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Pospisil: Packers projected as the team to beat during postseason

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Packers project as team to beat during postseeason

With no losses to in-state teams, Omaha South remains the top-ranked squad and will be the team Class A opponents try to avoid in looking to reach the state tournament in Lincoln.

Stay away from Omaha South.

Is there any question that is the only way to ensure a long run through the Class A postseason?

As districts begin this coming weekend, Fremont and Omaha Creighton Prep are in best position among the top seven seeds to get to state next month and be on the opposite side of the bracket from the No. 1 Packers. A date with South would thus wait until the March 12 championship game at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

Official seedings and pairings for Class A and Class B districts won’t be announced until Tuesday by the Nebraska School Activities Association, but these are the projections for Class A:

District 1: Friday, No. 29 Bellevue East at No. 28 Grand Island. Saturday, Winner at No. 1 Omaha South; No. 15 Omaha Burke at No. 14 Omaha Westside.

District 2: Saturday, No. 27 Omaha Bryan at No. 2 Fremont; No. 16 Bellevue West at No. 13 Lincoln Southeast.

District 3: Saturday, No. 26 North Platte at No. 3 Omaha Creighton Prep; No. 17 Omaha North at No. 12 Lincoln Pius X.

District 4: Saturday, No. 25 Omaha Benson at No. 4 Papillion-La Vista; No. 18 Lincoln North Star at No. 11 Millard South.

District 5: Saturday, No. 24 Lincoln High at No. 5 Lincoln East; No. 19 Papillion-La Vista South at No. 10 Norfolk.

District 6: Saturday, No. 23 Lincoln Southwest at No. 6 Millard West; No. 20 Millard North at No. 6 Lincoln Northeast.

District 7: Saturday, No. 22 South Sioux City at No. 7 Omaha Central; No. 21 Omaha Northwest at No. 8 Kearney.

If there no upsets by the seeds, the finals (in order of district number) would be Westside at South, Southeast at Fremont, Pius X at Creighton Prep, Millard South at Papillion-La Vista, Norfolk at Lincoln East, Northeast at Millard West and Kearney at Central.

Rematches from the regular season abound, including for the top seven seeds. There are two rematches — Southwest-Millard West and Burke-Westside — from games played on Saturday.

Of the 11 rematches set before the district finals, only Burke has a win over the higher seeded team. The Bulldogs beat Westside 55-51.

That result worked against both teams, since the rematch winner draws Omaha South barring a monumental upset of the Packers. Had Westside won, it still would be playing Burke but the winner would be in Fremont’s district and the Southeast-Bellevue West winner in South’s.

Class B still has its geographical limitations, but only one district — B-1 — doesn’t have a team ranked this week.

The most loaded district is out west, with four of the five teams in the top 10 in the wild card standings and the fifth, McCook, has a . 500 record. Scottsbluff leads the Class B points, with Sidney fourth, Alliance seventh and Gering 10th.

State tournament projections

How I see the state tournament fields:

Class A: South, Fremont, Prep, Papio, Norfolk, Northeast, Central, Lincoln East (wild card).

Class B: Platteview, Gretna, Bennington, Beatrice, Aurora, Scottsbluff, Omaha Skutt (wild card), Sidney (wild card).

Class C-1: Syracuse, Columbus Scotus, Wahoo Neumann, Pierce, Adams Central, Gothenburg, North Bend (wild card), O’Neill (wild card).

Class C-2: Elmwood-Murdock, Winnebago, Battle Creek, Hastings St. Cecilia, Ainsworth, Amherst, Southern Valley (wild card), Bridgeport (wild card).

Class D-1: BDS, High Plains, Randolph, Kenesaw, Axtell, Dundy County-Stratton, Nebraska City Lourdes (wild card), Walthill (wild card).

Class D-2: Lincoln Parkview, Humphrey St. Francis, Wynot, Giltner, Mullen, Crawford, Riverside (wild card), Mead (wild card).

Ratings comments

Top 10: Previous No. 7 Westside lost to Bellevue West and Burke and drops out, with Class B No. 2 Beatrice entering at No. 10. Omaha Central’s win at Norfolk allows the Eagles to vault over Class B No. 1 Gretna into fourth. Lincoln East goes past Norfolk, which started the weekend with a loss at Lincoln Northeast, into seventh.

Class A: Holding down the final three spots are Millard South at No. 8, with Burke returning at No. 9 and Northeast at No. 10. Westside drops out and so does Omaha North, which had narrow losses to Burke and No. 3 Papillion-La Vista.

Class B: Alliance, which beat Sidney to drop the Red Raiders from third to seventh, returns at No. 9. Elkhorn South exits after losses to Elkhorn and Class A Bellevue West.

Class C-1: Boone Central returns at No. 10 following previous No. 7 Fort Calhoun’s loss to North Bend. The win moves the Tigers from 10th to eighth. O’Neill falls from fifth to ninth after an overtime loss to C-2 Battle Creek.

Class C-2: Elmwood-Murdock lost its rivalry game with C-1 Louisville and slips from seventh to ninth.

Class D-1: Osceola enters at No. 9 to replace former No. 8 Blue Hill, which fell to Grand Island Heartland Lutheran 56-40.

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