Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.) is no longer in the Xcellent 25, and no longer in the Illinois playoffs after having to forfeit all its wins due to ineligible players. The issue? Eleven players who transferred into the school to play for coach Tony Smith, who had coached at national power Bolingbrook prior to this season.
The Illinois High School Association reportedly responded to a complaint from a Homewood-Flossmoor player who got shunted aside when the transfers arrived, and on the eve of the playoffs, the IHSA ruled that the transfers were ineligible and thus all the games were forfeits.See the girls basketball playoff brackets from each state
In California, Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.), which had been ranked at times this season and was the defending state Open Division titlist, suffered the same fate, but for a reason that had nothing to do with loading up the roster.
O'Dowd still finishes the season 23-4, but those 27 games were one more than allowed by North Coast Section rules, and the penalty spelled out in the bylaws for breaking that rule is elimination from playoff consideration. Bishop O'Dowd's administration claimed there had been confusion over whether a particular game was a scrimmage or an official game, but what made it even more painful was that O'Dowd played a non-league game Feb. 8. Had that game been cancelled, Bishop O'Dowd would have been one of several serious contenders for the California Open title.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard1. (1) Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 29-1
There was no doubt this time, as Blackman overwhelmed Riverdale 82-66, and now faces Oakland Wednesday in the Region 4-AAA title game. Blackman has beaten Oakland three times already the season, with the narrowest margin of victory being 11 points.2. (2) Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis) 24-1
The Missouri playoffs move slowly, with Incarnate Word's first game March 7 — though the Red Knights play Ursuline Academy this Thursday. Miller Career Academy is the toughest out in District 5, but IWA already has a 71-55 win over Miller this season. 3. (3) Duncanville (Texas) 32-0
Wagner is 24-10, and off that mark, should be a relatively easy win Friday night in the 5A semifinals — and the two teams in the other semi have already played Duncanville. Plano West lost 83-36 and No. 18 Manvel lost 56-50 — so you know who Duncanville fans would rather play.
4. (4) Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) 21-2
A first-round bye sets up an easy win (insofar as any win is easy in postseason) in Colorado's 5A bracket — but things will get serious if, as expected, Highlands Ranch is the opponent March 8.5. (6) New Hope Christian Academy (Thomasville, N.C.) 30-0
The National Association of Christian Athletes 1A championships have brought an impressive field to Dayton, Tenn. No. 20 Riverdale Baptist looks to be the main contender but Capitol Christian of Maryland and Potter's House Christian of Florida are also quality teams.6. (7) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 24-1
Mater Dei should have little trouble with its first Southern Section Open Division opponent, but the likely semifinal opponent is Etiwanda, a team capable of playing at a very high level. And barring the completely unexpected, either No. 7 Windward or No. 8 Long Beach Poly will be the opponent in the finals March 8. But this is only the beginning, as the state title game isn't until March 29, and rematches are not only possible, but likely.7. (8) Windward (Los Angeles) 22-2
It's a bit of a concern that Windward hasn't played in nearly two weeks, while Wednesday's opponent — Canyon Springs — is coming off at three-point win over Troy. Of course, Windward beat Troy by 27 back in November.8. (10) Long Beach Poly (Calif.) 22-2
Chaminade is on a 10-game winning streak, and the only loss this calendar year is to Camarillo, the top seed in the Southern Section Division 1-A bracket — and Division I consists of the biggest and/or best schools in the California system outside the Open.9. (9) Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) 23-0
Neumann-Goretti made a statement by beating Class AAA favorite Archbishop Wood 55-46 in the Philadelphia Catholic League championship — next up is Imhotep Charter in the District Class AA 12 championship Saturday, which won't be nearly as much of a challenge.10. (11) Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.) 20-3
After dispatching Miller Career Academy, 70-45, Rock Bridge should win the battle against Battle and roll into the Missouri Class 5 playoffs. Unfortunately, No. 2 Incarnate Word is Class 4, so the two can't meet again. 11. (12) Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) 25-1
Myers Park lost once this year — to No. 1 Blackman — but apparently that was enough to convince North Carolina officials that unbeaten McDowell, which played only in-state opponents, should be the top seed in the 4A Sectionals. If the seeds hold, it will be decided on the court March 4.12. (14) Sparkman (Harvest, Ala.) 33-2
Blount lost to Sparkman 52-39 Dec. 26, but that was a long time ago — and Blount has only lost twice otherwise, to Oakland of Tennessee and Tucker of Georgia, two quality teams. If Sparkman survives Thursday, the winner of Shades Valley and Jefferson Davis will await in the 6A title game.13. (13) Whitney Young (Chicago) 28-3
After getting by North Lawndale 76-62, Whitney Young will play Trinity Thursday — and if not for a four-point loss to Trinity 56-52 on Jan. 22, Whitney Young would be in the Top 10. But Trinity star Lauren Prochaska hurt her ankle Tuesday, so the chances of another upset will most likely depend on how quickly she heals.14. (15) Shabazz (Newark, N.J.) 23-1
Shabazz is the heavy favorite in the North 2, Group 1 playoffs, which last until March 11. Then things will start to get serious. 15. (16) Lawrence North (Indianapolis) 23-1
Anderson proved to be a tougher matchup than expected, with Lawrence North winning by two, and then revenge was sweet against Pike (responsible for the only loss) thanks to a 43-35 win that set up a rematch with No. 16 Bedford North Lawrence Saturday. 16. (17) Bedford North Lawrence (Bedford, Ind.) 25-1
Bedford North Lawrence had a surprisingly easy time of it in a 68-54 win over very tough Columbus North, and Bedford North Lawrence gets to host the state 4A semifinal game Saturday.17. (18) McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 25-2
Douglas County is 23-4, and is Wednesday's opponent in the Georgia AAAAAA playoffs. A win there and either 27-3 Parkview or 26-5 South Forsyth await in the Final Four Friday.18. (19) Manvel (Texas) 34-2
Step one: Get past 30-5 Plano West in the Texas 5A semis Friday. Step two: Avenge a 56-50 loss to Duncanville back in November. The good news is that Manvel already beat Plano West, 65-57. The bad news is that no one has beaten Duncanville in 104 games.19. (20) Salmen (Slidell, La.) 29-1
Ellender is the next opponent in 4A, with Karr or St. Thomas More next if Salmen moves on. That game would be in the state semifinals, so Salmen is getting very close to another Louisiana championship.20. (21) Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 24-3
Eleanor Roosevelt was unbeaten, but hadn't faced a national-level team. The final: 63-30 Riverdale in a scrimmage on Monday. Now it's on to the NACA tournament, where Capitol Christian, which beat Riverdale earlier this year, could pop onto the schedule.21. (22) St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) 21-5
St. Mary's hasn't played since Feb. 11, which might be a disadvantage Thursday, but Merced has 10 losses, including a 93-29 pasting by McNair. Speaking of McNair, the team was supposed to play St. Mary's Feb. 13 but an altercation in the stands led to the game being cancelled. Whether it's a forfeit or not has yet to be determined, but for now, it counts as loss No. 5.
22. (NR) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 19-3
Christ the King has emerged as New York's best, as all three of those losses came to elite teams at the Nike TOC in Phoenix back in December. Now they're in the CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens Diocesan playoffs.23. (23) Cosby (Midlothian, Va.) 22-0
Cosby had no trouble with Forest Park Tuesday, cruising to a 69-41 win in the first round of the 6A playoffs. There's a ways to go, though, as the state title game isn't until March 14.24. (24) Clovis (N.M.) 26-0
Clovis probably plays Hobbs or Carlsbad, two teams it has handled this year, in the district tournament. The game is Friday or Saturday, most likely at Clovis.25. (25) Miami (Fla.) 25-1
Our first Xcellent 25 member to win a state title, Miami rolled over Treasure Coast 49-33 to win the 8A title. 3A champ Miami Country Day also had a pretty good year, but Miami beat Miami Country Day by five on Jan. 20 to settle matters on the court.Dropped out:
No. 5 Homewood-Flossmoor.