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Pass Tha Ball Prep Polls in Review #2

By Bob Corwin, 03/12/18, 7:00PM PDT


Ariel Johnson (#32) and Aquira DeCosta of St. Mary's High School of Stockton, California (PC: Bob Corwin)

(Week of March 4, 2018): Stability at the top; changes below


By Bob Corwin

Below is the second Pass Tha Ball Prep Polls in Review for the 2017-2018 season. While the top two spots remain the same, there has been plenty of shift below in the last month. More will be coming before the season concludes on March 31. Our composite relies on the four individual polls. Please do not be stressed as to accuracy as several of the teams below have lost since those polls came out last week!

Current state of affairs

Archbishop Mitty of California continues on top in each of the four polls. Fellow undefeated Christ the King of New York sits second with once defeated (by Mitty) Riverdale of Tennessee now third. Riverdale, having just won its third state title in a row, essentially blocks anyone below them from winning our composite title. Both Mitty and Christ the King have several more games until they can finish on top in their respective states.

Five teams entered our list since last month. Amarillo and Plano came in through upset victories in claiming state titles in Texas. Winter Haven jumped the most to 13/14 from 23/24 in winning a state title in Florida. Duncanville had accomplished so much in the view of the polls that they remained in this composite in spite of failing in its attempt to win three titles in a row in Texas.

Dick’s now Geico

The Geico High School Nationals (formerly sponsored by Dick’s) will be held at Christ the King High School in New York City. The semi-finals are scheduled for Friday, March 30, with the final the next day. Only a few states allow its schools to play so the field sadly does not come close to deciding an end of season national high school champion on the court.

Our picks to be invited are Hamilton Heights (a total independent), Central Valley (Washington 4A champs), Winter Haven (Florida 8A champs) and Riverdale Baptist (an Approved Non-member from Maryland). Westlake (Georgia 7A champs) would be a good addition but at last check could not play a school like Hamilton Heights. Thus, the organizers must choose one or the other unless permission is granted by the GHSA (governing body in Georgia). Sadly, host school Christ the King High School (more highly ranked than all above) will not be allowed to participate unless special permission (very unlikely) is granted from New York’s governing body.

Important California proposed rule change

"CIF member schools shall only compete with other member schools of the CIF and/or schools who are members of another association/federation who are eligible to participate in their respective state association/federation playoffs."
The rationale in the summary: "In some instances, these schools are not allowed to compete with member schools of their own state because they are not required to follow the same eligibility rules. The proposal would help to ensure that CIF member schools are playing other education based high schools and not academy like programs."


Just above in bold print are the proposed rule change and explanation for CIF schools as to whom they may play. I have since been told the rule would go into effect in 2019-2020 (an extra year out). What the rule would do is prohibit play not only against schools (so called Independents) not affiliated with a NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) “member state association” member but also schools currently playing under “a NFHS Affiliate Association.”

In case you might ask, an organization has to go through an approval process to become a NFHS Affiliate. The NFHS Member State Association has a hand in that process. So not just anyone can put some money done and become a NFHS Affiliate.

What the architects of the proposal may not understand is that in a number of states (Texas will be used as an example.) just about all private schools are not allowed to belong to the “NFHS Member State Association” but may be playing in a post-season playoff under a “NFHS Affiliate Association.” In California, there is no similar NFHS Affiliate with all competing under the CIF banner.

For example, Archbishop Mitty High School of California is a CIF school but similar school Bishop Lynch High School of Dallas, Texas, is a full member of NFHS Affiliate TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) participating in its post-season playoffs. Is the CIF looking to block competition with such a school? One can find similar examples in other states with a NFHS Affiliate Association.

The proposed change appears aimed at the very few NFHS members schools that act more like independents (as to recruiting, travel, game count) in that they do not play for a post-season “state title” but have otherwise been placed under the NFHS banner by a willing State Member.

The proposed fix below would still allow for tightening of the rules but eliminate what might be unintended consequences of the proposal.

So, what should happen assuming the above was not intended to limit play against schools participating in post-season play under NFHS Affiliate Associations?

Add the wording in bold:

"CIF member schools shall only compete with other member schools of the CIF and/or schools who are members of another NFHS association/federation/affiliate who are eligible to participate in their respective state association/federation/affiliate playoffs."

The ranking approach used here

An approach which has been used in football is the basis for what is done here. The four national polls (links below) were reviewed and 25 points assigned to the team ranked first down to one point for a team ranked 25th. Then the points were added up (maximum score 100) to create the ranking order.

Looking briefly at the four individual polls

MaxPreps tends to be the most result oriented and least forgiving for losses to unranked teams. On the flip side, MaxPreps rewards the quality teams perceived to have the most difficult schedules with the highest rankings to start the season.

ESPN refers to its poll as "Power Rankings." It is the most forgiving of losses, looking at what would be expected of teams if they met in the future (who's better in a theoretical future meeting which may never occur).

USA Today (oldest poll) and Blue Star (run by a former USA Today pollster) use similar methodology, tending to be more record oriented than ESPN, but more willing to forgive losses by perceived "good teams" than MaxPreps. Individuals who run the Blue Star and USA Today polls also simultaneously conduct polls for other sports. Thus, due to more limited time availability, these tend to have less actual personal viewing input of teams than the other two polls include (ESPN probably highest here in its ranked teams seen in person).

Here are the links to the individual polls:

Blue Star Media  : No. 16 Amarillo (TX), No. 18 Geneva (IL) big winners from Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls' rankings; New Jersey power is third newcomer - Bluestar Media

ESPN : espnW 25 Power Rankings - ESPN

Maxpreps:  MaxPreps Top 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard - MaxPreps

USA Today: Super 25 Girls Basketball Expert Rankings | USA TODAY High School Sports

Pass Tha Ball Prep Polls in Review (from polls released week of March 4, 2018)

1 Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, California) 100 (4 first place votes) (1)
2 Christ the King High School (Middle Village, New York) 92 (2)
3 Riverdale High School (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) 90 (4)
4 St. John's College High School (Washington, DC) 87 (7-8)
5 St. Mary’s High School (Stockton, California) 85 (7-8)
6 Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tennessee) 83 (6)
7 Paul VI Catholic High School (Fairfax, Virginia) 71 (5)
8 Centennial High School (Las Vegas, Nevada) 70 (9)
9 Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School (Raleigh, North Carolina) 64 (11)
10 Princess Anne High School (Virginia Beach, Virginia) 58 (12)
11 Central Valley High School (Spokane Valley, Washington) 47 (15-16)
12 Riverdale Baptist School (Upper Marlboro, Maryland) 39 (10)
13-14 Amarillo High School (Amarillo, Texas) 38 (NR)
13-14 Winter Haven High School (Winter Haven, Florida) 38 (23-24)
15-16 Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School (Atlanta, Georgia) 37 (18-19)
15-16 Westlake High School (Atlanta, Georgia) 37 (15-16)
17 Baldwin High School (Baldwin, New York) 32 (20)
18 Mercer County High School (Harrodsburg, Kentucky) 30 (18-19)
19 Plano High School (Plano, Texas) 28 (NR)
20 Duncanville High School (Duncanville, Texas) 25 (3)
21-22 Eastview High School (Apple Valley, Minnesota) 24 (25)
21-22 Southridge High School (Beaverton, Oregon) 24 (NR)
23 Bradley Central High School (Cleveland, Tennessee) 19 (23-24)
24 Manasquan High School (Manasquan, New Jersey) 15 (NR)
25 North Allegheny High School (Wexford, Pennsylvania) 13 (NR)

Dropped out:

Edwardsville High School (Edwardsville, Illinois) (13)
Hoover High School (Hoover, Alabama) (17)
Mansfield Timberview High School (Arlington, Texas) (21)
Saint John Vianney High School (Holmdel, New Jersey) (22)
Westridge Academy (Kernersville, North Carolina) (14)


Teams with location are listed according to total number of points garnered 25 for first down to one for 25th place. Where there are ties, teams are listed alphabetically. Prior ranking is listed in parenthesis. NR indicates not ranked in previous poll. Again, for more details on each team, see the four polls individually. Last review will come out in April if all goes as planned.