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WIAA Boys' Basketball Playoff Changes for 2022-23

06/27/2022, 11:30am CDT
By Mark Miller

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) released its sectional pairings for boys' basketball last Friday and things appear, for the most part, to be very similar to a year ago. 

After the WIAA Advisory Council last week voted down changes that would have altered enrollment cutoffs for each of the five divisions along with adding two teams to the Division 1 state-tournament field, the 2022-23 playoffs include:

* Division 1 -- 71 schools with an enrollment of 1,200 or above.

* Division 2 -- 89 schools with an enrollment between 600 and 1,199. 

* Division 3 -- 100 schools with an enrollment between 319 and 599.

* Division 4 ---100 schools with an enrollment between 189 and 318.

* Division 5 -- 128 schools with an enrollment of 188 and under.

Here are the sectional groupings:

Division 1 (71 schools)
Division 2 (89 schools)
Division 3 (100 schools)
Division 4 (100 schools)
Division 5 (128 schools)
Total: 488

Four teams in each division advance to the WIAA State Tournament, set for March 16-17-18, 2023 in Madison. 

Here are the divisional changes for the 2022-23 WIAA playoffs:

New Division 1 Schools
Green Bay Southwest
(Enrollment: 1,220, previous D2)
(Enrollment: 1,228, previous D2)
(Enrollment: 1,252, previous D2)
Oshkosh North
(Enrollment: 1,229, previous D2)
Sun Paririe West
(New school)

New Division 2 Schools
Martin Luther
(Enrollment: 631, previous D3)
Milwaukee Marshall
(Enrollment: 1,009, previous D1)
(Enrollment: 1,187, previous D1)
(Enrollment: 601, previous D3)
Wauwatosa East
(Enrollment: 1,070, previous D1)

New Division 3 Schools
Audubon Technology
(Enrollment: 383, previous coop program with Milwaukee Hamilton)
(Enrollment: 324, previous D4)
(Enrollment: 320, previous D4)
Milwaukee Academy of Science
(Enrollment: 366, previous D4)
New Glarus
(Enrollment: 323, previous D4)
St. Augustine Prep
(Enrollment: 576, new playoff team)

New Division 4 Schools
(Enrollment: 214, previous D5)
(Enrollment: 189, Previous D5)
(Enrollment: 195, previous D5)
(Enrollment: 319, previous D3)
(Enrollment: 311, previous D3)
Menominee Indian
(Enrollment: 312, previous D3)
New Holstein
(Enrollment: 311, previous D3)
(Enrollment: 196, previous D5)
(Enrollment: 214, previous D5)
(Enrollment: 308, previous D3)

New Division 5 Schools
Chesterton Academy
(Enrollment: 91, new WIAA program)
Cochrane-Fountain City
(Enrollment: 184, previous D4)
Elmwood/Plum City
(Enrollment: 177, previous D4)
Glenwood City
(Enrollment: 188, previous D4)
Heritage Christian
(Enrollment: 179, previous D4)
(Enrollment: 25, returning after one-year absence)
(Enrollment: 175, previous D4)

After a quick glance at each sectional, here are my picks for the toughest brackets in each division:

Division 1
Easy choice here, and same as a year ago. Sectional 3 is absolutely loaded with the likes of Arrowhead, Brookfield Central, Brookfield East, Madison La Follette, Madison Memorial, Middleton, Milwaukee Hamilton, Sun Prairie West and Waunakee battling for a state berth. Eight Big Eight and four Greater Metro schools are included in Sectional 3. 

Division 2
Same as it ever was -- Sectional 4 is the logical choice since it includes the top two teams in Division 2 for yet another season in defending state-champion Pewaukee and the Pirates' Woodland West Conference counterparts from Wisconsin Lutheran. Wauwatosa West, Division 3 newcomer Martin Luther, upstart Milwaukee Lutheran and Pius XI Catholic also were placed in Sectional 4. 

Division 3
Sectionals 3 and 4 boast several stellar teams, but Sectional 3 has a bit more depth. Beloit Turner, Dodgeville, Edgewood and New Glarus, among others, are strong in the upper-half of the sectional while Columbus, defending state-champion Lake Country Lutheran, Lake Mills, Lakeside Lutheran and Mayville are formidable in the lower half of Sectional 3. 

Division 4
Southwest Wisconsin features several very good teams, which makes Sectional 3 the toughest once again in the state. Upper-half sectional stalwarts include Aquinas, Bangor, Cashton, Cuba City, Luther, Mineral Point and River Ridge. In the lower half of the sectional, Belleville, Darlington, Deerfield and Division 4 newcomer and defending Division 5 state champion Randolph figure to be strong.

Division 5
Unlike the other four divisions, Division 5 has no byes. You must win five games to qualify for the state tournament, and seven to win the state crown. Each sectional has very good teams, but Sectional 2 stands out. Strong squads from Almond-Bancroft, Athens, Columbus Catholic, Newman Catholic, Pacelli and Port Edwards headline the top-half of the bracket. Any of those six teams would probably be the favorite to come out of the lower end of the bracket. 

Here are some interesting tidbits regarding sectional placements:

** The following cities have their public schools in different divisions:

Green Bay (East, Preble and Southwest in D1, West in D2)
Racine (Case and Horlick in D1, Park in D2)
Waukesha (South in D1, North and West in D2)
Wausau (West in D1 and East in D2)

** Milwaukee City Conference teams could conceivably place eight teams at the WIAA State Tournament and potentially win four state titles. Five City schools are placed in Division 1 spread over three sectionals; nine are in Division 2 spread over two sectionals; five are in Division 3 spread over two sectionals; and two are in Division 4 in the same sectional. 

** My way-too-early picks to win each Sectional:

Division 1
Sectional 1: Neenah
Sectional 2: De Pere
Sectional 3: Middleton
Sectional 4: Franklin

Division 2
Sectional 1: Onalaska
Sectional 2: Nicolet
Sectional 3: Burlington
Sectional 4: Pewaukee

Division 3
Sectional 1: West Salem
Sectional 2: Brillion
Sectional 3: Lakeside Lutheran
Sectional 4: Catholic Memorial

Division 4
Sectional 1: Fall Creek
Sectional 2: Auburndale
Sectional 3: Luther
Sectional 4: Saint Mary's Springs

Division 5
Sectional 1: Hurley
Sectional 2: Newman Catholic
Sectional 3: Wauzeka-Steuben
Sectional 4: Fall River

For the latest and most up to date boys' basketball news and recruiting information, follow Mark on Twitter @wisbbyearbook. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Mark by clicking here.

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