Area teams overlooked by computer seedings

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association made the change to electronic seeding during the 2021-22 season, doing away with having high school coaches seed teams. Just two years in, I’ve noticed that the electronic seeding does not treat area teams too kindly.

Most of the head-scratching seeds have come from teams in one of the Central Wisconsin conferences, so for the sake of this column, that’s where my focus will be.

First, let’s dive into the criteria used in the electronic seeding.

According to an article on (, “Own winning percentage; Opponents’ winning percentage; Opponents’ opponent’s winning percentage; Defeated opponents’ winning percentage; Defeated opponents’ opponent’s winning percentage” are the criteria used. The article goes on to say “the exact formula/weight of each factor is not being released,” which is a problem in itself.

When I saw some of the seeds handed out, that “own winning percentage” appeared to weigh heavily on most teams seeds.

Let’s take the Bonduel girls basketball team this year for example, because I believe that was the most obvious example.

Bonduel, a Division 4 team, finished the regular season with a 20-4 record and champs of the CWC-East with a 13-1 mark. The CWC-East has six Division 4 teams, one D3 team and one D5 team in it.

Bonduel’s nonconference losses came to St. Mary Catholic (a ranked Division 4 team in the final polls), Xavier (a Division 3 team) and Laconia (another ranked D4 team).

All-in-all, that’s a fantastic regular season and highlights just how challenging a schedule the Bears had. Bonduel earned a No. 3 seed.

Coleman was the No. 2 seed in Bonduel’s regional pod and went 20-4 during the regular season with a 16-0 mark in the Marinette & Oconto Conference. While the M&O has some solid teams in it, including three area ones that placed in the top five, there’s only one other D4 team in that conference (Crivitz), and they finished the year 3-20.

Coleman’s nonconference losses came to Crandon (the No. 1 seed in the bracket), Lourdes Academy (a state-ranked D5 team), St. Mary Catholic and Wabeno/Laona (another D5 team).

The conference Bonduel plays in has more evenly-matched teams and the team’s nonconference losses were of better quality, yet Bonduel was given the lower seed.

I obviously got the chance to watch Bonduel several times during the regular season, but I also got to see Coleman. While both teams were certainly good, there wasn’t much of a doubt in my head, or many others, on which team was better, which is something that probably shows if seedings were still done in person.

The same thing happened in the top half of the bracket, as Mishicot got the No. 4 seed and Crandon the No. 1. Mishicot is in a conference where the top-finishing teams were all D4 squads, while Crandon plays in a conference entirely of D5 teams.

Some might be wondering why it matters, as if a team is truly better, they’d win a playoff game on the road anyway. While that’s a fair point and came true in the Bonduel, Coleman and Mishicot, Crandon instances, it takes away team’s chances to win regional titles at home, which great teams should have the chance to do.

Whatever formulas are used for the seeding criteria, it needs some tweaking so that it doesn’t punish teams for playing tougher schedules or reward teams for playing against lesser competition all season, or maybe computers should be the start of the seeding process, with coaches from that region getting the final say.

Another change I’d like to see is to have all conference champions play at least one playoff home game, regardless of what overall record a team might finish with. Maybe that contradicts some of what I just argued against, but it just seems wrong, in my opinion, to not give conference champs at least one home playoff game.

The Gresham girls won the CWC-North title by two games, and did so by convincingly beating every other conference team, yet were handed a No. 10 seed and had to travel for its first playoff game. The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 13-10 overall record, with a couple of those losses to D4 teams.

The Marion boys also got a No. 10 seed after sharing the CWC-North title with Northland Lutheran, who they played and beat in a first-round playoff matchup. Marion went 13-11 in the regular season.

Yes, sometimes the teams seeded directly in front of a conference champ had better overall records or beat that team in a head-to-head matchup earlier in the season, but granting each conference champ at least one home game would be a great way to reward them and still put an emphasis on winning a conference.

Morgan Rode is the sports editor for NEW Media. Readers can contact him at