Once again, the Minnesota State High School League's process of laying out its state tournaments has left fans feeling a little more than cheated.
St. Michael-Albertville, ranked No. 8 in the state according to the QRF Ranking compiled by website MinnesotaScores.net, was essentially given the mountainous task of squaring off against Hopkins in the opening round of today's Class 4A girls' basketball tournament.
The game tips at 10 a.m. today, Wednesday, at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Not only is Hopkins the two-time defending state champion, the Royals are getting healthy. A sophomore guard expected to contribute to the squad all season has now returned from a knee injury, and a bench player has also returned from an injured leg.
The thing is, if the MSHSL just put "hard feelings" or egos aside and seeded the entire tournament, the way State Section Tournaments are and every tournament is up to this point, St. Michael-Albertville would be ahead of two teams in this field.
Rochester Mayo, winners of Section 1, has a 21-7 record on the year and is ranked 28 by the QRF seeding.
Ironically, that's a spot behind Elk River High, the team St. Michael-Albertville defeated Friday night in Collegeville to earn a trip to state.
Yet Mayo isn't placed up against the top team in the state.
St. Paul Johnson is also ranked behind the Knights.
Coach Kent Hamre takes the seeding in stride, telling boosters this is the team that has the potential to knock off the mighty Royals.
He's tried, falling short earlier this season. He also came up just short (one basket) against Hopkins' rivals like Edina and Wayzata.
"We are taking on Goliath, but with help from our fans we can do it!," Hamre said in a letter to boosters. "I have a ton of confidence in these girls and BELEIVE in them...we can get the job done."
An intersting sidebar to close my rant: If the Knights had been "seeded" according to QRF rank, they'd.