A few upsets at regional tournaments around the state mean some unexpected teams will be competing this weekend at the Class 4A and Class 3A state basketball tournaments Thursday through Saturday at Anchorage's Sullivan Arena.
Four teams with sub-.500 records qualified for the state tournaments, including two in the Class 3A boys tourney with Craig and Monroe Catholic making the field. The other sub-.500 teams are Seward in the Class 3A girls tournament and North Pole in the Class 4A girls tourney.
The Class 4A boys tournament had the least restructuring due to upsets, but Juneau-Douglas High School slipped to the second seed because Bartlett inched past the Crimson Bears in the WPI (Winning Percentage Index) rankings used to seed the tourney. Bartlett's WPI ranking is .6595413, while Juneau's is .6594956. The WPI ranking is similar to the RPI (Rating Percentage Index) used in college basketball and it rates a team's strength of schedule.
Bartlett (22-2 overall) will open the Class 4A boys tournament at 8 a.m. Thursday against eighth-seeded Kenai Central (17-8). Fifth-seeded Dimond (19-7) plays fourth-seeded Chugiak (20-5) at 5:30 p.m. in the other first-round match at the top of the bracket.
In the bottom half of the bracket, second-seeded Juneau (21-2 overall) opens its tournament at 9:45 a.m. Thursday against seventh-seeded Colony (15-10). In the other first-round game, third-seeded Wasilla (22-5 overall) plays sixth-seeded Lathrop (18-4) at 3:45 p.m.
Friday's Class 4A boys semifinals are at 7:15 p.m. and 9 p.m., with the championship game at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Last year's champion, Kodiak, didn't make state this year so a new team will wear the crown.
The Crimson Bears have played five of the seven other teams in the Class 4A boys state tournament. Juneau beat Colony twice (70-52 and 57-50), stomped Lathrop (83-64), edged Dimond (63-60), split with Wasilla (winning 66-59 and losing 50-47) and lost to Bartlett (77-71).
In the Class 4A girls tournament, top-seeded East Anchorage (25-2 overall) will begin its pursuit of a third consecutive state title at 11:30 a.m. Thursday against eighth-seeded North Pole (10-14). East hasn't lost to a team from Alaska since March 1, 2000, a streak of 57 straight victories. North Pole upset Lathrop to earn its berth at state.
The other first-round game in the top half of the bracket features fifth-seeded Kenai (21-5) against fourth-seeded Colony (14-9) at 1:15 p.m.
Juneau (18-6 overall) opens its first state tournament in three years when it plays sixth-seeded Chugiak (16-9) at 7:15 p.m. Second-seeded Wasilla (23-1) plays seventh-seeded Bartlett at 9 p.m.
The Class 4A girls semifinals are at 3:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, with the championship game set for 7:15 p.m. on Saturday.
The Crimson Bears have played four of the other teams in the Class 4A girls state tournament. Juneau beat Bartlett (54-38), lost to Wasilla (45-35), took two of three games from Colony (winning 47-36 and 46-42 and losing 52-34), and lost three times to East (61-40, 55-36 and 60-37).
In the Class 3A boys tournament, things get started at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday when Valdez (18-8) plays Nome-Beltz (16-7). Nikiski (19-7), an upset winner in the Region III tournament, plays Metlakatla (12-11) at 1:15 p.m. Metlakatla earned its trip to state with an upset of Wrangell, which had been ranked second in the state.
The bottom half of the bracket features undefeated Barrow (24-0) playing Monroe Catholic (12-14) at 7:15 p.m., followed by Region V upset champion Craig (11-13) against Anchorage Christian Schools (18-5) at 9 p.m.
The Class 3A boys semifinals are at 3:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, with the championship game at 5 p.m. on Saturday. A new boys state champion will be crowned since 2000 and 2001 champion Grace Christian School didn't make the tournament.
Upsets affected the Class 3A girls bracket, as the last two state champions -- defending champ Valdez and 2000 champion Nikiksi -- both lost in their region championship games. But both teams did reach the state tourney.
Monroe Catholic (17-8), which upset Valdez 40-38, will open the tournament at 8 a.m. Thursday when it plays Barrow (15-10). Petersburg (14-9) plays at 9:45 a.m. Thursday against Seward (10-12), which upset Nikiski 42-39.
In the bottom half of the bracket, Kotzebue (18-6) plays defending champion Valdez (23-3) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday. Mount Edgecumbe (19-6) plays Nikiski (18-6) at 5:30 p.m. The bottom half of the bracket is loaded since it has all four regular-season region champions in it.
The Class 3A girls semifinal games are at 7:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, while the championship game is at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.