A Few Interesting Questions Face Seeding Committee This Year
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—On Monday afternoon, GMC Hoops posted its top ten, and mentioned that the 2020 GMCT Seeding Meeting is set for Thursday at Spotswood High School. Our mock seeding is coming soon, but here are some thoughts to consider before the seeding takes place later this week:
First and Foremost, Don’t Blame the Messenger
Over the past two seasons, the GMCT seeding has been quite contentious, especially on social media where there have been some things said to GMC Hoops inferring that we are at fault for the seed a particular school got. Our simple answer to that is the following:
Don’t blame the messenger!
GMC Hoops, and that includes Greg Machos and James Corrigan, do not have a vote on the seeds. Our mock seeding is just that, a mock seeding. A predictor of what might happen based upon what we know at the current time the mock seeding is done. It doesn’t have any bearing on how the committee will go. We just do this in an attempt to give all of you insight on how and why the seeding may go, but keep in mind the seeding committee has its own way of thinking.
Speaking of the seeding committee, they are the ones who decide. Nobody at GMC Hoops, MyCentralJersey, NJ.com, CentralJersey.com, or the King James Radio Network (Korbid Thompson) have a vote. These media outlets serve as observers so that they can get the information out to all of you via the social media outlets you use. Do these outlets give some input to the committee based upon what they have seen this year? Yes, but they still don’t have a vote.
The seeding committee is made up of usually a coach and an AD of one of the teams in each division: Blue, Gold, Red, and White. The tourney chairpeople are also involved. Those are the people that vote on the teams and what seeds they get. When these people make the decision, we pass it along to you. So please, again, don’t blame or hate the messenger. We are all trying to provide a service of getting this information out to you as quickly as it happens.
First Things First…White Division Champs
Usually how the tournament begins is that the committee starts by evaluating the division winners. As things currently stand based upon current GMC rules, St. Joseph’s, Edison, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Wardlaw, would be awarded division titles due to a rule in place that does not permit a member school from winning the current division they’re in if the GMC requested the member school to move up, the school appealed the request, and won.
So, in other words, Dunellen and New Brunswick are technically ineligible to win their respective divisions. However, in Dunellen’s case last year, the Destroyers were still awarded the 8th seed by the committee based upon what happened on the court, and will likely be seeded in the top 8 or 9 depending upon how things shake out this season. Noticed that I said an 8 or a 9. Stay tuned on that one. I will elaborate further.
Now, with New Brunswick. On Saturday, it was announced on MyCentralJersey that Edison was awarded the division outright as a result of the rule. But, technically, New Brunswick can still get a share of the title on the court at 10-2 with a victory over Woodbridge on Tuesday night. It would be the first time the Zebras won a division crown since winning the White in 2002. Does that mean that a tiebreak between New Brunswick and Edison are going to have to be decided upon first before the rest of the seeding can proceed?
Remember, last year, Dunellen was still awarded the 8th seed despite not being recognized as Gold division champs. Will that be the same case here if New Brunswick wins? The Zebras and Eagles split while Colonia also split with New Brunswick and Edison. New Brunswick also could have a quality win over Edison thanks to its 51-50 victory over South Brunswick in the Brunswick Classic over the holidays. Which leads me to my next point?
Can South Brunswick Go As High As A Two Seed
South Brunswick sent a strong statement on Saturday went it defeated previously top ranked St. Joseph’s (82-67) at SBHS in Monmouth Junction. The Vikings sit currently in second place, and still have a chance to tie for the GMC Red Championship as well. However, if St. Joseph’s defeats Perth Amboy on Monday night, the Falcons will likely get the top seed since they would have won the Red Division outright, and beat Aquinas head to head at the SFIC Festival on January 5th.
And there’s where the Vikings at No. 2 is possible. South Brunswick does have an argument for the second spot since they defeated St. Joseph’s head to head by 15 points and Joes defeated Aquinas. In addition, the Vikes split with 3rd place Perth Amboy, which got a forfeit win over the Trojans although STA won big on January 18th (87-41). The reason for that was because Aquinas played five games in a week, which is not allowed by NJSIAA rules. Which leads me to the next question?
How Will the GMCT Seeding Committee Treat the Aquinas Forfeit to Amboy?
In all my years of covering GMC Hoops, I don’t recall running into this type of situation, and on this particular technicality. I don’t think others have as well, but honestly I’m not sure. I’m also not sure how this will be treated. A few people that I’ve discussed this with aren’t sure either. But Aquinas did beat Perth Amboy on the floor, and by 46 points.
I would think Aquinas will not be hurt by this, and end up with at least a 3rd seed, and perhaps a 2nd seed. In addition, sanctions have already been issued and also due to a similar situation with the Aquinas girls team versus Kennedy. It is also a technicality that doesn’t directly involve the players. But, again, I don’t make the decision on this, the committee does. Which leads to the next question?
Could Perth Amboy Actually Have An Argument for a 4th Seed?
It’s possible. Especially if the Panthers can beat St. Joseph’s since they would mean not only a tie in the GMC Red, but also that Amboy would have a quality win over Joes and SB, and why the issue with the forfeit win over Aquinas is important since technically, the Panthers have another win off the board.
Another thing to consider, Perth Amboy is Red Division, and many times in the past, the Red teams get the benefit of the doubt. The problem is that the victory over the Trojans was not on the court. It was a technicality that didn’t involve players. So, if Amboy beats Joes, the Panthers could have an argument. Again, I don’t know how the committee will handle the forfeit issue.
What About the Ramblers?
One of the more controversial points from the 2018 GMCT Seeding was the fact that Carteret was seeded 4th behind Old Bridge, and it was on the basis that Old Bridge won two games against common non-conference opponents that Carteret lost to in the 2017 Matawan Huskies Tournament: Manalapan and Ocean Township. Unfortunately, the Ramblers and Knights didn’t play each other head to head, and so the holiday tourney at Matawan was used to distinguish between the two teams.
This year, Carteret has lost to Aquinas twice by an average of just 4.5 points per game. In addition, the Ramblers have defeated out of division GMC foes: Colonia (64-50), Woodbridge (62-57), at Old Bridge (73-54), and at North Brunswick (62-60). The most recent victory over North Brunswick is pretty significant in the fact that the Ramblers, which not only lost the likes of Jahlil Nix, Thamir Lamarr, and Timmy Ellis to graduation, but also Malik Austin, who is now at Hudson Catholic, managed to get the win with one of its top players unable to play due to injury (Starrell Hearns) and another (Cam McCargo) battling foul problems in the first half, and only scoring two points.
In addition, Carteret fared much better this year in that same Matawan Tournament. The Ramblers reached the Championship Game with wins over Manalapan (56-45) and Holmdel (48-47), which not only beat Old Bridge, but even defeated a solid Edison squad by 28 points in a consolation game (66-38). Carteret also only lost to Union in the tourney final by 4 points in double overtime (64-60), and the Farmers are one of the top teams in Union County and in North Jersey Section 2 Group 4. The Ramblers also dropped a 66-63 decision in overtime at Plainfield on December 21st two days after the Cardinals lost to Union in OT on opening night (73-72).
The Ramblers also won the latest edition of the Battle of Exit 12 by knocking off a solid Rahway team on January 2nd (56-53). Rahway is currently 14-3 overall, and 11-2 in its division of the Union County Conference. One of the Indians victories came over Perth Amboy in the opening round of the 2019 John Butch Kowal Tourney on December 27th (70-47).
Carteret is also slated to play Snyder in Rambler Country on Monday night. The Tigers from Jersey City are currently 15-4 overall including a 10-2 mark in the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association. Despite this impressive resume, will Carteret be again overlooked since it wouldn’t have quality wins over teams already off the board? The Ramblers currently sit 3rd in the latest GMC Hoops Top Ten.
Where Will Dunellen Be Seeded?
The Destroyers have the best overall record of any of the division winners in the GMC. The Problem is that Dunellen represents the GMC Gold, and usually that means they will get the 8th seed. However, the Destroyers are not your typical Gold Division school. This season, Dunellen has won games out of division against GMC foes Middlesex (49-38) and Sayreville (72-57) , which also recently beat Colonia (49-45) on the road in CTown.
In addition, the Destroyers also played well against a couple non-conference opponents. Dunellen defeated Dickinson of Jersey City (68-63) at the Kayla Spooner Shootout at Plainfield High School on January 4th. Dickinson plays the likes of Hudson Catholic and St. Peter’s Prep twice a year, and beat a North Bergen team that defeated Old Bridge (58-36) at the Aliyah Outscores Diabetes Showcase at Marist High School on January 26th.
True, Dickinson has recently lost 10 of its last 11, but is a Group 4 school playing in Hudson County. In addition, the Destroyers lost by one to a Hackettstown team (53-52) at the Hopatcong Hoops Showcase less than 24 hours after the Tigers suffered a single digit setback to Watchung Hills, one of the top programs in the state. Unfortunately, while Dunellen could got at least as high as 7th, they could end up being seeded 9th meaning that the Destroyers won’t get a bye to the Round of 16, and if they would win their preliminary round match-up, they would have to go on the road to play that 8th seeded team as a result of what could be a tie in the White. Which is why our question about the White Division is important.
Will The Gold Division Get Any Respect?
Besides Dunellen possibly being seeded as far down as 9th in the tourney, questions will be asked on where the other three GMC Gold contenders will go, especially Wardlaw, which is 16-4 overall including 13-2 in divisional play, and Timothy Christian, which handed Dunellen its only division loss.
Believe it or not, the only two losses Wardlaw has in Gold Division play has been to Dunellen. Both were by significant margins: 63-44 in North Edison on December 21st, and at The Faber in Dunellen on January 17th (51-29). However, the Rams beat TCS twice by double digits, and have 14 of their last 16 since starting the season at 2-2 following a loss to David Brearley of Kenilworth in the Championship Game of the 2019 Hopatcong Holiday Tournament.
The only other loss suffered by Wardlaw in its last 16 besides the defeat at Dunellen several weeks ago was a 49-40 loss to Columbia of Maplewood at the OSC Give Back Classic on January 19th in East Orange. Columbia, which competes against the likes of Montclair Immaculate (15-6), Seton Hall Prep (13-5), and Newark East Side (13-7) in the Super Essex Conference American Division, currently is 9-10 overall including a 5-6 mark in conference and 4-5 in division, which technically has them tied with East Side although the Red Raiders have a slightly better conference record.
Wardlaw also defeated another Essex County, and SEC school in Montclair Kimberley. The Rams defeated the Cougars (64-52) in the opening round of the 2020 NJSIAA Prep B State Tournament in North Edison on Sunday. MKA competes in the smaller school Independence Division of the Super Essex Conference with the likes of Caldwell (13-3), Belleville (14-6), West Essex (10-7), and Glen Ridge (11-8).
Although Timothy Christian lost convincingly to Dunellen last week (80-46) at The Faber, and on Friday at Perth Amboy Tech (61-47), the Tigers did hand the Destroyers their only GMC loss to date, and have won 12 of their last 15 games since starting the season at 0-3. Much of that streak was accomplished without big man, Abdul Momoh, who had to sit out the first 30 days of the season as per NJSIAA transfer rules.
Perth Amboy Tech also can get into the discussion with a win at Wardlaw on Wednesday. The Patriots did lose the likes of Kelvin Maria, who transferred to Perth Amboy across town, but they still have dynamic point guard, Felix Romero, and sharpshooter Chris Gomez. Out of division losses to J.P. Stevens and Middlesex could hurt the Patriots chances though. Nevertheless, Amboy Tech has won 5 of its last 7 since going 5-7 overall as of January 22nd when it lost to Wardlaw at home by five (71-66).
Bottom line is that there are going to be a lot of things to consider. Let’s also not forget East Brunswick, Monroe, South Plainfield, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Spotswood, Stevens, and Metuchen will have to be considered throughout this process as well. These questions are just the tip of the iceberg.