Review #2 (week of March 5, 2017): Matters starting to clarify but still no consensus at the very top
By Bob Corwin
It has been a number of weeks since we examined how the four polls interpreted the top of the competition for mythical national high school champion. Usually by now there is strong consensus at the top of the chart. Still with many states now completed play and crowned their state champions, three teams have first place votes and the team with the most points has none!
Current state of affairs
In late February, St. John’s won the WCAC playoffs defeating Paul VI in the final after losing to them in the second of its regular season matches, thus going 2-1 against its league rival. While both teams remain highly ranked, neither has a first place vote in any of the four polls. Yet when the points are tallied (25 for first down to 1 for twenty-fifth), St. John’s emerges as the top vote getter in this consensus approach!
So who is first in each poll?
MaxPreps and USA Today have gone with Riverdale of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Its claim is based on being undefeated to this point plus wins over several strong teams (winners or finalists for large school state titles in Alabama and Georgia). As to strength of team, it can put five likely future D1 players on the court including one or more of the Power 5 variety.
Blue Star has Miami Country Day #1. The team has one loss. Credentials include a state title in Florida’s 4A plus wins over 6A, 7A, 8A, 9A (largest school class) state champions. They finished second in Nike TOC won by Clovis West and won the top section of the Naples Holiday Shootout. The team probably has the best three guards on one team in the nation this year. Miami Country Day is likely to be the only school in the top ten listed below to play in The Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament in early April (after which will come our final update of this season). Most state associations will not allow participation in the Dick’s.
ESPN has two-loss Centennial of Nevada at #1. The team split two games with ranked Clovis West and lost to ranked Paul VI. It won the Nevada large school title in dominating fashion. Centennial defeated several other strong teams with its win over Seton Catholic of Arizona, a team ranked in all four polls, another signature win. On the court, the team starts a line-up of likely future D1 players including at least one of the Power 5 variety.
Where is there agreement?
While the very top lacks consensus, all polls rank each of the first fifteen listed below with #16 Rutgers Prep the first school not in all top 25’s. If you look at all
four polls, thirty-four different schools received mention in at least one of the top 25 lists (that’s out of the approximate 18,000 girls high school basketball teams in the USA). While everyone likes to be first, each of those thirty-four schools should consider themselves very honored!
The approach used
An approach which has been used in football is the basis for what is done here. The four national polls (links below) were reviewed and 25 points assigned to the team ranked first down to one point for a team ranked 25th. Then the points were added up (maximum score 100) to create the ranking order.
Looking briefly at the four individual polls
MaxPreps tends to be the most result oriented and least forgiving for losses to unranked teams. On the flip side, MaxPreps rewards the quality teams perceived to have the most difficult schedules with the highest rankings to start the season.
ESPN refers to its poll as “Power Rankings” It is the most forgiving of losses, looking at what would be expected of teams if they met in the future (who’s better in a theoretical future meeting which may never occur).
USA Today (oldest poll) and Blue Star (run by a former USA Today pollster) use similar methodology, tending to be more record oriented than ESPN, but more willing to forgive losses by perceived “good teams” than MaxPreps. Individuals who run the Blue Star and USA Today polls also simultaneously conduct polls for other sports. Thus, due to more limited time availability, these tend to have less actual personal viewing input of teams than the other two polls include (ESPN probably highest here in its ranked teams seen in person).
Here are the links to the individual polls:
Pass Tha Ball Prep Polls in Review (from polls released week of March 5, 2017)
1 St. John’s College High School (Washington, DC) 94 (1-2)
2 Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nevada) 92 (3) (one first place vote)
3 Riverdale High School (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) 89 (4) (two first place votes)
4-5 Miami Country Day School (Miami, Florida) 85 (5) (one first place vote)
4-5 Paul VI Catholic High School (Fairfax, Virginia) 85 (1-2)
6-7 Clovis West High School (Fresno, California) 79 (7)
6-7 Monacan High School (North Chesterfield, Virginia) 79 (6)
8-9 Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, California) 72 (9)
8-9 Grandview High School (Aurora, Colorado) 72 (8)
10 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tennessee) 60 (10)
11 Duncanville High School (Duncanville, Texas) 55 (14)
12 Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, California) 54 (13)
13 Norcross High School (Norcross, Georgia) 52 (12)
14 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Maryland) 41 (20)
15 Butler High School (Louisville, Kentucky) 36 (11)
16 Rutgers Prep (Somerset, New Jersey) 31 (21-22)
17 Destrehan High School (Destrehan, Louisiana) 24 NR
18 Canyon High School (Canyon, Texas) 23 NR
19-20 Fayetteville High School (Fayetteville, Arkansas) 22 (23-25)
19-20 Seton Catholic Prep (Chandler, Arizona) 22 NR
21 Mesquite High School (Gilbert, Arizona) 21 (23-25)
22 Rufus King High School (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) 19 NR
23-24 Hopkins High School (Minnetonka, Minnesota) 16 NR
23-24 Southeast Raleigh High School (Raleigh, North Carolina) 16 NR
25 Mansfield Timberview High School (Arlington, Texas) 15 (21-22)
Amarillo High School (Amarillo, Texas) #19
Central Valley High School (Spokane Valley, Washington) #18
Detroit Country Day School (Beverly Hills, Michigan) #17
Montini Catholic High School (Lombard, Illinois) #16
North Central High School (Indianapolis, Indiana) #15
Olive Branch High School (Olive Branch, Mississippi) #23-25
Teams with location are listed according to total number of points garnered 25 for first down to one for 25th place. Where there are ties, teams are listed alphabetically. Prior ranking is listed in parenthesis. NR indicates not ranked in prior update. Again, for more details on each team, see the four polls individually. Last review will come out in April if all goes as planned.