for Waunakee came against D2 Kaukauna, one of the best teams in the state regardless of division.
#5 ↔ Mukwonago 12-3 - Currently first place in the Classic Eight, they will have a huge home game tomorrow night against Waukesha North for the conference lead. North won the first meeting by 13 back in December, but since then Mukwonago has won 10 of its past 11 games. A win there doesn't guarantee they'll stay in first, though, with a bevy of difficult road games coming up, four in a row. Mukwonago did avenge an earlier loss to Catholic Memorial this past week.
#6 ⬆ Kenosha Bradford 10-6 - Bradford picked up a big win over Tremper. Now, they'll have the rematch with conference-leading Franklin, whose only conference loss came to Bradford earlier this year, tomorrow night. Bradford is a game and a half back in the standings. On Tuesday, they'll get Racine Park at home. Park trails Bradford by a half game in the Southeast Conference standings. I'm moving them up because of their record at this point, but a sectional filled with Big 8 teams means they could just as easily slide down too.
#7 ⬇ Middleton 9-8 - This group of four teams is nearly impossible to figure out since they've all sort of beat up on each other. However, Middleton gets the nod here because they have beaten all three teams in this group, and have a pair of wins elsewhere in non-conference play over Arrowhead (third place in Classic 8) and Marquette (middle of the pack in the Greater Metro). They have split with Craig, will be 1-0 against East for seeding meeting consideration, and are 1-0 with Verona entering tomorrow night. A win over Verona should keep the Cardinals in the running for a home game in the regionals. Their February 10 game with La Follette will be their only chance to get a big win to aid them in arguments for seeding.
#8 ↔ Madison East 9-6 - Since losing against Middleton and Sun Prairie in back-to-back games, the Purgolders have tallied three wins over the Janesville schools and Beloit Memorial. They'll play Beloit again still in a couple of weeks, but also have a couple of important road games coming up, such as tomorrow night's game at Madison Memorial and a date on February 10 with Verona. We'll have their rematch with rival La Follette on February 16 on The Big 1070. A rematch with Middleton happens post-seeding meetings, which hurts East since they lost their only contest with the Cardinals that will be considered for seeding. I'm giving them the slight nod over Craig in this spot because of their edge in the standings, but it's nearly a coin flip right now. They already own a win over La Follette, their best win of the season.
#9 ↔ Janesville Craig 7-9 - One step forward, one step back. While the Sun Prairie game went as expected, after their big win over Middleton, the Cougars dropped a non-conference game to a good D2 team in Mount Horeb, the current Badger North leaders. However, Craig should be the favorite in each remaining game outside of a February 10 contest against Madison Memorial, so the Cougars have a chance to reel off some wins to bolster their argument for a higher seed. They own wins against the other Big 8 teams in this part of the standings (3-2 overall) and the only thing keeping them behind East and Middleton is the overall record, which should improve this month. If you start comparing wins, Craig's triumph over Madison Memorial will serve them well to move up. However, Craig also has a loss to Beloit Memorial to consider.
#10 ↔ Verona 9-7 - A good non-conference win over Sauk Prairie bolsters Verona heading into a tough stretch to close out the regular season. Middleton tomorrow night, La Follette, East, and Sun Prairie the rest of the way means that Verona could take some lumps in the next couple of weeks. Still, the team has battled with even the top teams in the conference. The Middleton and East games loom largest as the greatest opportunity to improve their standing, since they are currently 0-3 against Middleton, East, and Craig.
#11 ↔ Oconomowoc 7-9 - Two losses this past week keep Oconomowoc from moving up. Tonight, Oconomowoc meets Watertown in a huge game in this sectional. The winner can stay in the mix for an outside shot at a regional home game. The schedule is somewhat favorable at this juncture, with four straight home games, although a tough opponent comes in Tuesday with Waukesha West. A rematch with Waukesha North, a two-point loss for Oconomowoc a few weeks ago, occurs after the seeding meetings.
#12 ↔ Kenosha Tremper 6-8 - A five-game losing streak to start the season seems almost a distant memory now, but Tremper has a tough couple of games this week. First, they're at Racine Park tomorrow night, then at home against Racine Case on Tuesday. The schedule lets up a little next week, but Tremper sort of gets lost in the mix here. Tremper has won three of their past four games.
#13 ↔ Beloit Memorial 4-12 - Mired in a four-game losing streak, Beloit will get no relief tomorrow night when they play Sun Prairie. A big rematch with Janesville Craig (who they already beat) comes up on Thursday, with Parker, East, and Middleton to follow to close out the regular season before the seeding meetings. A rematch with Madison Memorial occurs after seeding meetings.
#14 ↔ Watertown 6-9 - The Goslings have gone 1-2 against D1 competition this year, with losses to Hamilton and Waunakee, but a win over Parker. The Oconomowoc game tonight is a huge contest. After winning five in a row, Watertown has now lost four in a row, After tonight, Watertown will have a pair of road dates against solid competition, Fort Atkinson and Lake Mills.
#15 ↔ Kenosha Indian Trail 5-10 - Tomorrow's game at Oak Creek could be an opportunity for a win, but that's followed up by a date with Franklin on Tuesday. It's feasible that Big 8 teams could get moved ahead but based on records this makes sense to me.
#16 ↔ Madison West 2-15 - A win over Parker a couple of weeks ago keeps them ahead probably the rest of the way barring upsets. West has four really tough opponents down the stretch. Their season finale against Parker occurs after seeding meetings. Any upset could move them out of the first regional round.
#17 ↔ Janesville Parker 2-15 - There are a few more tough games left, but a week from tonight Parker will rematch with Beloit. A win there might get them out of the first regional round, or any upset. Because they lost to West and don't rematch until after the seeding meetings, they are behind the Regents unless Parker can pull off an upset or two.
#18 ↔ Badger 3-13 - A season sweep of Delavan-Darien and a nice win over Burlington has Badger on a two-game winning streak. There are some tough teams left on the schedule, including an upcoming three-game road trip following tonight's home contest with Elkhorn.
Division 2 - Sectional 3 (Oregon) - Semifinal (Sun Prairie)
Monroe will be a big wild card in this sectional in the next week and a half. They'll play Monona Grove this Saturday and Stoughton a week from tomorrow. Monona Grove has another fun contest with one of D3's best teams, Lakeside Lutheran, next Tuesday. Mount Horeb will face Sauk Prairie on Saturday, as Sauk Prairie looks to stake a claim for a higher seed in the playoffs while Mount Horeb attempts to stay in the hunt for a conference title. Portage and Reedsburg go at it Saturday for position in the conference and the seeding.
#1 ↔ Monona Grove 14-1 - It'll be a busy week for the Silver Eagles, with three games in five days. Tonight, they'll play D4 Westfield, before a Saturday home game with a good Monroe squad. On Tuesday, Lakeside Lutheran, one of the top Division 3 teams in the state, visits Monona Grove. Lakeside offers a good amount of size and scoring, which should be an excellent test for the Silver Eagles. Their revenge game with Stoughton happens after the seeding meetings, so Stoughton does own the head-to-head argument, but with the Vikings having lost five games and down their leading scorer as of late, I personally feel like Monona Grove will earn the top seed.
#2 ↔ Stoughton 11-5 - The only game between Tuesday's narrow loss to La Crosse Central and next Friday's trip to Monroe, which should be a great match-up, is a Saturday home game with Milton. The Red Hawks have zero wins in Badger South play so far, while Stoughton has zero losses to date in the conference. Next week takes a step up with Monroe and then a game against a very good Brown Deer team in the John Chekouras Classic in Mequon the very next day. It is tempting to move Stoughton down with the number of non-conference losses, but they're the only team to have beaten the presumptive top team in this group.
#3 ↔ Mount Horeb 13-3 - 9-2 in their last 11 games, Mount Horeb has set themselves up nicely for a push up the rankings. Wins over D1 Janesville Craig and of course the victory over Waunakee have them in a very good spot heading to the home stretch. The Badger North has a group of solid teams right in the middle, and they'll all play the Vikings in the next couple of weeks, staring Saturday with Sauk Prairie. In that mix as well is a Tuesday game with nearby Dodgeville (D3). It all leads up to a February 13 contest with a share of the conference title on the line on the road at Waunakee, and a shot at redemption against DeForest on February 16.
#4 ↔ DeForest 9-6 - Despite a 4-5 conference record, DeForest has wins over Sauk Prairie and Mount Horeb, as well as Monroe, Beaver Dam, and D1 Janesville Craig (as does Mount Horeb). Their 1-3 record against Sauk Prairie, Reedsburg, and Portage combined has them in this spot for now. Importantly they split with Sauk Prairie so then you look at the best win, and DeForest has that with the victory over Mount Horeb. This week, DeForest has Baraboo on Saturday and an interesting contest Tuesday with Capitol North-leading Lodi.
#5 ↔ Sauk Prairie 10-6 - For comparison's sake, they have a win over D1 Watertown. There's non-conference wins over decent squads from Lake Mills, River Valley, Aquinas, and a victory over Beaver Dam in Badger North play. Against the trio of DeForest, Reedsburg, and Portage, Sauk Prairie is 3-1, with a rematch with Portage coming up. They have a big opportunity Saturday to make a better claim for a higher seed if they get a win over Mount Horeb.
#6 ⬆ Monroe 11-6 - The Cheesemakers have put together a six-game winning streak, including an impressive win last Saturday against Oregon. However, their next two games are against the Badger South leaders, Monona Grove (Saturday) and Stoughton (next Friday). Monroe has a great opportunity in the next week or so to greatly improve their standing in this sectional. For comparison's sake, losses to DeForest and Watertown hurt, but they have a chance to make up for the latter one the Friday before seeding meetings.
#7 ⬇ Reedsburg 8-9 - Perhaps the most difficult team to place in this entire group, they have only a 2-7 record in conference play, but one of those wins is against DeForest. They will finish 0-1 prior to seeding meetings against Sauk Prairie, so that leaves a rematch with Portage as one of their largest remaining games. That occurs this Saturday. Portage topped Reedsburg in the first meeting by 11 back in December. Reedsburg has dropped six of its past seven games.
#8 ↔ McFarland 11-5 - As the only Rock Valley team in this group, I don't know where they will end up. I have them here tentatively because of their success in conference play and a non-conference win over Lodi, but the big key is a sweep of Edgerton, who just topped Oregon on Tuesday night. A non-conference loss to Edgewood hurts, although their other two non-conference losses (Monona Grove and Stoughton) aren't nearly as difficult to stomach. McFarland has a couple of decent games the rest of the way, starting tonight against Evansville and then Tuesday at Brodhead. They'll face Turner after the seeding meetings.
#9 ↔ Oregon 7-10 -Saturday's game against Monroe is fairly important as the Panthers try to avenge a five-point loss from earlier in the season. Oregon has a big week in February when they face Monona Grove and Stoughton back-to-back.
#10 ↔ Portage 6-10 - Losses to Edgewood, Monroe, and Lodi have Portage slotted here for now, but they are poised for a big run up these rankings in their next three games, as they play Reedsburg, Sauk Prairie, and DeForest, who they are a combined 2-1 against. It starts on Saturday against Reedsburg.
#11 ↔ Baraboo 3-13 - Tonight, they'll play Poynette out of the Capitol North, then square off with a pair of Badger North foes, starting with DeForest Saturday before a road trip to Waunakee a week from tomorrow night. If they can string some wins together down the stretch they might make an argument to get out of the final slot in this grouping, but for now they're decidedly here thanks to a sweep at the hands of Portage and a loss to Oregon earlier this year as well.
Edgewood: In an interesting spot because of the other teams in their grouping. Edgewood has played a tough schedule like always. The five SWC teams will certainly argue for their champs or co-champs. A few Capitol conference squads and a group of Rock Valley teams round out this sectional. Edgewood record-wise is in the bottom half of all the teams in this grouping, near the middle of the pack, but it would be interesting if they received a low-single-digit seed based on that. They've only got Badger South games left, but most of their schedule has been against D2 and D1 teams.
Capitol (as a whole): The Oregon sectional semifinal in D3 above seems pretty cut-and-dry, but the real action starts on the Fort Atkinson side. Lake Mills and Lakeside Lutheran are in a pretty impressive grouping, with a good deal of the upper half of the Rock Valley and teams from southeastern Wisconsin. I imagine those two teams will be in the higher part of the seedings when it all plays out, particularly Lakeside Lutheran, who will play a brutal back half of the schedule starting tomorrow night against Lake Mills. In Division 4, New Glarus has already played in a classic with Mineral Point in what could be a sectional final preview. Wisconsin Heights is in the same grouping with the Pointers, and their sectional semifinal stretches from La Crosse all the way to the state line.
Rock Valley (as a whole): East Troy, Edgerton, and Turner all have chances at hosting through at least a couple of games. McFarland is in a tough D2 bracket, so they may be on the road faster than the rest of the teams in the conference even if they win the RVC. No easy roads for anyone in this conference.