Thought I would chime in with my predictions on the state volleyball tournament before things start in about 3 1/2 hours.
I’ll start with Class A, where I will be covering the Wagner Red Raiders.
FIRST ROUND: Wagner over Winner; Sioux Falls Christian over St. Thomas More, Milbank over Miller, Harrisburg over Sisseton
SEMIFINALS: Wagner over SFC; Milbank over Harrisburg; CONS.: St. Thomas More over Winner; Sisseton over Miller
CHAMPIONSHIP: Wagner over Milbank; THIRD: SFC over Harrisburg; FIFTH: Sisseton over STM; SEVENTH: Miller over Winner
I won’t be covering either AA or B, because we have no area teams in either class. But that does not mean I haven’t seen a little volleyball in either class.
Here are my picks in the big-school class:
FIRST ROUND: Aberdeen Central over Rapid City Central; Watertown over Pierre; Rapid City Stevens over Sioux Falls Lincoln (I really wish this matchup was further in the tournament. It should be a great one); and Sioux Falls Roosevelt over Sioux Falls Washington.
SEMIFINALS: Aberdeen over Watertown; Stevens over Roosevelt; CONSOLATION: Pierre over RC Central; Lincoln over Washington
CHAMPIONSHIP: Stevens over Aberdeen; THIRD: Watertown over Roosevelt; FIFTH: Lincoln over Pierre; SEVENTH: Washington over RC Central
On to Class B. My room in Rapid City is pretty close to the Chester Area fan club, but I won’t let that sway my picks.
FIRST ROUND: Chester Area over Faulkton; Philip over Mount Vernon; Kimball over Arlington; Northwestern over Harding County
SEMIFINALS: Chester Area over Philip; Northwestern over Kimball; CONSOLATION: Mount Vernon over Faulkton; Arlington over Harding County
CHAMPIONSHIP: Northwestern over Chester Area; THIRD: Kimball over Philip; FIFTH: Mount Vernon over Arlington; SEVENTH: Harding County over Faulkton
Just a quick commentary on the seeding formula. Under SDHSAA rules, a win is a win, no matter how good or how bad the team is. You get the same points for beating a 25-1 team as a 0-26 team. You also get extra points for playing up, which I don’t have a problem with, but the quality of team isn’t factored in.
Chester Area is the top seed in Class B for the sole reason that they play in a Class A conference. They have played as many Class B schools in the post-season so far (3) as they did during the regular season. But most of those ‘A’ schools they played this year were not very good. (Chester went 1-1 against state tournament teams, losing to Class A Harrisburg and beating Arlington)
Northwestern plays a predominantly Class A schedule as well, going 5-0 against Class A state qualifiers: Milbank (3-0), Sioux Falls Christian and Wagner. The Wildcats also beat Faulkton.
I took a look at these teams using the Nebraska formula, which does take quality of opponent into account, and No. 2 Wildcats were by far the top seed over No. 1 Chester Area.
The only sport in South Dakota that currently factors quality of opponents into post-season seeding is football, the only sport in the state where you have to qualify. I believe that, if a team goes out of its way to play other quality teams, they should be rewarded in the seeding formula.