The FHSAA released its first rankings for boys’ basketball on January 4th. While the rankings will no doubt change as the season progresses, it is interesting to take an initial look at how the state playoffs might shake out based on “the numbers”. We’ll assume for now that the top ranked team in each district will be the district winner and that non-district winners with the highest ranking will fill in the remaining playoff spots in each region.
Region 1: Havana Gadsden County (D1 winner); Jacksonville Paxon School (D2 winner); Jacksonville Jackson (D3 winner); Citra North Marion (D4 winner); Panama City Rutherford (At-Large #1); Panama City Bay (At-Large #2); Palatka (At-Large #3); Pensacola (At-Large #4)
District 1 could send four teams to the playoffs in Gadsden County, Rutherford, Bay, and P’Cola. Alachua Santa Fe and/or Marianna could sneak in if their respective high Strength of Schedules can translate into wins the rest of the season.
Region 2: The Villages Charter (D5 winner); Orlando Lake Highland Prep (D6 winner); Lake Alfred Discovery (D7 winner); Satellite Beach Satellite (D8 winner); Deltona Pine Ridge (At-Large #1); Port Orange Atlantic (At-Large #2); Cocoa (At-Large #3); Cocoa Space Coast (At-Large #4)
Lake Highland Prep looks superior to the rest of the region. Districts Six and Eight project to have three teams each into the playoffs. Give first year program Horizon out of Winter Garden lots of flowers being just outside the playoff picture with a good chance to move up.
Region 3: Brooksville Central (D9 winner); Tampa Chamberlain (D10 winner); St. Petersburg Gibbs (D11 winner); Port Charlotte (D12 winner); Parrish Community (At-Large #1); Bushnell South Sumter (At-Large #2); Clewiston (At-Large #3); St. Petersburg Lakewood (At-Large #4)
Our pick for Lakeland, Lakewood, barely makes it in but has the best SOS of any team in the current playoff picture. Chamberlain comes in as only the 13th best team in the region but gets a playoff spot.
Region 4: Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian (D13 winner); Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (D14 winner); Miami Mater Lakes Academy (D15 winner); Miami St. Brendan (D16 winner); Coconut Creek North Broward Prep (At-Large #1); Fort Lauderdale University (At-Large #2); Miami Killian (At-Large #3); Hallandale (At-Large #4)
This is a powerful region with six of the top twelve teams in the classification. Still, Calvary is the HEAVY favorite.
Region 1: Tallahassee Godby (D1 winner); Jacksonville Riverside (D2 winner); Orange Park (D3 winner); Daytona Beach Mainland (D4 winner); Jacksonville Ribault (At-Large #1); Tallahassee Rickards (At-Large #2); Jacksonville Raines (At-Large #3); Pensacola Pine Forest (At-Large #4)
Regional favorite Choctawhatchee could be out in the cold come playoff time. Otherwise, there are no real surprises in the region at this stage of the season.
Region 2: Leesburg (D5 winner); Zephyrhills (D6 winner); Orlando Jones (D7 winner); Tampa Jesuit (D8 winner); Spring Hill Springstead (At-Large #1); Kissimmee Gateway (At-Large #2); Auburndale (At-Large #3); Orlando Bishop Moore (At-Large #4)
Lot of unknowns here. Jesuit gets the most out of its ability. Leesburg and Jones are likely the most athletic teams of the bunch. District Seven could put four teams into the playoffs.
Region 3: Clearwater (D9 winner); St. Petersburg (D10 winner); Cape Coral Mariner (D11 winner); Naples Barron Collier (D12 winner); Bradenton Southeast (At-Large #1); Punta Gorda Charlotte (At-Large #2); Seminole (At-Large #3); Clearwater Countryside (At-Large #4)
Mariner is a bit of a surprise at the top spot but their SOS is sixth out of the top eight so they could be suspect. Don’t be surprised to see Charlotte and Mariner swap spots by the end of the season. District Nine surprises with three teams, Clearwater, Seminole, and Countryside, in the playoffs at this stage.
Region 4: Rockledge (D13 winner); Fort Lauderdale Stranahan (D14 winner); Miami Norland (D15 winner); Miami Northwestern (D16 winner); Riviera Beach Suncoast (At-Large #1); Melbourne Eau Gallie (At-Large #2); Miami Belen Jesuit (At-Large #3); Plantation American Heritage (At-Large #4)
Five of the classifications top ten teams are in this region. Norland has the best SOS of the group. Stranahan is a bit of a surprise at the top; not pretty but effective. Coach Randall is working his magic at Northwestern to no one’s surprise. Undefeated Rockledge is a surprise after losing their best player in the off-season.