Rogers, Over and Out
By Tim Rogers
First Timers, Old Timers, All-Timers and yes…Computer Points.
Bits and pieces from around the 93d annual boys state basketball tournament . . .
Everything starts with baby steps and the idea of using a computer system to seed teams for the post-season – similar to the Harbin Ratings System used to determine football playoff qualifiers — took the first baby step Wednesday when the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association held its annual state tournament meeting in Columbus.
OHSBCA Vice President Scott Bardall planned on introducing the concept known as the Freeman Ratings to the executive committee. This is not a huge step, but it’s a start.
The Freeman Ratings were developed in California by a former high school basketball star and math whiz, Ned Freeman. He shared his idea with MaxPreps.com and the two worked together for the last several years. Mike Wilkes, director of association partnerships and development for CBS MaxPreps, said the company will take over the entire operation starting next season.
As anyone knows, Ohio’s current system of seeding teams – strictly by a vote of the coaches — is fraught with buddy-buddy favoritism and an overload of voting along league lines instead of voting for deserved teams. In the name of fairness it’s gotta go. It’s time for a change.
Bardall, a former head coach at Sugarcreek Garaway, admitted he knows little of the Freeman Ratings. He is not alone. In fact, few coaches are aware the system even exists. Everyone should check it out. Google “Freeman Ratings.”
“I do not want to give any delusions,” Bardall said in a brief phone interview Tuesday. “I don’t know if I’m a proponent. I tend to be a little conservative. But, as the vice president it’s my duty to at least introduce this to the executive committee.”
If the coaches association was smart it would begin a push for the OHSAA to adopt the Freeman system. At least, the executive committee should examine it.
It’s only fair.
PROOF IN RESULTS: Through randomly selected sectional and district tournaments in the Northeast, teams that received a higher seed had a 72-25 record against lower seeded teams. Teams that were ranked higher in the Freeman Ratings were 82-15 against teams that were ranked lower.
Through the regional semifinals, teams that were ranked higher in the Freeman Ratings went 29-3. The finals were different however, as lower ranked teams went 8-8. Lower ranked teams springing regional title upsets were:
Garfield Heights (9) over Shaker Heights (8)
Cleveland Central Catholic (2) over Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (1)
Columbus Walnut Ridge (29) over New Concord John Glenn (6)
Dayton Dunbar (5) over Franklin (3),
Columbus Eastmoor (17) over Portsmouth (15)
Canal Winchester Harvest Prep (9) over Columbus Africentric (8)
Tuscarawas Central Catholic (11) over Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas (3)
New Madison Tri-Village (2) over Maria Stein Marion Local (1)
FREEMAN MAKES THE CALL: Using the latest, updated Freeman Rankings, here is how the state finals should unfold:
Division IV: Wayne Trace (3) should defeat Harvest Prep (3) and Tri-Village (1) should defeat Tusky Central Catholic (5). Tri-Village should win the title.
Division III: VASJ (1) should defeat Eastmoor (10) and Lima Central Catholic (2) should defeat Chaminade-Julienne. VASJ should win the title.
Division II: Cleveland Central Catholic (2) should defeat Walnut Ridge (17) and Dayton Dunbar (3) should defeat Defiance (5). CCC should win the title.
Division I: Garfield Heights (6) should defeat Westerville South (5) and Huber Heights Wayne (1) should defeat St. Edward (2). Wayne should win the title.
I don’t know if I agree. But, after picking Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary to win the Division II state title several weeks ago it’s obvious that I don’t know as much as I thought I knew.
YOU HAD ONE JOB: Some coaches and/or administrators just don’t get. The Northeast District Athletic Board printed and sold programs for the four divisional sectional/district tournaments. Each team was to supply a roster and team photo. Of the 212 teams that played in the four tournaments (Divisions I, II, III and IV), 207 were able to completely comply, supplying a team photo and roster. Some even managed to include all the requested roster information (number, position, height, class). Cleveland John Marshall and Martin Luther King failed to come up with a photo or roster. Cleveland Collinwood couldn’t produce a photo and its roster did not include numbers. Akron East was able to provide a roster but it was a negative on the photo. Cleveland John Adams was able to provide both, with one member posing in an “I Can’t Breathe” hoodie. Cute. There is a time and place for everything. A team photo is not the place. Basically, you are telling me that there was not ONE adult in those negligent schools able to take charge. Sad.
UNMISTAKEN IDENTITY: In case you were wondering, Kipper Nichols of St. Edward, is Kipper Nichols. That is his real first name, according to St. Edward coach Eric Flannery.
CLOSING IN: With Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary being eliminated in the regional finals, the people in Middletown can relax. For a while. Middletown leads Ohio with seven state titles, the last in 1957. SVSM, thought to have an excellent chance of winning again, is second with six. But Dayton Dunbar and Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph have a chance of joining SVSM as both have won five titles. Canton McKinley’s record of 28 state semifinal appearances is safe. No one is even close.
LEADING THE FIELD: This will be VASJ’s 14th appearance in the state semifinals, tops in this year’s field of 16. Dunbar and Lakewood St. Edward are second with nine each and Lima Central Catholic is fourth with eight.
WELCOME: Westerville South, Huber Heights Wayne, Columbus Eastmoor, Canal Winchester Harvest Prep and Tuscarawas Central Catholic are making their first appearances in the state semifinals.
BACK AGAIN: Lakewood St. Edward, Lima Central Catholic, Cleveland VASJ, New Madison Tri-Village and Harvest Prep are making their second straight appearance in the semifinals. St. Edward and Lima CC won state titles last year, VASJ was a runnerup and Tri-Village and Harvest Prep lost in the semifinals.
TRICK QUESTION: With Dunbar eliminating Franklin and Luke Kennard in the Division II regional finals, that leaves just one former Mr. Basketball in the tournament. Garfield Heights coach Sonny Johnson was Mr. Basketball in 1998 when he averaged 34 points and 17.6 rebounds while playing for his alma mater.
HONOR ROLE: The OHSAA will honor six former high school greats during Saturday’s finals, none of whom made their mark in boys basketball. The honorees are Lou Holtz, Troy Smith, Randy Gradishar, Bob Golic, Chris Wells and Lisa Cline. Ms. Cline led Millersburg West Holmes to state basketball titles in 1984-85 and starred at Ohio State. Smith (Cleveland Glenville), Gradishar (Warren Champion) Wells (Akron Garfield) also were OSU stars, with Smith winning the Heisman Trophy in 2006. Golic (Cleveland St. Joseph) played on a national championship teams at Notre Dame after a great high school career, which included a state wrestling title in 1975. Gradishar was a two-time All-American, a first-round draft pick and a five-time All-Pro pick with Denver. Holtz (East Liverpool) coached Notre Dame to 100 victories in 11 seasons, including the 1988 national championship.