Who's in: Three Stanislaus District teams (Davis, Merced and Turlock) are guaranteed berths to the 16-team tournament. Merced is assured no worse than the No. 3 seed if it beats cellar-dwellers Buhach Colony and Los Banos (a combined 11-35) this week — keeping the Bears in the bracket opposite No. 1 Franklin of Elk Grove. Turlock can do no worse than No. 5 if it beats Buhach in Wednesday's regular-season finale, which will produce a nice home opener. Davis has clinched the MMC, but Wednesday at Johansen is a must-win or the Spartans could lose their home opener.
What to expect: Modesto not only gets in, it can go as high as Nos. 12 or 13 by beating Enochs Wednesday. The Panthers, with their athleticism and frenetic style and, could be a difficult draw for a structured foe that prefers a stable pace. Johansen has a tough finale at Davis, and a loss could keep the Vikings out. Golden Valley is on the cusp, and if it can upset Pitman on Wednesday it can expect to get a bid.
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Who's in: Pitman is going to take a fall when the power ratings are released today, after losing twice last week. Pride needs to win twice this week, or it risks tumbling to one of the bottom four seeds.
What to expect: Atwater is on the cusp of the playoffs and faces Golden Valley in Friday's finale. That could be as simple as "the winner goes on and the loser goes home."
Who's in: Manteca is No. 5 and keeps motoring through the VOL, but the four teams ahead of the Buffs are unlikely to lose this week. It should produce a nice home opener for the Buffs, but the quarterfinals could send them to Sacramento to face Center (19-2) and its talented frontcourt.
What to expect: The VOL is likely to get three more teams in this bracket — Sierra, Sonora and Weston Ranch. Two big games are Manteca at Sonora on Wednesday and Sierra at Weston Ranch on Friday. The three should easily win their other VOL game this week. East Union likely needs to upset Manteca in Friday's finale, a longshot considering the way the Buffs are playing.
Who's in: At least eight district teams will be tipping off in this division next Wednesday — Amador, Central Catholic, Modesto Christian, Calaveras, Mariposa, Hilmar, Linden and Ripon. Where will they be seeded, however, is a question everyone wants answered? Colfax is seemingly locked in at No. 1, though No. 2 Christian Brothers has lost twice since the last ratings were released — so the Falcons should take a big fall, allowing Amador, Central and MC to jump up. Amador and MC are unlikely to lose, but Central has a crucial game tonight vs. Hilmar. When Central lost to Patterson last week, MC overtook the Raiders for the No. 3 seed — setting up potential MC vs. Amador and Central vs. Colfax battles in the semifinals.
What to expect: As many as three other district teams can earn a berth, but they'll be in and out of the playoffs quickly as they'll be seeded against the top three or four teams. Le Grand's bid could ride on tonight's game vs. Mariposa.
Who's in: Ripon Christian long ago secured a berth, but has two difficult games vs. Modesto Christian and rival Ripon. Two losses could send RC spiraling into the lower half of the 16-team field, but a split assures a home opener. Big Valley is in the No. 8 range, so this week's games will determine whether the Lions open at home or on the road.
What to expect: Turlock Christian is fighting for one of the final berths, and its final two games are winnable. Two wins puts the Eagles in the postseason conversation.
Who's in: MMC co-leaders Modesto and Enochs are both in, and they play tonight for a conference title. The winner also should get a higher seed, but both are going to open on the road unless the section elevates the conference winner to give it a home game. There will be no sympathy from Turlock, which can cap a perfect CCC season by beating Buhach Colony tonight — but will open on the road should it be upset. The 'Dogs were No. 8 in the last batch of power ratings, and only the top eight seeds are hosting openers.
What to expect: There is no sure thing in this division, though Pitman and Beyer are trying to get the final few spots. The good news for Beyer: It closes with Downey tonight. Pitman is favored in its final two, so both might go.
Who's in: East Union is as much a lock as any team in the district, given the strong program coach Jim Agostini and assistant Scott Renke have built. The Lancers look good to open at home, though they could be as low as a No. 6 or 7 seed because of the talent in the division. Manteca also is going, and an upset of EU could push it up to No. 11.
What to expect: Oakdale's hot streak has the Mustangs in good shape, and Sonora is also a solid bet to go. Livingston and Patterson play tonight in a game that could decide the WAC title. The winner is assured a berth, but the loser might stay home because of its low power rating — the result of the WAC having four smaller Division IV teams.
Who's in: The question is whether the section will elevate Modesto Christian from its No. 2 slot to the top seed, in recognition of its schedule. Argonaut is No. 1 right now, but its 25-0 record has largely been built on soft opponents. Linden, Ripon, Le Grand and Calaveras are also going.
What to expect: Much like the boys, three or four other district teams will go. Hilmar, Orestimba and Bret Harte are the best positioned teams.
Who's in: Three Christian schools (Turlock, Big Valley and Ripon) are in, and TC and Big Valley could enter as the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds if they can sweep this week's games. RC is going to open on the road, but playing against five Division IV teams in the TVL always has them ready to play.