05/24/2024
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By Sonny Jones

Bladen County basketball teams are in good spots in the first N.C. High School Athletic Association’s Ratings Percentage Index.

The East Bladen varsity boys and girls are ranked No. 9 in 2-A East. The West Bladen boys are ranked No. 13 and the West Bladen girls are No. 21. Basically, the top 32 ranked teams qualify for the state playoffs, although there can be exceptions near the bottom of the rankings.

The Ratings Percentage Index, or RPI, uses a formula that includes a teams winning percentage, the winning percentage of opponents and the winning percentage of opponents’ opponents. I tried to explain the formula once here, but vowed I would never write it again. I had a headache for a week after that column.

The East Bladen boys, 11-1, have an RPI of .592006, which includes a winning percentage of .916667, opponents’ winning percentage of .404882 and opponents’ opponents winning percentage of .592006. The Eagles are the highest-ranked team in the Southeastern Athletic Conference.

The West Bladen boys, 10-4, have an RPI of .553729, which includes a winning percentage of .714286, opponents’ winning percentage of .477090 and opponents’ opponents winning percentage of .553729. The Knights are the second-ranked team in the SAC.

Other SAC boys rankings and RPI are:
14. Red Springs – .551661
23. St. Pauls – .519631
28. Midway – .492066
33. Fairmont – .459194
48. Clinton – .390859

The East Bladen girls, 10-2, have an RPI of ..597796, which includes a winning percentage of ..833333, opponents’ winning percentage of .514009 and opponents’ opponents winning percentage of .473974. The Eagles are the third highest-ranked team in the Southeastern Athletic Conference.

The West Bladen girls, 8-3, have an RPI of ..505942, which includes a winning percentage of .727273, opponents’ winning percentage of .371074 and opponents’ opponents winning percentage of .464433. The Knights are the fourth highest-ranked team in the SAC.

Other SAC girls rankings and RPI are:
3. St. Pauls – .640901
7. Fairmont – .611245
22. Midway – .505783
24. Red Springs – .485145
29. Clinton – .464023

If you’re wondering why St. Pauls (7-3) is ranked higher than Fairmont (11-3) and East Bladen (10-2) even though the Bulldogs have a lower winning percentage it’s because of their non-conference opponents. St. Pauls’ opponents’ winning percentage is .679679, which is much higher than Fairmont’s (.542100) and East Bladen’s (.514009). RPI rewards playing a strong schedule.

There’s still six weeks remaining before state tournament brackets are released.

Click here for 2-A East boys brackets
Click here for 2-A East girls brackets

BOWLS, BOWLS, BOWLS

Not sure if I should be ashamed or proud, but still attempting to watch every bowl game. A couple of games might be difficult to find a replay. So far, I have watched 39 of 42 bowl games either live or on-demand. Going to make Monday the deadline so may not be enough hours in the day.

Games played: 42 (through Jan. 2)
Games watched live: 22
Games streamed: 17
Games to watch: 3 (Sun, Arizona, Citrus)

COTTON BOWL: Tulane 46, Southern California 45
(Played Monday, Jan. 2; watched Sunday, Jan. 8)
The Green Wave became a tidal wave in the final 4 minutes, scoring 16 points, including the game-winner with 9 seconds left to beat the eighth-ranked Trojans in a classic Cotton Bowl. Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams played like a Heisman Trophy winner for Southern Cal, throwing for 462 yards and 5 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Tulane’s Tyjae Spears burst onto the national scene with 205 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Tulane finished 11-2 this season after going 2-10 last season.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

• 1991 — Dean Smith collects his 700th career coaching victory as North Carolina routs Maryland 105-73. Smith is the sixth Division I basketball coach to reach the 700-win plateau and does so in the shortest time.

POTATO PICKS TO WATCH TODAY

• WOMEN’S HOCKEY: U-18 Worlds – United States vs. Finland, 10 a.m., NHLN

• NBA: Chicago at Boston, 7:30 p.m., NBATV

• NHL: Nashville at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., NHLN

• FOOTBALL: National championship – TCU vs. Georgia, 7:45 p.m., ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com.

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