Metro 4-A girls information was corrected at 8:45 a.m. and Piedmont Triad 3-A boys information was corrected at 11:15 a.m. Feb. 14.
As we head into the final night of the high school basketball regular season for NCHSAA schools, there are still plenty of conferences where the two automatic playoff qualifiers have not been decided. Teams that don't grab one of those spots can still earn an automatic berth by winning their conference tournament next week, and other teams will get in as wild cards when the pairings are announced Feb. 22.
Here's a look at what's still at stake in each of the conferences that include area teams:
Clinched: Northwest Guilford (7-0, 20-3).
Automatic bid: Grimsley (6-1, 15-6).
Wild card? Page (3-4, 13-10).
Friday's key game: Northwest Guilford at Grimsley.
Comment: If Northwest Guilford wins Friday night at Grimsley, the Vikings are the regular-season champions and the Metro 4-A's top seeds for the playoffs. If Northwest loses, it still claims the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament under NCHSAA tiebreaker guidelines by virtue of its 74-72 win over the Whirlies in the first round of the HAECO Invitational, even though that was a nonconference game. Whichever team went further or won the conference tournament would be seeded as conference champion for the Class 4-A playoffs if they tie in the regular season. Page will be the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament and should be a wild card team in the Class 4-A playoffs.
Clinched: Eastern Guilford (12-0, 18-6).
Comment: Eastern Guilford ran roughshod over the league, winning the title by four games, and will be the Mid-Piedmont's top seed for the playoffs.
Automatic bids: Northern Guilford (11-2, 13-8), Morehead (9-4, 16-6).
Wild card? McMichael (7-6, 11-11)
Friday's key games: Western Alamance at Northern Guilford.
Comment: Northern Guilford can win the conference outright Friday night with a victory over second-place Western Alamance (10-3, 19-4), but if the Nighthawks lose to Western for a second time they also would lose the tiebreaker and finish second. Morehead will be the top Class 2-A finisher in the split conference, so the Panthers will be the league's top 2-A seed for the playoffs. But they can finish no better than third in the conference standings for league tournament seeding. McMichael should make the 2-A playoffs as a wild card.
PIEDMONT TRIAD 3-A
Title contenders: Parkland (7-2, 18-3), Mount Tabor (7-2, 21-2), Smith (6-3, 17-6).
Wild cards? Southwest Guilford (5-4, 12-11), Dudley (2-7, 14-8).
Friday's key games: Smith at Parkland, Southwest Guilford at Mount Tabor.
Comment: Parkland can wrap up the regular-season title with a win over Smith by virtue of its regular-season sweep of Mount Tabor. But if the Mustangs lose, Mount Tabor can claim the title by beating Southwest Guilford. If Smith and Southwest Guilford win, Mount Tabor, Parkland and Smith would tie for first and Smith would be seeded first based on tiebreakers. Mount Tabor and Parkland would draw Saturday morning for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds for the conference tournament. Smith would be the top seed from the conference for the Class 3-A playoffs and the tie for second between Mount Tabor and Parkland would be broken by which team had the higher finish in the conference tournament. That team would get the second automatic bid to the playoffs and the loser of that tiebreaker would be a wild-card team. Southwest Guilford is playing its best basketball of the season and will be dangerous in the conference tournament or as a wild-card playoff team. Seven of Dudley's eight losses have been in the league, but if the Panthers get into the playoffs as a wild card they probably won't have to face a conference foe in the first round.
Clinched: Reidsville (11-0 Mid-State 2-A, 20-2).
Wild cards? Andrews (7-4 PAC 7 2-A, 12-9), Bishop McGuinness (2-7 Northwest 1-A, 12-11)
Comment: Reidsville will be the No. 1 seed out of the Mid-State 2-A for the playoffs. The Rams haven't lost since Jan. 4 (at Smith) and have won 16 straight. Andrews is a game behind second-place Trinity in the loss column in the PAC 7 2-A, and the Red Raiders lost both regular-season matchups with the team they're chasing. Trinity has two games left but would have to lose both and Andrews would have to beat Wheatmore for the Red Raiders to steal the second automatic qualifier behind Randleman. Bishop McGuinness has lost its last six games and isn't likely to beat Winston-Salem Prep in its regular-season finale. If the 2019 NCHSAA Class 1-A champions are going to return to the playoffs, it will have to be as a low-seeded wild card.
Clinched automatic bids: Northwest Guilford (6-1, 20-3), Ragsdale (6-1, 19-3).
Comment: As long as Northwest Guilford (at Grimsley) and Ragsdale (at Page) avoid what would be major upsets Friday night, the Vikings and Tigers share the regular-season championship and Northwest is the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. Under NCHSAA tiebreaker guidelines the Vikings' win over Ragsdale in the HAECO Invitational final, even though that was a nonconference game, determines the tournament seedings. Whichever team goes farther or wins the conference tournament will be seeded as conference champion for the Class 4-A playoffs.
Clinched: Southeast Guilford (12-0, 23-1).
Comment: Southeast Guilford won the conference by three games and should be a high seed for the Class 3-A playoffs as the Falcons seek their second straight state title. The only blemish on their record was a loss to Class 4-A power Northwest Guilford on Jan. 24.
Automatic bids: Northern Guilford (11-2, 17-5), McMichael (5-7, 11-9).
Friday's key game: Western Alamance at Northern Guilford.
Comment: Northern Guilford is locked in a three-way battle with Eastern Alamance and Western Alamance for the two automatic Class 3-A playoff bids from the conference. If the Nighthawks beat Western Alamance on Friday night and give Coach Kim Furlough her 300th win, they can finish no worse than second. In that scenario, there would be a draw to determine whether Northern Guilford or Eastern Alamance would be the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. If the Nighthawks lose to Western Alamance, they would win a tiebreaker with the Warriors for second place by virtue of their split with an Eastern Alamance team that swept Western. With Morehead 1-12 in the Mid-State 3-A, McMichael has locked up the automatic 2-A qualifier from this split conference.
PIEDMONT TRIAD 3-A
Clinched: Dudley (8-1, 16-7).
Playing for an automatic bid: Southwest Guilford (7-2, 16-7), Mount Tabor (7-2, 13-10).
Friday's key game: Southwest Guilford at Mount Tabor.
Comment: As long as Dudley defeats a Western Guilford team it beat 78-47 in their first meeting, the Panthers will win the regular-season championship outright. If the Hornets pull a massive upset Friday night, Dudley still wins tiebreakers with either Mount Tabor or Southwest Guilford. The winner of Friday night’s Southwest Guilford-Mount Tabor matchup will be the conference runner-up and grab the second automatic bid to the playoffs. The loser will be a wild-card team in the Class 3-A playoffs.
Automatic bids: Andrews (9-2 PAC 7 2-A, 17-3), Bishop McGuinness (7-2 Northwest 1-A, 19-3), Reidsville (7-3 Mid-State 2-A, 17-4).
Key games: Mount Airy at East Surry, Thursday; Winston-Salem Prep at Bishop McGuinness, Friday.
Comment: Andrews can't catch PAC 7 2-A regular-season champion Randleman and can't be caught for second place, so the Red Raiders have an automatic bid to the Class 2-A playoffs. Bishop McGuinness can finish anywhere from first to third in the Northwest 1-A depending on the outcomes of the Villains' game with Winston-Salem Prep and the East Surry-Mount Airy matchup. If the Villains tie for first (with East Surry) or second (with Mount Airy), a draw will determine conference tournament seeding. Reidsville can't catch N.C. School of Science and Math for first place in the Mid-State 2-A, but the Rams have wrapped up second place and an automatic bid to the Class 2-A playoffs.