lucky 13

February 13, 2006 on 1:46 am | In analysis | 1 Comment

Wow, I haven’t posted since Tuesday. A weird week. Let’s see if I can make up for it, especially since I’ll be out of town this weekend.

State tournament qualifiers
It’s state tournament cutoff day, and we all know the record snowfall this weekend had a major effect on some team’s chances. By my calculations, if make-up games are not played Monday, it got three teams in (Millburn, Southern, Montville) and cost Brick a chance to get in. Nutley and MKA must win today against River Dell and Verona, respectively, to make the tournament.

I’ve been wrong before, but I have 44 public teams in, plus the aforementioned three, plus either TRE or TRS – since they play each other today, only one can get in. TRE must win, while TRS will get in with a win or a tie. That makes 48 qualifiers , and Westfieldcould get in with a win or tie against Madison. That would be a record for public qualifiers; 47 teams qualified in 2004.
As for the privates, a record-tying 18 teams are already qualified. The private quarterfinals are going to be ridiculously competitive, as will many of the round-of-16 games.

At-large consideration
I have to think Red Bank Catholic (8-11-2) merits an at-large bid for the private tournament, and I wouldn’t have a problem with MKA (8-9-2) getting one, although the Cougars are 0-4 against private schools.
And this may be harsh, but I’m not sure if I can justify any at-large qualifiers in the public bracket. Paramus, Verona, Middletown South, and Morris Hills will all argue that they play in a tough division, but it seems harsh to take one of those without taking the others. Here’s a look at their cases:

Paramus (7-9-2, 2-8-2 Northern Red)
Key wins: Clifton 5-1; Morris Hills 1-0
Bad results: Bayonne 1-5, 1-3; Northern Highlands 1-4
Record vs. public qualifiers: 3-4-1 (plus win over TRE)
Verdict: No. The Spartans’ two marketable wins came in December, and they play in the weakest Red Division.

Verona (8-11-2, 4-7-1 Central Red)
Key wins: St. Joseph Metuchen 4-2
Bad results: Mah 2-4 (also won 8-5); Westfield 2-5; West Orange 3-6
Record vs. public qualifiers: 1-5 (plus loss to Westfield)
Verdict: Not bad considering the tough division, but splitting with Mahwah and failing to win the Hillbilly Tournament could really hurt them. Only major win was against a private.

Middletown South (7-11-2, 4-8 Southern Red)
Key wins: Red Bank Catholic 5-4, Monsignor Donovan 1-0, Brick Township 4-2
Bad results: Indian Hills 2-3, Wall 2-2 (tie)
Record vs. public qualifiers: 0-4-2
Verdict: With eight division games against privates (2-6), they recovered for a pair of big wins down the stretch and were very respectable in losses to Indian Hills and St. John Vianney and in tying Clifton. The team I consider most likely to get in.

Morris Hills (9-12, 3-10 MCSSIHL Mennen)
Key wins: Mountain Lakes 5-4
Bad results: Jefferson 4-5, Paramus 0-1, Princeton 5-8
Record vs. public qualifiers: 4-8
Verdict: A tough one. Hills was without its best player, Jon Gaffney, for probably a month. The three bad results, especially the loss to fellow at-large candidate Paramus, might sink Hills’ chances.

If it were up to me
Still a tough one. Having looked at their cases, I think I might go with the movie that initiated my affinity for Houston, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training, and say “Let the kids play!” Middletown South, Verona, and Morris Hills all get in, in that order, for playing in tough leagues. The at-large bid exists because hockey’s divisions are aligned based on skill level, so reward the teams that play in the toughest divisions.

Public (47)
Clifton 14-2-4
Tenafly 10-6-4
Vernon 9-8
Ridgewood 14-1-3
West Milford 13-5-2
Lakeland 9-9-3
Glen Rock 14-4-2
Sparta 8-7-2
Passaic Valley 9-3-7
Bridgewater-Raritan 15-5-1
Ridge 12-4-4
Montclair 10-8-2
Montgomery 18-2
Watchung Hills 10-9
Hillsborough 19-3
West Orange 13-7
Livingston 10-10-1
Millburn 8-8-2
Toms River North 13-6-1
Old Bridge 11-5-3
Wall 11-4-6
Red Bank Regional 10-5-1
Manasquan 11-9-1
Point Pleasant Boro 7-6-3
Southern Regional 7-6-2
Steinert 17-1-1
Princeton 12-5-2
Hopewell Valley 9-8
WWPS 9-6-2
Lawrence 12-6
Morris Knolls 17-2-1
Randolph 12-4-2
Chatham 15-4-1
Mountain Lakes 11-7-2
West Morris 9-8-1
Kinnelon 12-4-3
Pequannock 8-7-4
Montville 8-8-3
Park Regional 13-4-3
Mount Olive 12-5
Madison 12-5
Indian Hills 14-3-4
Ramapo 15-3-2
Fair Lawn 15-4-1
Ramsey 13-5-3
Northern Highlands 10-6-3
Old Tappan 8-8-5

Private (18)
Seton Hall Prep 13-0-2
Delbarton 10-5-3
Pope John 11-4-4
Don Bosco Prep 10-8-1
St. Peter’s Prep 9-6-4
CBA 7-6-7
St. John Vianney 8-8-1 (Gordon exception if necessary)
Bergen Catholic 2-10-4 (Gordon exception)
St. Joseph Montvale 7-6-5
Paramus Catholic 11-2-5
St. Joseph Metuchen 9-5-3
St. Augustine Prep 11-4
Bishop Eustace 13-4-2
Monsignor Donovan 9-7-3
Gloucester Catholic 8-2-1
Notre Dame 11-3-3
Morristown-Beard 15-3-1
Pingry 8-8-4

1 Comment

  1. Why is Morris Hills losing to Princeton considered a bad loss? Yeah, Princeton isn’t a Gordon or a Mennen. But they’re 12-5-2, so they’re not exactly a cupcake.

    Comment by JB — 13 February 2006 #

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