David Glover seems to have the right idea; take a week of vacation right before the hectic state basketball playoffs begin and before some nosy sports writer asks just why the seeds wound up like they did for 2020.
Glover is the assistant director at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association and he’s the man who is in charge of making sense out of the the basketball playoffs for the state’s smallest two classes, A and B.
When we tried to contact Glover Tuesday afternoon it was learned that he’s out of the office for the rest of the week, which probably makes a good deal of sense after the hard job of balancing out both the boys and girls teams around the state and trying to be as fair as possible.
You can imagine how tough it is to make sure the top boys seeds are spread out evenly, and then working the girls pairings to make them work together as well as possible without loading up any one regional or area.
Around these parts the most talked-about seedings involve Cyril and Fort Cobb-Broxton, which has become the fiercest rivalry in recent years.
Last year, Cyril had the final say by beating the Mustangs in the state Class A title game and those two seem destined to meet again in the playoffs but it won’t be until the state tournament since they’ve been assigned to different area tournaments this year.
Cyril, the No. 1 ranked boys team in Class A, is the No. 1 seed in Area III, which will wind up at Chickasha High School, after regional games at Central High and Alex. Vici, which is ranked No. 7, heads the field for regional action at Union City and the Arapaho.
The OSSAA staff sent No. 3-ranked Fort Cobb-Broxton east to Area IV, which will wind up at Bethel after regional action at Earlsboro and Moss. The Mustangs are seeded below Cyril despite the fact they rolled to a 74-52 victory over the Pirates in the title game of the Caddo County Tournament. Those two didn’t play a home-and-home this year after school officials were concerned about escalating tensions between fans last year.
To balance things out, Velma-Alma boys, which are ranked No. 5 in Class A, will be going east as well with regional sites at Quinton and Stonewall.
Where issues come about is when boys teams, like Fort Cobb-Broxton, go east and their girls go along for the ride and often find themselves in a tougher bracket. But the Fort Cobb-Broxton girls do get a break this year in that they will avoid No. 2 Canute, No. 5 Vici, and No. 12 Cyril. This year, though, the balance of power in the girls’ bracket seems better than in recent years.
Fort Cobb-Broxton girls aren’t alone out east as No. 19 Tipton and No. 9 Velma-Alma are going along for that long ride as they are moved to help even the field out.
In fact, Tipton is seeded above Fort Cobb-Broxton in a district that will be played on the Mustangs’ home court. Those teams could wind up facing No. 4 Okarche, No. 6 Strother, or No. 11 Crowder down the line which seems to show that the girls field in Area IV may actually be tougher overall than the boys bracket.
To their credit, the OSSAA staff does a pretty good job because while fans of the various schools are focused only on their seeding, Glover and those OSSAA staff must balance each class and each division as fairly as possible.
I can remember visiting the OSSAA office in past years and seeing those big maps with push pins and rubber bands showing the possible area breakdowns and it was hard to make sense of it all before the OSSAA staffers would try and explain the process.
Class B could feature some interesting matchups in districts and regionals but it’s going to be tough for any boys team to handle Duke, which is 22-3 and ranked No. 1 in the latest coaches’ poll. The biggest spoiler in that Area III bracket could be No. 5 Varnum which Duke won’t see until the Area Tournament.
Varnum, No. 9 Butner and No. 11 Big Pasture are all in the Bridge Creek Regional and there could be some good games in that regional. Big Pasture boys may not have the size of Duke and some others, but the Rangers get the most out of their 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 guys who do a strong job on the boards.
This writer saw the Rangers beat a very athletic Frederick team in the finals of the Comanche County Tournament and young coach Trevor Smith did a good job mixing up his defenses in that game and the one consistent was strong rebounding.
Chattanooga boys have a chance to beat either Grandfield or Olustee on their own court and then could host Duke in the regional semifinals. Duke seems to have too much power for the Warriors but Coach Billy Karr is trying to build that program and just getting to play this tough playoff schedule could help his younger players grow a good deal over the next couple of weeks.
This is one of those deals where the Duke girls’ record speaks for itself as they are ranked No. 2 in Class B and there wasn’t a need for a good deal of moving teams around.
By the way, Duke girls just presented Coach Rick Wilson with victory No. 900, putting him among the all-time greats of the sport of women’s basketball.
Duke’s toughest competition will come from, No. 6 Varnum, No. 13 Lookeba-Sickles, and No. 14 Big Pasture.
While neither Duke team can stumble with a cold-shooting game or a game where turnovers are a problem, there’s a good chance that fans could soon be making their reservations in Oklahoma City.