As March Madness was taking hold around the country with its usual maddening upsets and drama, here at MaxPreps we were hard at work crunching numbers and seeding the Cornhusker State's boys and girls basketball teams into their own versions of March Madness.
Since many basketball fans aren't as familiar with the Division I hoops programs as they are with their own high school basketball programs, the goal here is to demonstrate just how wacky the men's and women's basketball tournaments have played out to this point using that familiarity for the fans.
Here is how we set it up. Forty-seven district champions in Classes A (7), B (8), C1 (8), C2 (8), D1 (8) and D2 (8) were given automatic bids to the tournament. The 21 highest ranked boys basketball programs and 17 highest ranked girls teams, that did not win a district basketball title, were then given at-large bids. The boys were allowed four more bids since the men's tournament does include the four play-in contests.
Once each field was set, the 68 boys and 64 girls basketball teams from around Nebraska were seeded according to their ranking in MaxPreps' Nebraska Rankings. For example, the schools ranked 1-4 were given the top seeds, Nos. 5-8 the 2-seed, Nos. 9-12 the 3-seed and so on. Then they were placed into Regionals based on their geographical location in the state.
Teams advanced through their bracket identical to the movement of their college counterparts last weekend. For example, in the Men's South Regional No. 12 seed Oregon played its way into this weekend's Sweet 16. Therefore, Chase County, the No. 12 seed in the boys South Regional, advanced to the Sweet 16.
The women's tournament does not place teams into East, West, Midwest and South Regionals like the men do. Since Greensboro and Portland are located in the far eastern and western regions of the country respectively, and Albany is located in the northeastern corner of the United States, we split the girls programs into East, West, North and Midwest Regions.
The girls teams in the north bracket advanced according to the Albany bracket, while the programs in the east and west brackets advanced according to the Greensboro and Portland Regionals respectively. Of course, the girls programs that were placed in the Midwest bracket advanced according to the Chicago Regional.
Since 11-seed Missouri State upended 3-seed Iowa State in the second round of the women's Chicago Regional, girls Midwest Regional No. 11-seed Columbus Lakeview moved by 3-seed Lincoln Southwest and into the Sweet 16.
When it comes to this year's Sweet 16, there haven't been that many surprises. The top four seeds in the boys East and West Regionals are all safe entering this weekend's action. Besides Chase County, only fifth-seed Yutan pulled the upset over No. 4 seed North Bend Central to advance to the Sweet 16.
Girls fifth-seed Mitchell upended No. 4 seed West Point-Beemer to advance to the Sweet 16 in the West Regional and sixth-seed David City Aquinas surprised No. 3-seed Crete in that same regional. North Regional 6-seed South Sioux City bumped third-seeded Seward to advance as well.
Now let's take a look at how our make-believe brackets are taking shape. To the left of each team is its seed and to the right, in parenthesis, is the school's record and its final MaxPreps Nebraska Ranking. Two wins were tacked onto each school's record to represent the two wins each school would have acquired in advancing to the Sweet 16.Boys Sweet 16 Matchups
East Regional (Washington, D. C.)
1. Bellevue West
(28-2, 2nd) vs. 4. Omaha Westside
3. Creighton Prep (Omaha)
(24-5, 10th) vs. 2. Omaha Central (Omaha)
(24-6, 6th)West Regional (Anaheim)
(28-2, 3rd) vs. 4. Kearney
(23-5, 11th) vs. 2. Ogallala
(30-1, 8th)South Regional (Louisville)
1. Pius X (Lincoln)
(29-2, 1st) vs. 12. Chase County (Imperial)
(26-3, 12th) vs. 2. Omaha South (Omaha)
(23-6, 5th)Midwest Regional (Kansas City)
1. Roncalli Catholic (Omaha)
(27-3, 4th) vs. 5. Yutan
3. Skutt Catholic (Omaha)
(25-5, 9th) vs. 2. Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur Northeast (Bancroft)
(29-1, 7th)Girls Sweet 16 Matchups
East Regional (Greensboro)
1. Millard North (Omaha)
(25-4, 4th) vs. 4. Millard South (Omaha)
3. Pius X (Lincoln)
(22-5, 10th) vs. 2. Waverly
(25-3, 5th)West Regional (Portland)
1. St. Cecilia (Hastings)
(28-1, 1st) vs. 5. Mitchell
6. Aquinas (David City)
(18-6, 21st) vs. 2. Lincoln Christian (Lincoln)
(21-9, 6th)Midwest Regional (Chicago)
1. Northwest (Grand Island)
(23-5, 3rd) vs. 4. Fremont
11. Lakeview (Columbus)
(20-8, 41st) vs. 2. Wahoo
(27-2, 8th)North Regional (Albany)
1. Bishop Neumann (Wahoo)
(25-3, 2nd) vs. 4. Oakland-Craig (Oakland)
6. South Sioux City
(18-6, 23rd) vs. 2. Crofton