Before the third round of the NCHSAA playoffs, two new teams join Observer Sweet 16 polls

Two new teams join The Observer’s Sweet 16 basketball polls as the NCHSAA playoffs roll on.

The Sweet 16, which began in the 1984-85 season, ranks the top teams in the media company’s coverage area, which includes schools in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster, Lincoln, Union and York.

Rankings are based on strength of schedule, strength of a classification, team success within that classification and head-to-head competition between teams ranked in the Sweet 16. It does not consider how ranked teams would fare against each other — or other unranked teams — unless those teams actually meet.

The Sweet 16 champions, named at the end of the season, will get a banner to hang in the school’s gym.

Southwestern 4A tournament champion Butler (20-9) returns to the boys’ poll this week. The Bulldogs’ season ended last week with a close loss at Weddington in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.

New to the girls’ poll this week is 3A Northwest Cabarrus. The school finished the season at 20-7 after a second-round loss to reigning N.C. 3A state champion West Rowan.