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The best two teams in section 8AA by a large measurement will be forced to meet in the sub-section finals this season, while a team from the southern half of the section will get a free path to the final without having to face either Perham or Pelican Rapids. Bob Williams/FOCUS

Class 2A basketball playoffs underway

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The No. 1 team in Class 2A, the Braham Bombers (25-1) kick off Section 7-2A playoffs tonight as they take on the Rush City Tigers (8-13) in Braham. The two teams met in Rush City in January with Braham winning 75-41. February's meeting in Braham was far uglier with the Bombers surpassing the century mark in a 102-41 blowout.

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Braham defeated Rush City for the third time this season. This time 77-23 Wednesday evening.

Braham will face the winner of the Aitkin Gobblers (9-17) and the Moose Lake-Middle River Rebels (14-12).

A surprising statistic is Braham's QRF ranking where they are ranked 12th, even with the No. 1 ranking in the polls.

Pelican Rapids in the No. 1 team in the Class 2A QRF. Perham is second by a mere half a point: 141.1-140.6. Braham's ranking is 116.9.

*The Quality Results Formula (QRF) was created to try and rank teams from different parts of the state.

Each game is given an individual QRF (iQRF) based on three things (listed in order of importance) Win or Loss, Opponent wins and Class differential between the teams.

Logically, the more wins an opponent has, the higher an opponent's Class is, and the more you win by, the higher your iQRF is for that game.

When all of a team's iQRF's are added together and divided by the number of games played, you come up with a team's QRF. Only in-state games count.

This number is then compared to other teams in the state to come up with an overall ranking. The QRF ranking should only be used to compare teams within the same Class. Cross-Class comparisons are not comparing apples to apples.

*Courtesy minnesotascores.net

The QRF has been used in the past year for seeding purposes, but not without its share of controversy, as can be seen on the minnesotascores.net forum. (See link provided)

In prior years, seeding was based on Section coaches voting, which would have been interesting this year trying to determine if Perham or Pelican Rapids should be the top seed in Section 8AA.

I brought up the two teams in a recent live chat with the creators of the QRF February 29, specifically, how close the QRF totals were between the Vikings and Yellowjackets. Perham was then ranked No. 1 and Pelican Rapids was No. 2.

The reply received was in defense of the QRF for providing an actual measurement, rather than creating a scenario that might cause Section 8AA coaches to pull their hair out between the two clubs.

Overall records: Perham (23-2) Pelican Rapids (23-3)

Losses:

Pelican Rapids (3): at then No. 2-ranked 2A Perham 51-42; at 4A Moorhead 70-66 and at 4A Minnetonka 86-66 in a game played at Target Center.

Perham (2): at then No. 3-1A Ellsworth 71-57 in Worthington and at then No. 6-2A Pelican Rapids 51-48, in a game Perham led up to the final two minutes of the game when Pelican Rapids rallied for the victory.

Both teams have records of 16-1 in the Section, with the losses, obviously, coming from each other on the opponent's home floor.

Most other statistics between the two clubs are similar, other than points per game, where the differing styles of the teams tends to show. Perham will play tenacious defense and make it nearly impossible for teams to score at times; where Pelican Rapids has an arsenal of big men and scoring threats and lead the section in points per game.

The Vikings average 77.3 ppg and give up an average of 53.4. Perham leads Section 8AA defensively in allowing the least points per game among the 15 teams. The Yellowjackets allow 43.0 ppg and score 60.5. When Perham and Pelican meet it is literally the immovable object meeting the unstoppable force.

Given the odd number of teams (15) in Section 8AA another anomaly appears in that the No. 1 seed in the northern sub-section Crosby-Ironton gets a day off on Thursday with a bye. They await the winner of No. 5 Crookston and No. 4 Warroad.

Crosby Ironton is 16-10 overall with a QRF of 93.7 and a distant tie for 33rd in comparison to the QRF #1 Vikings and #2 Yellowjackets.

Perham opened their season with a 54-32 victory at Crosby-Ironton. The Rangers and Vikings did not meet this season.

The bye seems to be luck of geography more than team performance. A shot at the section title is not much different. It is doubtful whether any team from the opposing sub-section could defeat Perham or Pelican Rapids on a neutral floor and highly improbable should they be forced to meet either team in the opposing gymnasium.

On paper, the proper Section 8AA final -- if seeding was established outside of the breakdown for sub-sections -- would be Perham versus Pelican Rapids, assuming seeding played out as expected.

That section final is an impossibility as the top-two 2A QRF ranked teams in the state will be forced to meet in the southern sub-section final with the winner to face the winner of the northern sub-section in the 8AA championship game. The northern No. 2 seed is the Bagley Flyers (20-6). The Flyers have a QRF of 86.8, ranked 42.

This section alone is proof that the QRF is not enough to solve all seeding issues. It is basic geography that will pit the two section finalists together, not a team ranking or even a coaches opinion. In this specific case, all that can be said is it is unfortunate that the probable Vikings/Yellowjackets match-up will occur one round too early.

With no insult meant to either the Rangers and Flyers or whatever team advances to the 8AA final from the north half, it is hard-pressed to believe the real section championship will not be played out figuratively when Perham and Pelican Rapids meet at Minnesota State University-Moorhead at 8 p.m. on March 13.

Call it luck of the draw, quite literally, as the northern sub-section champion will advance to the section final already with a little luck on their side.

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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