Good Sunday evening and welcome back to Semoball's longest running attempt to try to make sense of the top basketball teams in Southeast Missouri. After another week of action, I have never felt this utterly confused in how to put together the rankings. After the top two, just about any combination of teams would seem semi-plausible. I have thrust upon myself the duty of parcelling through the data and creating a clear photograph of where things are at in the area, and I will do just that. However, one of the prevailing themes over the course of this season, the lack of top teams other than Sikeston and Charleston, is rearing its head with this weeks list.
1) Sikeston-The Bulldogs (20-1) played and won only won game this week against Cape Central Friday night. They are still getting over some nagging injuries and sickness but look to be in good shape with only three games remaining in the season. Sikeston has clinched the top seed in Class 4 District 1 as well as a share of the SEMO Conference regular season championship. The Bulldogs can clinch it outright on Tuesday as they play their conference finale at New Madrid County Central. Sikeston closes out the week on Friday as they head to Bernie. (Last week: 1)
2) Charleston-The Bluejays (20-3) also had a one game slate this week as they manhandled Portageville on Friday night. With only a week to go until districts (where Charleston has earned the top seed in Class 3 District 1), the Jays have one final stretch of games to overcome with matchups against Doniphan at home Monday night, Cape Central on the road Tuesday night, and Poplar Bluff to close out the regular season at home Friday night. With only two games under their belt since the injury of Michael Hull, it will be interesting to see how Charleston handles a full week of games (I expect it to be well). (Last week: 2)
3) Jackson-After a four game losing streak and close win over Farmington in recent weeks, the Indians (16-9) were making their way down the list into the area of afterthoughts and also-rans but experienced quite the resurgence this week. Last week, Jackson was ranked sixth with New Madrid, Poplar Bluff, and Cape Central sitting directly above them. The Indians accepted the challenge of their schedule and took down all three opponents over a five game period in one of the most impressive stretches any team has played this season. Jackson still has two tough games left on the docket before the playoffs in Class 5 state-ranked CBC as well as Hillsboro on the next two Tuesdays. (Last week:6)
4) New Madrid County Central-Willie Jimerson almost wrote another chapter to his sophomore saga Friday night as he almost led his Eagles (14-6) back from a 30-14 halftime deficit with the flu to defeat Jackson. Alas, he and his teammates came up just short in their two point loss that broke an eight game winning streak but positives were also made for New Madrid this week. The Eagles defeated Kennett by two on the Indians' Senior Night and dispatched of Puxico without Jimerson on Thursday. New Madrid (the deserving second seed in Class 3 District 1) can play spoiler to Sikeston on Tuesday as they welcome the Bulldogs to town in the marquee game of a four game week. The Eagles host Caruthersville Monday night, play their regular season finale at Scott County Central on Friday then turn around to play their district opener against Kelly on Saturday in Malden. (Last week: 3)
5) Kennett-I understand that the Indians (14-8) have been inconsistent at times this season, that they have a loss to Notre Dame and are behind them in district seeding (Bulldogs are the three, Indians are the four). However, I believe they are putting together a good team at the right time and have played consistently well in recent weeks (minus their time missing Kevonte Mitchell from the line up). Kennett lost a heartbreaker to New Madrid by two on Senior Night and followed up with a win against Dexter on Friday. They close out the regular season with just two games over the next two weeks heading to Doniphan this Tuesday and closing out at Poplar Bluff a week after. (Last week: 8)
6) Cape Central-The Tigers (12-8) have had the struggles that have defined their season continue to rear their head in recent weeks. Turnovers and lack of depth are keeping a good team from becoming one who could challenge for a state title. Cape has the shooting ability but has trouble creating shots. They have the athletes but not enough of them. In a year, this team will be one of the best in the area. For now, they are relatively good (as well as the two seed in Class 4 District 2) with home games against Charleston and Dexter remaining on the schedule. (Last week: 5)
7) Leopold-The Wildcats (20-2) have been impressive this season against the schedule they have played with only three of their games being closer than a ten point margin of victory (the back-to-back Christmas tourney losses as well as the 48-46 Oran win). While some may argue that Leopold has played a weak schedule, they have more than executed against the teams they have played. With things being so haywire this week and so many other teams showing inconsistency, I have no problem rewarding one of the few teams who has been able to be consistent this season. Leopold closes their regular season this week with games at Zalma and Delta before opening district next week as the top seed of Class 1 District 2. (Last week: 9)
8) Notre Dame-Look who has clawed their way back into the rankings. The Bulldogs (12-10) have gone on a hot streak since their loss to Advance having won four out of their last five games and looking more and more confident heading into the homestretch of the year. Notre Dame earned the three seed in Class 4 District 1 Saturday being rewarded for their regular season win over Kennett as well as their rough schedule. They defeated both Perryville and Poplar Bluff this week and close out their season at home for games with Farmington Tuesday, Desoto Friday, and Dexter the Tuesday after that. (Last week: Not Ranked)
9) Poplar Bluff-A few weeks ago, I expressed my reservations about the Mules (14-7) believing that I may have them ranked too high looking at their schedule and seeing that the degree of difficulty outside on tournaments had not been great. Those worries have come to fruition in recent weeks as the wheels have started to come off for Poplar Bluff. The Mules have lost four of their last five to New Madrid, Sikeston, Notre Dame, and Jackson with the lone win in that stretch coming by one point at Scott City. Poplar Bluff can bounce back and try to build some momentum heading into the postseason starting with a matchup at home against Dexter on Tuesday. They close the regular season by heading to Charleston Friday and facing Kennett at home the Tuesday after. A Mules team that was 13-3 heading into conference play could close out on a disappointing 2-6 streak that would put a damper on one of the more memorable stories of the season. (Last week: 4)
10) Oran-Hayti, Bernie, and a few other teams could make a claim at the ten spot but the Eagles (21-3) just continue winning and are one of the few teams in the area with only one loss since 2013 began. They get a tuneup for the Class 2 District 3 tournament (where they are the one seed) this week with games against rivals Advance and Chaffee. Some may argue that the Eagles have not played the schedule the teams in District 1 have but I don't believe they have had a cakewalk by any means and have earned their spot. Things could change if they cannot put away their district foes this week but that bridge will be crossed if we reach it. (Last week: 9)
This has been one of the weirdest seasons for high school basketball seen in this area in awhile with the lack of teams rising outside of Sikeston and Charleston. Even with very little time before districts, things can still take another turn or two before the playoffs start. It was during this week last season that Cape Central upset a one-loss Charleston team at the Jays Nest. Anything can happen and the small school districts begin Saturday. I wish good luck to every team as they begin their quest towards ultimately becoming state champion and hope for clean, hard fought games that keep us on the edge of our seat. I will have my final regular season rankings next Sunday and will then put out one final set of rankings after the playoffs have concluded. In the meantime, there may be a couple of interesting alternative pieces that I will put out. As always, I thoroughly appreciate any and all comments, criticisms, questions, complaints, or anything else and I hope everyone enjoys the week.
Sideline, Oran only has one game this week and that is Advance.
Thanks Larry. Read that they also played Chaffee on another website but I should have realized they've already played in the regular season. Hope all is well.
I usually agree with you sideline but this time I don't think I can. I have to admit I am all in on Leopold. I think you could Leopold as high as 5 on this list. I love their size but I have had concerns regarding their guard play but they seem to have it together and have been the most consistent small school this season. I think if they can somehow survive their problems with depth and injury there is no reason to not believe they couldn't go to Columbia and bring back some hardware.
Cape is district 1 not 2?
Eh, Bunk, you and I have enough basketball discussions to know how each other feel about these things and where we agree and differ.
Fathead, thanks. I must have typed two in my haste to get this written. They are in District 1.
No chance that Leopold could be ranked that high. They have not beaten enough quality opponents to get that kind of consideration. In my opinion, a case could easily be made that they are too high at 7.
Part of the reason Leopold has been so consistent is because they are a good team. Another part of their consistency has been the relatively soft schedule. Ido think Leopold will win their district. I also think they are capable of getting to the final four. Hopefully a soft schedule does not hurt them come playoff time.
Class 1 should be Drexel's to lose this year. They played a close game with SCC last year and return everyone except (maybe) 1 player?
Notre Dame has been playing better, but I don't think they're Top 10 worthy, esp. with teams like Hayti, Holcomb, Bernie, and Advance to pick from with much better records. I also think Poplar Bluff has played their way out of the Top 10 and Cape Central is close to doing the same. Also, why did Oran drop a spot even though they didn't lose a game?
Didn't ND just a week or so ago beat Bernie pretty good. I don't care what their records are i think when your talking about lumping the small schools in with the large ones competion level should be looked at more than overall records.
The big school vs. small school argument could go on forever. Yes Notre Dame beat Bernie soundly. On the other hand Advance beat ND, Holcomb beat Kennett, etc.
And then Bernie turned around and beat Holcomb and Advance lol
I agree preacher how does a team go down in rankings when they havent lost. Also, Oran has two wins in last two weeks against a scrappy Chaffee team that can never be counted out and a SCC team which has shown a lot of improvement.
I can see a team falling in the rankings without losing depending on two factors: 1) the "quality" of said teams wins and 2) the "quality" of wins or losses of the team(s) that moved ahead of said team. Not a knock on Oran as I am sure they are a good team and deserving of their spot. However, when comparing teams competing across several divisions, I don't think a team should necessarily remain in the same spot if they are playing weaker teams and have, in theory, easier wins.
Again, I'm not saying this is the case with Oran. I just think there are instances when a quality loss could show more about a team than an easy win.
I agree bluemules. Oran beat Chaffee at their place and SCC at their place I would say that is two tough wins on the road. It all boils down to there are a lot of good teams in this area and i hope they all continue their success. Someone has to lose in the end
Jackson as mentioned had a really good week. Saw the Cape game, they beat Cape very soundly best Ive seen them play in long time.
Why no Top 10 last Sunday Sideline?
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