I received an e-mail over the weekend from someone asking me to explain what goes into my “system” of ranking girls basketball teams.
Specifically, he wondered how Bellevue could be ranked No. 10 in 3A when the Wolverines’ had a better record at the time than the nine teams ranked ahead of them.
I explained as well as best as I could, noting that strength of schedule is a key factor. No. 1 Wilson, for instance, has lost only to Oregon City, which was nationally ranked at the time. No. 2 Prairie and No. 3 Cleveland owe their only losses to out of state teams.
I also explained that it can sometimes depend on when a team falters as well. If a team loses earlier in the season, then strings together a bunch of wins, they likely will rise in the rankings. A later loss usually causes them to fall. Bellevue was ranked higher earlier in the season, then lost to Juanita.
And to sum it all up, I simply said there is no scientific method to the rankings.
Usually, if one team beats another in the same classification, they get the higher ranking. But it’s not always that simple. I bring this all up now because I had a hard time with certain parts of the polls this week.
Let’s start with 4A. No. 1 Mount Rainier makes it easy by just winning game after game. I’m excited about the Rams’ showdown next Monday with Oregon City, which once was ranked No. 14 in the nation by USA Today, but has since fallen out after suffering a couple of losses.
Gonzaga Prep suffered its first loss of the season last week to Mead, 68-63, to those two teams simply swap places in the top-10 with Mead at No. 2 and Prep No. 3. Unbeaten Arlington stays at No. 4.
But Skyline, No. 5 last week, fell to an up-and-down Eastlake squad, 47-39. So, I moved Lynnwood, Woodinville and Walla Walla each up one spot (even though Skyline beat Woodinville last month — the Falcons are playing much better right now and have McKenzie Campbell back).
Inglemoor, once 10-0 and ranked third, lost its second straight (first to Woodinville week before last, to slide to No. 9, and then last Wednesday to Issaquah). I still think the Vikings are very talented and top-10 worthy, but they haven’t been playing very well lately, so I’m dropping them out.
Beamer had made the rankings for the first time in school history, getting the No. 10 spot last week, and then the Titans go and lose to Federal Way last Friday. I was at that game and saw the good, bad and ugly from both teams, which left my scratching my head a bit. Both teams played really well at times, and really poorly at others. I’m not sure either is top-10 worthy right now. So neither made the cut, at least for this week.
I decided to go with 13-1 Puyallup at No. 8. Yes, the Vikings lost to Beamer recently, but they have beaten Federal Way and their record is impressive. I’m keeping Skyline in at No. 9 and going with Union of Vancouver (a team I’ve had on my radar) at No. 10.
Note that Skyline has a key game with Inglemoor this Wednesday, so we’ll see which team is truly more deserving.
Eastlake is 5-2 in league play, but just 6-7 overall. I also gave some consideration to 9-2 Kentwood (another team I’ll get a look at Monday, against Jackson), but some of their scores make me hesitant (they’ve won 36-24 and 38-36, for instance).
Another big 4A game on Wednesday: No. 4 Arlington at No. 5 Lynnwood.
Not much changes in the 3A rankings, at least not in the upper half. But University takes Shadle Park’s spot at No. 8 after beating the Highlanders last week. Remember, that 7-5 record includes three losses to 4A teams. Bellevue inches up to No. 9 and I’m going with Ferndale at No. 10. Juanita is out after last week’s loss to Merce Island, a team they beat by 14 earlier in the year (and, yes, Juanita has beaten Ferndale, too, but again it’s a little of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately).
Mercer Island is knocking on the door, along with Meadowdale, Shorewood and Glacier Peak. Those WesCo 3A teams seem to beat each other up.
The big 3A game of the week has No. 5 Holy Names traveling to No. 4 Seattle Prep Wednesday. Prep handed the Cougars their only loss back on Dec. 19, 51-33.
There is a new No. 1 in Class 2A — Mark Morris. Sure, the Monarchs have two losses, but one was to Prairie and the other to Union. They’ve won six straight since. Ellensburg loses the top spot after suffering its first defeat of the season, to then-No. 3 Wapato. So now, Wapato is second and Ellensburg third.
Everyone else stays the same, so at least that much was simple.
And here you go:
1. Mount Rainier (Des Moines) (13-0)
2. Mead (Spokane) (11-1)
3. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) (11-1)
4. Arlington (13-0)
5. Lynnwood (13-1)
6. Woodinville (12-2)
7. Walla Walla (12-2)
8. Puyallup (13-1)
9. Skyline (Sammamish) (12-3)
10. Union (Vancouver) (10-3)
1. Wilson (Tacoma) (9-1)
2. Prairie (Brush Prairie) (13-2)
3. Cleveland (Seattle) (11-2)
4. Seattle Prep (11-3)
5. Holy Names (Seattle) (13-1)
6. Kamiakin (Kennewick) (11-3)
7. Stanwood (11-2)
8. University (Spokane) (7-5)
9. Bellevue (13-1)
10. Ferndale (11-2)
1. Mark Morris (Longview) (12-2)
2. Wapato (11-1)
3. Ellensburg (11-1)
4. W. F. West (Chehalis) (11-3)
5. White River (Buckley (11-3)
6. Burlington-Edison (12-2)
7. Archbishop Murphy (Everett) (11-2)
8. Cedarcrest (Duvall) (12-2)
9. Renton (12-2)
10. River Ridge (Lacey) (10-3)
Information in this post, originally published Jan. 14, 2013, was corrected Jan. 15, 2013. A previous version of this post included incorrect teams in the Class 3A rankings.