If the Sac-Joaquin Section tipped off its boys' basketball playoffs tonight, the Modesto Metro and Central California conferences would each have two teams in the Division I.
MMC-leading Davis would be a No. 6 seed and face a .500 team; Merced and Turlock would be among the top five seeds and in prime position to reach the quarterfinals.
Modesto would be a No. 16 seed, the last spot, and would travel to top-seeded Franklin of Elk Grove that first night.
With two weeks in the regular season, though, there are plenty of changes ahead. The section has released its updated power ratings, which determine playoff teams and pairings. It's a mixed bag for Stanislaus District teams:
Pitman would open as the No. 9 seed in D-II and open at No. 8 Folsom — which won the last two D-I titles, but has had an enrollment decline.
Two other teams are on the verge of the D-I playoffs: Golden Valley and Johansen are Nos. 17 and 18, and waiting for an opportunity to leapfrog Modesto for the last slot.
A few games this week will jumble those seedings: Modesto is at Davis Thursday and GV meets Merced on Friday. Johansen has an opportunity to make up plenty of ground by beating Downey and Beyer (a combined 8-39) in the MMC.
The Valley Oak League is guaranteed at least one team in D-III: Manteca is at No. 5 and likely to stay there even if its keeps winning, but four other teams are on the cusp. Sierra and Sonora are among final four seeds, with Weston Ranch and East Union sitting just outside — Nos. 17 and 18.
Modesto Christian keeps routing Trans-Valley League foes, but it's losing ground in D-IV. It fell to No. 5, flipping with Central Catholic. This would be the busiest division for the district, with teams in seven of the eight games. On the cusp, Escalon would be the last team in at No. 16 and Denair would be left out.
Ripon Christian is a D-V contender: It's the only team in the division that plays in a D-IV league, but is likely to be a four-to-seven seed because it's looking at least one more loss vs. MC in league play.
In the girls' playoffs, there are plenty of concerns, too:
Turlock is perfect in the CCC and likely to go 23-4 for the season, but it's getting battered by section officials who put together this playoff formula. The 'Dogs are No. 10, so no home game and a potential quarterfinal at No. 2 Napa.Two of the teams in front of Turlock have nine losses, and not one of the nine teams has more victories than Turlock.
It's a tense two weeks for the MMC: Enochs and Modesto need to keep winning to secure spots — both are among the bottom five seeds — while Johansen controls its destiny thanks to last week's upset of Modesto. If Johansen tops second-tier Davis and Downey in the next week, it could jump from 18th to a playoff spot.
East Union is all too familiar with the rigors of D-III: 15 teams have at least 15 wins, including state-ranked Del Oro and Sacramento. It also features St. Mary's — No. 1 in a number of national polls. If EU drops a game in the final two weeks, it could slip below No. 8 and open on the road.
Seven district teams are between Nos. 14 and 20 in the D-IV ratings, but just 16 qualify. At this point, it's a matter of matching schedules — the teams facing second-tier foes certainly have an advantage.
The regular season ends on Feb. 19 and playoff pairings will be announced Feb. 21.