When I called several area coaches to get their thoughts on the postseason boys’ basketball pairings released Sunday, I was fed the typical lines these stories yield. Most were some variation of the following:
“Basketball in this area is so tough, we’re going to have to be playing good basketball no matter who we’re matched up against. … The sectional is wide open. Every team is capable.”
These comments are predictable and safe; no coach is going to insult a future opponent. But they’re also true for Southern Indiana Athletic Conference schools — and the area teams that will be playing them in the postseason.
According to John Harrell’s Indiana High School Basketball website, the SIAC has the best nonconference record of any league in the state, at 63-21. The Big Eight is 52-51 in nonconference play, while the Pocket Athletic Conference is 50-59.
This is solid proof of the SIAC’s strength this season, but it doesn’t account for difficulty of schedule. The Sagarin ratings, which are broken down by conference here, do.
With this metric, the SIAC is still one of the deepest leagues in the state. The Metropolitan Conference, home of the big-school powerhouses in Indianapolis, has eight teams in the Sagarin top 100. The Hoosier Crossroads Conference has seven, and the SIAC, the Northern Indiana Conference and Duneland Conference have six each.
That puts the SIAC among the elite conferences in the state, and the league concentrated in the Evansville area will have the opportunity to flex its muscles in the postseason.
The SIAC is guaranteed a regional qualifier in the 4A sectional at North High School, as all five teams are conference members.
In the 3A Princeton Sectional, three-time defending champion Bosse (12-6) is considered the favorite with fellow SIAC team Memorial (12-6) and Princeton (15-6) the toughest challengers.
The final SIAC team, Mater Dei (11-8), is part of a balanced 2A sectional at Boonville.
In the next couple of weeks, we’ll see if the SIAC can carry its regular-season strength into tournament season.