Heading into Cutoff Weekend, 27 Big Central teams appear to have clinched playoff berths, with three of them likely to be top seeds in their respective sections once the brackets are filled out.
This is the final weekend of the regular season before the playoffs, and the NJSIAA will be out with its official seeding on Sunday.
Central Jersey Sports Radio will air a LIVE projection show this Saturday at 5 pm, hosted by Mike Pavlichko, who will be joined by longtime Somerset County scholastic sportswriter Harry Frezza, and the King James Radio Network’s Korbid Thompson. Numerous coaches are expected to join in the show as well. Listen by clicking here.
There are also another nine teams CJSR considers “on the bubble” to make the playoffs. Some are in “win and in” scenarios, while others may need a little help.
We’ll be posting team-by-team scenarios for each supersection as we break them down. Scroll down to find a handy link for each supersection.
Union Appears to have one of the top seeds locked up in North Group 5, while a Hillsboro win Friday night against North Brunswick would give them one of the two in South Group 5. Cranford has locked up at least one of the top seeds in North 4. And Hillside should have one of the top two seeds in South Group 2.
Below are the teams we see as having clinched a playoff berth, win or lose this weekend. Click the supersection name for a link that will take you to a full team-by-team breakdown of each grouping, which will be available as we post them on cjsportsradio.com.
We’ll be starting with North Group 5 and working our way down to South Group 1. There will be no breakdowns of the non-public sections, which are being seeded by committee with power points, OSI and UPR being used only as guidance, making it difficult to predict where each team will land. Those teams are followed by their current standing in each 16-team group. (Note also that some teams may opt-out in the non-public groups, making the fields smaller.)
North Group 5: Union, Phillipsburg, Bridgewater-Raritan, Westfield, Elizbaeth
South Group 5: Hillsborough, North Brunswick, East Brunswick, Edison
North Group 4: Woodbridge, Sayreville, Colonia, Ridge, Linden
North Group 3: Cranford,
South Group 3: Somerville, Rahway
South Group 2: Bernards, Hillside, Delaware Valley, New Providence
North Group 1: Brearley
South Group 1: South Hunterdon, Middlesex
Non-Public A: St. Joseph-Metuchen
Non-Public B: St. Thomas Aquinas
Teams we determine to be on the bubble, on whichever side, include New Brunswick, North Hunterdon, Warren Hills North Plainfield, Roselle, and Bound Brook, while Plainfield is a longshot. And we believe it’s a “win and get in” situation for Montgomery, Summit and Manville.
One key to remember, is that it’s mostly about wins and losses this week. With residuals capped at an opponent’s first seven games, there will be few opportunities to get a last-minute boost from residuals this weekend. In fact, there are fewer than two dozen teams around the state who have played fewer than seven games this season and can provide residuals this weekend, with a good number of those in the NJIC, which shouldn’t affect Big Central teams very much.