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Playoff System Puzzles Coaches

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TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma -

The high school playoffs don't start until next week for Classes 2A-4A, and in two weeks for 5A and 6A, but the matchups are already set with games still left to play. The system has left some coaches puzzled.

Imagine if the NCAA tournament seeding's were determined four games before the end of the season. That would be odd. Well, that's how the system works in Oklahoma high school basketball. "I think a lot of coaches would agree [that] it'd be nice to play out the rest of the season, and then determine the seedings," said Broken Arrow Coach Beau Wallace.

The OSSAA released seeding's for 5A and 6A, although every team in both classifications still have three to five games left in the season. This allows teams to alter schedules. "So, teams are smart enough to do it. It's a game that shouldn't have to be played. Hopefully we can come up with an idea as coaches that we can take to the administrators," stated Booker T. Coach Joe Redmond.

At least in 5A and 6A the better teams host, unlike in 4A. Take Central for instance; its boys team is ranked No. 4 in the state, but their first playoff game is on the road against a team with a losing record. "It kind of stuns you when you find out you're not hosting," said Central coach Eli Brown.

When I spoke to the OSSAA about Central's situation, they said they were trying to pair boys and girls games at the same locations, therefore; teams with bad records are facing teams with good records.

The pairings have no formula. "I would like to see a rubric, if you will, of how they put teams in place of who they play. Maybe we need to all the 4A coaches to sit down and come up with something, because there obviously has to be a better system."

Solutions may be coming soon, as there has been talk about going to districts like in football.

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