Boys Basketball – 2016 SCT Watch
The Shore Conference Tournament is set to be seeded Sunday afternoon and after the cutoff came and passed on Saturday, there officially 29 teams in this year's field.
More than the sheer number of teams that are actually in the field, the characteristic that stands out about this collection of teams is how many good teams there are. There may be tournaments in past years with more teams that were legitimate threats to win the whole thing, but this year has a long list of schools that would be quarterfinal-worthy in most years.
Another unique aspect of this year is that this is probably the closest call at the No. 1 spot in a long time. There are two Shore Conference squads that have not lost to a team in the conference and both are in the thick of the state top 20. Fortunately for the two teams, both will get byes, regardless of which order the seeding committe decides to go with.
Before getting the the projections, a reminder that this list is done based on precedent and criteria, the first of which is overall resume, followed by head-to-head record and common opponents. If two teams seeded next to one another have a head-to-head matchup or common opponents to evaluate, those are used to break the tie. If two teams are not seeded side-by-side, head-to-head matchups and common opponents are part of the evaluation but not an over-riding factor.
Withou further ado, the final projection of the SCT seeds.
Updated Saturday, Feb. 13
1. Mater Dei Prep (20-1, 14-0)
Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), Point Beach (2), Ranney (2), St. Rose (2)
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Perth Amboy Tech, vs. Neptune, vs. St. Peter’s Prep, vs. St. Joseph’s Montvale, Monmouth, vs. Notre Dame
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Pope John
Why They’re Here: In the end, Mater Dei has just been too good for too long to deny. The 12-point win over a 19-win Notre Dame team on Saturday sealed the deal, but the body of work before Saturday was No. 1 worthy anyway.
2. Christian Brothers Academy (18-3, 13-0)
Division Wins: Freehold Boro (2), Freehold Twp. (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), Marlboro (2), Middletown South (2), at Middletown North
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Iona Prep, vs. Trenton Central, Moses Brown (R.I.), vs. Bergen Catholic, vs. East Orange
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Don Bosco, vs. St. Anthony, vs. St. Augustine
Why They’re Here: It's hard to fault the Colts if they do indeed have to settle for the No. 2 seed. They lost to three top 20 opponents, including two undefeated teams ranked in the top six in the state (St. Anthony, St. Augustine).
3. Manasquan (19-2, 11-1)
Division Wins: Holmdel (2), Monmouth (2), Raritan (2), St. John Vianney (2), Shore (2), Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Lacey, vs. Toms River East, vs. Donovan Catholic, at Toms River North, Allentown, vs. Point Beach, at Neptune, at St. Rose
Non-Division Losses: Patrick School
Why They’re Here: Manasquan squeaked by St. Rose on the road on Saturday, so the Warriors maintain their lock on the No. 3 seed considering a head-to-head win over Toms River North. The close call at St. Rose could embolden Ranney, which beat St. Rose twice, including a close call of their own on the road.
4. Toms River North (19-2, 14-0)
Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Jackson Memorial (2), Lacey (2), Southern (2), Toms River East (2), Toms River South (2)
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Middletown South, Marlboro, Freehold Twp., at Manalapan, vs. Rancocas Valley
Non-Division Losses: Manasquan, Union
Why They’re Here: As a potentially unbeaten division champion with a nice collection of non-divisional wins, the Mariners have the inside track at the No. 4 seed. Rumson has a more spectacular resume, but Toms River North has been a little more consistent and deserves the benefit of the doubt as a 19-2 division champion.
5. Rumson-Fair Haven (17-4, 10-2)
Division Wins: Holmdel (2), Monmouth (2), Raritan (2), Shore (2), Manasquan, at St. John Vianney
Division Losses: At Manasquan, St. John Vianney
Non-Division Wins: Fort Hamilton (N.Y.), Freehold Twp., vs. Gill St. Bernard’s, at Middletown South, vs. Barringer, Red Bank, Middletown North
Non-Division Losses: Colts Neck, Red Bank Catholic
Why They’re Here: This is probably going to be the most controversial seeding in this projection because Rumson recently lost to a team that is not in the tournament (Red Bank Catholic) and another team that is seeded two spots behind the Bulldogs (Colts Neck). Overall, however, Rumson has some of the best wins of any team in the field, certainly outside of the top two teams. Both losses with Brendan Barry on the court came down to the final possession and the Colts Neck loss was in double overtime and in December. If the two teams were seeded next to one another, Colts Neck would get the nod, but the defending SCT champs are protected by the No. 6 team.
6. Ranney (18-2, 12-2)
Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), Point Beach (2), St. Rose (2)
Division Losses: Mater Dei (2)
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Middletown North, vs. Sayreville, at Red Bank, Foundation Charter, Doane Academy, at Raritan
Non-Division Losses: None
Why They’re Here: The trumpets will sound against the Panthers because of the lack of a win over a team ranked in the top 10, however, quantity counts too. Ranney's only two losses are to the No. 1 team and the Panthers have four quality non-division wins to go with divisional sweeps of St. Rose and Point Beach. Although Colts Neck's win over Rumson is much better than Ranney's best win, the Panthers own an edge in common opponents. Ranney went 3-0 against Red Bank and Point Beach, while Colts Neck went 1-2 against those two teams and barely got by Red Bank in that one win.
7. Colts Neck (16-3, 12-2)
Division Wins: Matawan (2), Neptune (2), Ocean (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), Wall (2), Long Branch, at Red Bank
Division Losses: At Long Branch, Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Fort Hamilton (N.Y.), at Rumson-Fair Haven, Brick Memorial, Middletown South
Non-Division Losses: At Point Beach
Why They’re Here: There will be a tough debate for the five-through-eight seeds, and Colts Neck has a case to be the No. 5. The Cougars have won nine in a row, they are an outright division champion, they have a win over the defending SCT champion on the road and they are 7-3 against the field. Common opponents will hurt if it is a matter of jumping Ranney, but that head-to-head win over Rumson in December might be enough to sway to committee to stick Colts Neck in the top five.
8. Lakewood (16-4, 13-1)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Central (2), Donovan Catholic (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Pinelands (2), Point Boro (2), Manchester
Division Losses: At Manchester
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Bartram (Pa.), vs. Paul VI, vs. Cherry Hill West
Non-Division Losses: At Trenton Catholic, vs. Westfield, vs. Colonia
Why They’re Here: The Piners played a tough non-conference schedule, but did not manage a win against the teams on that schedule that are unquestionably good. Paul VI and Cherry Hill West are both quality opponents, but it's hard to know to what degree. Westfield and Trenton Catholic, meanwhile, have had big seasons and Lakewood nearly pulled off a win over one of them. The division title should give them the nod over Freehold Township for the all-important eighth seed, but Colts Neck's win over Rumson does come into play with respect to the No. 7 seed.
9. Freehold Township (15-7, 10-4)
Division Wins: Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), Middletown South (2), Marlboro, Middletown North
Division Losses: CBA (2), at Marlboro, at Middletown North
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Wall, vs. Manchester, vs. Donovan Catholic, at Long Branch, at Holmdel
Non-Division Losses: At Toms River North, at Rumson-Fair Haven, vs. Cherry Hill East
Why They’re Here: The Patriots could have afforded a loss to CBA Saturday and still grabbed the No. 8 seed, but losing to Marlboro Friday means the Patriots should be on the road in a potential round of 16 game. Wins over Manchester and Long Branch will keep Freehold Township from falling any further.
10. Manchester (15-5, 11-3)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Central (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Point Boro (2), Donovan Catholic, Lakewood, at Pinelands
Division Losses: Donovan Catholic, at Lakewood, Pinelands
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Jackson Memorial, vs. Marlboro, vs. Clayton, at Lacey
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Freehold Twp., vs. East Brunswick
Why They’re Here: Despite a loss to Lakewood on Friday, the Hawks have still proven to be top-10 worthy with that first win over Lakewood along with an 8-3 record against the field. If there is one thing weighing Manchester down, it is a loss to a Pinelands team that is not in the tournament.
11. Long Branch (14-6, 11-3)
Division Wins: Neptune (2), Ocean (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), Wall (2), Colts Neck, Matawan, at Red Bank
Division Losses: At Colts Neck, at Matawan, Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Bloomfield Tech, St. John Vianney, at Freehold Boro
Non-Division Losses: At Neptune, vs. Paterson-Kennedy, Freehold Twp.
Why They’re Here: The Green Wave also has a loss to a team not in the tournament (Neptune) and beat the No. 7 team on the board, which gives Long Branch a case to be No. 10 ahead of Manchester. The Hawks get the nod, however, as Long Branch's record against the field is slightly worse at 6-4.
12. Point Pleasant Beach (13-9, 9-5)
Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), at St. Rose
Division Losses: Mater Dei (2), Ranney (2), St. Rose
Non-Division Wins: Vs. St. Peter’s (N.Y.), Colts Neck, vs. Bloomfield Tech, Point Boro
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Monsignor Scanlan (N.Y.), vs. Manasquan, vs. Plainfield, vs. Ewing
Why They’re Here: The Garnet Gulls got off to a 2-5 start and while that could be classified as “rocky”, those losses came against Mater Dei, Ranney, St. Rose, Manasquan and Monsignor Scanlan of the Bronx. Since that rough patch, Point Beach is 11-4 with wins over St. Rose and Colts Neck. Long Branch gets the edge because it also beat Colts Neck and the win over St. John Vianney carries slightly more weight than Point Beach's win over St. Rose.
13. Toms River East (13-5, 10-4)
Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Lacey (2), Toms River South (2), Jackson Memorial, at Southern
Division Losses: Toms River North (2), at Jackson Memorial, Southern
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Point Boro, vs. Red Bank Catholic, vs Middletown North
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Manasquan
Why They’re Here: Toms River East has been in just about every game this year, with an 89-79 loss to Toms River North being the only double-digit defeat on the Raiders’ profile. They also have wins over Southern, Point Boro and Middletown North, plus the win over a Red Bank Catholic team that barely missed the tournament and also beat Rumson.
14. Southern (14-7, 10-4)
Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Toms River South (2), Jackson Memorial (2), Lacey (2), Brick, at Toms River East, Toms River South
Division Losses: Toms River North (2), at Brick, Toms River East
Non-Division Wins: Absegami, Holy Spirit, Millville, Newark Arts
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Wildwood Catholic, Bergen Catholic, vs. Eastern
Why They’re Here: Southern and Toms River East essentially have the same resume so it’s hard to find anything to separate the two teams from one another. While Toms River East has a win over Middletown North, Southern can answer with a win over Holy Spirit. While Southern has a loss to Brick, Toms River East dropped a game against Jackson Memorial. Southern has played a slightly tougher non-division schedule, while Toms River East’s wins over Point Boro and RBC are probably better than Southern’s wins over Absegami and Millville. It’s splitting hairs, so Southern comes in second based on the more recent of the two head-to-head meetings – both of which were very close games.
15. Middletown North (13-8, 9-4)
Division Wins: Freehold Boro (2), Marlboro (2), Middletown South (2), Howell, Freehold Twp., Manalapan, at Marlboro
Division Losses: CBA, at Howell, at Freehold Twp., at Manalapan
Non-Division Wins: At Shore, vs. Freehold Boro, vs. Shore, Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Ranney, Jackson Memorial, vs. Toms River East, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Why They’re Here: If consistency is your cup of tea, there are probably better teams to rank No. 15 than Middletown North, but ceiling should be a big deal at this point because it only takes one good game to spring an upset in a tournament setting. The Lions have some warts – losses to Howell, Manalapan and Jackson Memorial – but they have also have a win over Freehold Township. With a young roster that still has some upside, Middletown North could serve as a tough draw.
16. Marlboro (13-7, 9-5)
Division Wins: Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), Middletown South (2), Freehold Twp.
Division Losses: CBA (2), Middletown North (2), at Freehold Twp.
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Toms River South, Shore, at Wall, at St. John Vianney
Non-Division Losses: At Toms River North, vs. Manchester
Why They’re Here: If not for two losses to Middletown North, Marlboro would have a decent case to go three or four spots higher than this. Instead, Friday's win over Freehold Township along with an earlier win over St. John Vianney should guarantee a first-round home game, which is still a significant accomplishment. It also shows that the Mustangs are still a viable opponent without Matt Dean, who is out with a knee injury.
17. St. John Vianney (13-8, 8-4)
Division Wins: Monmouth (2), Raritan (2), Shore (2), Holmdel, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), at Holmdel, Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Wins: Bayonne, vs. Pemberton, St. Rose, at Matawan, at Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Bergen Catholic, vs. Holy Spirit, at Long Branch, Marlboro
Why They’re Here: The Lancers took care of business this week to maximize their potential seed, but they are probably going to come up short of a home game thanks to the loss against Marlboro. The bigger problem for Vianney is that the Lancers don't have a signature win against a Shore Conference opponent (the win over Rumson came when Brendan Barry was hurt) although a win over Pemberton is noteworthy considering the Hornets are the No. 2 seed in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III bracket.
18. St. Rose (13-9, 9-5)
Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), at Point Beach
Division Losses: Mater Dei (2), Ranney (2), Point Beach
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Brick Memorial, at Holmdel, Raritan, Donovan Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Red Bank Catholic, vs. Point Boro, at St. John Vianney, Manasquan
Why They’re Here: The seeding begins to get controversial again at this spot, although this is also the position in the seeding in which it might actually be beneficial to drop to No. 19 or 20 in order to avoid a potential round-of-16 game at either CBA or Mater Dei. St. Rose gets the good or bad fortune of being No. 18 in the projection based on a solid performance outside the division, a win over Point Beach and a good showing in a home loss to No. 3 Manasquan the day before the seeding.
19. Donovan Catholic (12-8, 10-4)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Central (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Point Boro (2), at Manchester, at Pinelands
Division Losses: Lakewood (2), Manchester, at Pinelands
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Brick Memorial, vs. Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Manasquan, vs. Freehold Twp., vs. Ridge, at St. Rose
Why They’re Here: After coasting out to a 10-4 start, the Griffins are 2-4 in their last six, which won't be a great look going into the tournament. They pulled out a win over Central Friday to get on track and now have a 5-6 record against the field, which is pretty good at this point on the list. They also lost to a number of quality opponents like Manasquan, Freehold Township, Lakewood, Manchester and Ridge, so they are at tested, at the very least.
20. Jackson Memorial (9-9, 7-7)
Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Lacey (2), at Brick, Toms River East, at Toms River South
Division Losses: Southern (2), Toms River North (2), Brick, at Toms River East, Toms River South
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Middletown South, at Middletown North
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Manchester, vs. Wall
Why They’re Here: The Jaguars are a team that has some good wins to go along with a couple of bad losses. While there are teams in the tournament that have lost to teams on the outside, no other team in the tournament lost to either Wall or Toms River South. On the bright side, Jackson Memorial has wins over Toms River East, Brick and Middletown North, the latter of which is key in getting the Jaguars to No. 20 in front of the next team on the list.
21. Red Bank (11-10, 7-7)
Division Wins: Wall (2), at Colts Neck, at Long Branch, Matawan, Ocean, Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: Neptune (2), Colts Neck, Long Branch, at Matawan, at Ocean, at Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Wins: Monmouth, Central, at Freehold Boro, Shore
Non-Division Losses: Ranney, at Rumson-Fair Haven, at Middletown North
Why They’re Here: The Bucs are one of the harder teams in the field to seed. They have three losses against teams that did not make the tournament, which is more than any team in this year's field, but they also have wins over both Colts Neck and Long Branch. Like Donovan Catholic, Red Bank has lost to some quality opponents, but the Bucs also lack an impact win out of the division and the losses to Neptune and the additional loss to Red Bank Catholic make it at least questionable as to whether they should go ahead of Donovan Catholic. Throw in a loss to a Middletown North team that Jackson Memorial beat, and a slip to the 20's is a possibility.
22. Holmdel (10-9, 6-6)
Division Wins: Monmouth (2), Shore (2), Raritan, at St. John Vianney
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), at Raritan, St. John Vianney
Non-Division Wins: Vs. A.L. Johnson, at Manalapan, Middletown South, Matawan
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Union, St. Rose, Freehold Twp.
Why They’re Here: On top of wins over Raritan, St. John Vianney and Matawan, Holmdel was competitive in its two losses to Rumson and have a couple of losses to quality non-divisional opponents in Union and Freehold Township. The Hornets knocked off Red Bank as a No. 15 seed in the Central Jersey Group III first round last year, so there is an underdog edge about them, especially after playing a solid regular-season schedule.
23. Raritan (10-10, 5-7)
Division Wins: Monmouth (2), Shore (2), Holmdel
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), St. John Vianney (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), at Holmdel
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Steinert, vs. Barnegat, Marion P. Thomas, at Bridgewater-Raritan, Roselle Park
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Roselle Catholic, Ranney, at St. Rose
Why They’re Here: Holmdel gets the nod over Raritan because of a win over St. John Vianney and a better position in the division standings, although Raritan's win over Bridgewater-Raritan is probably the best non-division win between the two teams. The Rockets could suffer from a 1-9 mark against teams in the field, but they did challenge themselves with games against Roselle Catholic and Ranney, the latter of which was just a four-point game.
24. Matawan (11-11, 7-7)
Division Wins: Neptune (2), Wall (2), at Long Branch, at Ocean, Red Bank
Division Losses: Colts Neck (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), at Long Branch, Ocean, Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: Edison, Tottenville (N.Y.), South Plainfield, at Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Losses: Old Bridge (2), St. John Vianney, at Holmdel
Why They're Here: After qualifying with a win over Jackson Liberty on Friday, Matawan is likely to slide in ahead of Ocean because of a superior division record, plus a win over No. 11 Long Branch. The bad news for Matawan is that the Huskies are 3-5 since an 8-6 start to the season.
25. Ocean (12-9, 6-8)
Division Wins: Wall (2), Matawan, Neptune, Red Bank, Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: Colts Neck (2), Long Branch (2), Matawan, at Neptune, at Red Bank, at Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Carteret, vs. Irvington, Howell, Monmouth, Brick, Barnegat
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Old Bridge
Why They’re Here: The Spartans made out alright with both Red Bank and Matawan breaking into the field, giving Ocean three wins against SCT teams. A lack of a win over Long Branch or Colts Neck hurt the Spartans when compared with the other B North teams, but a head-to-head win over Brick will keep them far from the bottom.
26. Brick (13-8, 8-6)
Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Lacey (2), Toms River South (2), at Jackson Memorial, Southern
Division Losses: Toms River East (2), Toms River North (2), Jackson Memorial, at Southern
Non-Division Wins: At Monroe, Pinelands, Keansburg, Barnegat, Academy Charter
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Perth Amboy, at Ocean
Why They’re Here: The Green Dragons will compete in the SCT for the first time in nine years and they have a couple of noteworthy wins over Southern and Monroe to potentially climb higher. The only problem with both of those wins is that they came in December and the Green Dragons have since lost to Jackson Memorial and Ocean – both of whom are higher in this version of the mock seeding. On the plus side, they don't have any terrible losses.
27. Point Pleasant Boro (10-9, 7-7)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Pinelands (2), Central
Division Losses: Donovan Catholic (2), Lakewood (2), Manchester (2), at Central
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Lacey, vs. St. Rose, at Howell
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Toms River East, at Point Beach
Why They’re Here: Point Boro already won what was essentially an SCT play-in game against Pinelands on Friday and is in the tournament as a team that has not slipped up against a Shore Conference squad outside the field. On the down side, Point Boro is just 2-9 against the field and has been playing without John Venturi, although the Panthers seem to be adjusting to life without their top scoring option.
28. Central (11-11, 5-9)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Jackson Liberty, Pinelands, Point Boro
Division Losses: Donovan Catholic (2), Lakewood (2), Manchester (2), at Jackson Liberty, at Pinelands, at Point Boro
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Freehold Boro, at Wall, Toms River South, vs. North Brunswick, Howell, ACIT
Non-Division Losses: At Red Bank, vs. Sayreville
Why They're Here: The Golden Eagles secured a big win over Howell on Wednesday and after a loss to Donovan Catholic on Friday, they handled Atlantic Tech Saturday to get in. Central is the only team in the field to lose to Jackson Liberty and their only win over a team in the field was the second meeting against Point Boro. Since Central finished two games behind Point Boro in the B South standings, that win won't do anything more than keep Central out of the last spot.
29. Henry Hudson (10-10, 4-10)
Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Keansburg (2)
Division Losses: Keyport (2), Mater Dei (2), Point Beach (2), St. Rose (2), Ranney (2)
Non-Division Wins: Vs. South Amboy, vs. South River, Academy for Urban Leadership (2), Calvary Academy, Barack Obama Academy
Non-Division Losses: None
Why They're Here: The Admirals are in the tournament for the first time in 10 years and although it is pretty clear that their resume is lacking compared to other teams in the field, it's worth noting that Class B Central is far better than it has been in past years. Still, two loses to Keyport ensure that the Admirals will be working out of the last spot, but competitive halves against both Ranney and Point Beach suggest that perhaps they will bring the fight to a team like Toms River North or Rumson-Fair Haven.