It's been difficult at times to put together ratings this season. A glance at the NSAA points standings as we approach subdistricts helped to explain why.
The top five teams in the ratings also find themselves among the top 10 statewide in their respective classes.
* Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur (22-0) is No. 1 in the area ratings again this week. The Wolverines are also first in Class C2 with a 46.6818 average.
* North Bend Central (21-1) is ranked second again, as it has been all season. The Tigers are fourth in Class C1 with a 45.0455 average.
* No. 4 Ponca (20-3) is sixth in C2 with a 44.6957 average.
* New No. 5 Hartington Cedar Catholic (15-6) sits eighth in C2 with a 44.250 average.
* Also, No. 3 Wayne (17-6) is 10th in C1 at 43.1739. The Blue Devils are third because of two wins over Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, which has defeated Ponca twice and Cedar Catholic once.
The numbers start getting crazy when one tries to go through the best of the rest in Class C.
Six more teams are ranked among the top 20 of their class statewide in the points standings: Oakland-Craig in C2 (16-7, 13th), Logan View/Scribner-Snyder in C1 (16-7, 14th), Battle Creek in C1 (15-7, 15th), Omaha Nation in C2 (16-7, 17th), Wisner-Pilger in C2 (14-8, 18th) and Pierce in C1 (13-7, 19th).
That doesn't even paint the whole picture of the quality.
There are three more teams among the top 30 with Twin River and Lutheran High Northeast combining for 27 wins, plus Norfolk Catholic (9-11). Six more teams are among the top 40 of their class, which bears mentioning because five of those six have records of .500 or better.
In particular, this speaks to the overall strength of Class C2 this season. All but 14 teams have recorded double-digit wins this season, and all but nine have at least eight wins.
That can help explain why a team like Creighton can have a 13-8 record but still rank just 32nd in the class in power points or why teams like Wakefield and Guardian Angels Central Catholic can hold .500 records and still sit just 34th and 38th, respectively, going into the last couple nights of the regular season.
AS FOR THE ratings this week, what does all of this mean?
Pierce and Hartington Cedar Catholic flipped spots after the teams were reevaluated following last week's play. Cedar Catholic was promoted into Pierce's old spot after the Trojans stormed past then-No. 7 Battle Creek by 31 points. Combined with the fact that Cedar Catholic also owns a win over Pierce resulted in the Trojans and Bluejays flipping.
Battle Creek's last two weeks resulted in quite the dilemma. The Braves started the season 14-3 but have lost four of their last five games, two by a combined margin of 52 points. Granted, all four losses have come against ranked teams, but this was done by a team that was ranked third at one point. In fact, six of their seven losses this season have come to teams now ranked among the top five in either C or D.
If not the Braves, then who?
Wisner-Pilger gets the promotion after winning six of its last nine games, including a 57-55 victory against then-No. 3 Laurel-Concord-Coleridge in Class D — a team that beat the Braves by 20 on its home floor. The three losses have come against the top two teams in Class C.
Logan View/Scribner-Snyder stays ranked despite dropping three of its last four, but those three have been by a combined margin of 24 points against two defending state champions, including twice against BRLD.
Other ratings contenders were Oakland-Craig, Omaha Nation, Lutheran High Northeast and Twin River, in that order.
IN CLASS D, it's hard to decide what to do with the third and fourth spots.
On one hand, Osmond (20-1) has the head-to-head win over Laurel-Concord-Coleridge (19-5). On the other hand, LCC has two wins over Ponca — the only team to beat Osmond this season.
For this week, the Bears drop back to fourth — the same spot they've been virtually all season — as a result of their loss to Wisner-Pilger, the new No. 7 in Class C.
It also matches the current power-point standings in Class D1. Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family (20-3) is second — trailing only North Platte St. Patrick's (18-2) — while Osmond is third and LCC fourth.
West Holt (18-4) avenged a conference championship game loss when it defeated O'Neill St. Mary's (15-5) in a battle of the seventh- and eighth-ranked teams, and coupled with the team's rise to eighth in the NSAA points standings in Class D1, the Huskies move up to fifth and Randolph drops to sixth.
Randolph (13-7) started the season 0-4, but the Cardinals are 10-2 since the calendar flipped to 2020. Randolph stays ahead of St. Mary's as the Cardinal teams are sixth and seventh, and Allen (14-4) drops to eighth.
Waiting in the wings as contenders are Howells-Dodge (12-10), Hartington-Newcastle (12-8) and Elkhorn Valley (14-7).
We haven't even gotten to the fact that subdistricts begin next week. Since this is the final regular-season set of ratings, let's take a quick glance at those brackets involving area teams.
* C1-5 at Columbus High: Look for North Bend, the only team with a winning record in the bracket, to emerge unscathed.
* C1-6 at Oakland: Wayne and Logan View/Scribner-Snyder should meet in the final. The Blue Devils might be safe for a wild card, but the Raiders are not.
* C1-7 at Norfolk High: This one should come down to Battle Creek and Pierce, although if Norfolk Catholic's perimeter game is on, the Knights could be a tough out. Both the Knights and Bluejays own wins over the top-seeded Braves.
* C1-10 at Burwell: Believe it or not, O'Neill (10-10) is the top seed and the only team with more than five wins this season. So yes, the Eagles have a good chance at reaching the district finals.
* C2-3 at West Point-Beemer: Defending runner-up Yutan (18-3) will be a tough draw for either Oakland-Craig or GACC.
* C2-4 at Pender: Good heavens, it would be nice if these subdistricts could be competitively balanced. All five teams here are .500 or better, led by top-ranked BRLD and fourth-ranked Ponca. Expect one of the district final berth wild cards to be awarded to the runner-up.
* C2-5 at Wayne High: Cedar Catholic, sitting eighth in the points standings, could be in play for a wild card if the Trojans slip up against the winner of Wisner-Pilger and Lutheran High — which is a rematch from the opening weekend.
* C2-6 at O'Neill High: Creighton is the top seed and has five more regular-season wins than anyone else at this subdistrict, so it stands to reason that the Bulldogs could qualify for a district final for the second time in three years.
* C2-7 at David City Aquinas: Twin River has a tough draw with second-seeded Cross County (17-6) and top-seeded Shelby-Rising City (16-5).
* D1-3 at Norfolk Catholic: Elkhorn Valley and Howells-Dodge meet in the opening round in a battle of teams with double-digit wins, and the reward for the winner is likely a meeting with defending champion Humphrey/LHF.
* D1-4 at Ponca: Hartington-Newcastle, which qualified for state last season, is the third seed and would have to avenge regular-season losses to Allen and LCC to reach the district finals. It could well be the two ranked teams, the Eagles and Bears, deciding that district-final berth, although LCC is all but guaranteed a wild card.
* D1-5 at Neligh-Oakdale: There could be another battle of ranked teams to decide this subdistrict, too, with third-ranked Osmond and fifth-ranked West Holt — that is, if the Huskies don't stumble again versus third-seeded Niobrara/Verdigre. Like LCC, Osmond is all but guaranteed a wild card into the district-final round, but West Holt — currently sitting eighth — may not be so lucky.
* D2-4 at Wisner-Pilger: Randolph is the top seed and owns seven more wins than any other team in this subdistrict. However, second-seeded Wynot (6-15) played Randolph to within nine points in December.
* D2-5 at Battle Creek: Like the subdistrict that was just mentioned, there's a big disparity between the top two seeds here. Top-ranked Humphrey St. Francis is all but assured of a berth in the district finals, and its biggest challenger is Bloomfield (10-10).
* D2-6 at Tilden (Elkhorn Valley): O'Neill St. Mary's is the top seed in a bracket that consists of four Niobrara Valley Conference teams. The Cardinals have six more wins than second-seeded Elgin Public/Pope John.