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Swish Appeal Prep Poll of Polls 2014-2015 (week of March 8, 2015) - major changes

March blew in like a lion and swept away seven teams. It also produced a clear number one for the first time since this poll began.

Ali Patberg, Columbus North High School, Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year
Ali Patberg, Columbus North High School, Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year
Photo by Bob Corwin

Agreement at the very top

Undefeated Neumann-Goretti High School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)  now stands alone.  Previously the top spot was shared with Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, California) thanks to a stronger strength of schedule (perceived by two of the polls) compensating for a loss.  However,  a second one-point loss by Mater Dei to now #9 Chaminade (West Hills, California) was too much to maintain that lofty ranking.  With California's playoffs still underway, there is still further opportunity for those schools to move up, or down, before the month ends.

The road is now open for Neumann-Goretti to claim the mythical national high school championship (represented by these four polls) by running its undefeated record to finish 29-0 (three more games as of this posting).

As to its resume, the team made an early season trip to the DC area where it most notably beat Paul VI (#10 below).  The team also swept through the Philadelphia Catholic League.  It must yet lock up the Pennsylvania 2A title.  There, Neumann-Goretti may have to again face Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School (out of the Pittsburgh area) which beat them in the title game last year.   A loss in the playoffs would knock the Philadelphia school down several rungs as several one-loss teams have played more challenging schedules.

What makes Neumann-Goretti so impressive as to its roster is superior athleticism, great size (6-9, 6-4) and at least seven future division one players (four likely BCS [two already so signed]).

Further down the list

Cypress Woods and Columbus North made significant jumps in winning their respective state large class championships.   Thanks to beating Mater Dei for a second time this year, Chaminade checked in at a lofty #9.  You will notice a big drop in support (poll agreement) after #12 (Columbus North).  All told, including ties, fives schools joined the list and seven dropped out from our prior posting.

Question 1 - so who should be number two:  quality wins versus losses

When should a quality win be worth more than a loss?  Blackman High School has two losses (to Mater Dei and previously ranked Potter's House of Jacksonville, Florida).  Against that, the team has nine wins over teams that appeared in one or more of the national polls, three being against teams currently in the top ten of this poll.

Yet one poll (USA Today) has them at #6, probably based on needing two overtimes to defeat Oakland (of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, previously ranked nationally) for the fifth time in the State Final along with perception that winning Texas (Cypress Woods) and Florida (Dillard, which finished below Blackman at the Nike Tournament of Champions) with only one loss are bigger accomplishments.

Also St. Mary's and Myers Park only have one loss to date, each is to two-loss Blackman.  So go judge whether one extra loss by Blackman does or does not outweigh beating St. Mary's of Stockton and Myers Park plus finishing higher than Dillard in the same division at the Nike Tournament of Champions!

Question 2 - in rankings should season long resume weigh more or less than how a season concludes?

Chicago's Whitney Young High School (#24 below) plays a national schedule just about every year.  This year was no exception.  The team won an elite section at the Title IX in DC plus traveled to Michigan where it triumphed over Benton Harbor.  Indiana power Heritage Christian (#19-22 below) took one of its two losses to Whitney Young.

The Dolphins lost the first game and last game (by a point) of the year going 28-2.  Two polls maintained them as ranked while the other two (see individual polls) dropped them out entirely upon this second (and season concluding) loss.  You can judge what's the right course of action.  Those doing the rankings can't agree.

A few more shifts still possible

With California and Pennsylvania sill not finished, a few more significant changes could still occur near the top in the next poll (hopefully in about two weeks) and there are numerous other states still outstanding.

The system

The four national polls (links below) were reviewed and 25 points assigned to the team ranked first down to one point for a team ranked 25th.  Then the points were added up (maximum score 100) to create the ranking order.

Here are the links to the individual polls:

Blue Star Media: MARCHING ORDERS: Illinois, Texas schools enter Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls' basketball rankings; No. 1 Neumann-Goretti (PA)

ESPN: espnW 25 Power Rankings - ESPN

MaxPreps: MaxPreps Top 25 national high school girls basketball rankings - MaxPreps

USA Today: Girls Varsity Basketball Expert Rankings | USA Today High School Sports

Swish Appeal Prep Poll of Polls (from polls released week of March 8, 2015)

1 Neumann-Goretti High School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 100 (4 first place) (#1-2)

2-3 Blackman High School (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) 92 (#4)

2-3 St. Mary's High School (Stockton, California) 92 (#3)

4 Cypress Woods High School (Cypress, Texas) 84 (#11)

5 Myers Park High School (Charlotte, North Carolina) 76 (#6)

6 Dillard High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) 68 (#12)

7-8 Elizabethtown High School (Elizabethtown, Kentucky) 67 (#8-10)

7-8 Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, California) 67 (#1-2)

9 Chaminade College Prep School (West Hills, CA) 65 (NR)

10 Paul VI High School (Fairfax, Virginia) 62 (#14)

11 Miami Country Day School (Miami, Florida) 60 (#8-10)

12 Columbus North High School (Columbus, Indiana) 57 (#21)

13 Marian High School (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan) 38 (#16)

14 Hopkins High School (Minnetonka, Minnesota) 35 (#15)

15 Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Washington) 32 (#18-19)

16 Poly (Long Beach, California) 29 (#8-10)

17 Cumberland Valley High School (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) 26 (#22-23)

18 Eastview High School (Apple Valley, Minnesota) 24 (#20)

19-22 Braintree High School (Braintree, Massachusetts) 21 (#25-28)

19-22 Capital Prep (Hartford. Connecticut) 21 (#25-28)

19-22 Heritage Christian School (Indianapolis, Indiana) 21 (NR)

19-22 Olive Branch High School (Olive Branch, Mississippi) 21 (#22-23)

23 Manasquan High School (Manasquan, New Jersey) 17 (#NR)

24 Whitney Young High School (Chicago, Illinois) 16 (#5)

25-26 Archbishop Alter High School (Kettering, Ohio) 15 (NR)

25-26 Ursuline Academy (Wilmington, Delaware) 15 (NR)

Dropped out:

Bedford North Lawrence High School (Bedford, Indiana) (#7)

Desert Vista High School (Phoenix, Arizona) (#17)

Holy Innocents' Episcopal School (Atlanta, Georgia) (#25-28)

Lawrence North High School (Indianapolis, Indiana) (#18-19)

Northwest Guilford High School (Greensboro, North Carolina) (#25-28)

Ridgeway High School (Memphis, Tennessee) (#13)

St. Rose High School (Belmar, New Jersey) (#24)

Notes:

Teams with location are listed according to number of points garnered with prior poll standing in parenthesis.  Where there are ties, teams are listed alphabetically. NR stands for "not ranked" in last poll.  Again, for more details on each team, see the four polls individually.   Hopefully, our next update will be posted in about two weeks depending on the publication of the individual polls.