WPIAL bracketology: Chris Harlan, Don Rebel predict 2020 girls basketball playoff pairings

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Sunday, February 9, 2020 | 10:56 PM


It’s that time of year, WPIAL bracketology 2020.

Don Rebel and Chris Harlan share their thoughts on how the basketball steering committee could pair this year’s postseason tournaments. Sometimes it’s a struggle to choose between what the committee should do and predicting what it probably will do. Those can be different things.

So for your entertainment, we present our playoff seedings.

Don’t forget, find out what the real brackets look like Tuesday night during the HSSN Playoff Pairings Show at 7 p.m. on TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Overall records through Saturday are in parenthesis.

Class 6A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Bethel Park (19-1) vs. No. 8 Fox Chapel (12-9)

No. 2 North Allegheny (18-3) vs. No. 7 Baldwin (12-9)

No. 3 Norwin (18-4) vs. No. 6 Upper St. Clair (13-7)

No. 4 Mt. Lebanon (17-5) vs. No. 5 Seneca Valley (15-6)

Rebel: Like last year, I kept the top two teams from each conference on the same side of the bracket. I think with Mt. Lebanon losing to Upper St. Clair in the final week, this makes Bethel Park an easy No. 1. Having two sets of co-champs would’ve made seeding the top four a little more difficult. Watch out for USC from the bottom four.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Bethel Park (19-1) vs. No. 8 Fox Chapel (12-9)

No. 2 North Allegheny (18-3) vs. No. 7 Baldwin (12-9)

No. 3 Norwin (18-4) vs. No. 6 Upper St. Clair (13-7)

No. 4 Mt. Lebanon (17-5) vs. No. 5 Seneca Valley (15-6)

Harlan: There are only two sections in Class 6A girls basketball. If the WPIAL basketball committee again plans to avoid first-round section rematches, there aren’t many decision to make here. North Allegheny and Norwin finished as co-champions in Section 1, but NA won the second matchup 60-42 on Jan. 28.

Class 5A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Chartiers Valley (22-0) — bye

No. 2 Woodland Hills (18-4) — bye

No. 3 Trinity (16-4) — bye

No. 4 Oakland Catholic (16-5) — bye

No. 5 Gateway (15-5) vs. No. 12 Penn-Trafford (14-7)

No. 6 Thomas Jefferson (16-6) vs. No. 11 Armstrong (12-8)

No. 7 Moon (16-6) vs. No. 10 Mars (15-6)

No. 8 Plum (13-6) vs. No. 9 Penn Hills (11-11)

Rebel: Chartiers Valley is the favorite again, but the other three teams getting first-round byes are legit contenders. Moon is a huge question mark. Do they struggle or rally around the late-season coaching change? Section 2 was not as strong as the other two sections, thus the Nos. 5, 8, 11 and 12 seedings. Watch out for Penn-Trafford from the bottom four.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Chartiers Valley (22-0) — bye

No. 2 Woodland Hills (18-4) — bye

No. 3 Trinity (16-4) — bye

No. 4 Oakland Catholic (16-5) — bye

No. 5 Thomas Jefferson (16-6) vs. No. 12 Armstrong (12-8)

No. 6 Gateway (15-5) vs. No. 11 Penn-Trafford (14-7)

No. 7 Plum (13-6) vs. No. 10 Penn Hills (11-11)

No. 8 Moon (16-6) vs. No. 9 Mars (15-6)

Harlan: Thomas Jefferson finished third in Section 1, but the Jaguars played a solid schedule and battled Chartiers Valley better than anybody. They lost their two matchups with CV by a combined nine points. That could earn them a spot ahead of Section 2 champion Gateway.

Class 4A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 North Catholic (20-1) — bye

No. 2 Blackhawk (18-3) — bye

No. 3 Central Valley (17-2) — bye

No. 4 Southmoreland (21-0) — bye

No. 5 McKeesport (15-7) vs. No. 12 New Castle (13-9)

No. 6 Quaker Valley (16-5) vs. No. 11 Indiana (13-9)

No. 7 Freeport (15-6) vs. No. 10 Belle Vernon (16-6)

No. 8 Knoch (16-6) vs. No. 9 West Mifflin (11-10)

Rebel: North Catholic again is the favorite, but it won’t be easy with Blackhawk and Central Valley as strong co-champs out of Section 2. Southmoreland dominated Section 3, and it will be interesting to see how it fares deeper into the postseason against the Class 4A elite.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 North Catholic (20-1) — bye

No. 2 Central Valley (17-2) — bye

No. 3 Blackhawk (18-3) — bye

No. 4 Southmoreland (21-0) — bye

No. 5 Quaker Valley (16-5) vs. No. 12 Indiana (13-9)

No. 6 McKeesport (15-7) vs. No. 11 New Castle (13-9)

No. 7 Knoch (16-6) vs. No. 10 Belle Vernon (16-6)

No. 8 Freeport (15-6) vs. No. 9 West Mifflin (11-10)

Harlan: How does a team win its first 21 games and not earn one of the top two seeds? That’s the fate Southmoreland faces. Central Valley and Blackhawk played tougher schedules than Southmoreland, so the Scotties land on North Catholic’s side of the bracket. When two section teams are tied, I often used the most recent head-to-head matchup as the tiebreaker. That put Central Valley ahead of Blackhawk, Knoch ahead of Freeport and West Mifflin ahead of Belle Vernon.

Class 3A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Mohawk (18-3) — bye

No. 2 Beaver (18-3) — bye

No. 3 South Park (14-7) — bye

No. 4 Carlynton (14-7) — bye

No. 5 Avonworth (16-5) vs. No. 12 Brownsville (12-8)

No. 6 Seton LaSalle (14-7) vs. No. 11 Deer Lakes (13-8)

No. 7 Freedom (14-7) vs. No. 10 East Allegheny (12-10)

No. 8 Derry (14-8) vs. No. 9 Charleroi (14-7)

Rebel: It is very tough to choose between Section 1 co-champs Mohawk and Beaver. I went with the Warriors at No. 1 based on a tougher nonsection schedule. Of the teams that didn’t win their section, Avonworth and Freedom are dangerous as each owns a win over their section champs. Watch out for Charleroi, winners of four straight.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Beaver (18-3) — bye

No. 2 Mohawk (18-3) — bye

No. 3 Avonworth (16-5) — bye

No. 4 South Park (14-7) — bye

No. 5 Carlynton (14-7) vs. No. 12 Brownsville (12-8)

No. 6 Seton LaSalle (14-7) vs. No. 11 Deer Lakes (13-8)

No. 7 Charleroi (14-7) vs. No. 10 East Allegheny (12-10)

No. 8 Derry (14-8) vs. No. 9 Freedom (14-7)

Harlan: Section 1 teams Beaver, Mohawk and Avonworth could make a convincing argument for the top three seeds overall. Avonworth split with Beaver and lost twice to Mohawk by a combined three points(41-40 and 59-57). The champions from the other sections have two section losses each, so bumping South Park and Carlynton down a spot wouldn’t be out of line. However, that would cost one of them a bye.

Class 2A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Bishop Canevin (16-6) — bye

No. 2 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (18-3) — bye

No. 3 Serra Catholic (16-3) — bye

No. 4 Laurel (15-7) — bye

No. 5 Burgettstown (16-6) vs. No. 12 Shenango (12-10)

No. 6 South Side (15-6) vs. No. 11 Riverview (14-8)

No. 7 Ellis School (15-6) vs. No. 10 Frazier (9-13)

No. 8 Winchester Thurston (14-7) vs. No. 9 Chartiers-Houston (12-9)

Rebel: Like last year, Bishop Canevin is the favorite. But the Crusaders have been under the radar this season and could be ready to return to the Class 2A summit at the end of the month. Defending champ OLSH and traditional power Serra are near the top along with the best of the nonsection winners, Laurel. The bottom four were tough to seed while staying away from first-round section opponents. Riverview is not the 11th-best team in the field.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Bishop Canevin (16-6) — bye

No. 2 Serra Catholic (16-3) — bye

No. 3 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (18-3) — bye

No. 4 Laurel (15-7) — bye

No. 5 Burgettstown (16-6) vs. No. 12 Shenango (12-10)

No. 6 Ellis School (15-6) vs. No. 11 Frazier (9-13)

No. 7 South Side (15-6) vs. No. 10 Riverview (14-8)

No. 8 Winchester Thurston (14-7) vs. No. 9 Chartiers-Houston (12-9)

Harlan: Laurel owns wins over OLSH and Vincentian Academy. But close losses to Bishop Canevin (59-51) and Rochester (52-49) also should help convince the WPIAL basketball committee the Spartans deserve the fourth bye. Bishop Canevin went undefeated in Section 3 and should draw the top seed. Section 2 champion Serra Catholic and Section 1’s OLSH lost once each in section.

Class A

Don Rebel’s bracket

No. 1 Rochester (20-1) — bye

No. 2 West Greene (22-0) — bye

No. 3 Vincentian Academy (17-5) — bye

No. 4 Clairton (17-3) vs. No. 13 St. Joseph (3-19)

No. 5 Greensburg Central Catholic (14-6) vs. No. 12 Eden Christian Academy (8-12)

No. 6 Avella (16-6) vs. No. 11 Propel Andrew Street (7-14)

No. 7 Sewickley Academy (11-10) vs. No. 10 California (12-9)

No. 8 Monessen (14-7) vs. No. 9 Aquinas Academy (9-11)

Rebel: Last year, Rochester became the first public school to win the girls Class A WPIAL championship since Monessen in 2006. There might not be a 13-year wait for the next one as Rochester, West Greene and Clairton are in the hunt. Vincentian Academy gets the nod for the No. 3 seed, although that would set up a section rematch in Round 1 with Clairton and St. Joe’s. Sorry. Unavoidable.

Chris Harlan’s bracket

No. 1 Rochester (20-1) — bye

No. 2 West Greene (22-0) — bye

No. 3 Vincentian Academy (17-5) — bye

No. 4 Clairton (17-3) vs. No. 13 St. Joseph (3-19)

No. 5 Greensburg Central Catholic (14-6) vs. No. 12 Eden Christian Academy (8-12)

No. 6 Avella (16-6) vs. No. 11 Propel Andrew Street (7-14)

No. 7 Monessen (14-7) vs. No. 10 Aquinas Academy (9-11)

No. 8 Sewickley Academy (11-10) vs. No. 9 California (12-9)

Harlan: Another undefeated team not seeded No. 1? Rochester owns nonsection wins over playoff qualifiers Vincentian Academy, Blackhawk, Laurel and New Castle. The Rams’ lone loss was by two points to Central Valley. West Greene owns quality wins over Bishop Canevin, Ellis School and Sewickley Academy, but the Pioneers can’t match Rochester’s resume.

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