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Sectional semifinals fun facts

02/17/2019, 8:15pm CST
By Michael Trzinski, WiPH Staff

How have the top four seeds fared in the sectionals?

Okay, kids.

Everyone sit down, because Professor Trasher is going to impart some knowledge upon you that you may not already know.

So, we have this thing called the Wisconsin state high school playoffs going on right now, in case you weren't aware. 

After a week filled with weather postponements and delays, we are down to the final 32 boys teams in the state. There are eight sectionals, with four teams left in each that will compete at various sites around the Badger State next Tuesday to determine who will advance to the sectional finals.

Our lesson today is to find out how many of the top four seeds are left and what happened to get to this point.

Sit down, Mr. Rochon. I know you have the answer already, but I want to share it with those who aren't quite as advanced in statistical study as you are. 

We will start with basic Nekoosa math: eight sectionals times four semifinalists equals a total of what?

32 is the correctamundo answer, Mr. Fonzarelli. Now take your four girlfriends and leave us alone.

This season, 29 of the 32 teams are comprised by the top four seeds in each sectional. That is a little higher than the average of 27 'top 4s' that have made it this far in the last 19 years, which is how far the WIAA records go back to.

(Side note: I have volunteered to help the WIAA go back farther with their records, but the response is always: 'Our interns are working on that.')

Uhh, no they're not. So Todd Clark, if you want to reconsider, I am here to help. I would even do it for free.

Getting back to the point at hand, I believe that the accuracy of the top teams making it to this point is due to the rankings that have been made available by the venerable duo of Mitch Hawker and the aforementioned Jeff Rochon, who fire up their Cray supercomputers and tally up the rankings made public and are known as the USHSHO and STAK rankings, respectively.

Over the last six of seven years, this 'top 4' number averages exactly 29. There is one clinker in that time period (2017) when only 24 'top 4s' made it this far. Coaches going rogue or just a lot of upsets? You be the judge.

Here is the year-by-year breakdown:

  • 2019 (29)
  • 2018 (30)
  • 2017 (24) 
  • 2016 (30)
  • 2015 (29)
  • 2014 (28)
  • 2013 (28)
  • 2012 (23) ouch
  • 2011 (23) double ouch
  • 2010 (25)
  • 2009 (30)
  • 2008 (25)
  • 2007 (26)
  • 2006 (26)
  • 2005 (29)
  • 2004 (25)
  • 2003 (29)
  • 2002 (30)
  • 2001 (27)

For those of you keeping score, that is 516 'top 4s' out of 608, a percentage of 84.8%. What does that mean? On average, five top 4s are paying to get into the games instead of battling for a state spot.

This year, that number is three. And in each case, #5 seeds beat #4 seeds to advance to Tuesday. Those teams were DePere (S5), Middleton (S6), and West Bend (S8).

You boys have your work cut out for you, because in each case, you get to take on the #1 seeds. But hey, that's what it's all about, right?

In the 19 years of WIAA records, the following 'non-top 4' teams have made it to these uncharted waters, or in this case, ice:

  • #5 seeds (55)
  • #6 seeds (24)
  • #7 seeds (10)
  • #8 seeds (3)

The #8 seeds were led by MJ's 2005 Janesville team, who not only made their way to state, but won on Quarterfinal Thursday before dropping a 2-1 loss to Jeff Rochon's Arrowhead squad in the semifinals the next day.

So, come Tuesday 32 teams are going to battle for the right to play one more day in an effort to make the trip to The Clamshell in Mad City.

My crystal ball is turning foggy, so I can't see the future, but I DO know that 600+ players are going to be playing their butts off to try to get to the hallowed ground that is the Alliant Energy Center.

Good luck to all!

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