North Coast Section playoffs are coming up quick. With two weeks left in the regular season, it’s time to take a quick look at the playoff picture. I’ve broken down Divisions I-IV into teams that have already qualified and teams needing win(s) in the final two weeks. Keep in mind that there’s no rhyme or reason to the order the teams are listed. I’ll update this playoff picture next week and might take a stab at playoff seeding then.
Qualifiers (11): De La Salle, James Logan, San Ramon Valley, Monte Vista, California, Freedom, Pittsburg, Deer Valley, Antioch, Berkeley, Irvington
On the bubble (7): Amador Valley, Foothill, Granada, Heritage, Castro Valley, Santa Rosa, Mission San Jose
The breakdown: As of now, the potential is there to complete a 16-team bracket but it seems likely that at least the top 2-3 seeds will end up getting byes. Amador Valley and Foothill are at .500 overall and in league, so they’ll both need to split their remaining two games. If both teams lose this week, their season finale against each other could be very, very interesting. The path is tougher for Amador, which plays at Monte Vista this week while Foothill has Livermore. Granada would have to win both of its remaining games against Cal and Livermore to be eligible. Heritage needs one more win for a .500 league mark, but that win would have to come over Pittsburg or Deer Valley. Santa Rosa, which hasn’t played a single Division I school this year, needs to win out to be eligible. Castro Valley needs one more league win (over either Hayward and Berkeley) to qualify. Irvington is technically eligible (thanks to a win over Mission San Jose, the Vikings will be at least .500 vs. Division I teams), but it was in a similar situation last year and didn’t apply. That could happen again. Mission San Jose must beat Logan for a .500 record – not likely. One other interesting note — Antioch could go winless in BVAL play and still make the playoffs because it won all five of its nonleague games.
Qualifiers (13): Clayton Valley, Livermore, Dublin, Las Lomas, Concord, Northgate, American, Newark Memorial, Washington, Casa Grande, Rancho Cotate, Arroyo, Mt. Eden
On the bubble (8): College Park, Maria Carrillo, Windsor, Pinole Valley, Richmond, Hayward, Alameda, San Lorenzo
The breakdown: Now a Division II school, Livermore is eligible thanks to a win over Hayward (the only Division II school it played). It’s a similar story for Las Lomas, which beat Dublin and lost to Northgate for a .500 record against D-II opponents. Maria Carrillo needs wins in its final two games (and they are winnable). Defending champ Windsor also needs to win out. Pinole Valley needs a split against St. Mary’s and Valley Christian (which should be doable). Hayward is in a similar situation needing a win against either Castro Valley or Encinal to be eligible. Richmond would be eligible with a .500 league record if it beats Kennedy and DeAnza, but I doubt the Oilers would be selected in a bracket that should fill up. I’m having trouble figuring out if Alameda can count Hillsdale-San Mateo as a D-II opponent. Even if they could, the Hornets need to win out and I think they’d be left out anyways. San Lorenzo needs to win out as well for a .500 league mark, but they too would probably be on the outside looking in if eligible.
Qualifiers (16): Marin Catholic, Cardinal Newman, Campolindo, El Cerrito, Acalanes, Eureka, Novato, Tamalpais, Terra Linda, Analy, Petaluma, Sonoma Valley, Hercules, Bishop O’Dowd, Encinal, Tennyson
On the bubble (5): Miramonte, Alhambra, Ygnacio Valley, Kennedy-Fremont, Piner
The breakdown: There are already 16 eligible teams, so for those needing a win or two to be eligible, there’s no guarantee they’ll be selected. Miramonte and Alhambra each need one more win. If both lose this week, they play each other in Week 10 with playoff eligibility on the line for both. If Miramonte gets eligible, I think they stand a great shot at being selected. It’s a little more iffy for Alhambra (especially if it goes 4-6 overall) but definitely possible. Ygnacio Valley can go over .500 in league by winning out, but that seems tough. Kennedy-Fremont needs to beat either American or Newark to be eligible. Piner must win out. There’s also a chance we may not see Encinal in the playoffs this year. The Jets, who have been contenders in this division for years, have a 2-1 record against D-III teams, so they are eligible. But if they lose to both San Leandro and Hayward to close the regular season, they’d be just 3-7 overall (I have a hunch they’ll win at least one of those games and make it, though).
Qualifiers (15): Arcata, Fortuna, Justin-Siena, San Marin, Moreau Catholic, Fort Bragg, Middletown, St. Helena, Willits, Salesian, St. Mary’s, Valley Christian, Kennedy-Richmond, Piedmont, Drake
On the bubble (2): Clear Lake, Healdsburg
The breakdown: Clear Lake needs one more win. Healdsburg can get to 2-1 against D-IV teams with a win over El Molino in its final game.