I expect multiple revisions to my IHSA playoff projection.
I did not, however, expect these revisions.
Much of Week 9 speculation centers around the teams that enter the evening 4-4. What teams will upset the status quo by defeating a team with a better record? Which teams will fail to reach 5-4 despite having what appears to be a favorable matchup?
Usually the column of teams that fight their way into the draw against what appear to be tough odds is significant and last year’s playoffs produced double digit teams that fought the odds.
We had two early in the process on Friday: Brother Rice and Homewood-Flossmoor. And despite several close calls, the list never grew. The Crusaders and Vikings were the lone teams that fought their way in so to speak.
Conversely, there are usually a small handful of teams that fall victim to a spoiler. That list rarely moves from more than maybe two or three. That list, on the other hand, grew and kept growing over the course of Week 9. Stockton, Deerfield, DePaul Prep, Moline, Marion, Illini West and Hamilton County all were unable to lock in that fifth win as was expected when the evening began.
As such the possibility four-win teams continued to grow and we started the night with the projection producing two teams that were expected to be needed to fill the field, that number exploded to seven by the end of the evening. Those seven teams are Nazareth, Glenbrook South, Sterling, Plainfield North, Taft, Quincy Notre Dame and LaSalle-Peru.
Bremen then knocked out LaSalle-Peru by upsetting Hillcrest to earn its fifth victory.
Taft locked in the final spot in the qualifying field with a Saturday afternoon victory. Six four win teams made the field needing at least 48 points to secure the spot.
Here are the latest projected brackets with Saturday afternoon emphasis placed on the tiebreakers and adjusting which currently has Taft projected to win its Saturday afternoon to claim the final spot in the 256-team field.