With most of the 3A boys basketball conferences crowning league champions and runner-up clubs, Colorado Preps can now take a serious look at how the state tournament pairings may look like across the division.
Every team enters district tournaments later this week or next with the top two finishers in each bracket receiving automatic bids into the 32-team bracket. The remaining 18 slots will be considered wildcards and determined by RPI standings following the conclusion of district play.
Let’s start the projection process by picking the top two teams in each district tournament. For this, we simply use league standings and hope the district event plays out close to how the regular season ended up.
- Intermountain: Centauri #1, Alamosa #2
- Metro: Colorado Academy #1, Lutheran #2
- Patriot: Resurrection Christian #1, Sterling #2
- Tri Peaks: St Mary’s #1, Salida #2
- Western Slope: Aspen #1, Delta #2
- Confluence: DSST-Green Valley #1, DSST Conservatory Green #2
- Frontier: Middle Park #1, DSST-Montview #2
Some of these positions could change this week. Salida must beat Buena Vista or have a Colorado Springs Christian loss to the Demons later in the week to remain second in the Tri Peaks. CSCS is one game back of Salida but has a win over the Spartans so they win any tiebreaker. Delta must also beat North Fork on Thursday to secure second behind Aspen in the Western Slope. They’re currently tied with Moffat County for that spot but have the head-to-head win and tiebreaker.
District champions earn a top eight seed UNLESS they finish outside the top 16 of RPI. That comes into play with the Confluence conference as regular season champion DSST-Green Valley sits 22nd in the 3A standings today. If they win the district title but don’t move up into the top 16, they would not host the first two rounds of the state tournament. The remaining conference champions are all inside the top 16 currently.
So we take those remaining conference champions and the top two teams from the RPI that did not win a league title (Sterling & University) and seed those eight teams 1-8 based on RPI. The committee does have the ability to move teams based on previous district matchups, head to head results and common opponents. That means Resurrection Christian could be moved ahead of Sterling since the Cougars won the regular season contest but the two could meet again in the district tournament. That result would probably carry more weight with the committee.
- Colorado Academy
- St Mary’s
- Sterling (at-large)
- Resurrection Christian
- Middle Park
- University (at-large)
The rest of the field is then decided by the second place teams in the district tournaments and RPI standings. Delta and DSST-Conservatory Green are outside the top 32 in RPI today (February 14th) but they still get in based on a runner-up finish in the district tournament. In this scenario, Fort Lupton and Prospect Ridge would be the last two teams bumped from the field. They are numbers 31 and 32 in RPI but are removed by the second place teams from the Western Slope and Confluence district tournaments. Eagle Ridge Academy and Englewood are two other teams that could push for a top two finish in the Confluence district tournament as they come in from the Colorado. If one of those teams gets by DSST-Conservatory Green in the district tournament to finish second, then Conservatory Green would not make the field. The same for Delta if they failed to earn a top two finish in the Western Slope.
With that change, the rest of the field is seeded in this order by RPI:
- Faith Christian
- Eagle Ridge Academy
- Kent Denver
- Pagosa Springs
- Colorado Springs Christian
- Platte Valley
- DSST-Green Valley
- Manitou Springs
- Moffat County
- Denver West
- Buena Vista
- DSST-Conservatory Green
And then we combine the two groups into a full 32-team bracket. The teams are listed in bracket order with the highest eight seeds hosting the first two rounds. Winners from each region carry into the state quarterfinals at the University of Denver. The bracket is played out from start to finish and NOT RESEEDED at any point.
|#17||Colorado Springs Christian|
|#11||Eagle Ridge Academy|
A couple of changes to prevent league matchups in round one. Brush would be moved out of the 27th spot to avoid a matchup with Resurrection Christian in round one. The same for Platte Valley at #21 to avoid a first round game with Eaton. Travel also looks good for the teams in seeds 25-32 so I doubt those teams would be altered very much if at all.