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TAKE 2: Barbs’ No. 2 seed in regional questionable

Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz spend their days covering the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, they discuss the DeKalb girls basketball team’s regional seed.

Jacobson: Steve, the postseason started Monday for our local Class 3A and 4A girls basketball teams, but the brackets already had been set for almost a month. The regionals (or sectionals in some cases) for each class originally are grouped by geography, teams then are given seeds determined by their season resumé and record.

While the seeding usually doesn’t breed much controversy, this season I thought DeKalb receiving a No. 2 seed in the Class 4A Belvidere North Regional was dumbfounding. What were your initial thoughts when you saw the Barbs were given the No. 2 seed behind Belvidere North?

Nitz: I was shocked. DeKalb had a great season, and the Barbs weren’t afraid to schedule tough opponents, taking on two defending state champions, Whitney Young and Montini, and playing a number of other 4A teams. Meanwhile, Belvidere North has a worse record than the Barbs, and didn’t have as tough of a schedule.

Ross, do you think DeKalb deserved the top seed? Also, would you do anything to change the seeding process?

Jacobson: When the season summary forms were due in late January, DeKalb was ranked No. 9 or No. 10 in The Associated Press’ Class 4A poll and had only three losses, two of which came to the aforementioned Whitney Young and Montini teams. The Barbs also were undefeated in the Northern Illinois Big 12. Meanwhile, Belvidere North wasn’t receiving any votes in the AP poll and had five losses. I don’t think there’s any question DeKalb deserved the top seed.

As to how the seeding is done, it’s an interesting process. Each school in the regional gets one vote to rank the other teams in their regional, but they cannot rank their own team. As I noted before, rarely do I see anything that clearly is out of the line. It’s an easy process and most of the time yields fair results. The only other possible procedure I can think of is to have an independent committee by the IHSA do all of the seeding, but that would be time consuming considering the number of sports the IHSA sponsors.

Overall, I think the way seeding is handled is fine. It’s just unfortunate that DeKalb did not end up as the No. 1 seed. Your thoughts?

Nitz: My biggest problem with the seeding process is how teams are ranked two weeks before the season ends. It doesn’t make any sense, especially because most teams are seeded in a regional, and already know where they’re going to end up. A lot can happen during the final two weeks of the season, which certainly could play a factor in seeding.

To me, a good solution would be to have the regular season end the Friday before regionals, and have the coaches meet in person to rank the teams the next day. I also would love to see every sectional seeded to balance the different regionals. I’d rather have the top teams in each sectional meeting as late as possible.

Jacobson: Some sectionals in the Chicago suburbs are ranked and then teams are assigned to regionals accordingly. But there would be huge travel issues if that were the case for every sectional. Could you imagine Hononegah having to travel 90 minutes one way to Streamwood and then possibly do it again a couple days later?

The big consequence for DeKalb is the Barbs will have to face a tough Huntley squad in the regional semifinals. The Red Raiders feature two quality post players in Sam and Ali Andrews along with veteran senior guard Haley Ream.

But inevitably, the best teams rise to the top. And to get where the Barbs want to go – the state finals – they’ll have to beat these teams at some point in the playoffs no matter what their initial ranking is.

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