Continuing with a look at state playoff seeding projections, we’re taking a look at boys’ basketball public sections in Central and North 2. Remember that unlike most years when the first 16 games on a team’s schedule are counted, only the top 13 power point values are added this year. So, teams playing past their 16th game can still accumulate power points, but not full games’ worth. If a game makes the top 13, the lowest score is dropped, and all that is gained is the difference between the lowest of the 13, and the new score.
(Example: a team’s lowest among it’s top 13 scores is a 15. If it wins a game worth 20 points, the 15 is dropped, and the 20 added, for a net gain of 5.)
The analysis below is based on official NJSIAA calculations as available on NJ.com as of 9 am Tuesday:
Central Jersey Group 4: The top team here is Marlboro (17-2) with 454 points, and Monroe (18-3) is behind in second them at 413. They’re unlikely to get the top seed, but also unlikely to get caught from behind by Jackson Memorial (12-5, 361, 3rd) and definitely not by South Brunswick (12-6, 329, 4th). Both teams could gain since their 13th power point value is a loss, but not enough to overtake the Falcons. Next up from the CJSR area is No. 10 Montgomery (10-8, 244), then East Brunswick (8-8, 242) at 12. Both could move in a tight pack either up or down. Speaking of which, teams 15 through 17 are all from the GMC, and could be make or break this week. Old Bridge is 15th at 7-12 with 208 points, followed by Sayreville (8-10, 184) and North Brunswick (7-14, 176). It’s probably the Bombers and Raiders battling it out for that last playoff spot. North Brunswick has Edison Wednesday, and Sayreville is at St. Thomas Aquinas Tuesday and hosts Colts Neck Friday. Either team could add games before Saturday’s cutoff to get in. This could get interesting.
North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 4: You’ve got Watchung Hills (14-3, 361) in the catbird’s seat here, led by Elijah Lewis, who just committed to Adelphi this week. Westfield is 16 points behind, and it may be tough for them to catch up with 13 wins already. How about Franklin (11-6, 341) making a push, though? The Warriors have room for two more wins here, and might be able to make up the 20 point disparity, so look out; they currently sit in third. Ridge is right behind them wrapping up the top four at 13-5 with 326 points, but with 13 wins, they’re less likely to make a move than Franklin. Toward the middle of the pack, JP Stevens (9-7, 275) is tied with Elizabeth (8-5, 275) for 7th, but both have room for improvement this week. Edison (12-6, 260) is right behind, but already has 12 wins, so it’s doubtful the Eagles can crack the top eight. Bridgewater-Raritan (8-11, 250) is 12th, followed by resurgent Piscataway (8-7, 246), which has won four in a row and six of its last eight after a rough 2-5 start.
Central Jersey Group 3: The only area team in contention here is Somerville (5-12, 161 points) in the bottom half of the pack in 12th place, solidly in that bottom half, but solidly in the field of 16. Manasquan is the current top team at 13-4, followed by 14-4 Robbinsville.
North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 3: Here’s some intrigue: South Plainfield out of the GMC Blue is in first at 17-3, with 351 power points, while Colonia from the GMC White at 14-3 with 332 points is in second. It’ll be tough for the Patriots to make up that ground having 14 wins already; getting one of the pair against St. Thomas Aquinas sure would have helped. They’re the only area teams in contention in this section.
Central Jersey Group 2: With 13 wins already, a loss to Immaculata may not have hurt Bound Brook all that much, but it didn’t help either. The Crusaders (13-1, 357) have a slim shot at No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven (13-2), which is only ahead by six points, with 363. For example, their lowest value is a 15, a win over North Plainfield. A win over Hunterdon Central (which has 7 wins) Tuesday would be worth 6 quality points, 4 group points, and 15 residual points, for a total of 25. Drop the 15, add 25 and the net gain is 10. They’d jump ahead of the Bulldogs, but now it depends what they do. Bottom line: the Crusaders are still in play in the critical final week for a top seed. South River (13-4, 312) checks in 5th here, with Middlesex (9-10) at ten, and Roselle (11-15, 251) and Spotswood (13-5, 248) not far behind them. Metuchen (7-10, 165) appears to be sitting comfortably in 16; don’t expect anyone behind the Bulldogs to challenge them.
Central Jersey Group 1: It looks like Perth Amboy Tech (11-4, 214) is a lock for the four- or five-seed. They currently sit in fifth, and the only real difference as a potential extra home game if things go to chalk. Further down the standings, Highland Park (4-12, 141) checks in at 12, followed immediately by Manville (7-9, 135, 13th) and South Amboy (5-9, 122, 14th). Somerset Tech (3-15, 105) is 14th. Burlington City is the top team here at 12-4