Tuesday, November 30, 2010
(Image from city-data.com).
Why is Manatee, 12-0 and ranked first in the state in Class 5A, forced to travel for Friday's Region 3 championship game while Palm Bay Bayside, which has lost three times this season, gets to stay home?
No real reason. That's just the way it worked out.
Forget about the rankings and records - when it comes to deciding who goes where in the prep playoffs, those things don't mean anything.
OK, the records mean something in the first round, or quarterfinals, when a champion from one district hosts a runner-up from another.
But that is the last time a team controls its own travel log, which is why Manatee hosted St. Thomas Aquinas in last year's state semifinal even though Aquinas had won 37 straight games and consecutive state titles.
This year, in Class 5A, the Florida High School Athletic Association ruled before the season started that the school on the bottom of the bracket is the host school in the regional semifinals, or second round, with the exception being if a runner-up advances and plays a district champion.
In that case, the district champ hosts, regardless of the which end of the bracket each team resides.
Still with me?
The bottom-of-the-bracket rule holds true in the regional final. And as you can see here, Manatee sits on the top of the bracket.
Bayside sits on the bottom.
(Southeast has been handed the same fate, and will play for the Class 3A-Region 3 championship Friday at South Fort Myers).
Now, if you look at the rest of the Class 5A bracket, you will notice Tampa Plant is hosting Countryside, even though Plant is on top and both teams won their district.
Why? Well, it's another exception to the earlier rule - if the school on the bottom was home during the first two rounds, and the school on top traveled for either of the first two rounds, then the team on top gets to host.
Everybody got that?
Finally, why is Manatee traveling for a second year in a row? Last year, if you remember, the Hurricanes were the runner-up out of District 10 and Palm Bay was a district champ.
Had both teams been champions, last year's regional final would have been in Bradenton.
And oh, before you ask, Friday's winner is on the road for next week's state semifinal - Regions 2 and 4 play hosts in Classes 5A, 3A, 1A and 1B.
Again, that's just the way it worked out.
Posted by Bradenton Herald at 6:04 PM