Big 8 Shootout thoughts

So I was at the Big 8 Shootout at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI over the weekend. Nothing like 7 games in 1 day to start my season. I missed day 1 but I did see all 7 games on day 2. Some thoughts. Note that the Big 8 is the Madison area big schools (Verona joins next year) + 2 Janesvilles and Beloit.

1) The Big 8 is more athletic than the Minneapolis City or St Paul City leagues. This surprised me. Madison East and West were in the bottom half of the league last year and they would compete for conference titles in the city leagues here.

2) Janesville Craig is loaded. Lucas Burns will be a nice player for Concordia-SP next year. their 2-3 matchup zone really was interesting and befuddled Madison Edgewood all night. They'll compete with Madison Memorial for the Big 8 title. (Note: Memorial plays DLS and then in the TWolves shootout on Jan 4th and 5th, Jeronne Maymon is a stud and they have other talent too like Vander Blue, they also have a great rematch against Minnetonka in the Border Battle on Jan 26th)

3) La Crosse Aquinas lost 4 starters from last year including co-Mr. Basketball Scott Christopherson. They ran Madison West out of the building after getting down 14-2 early. 50-50 in the 3rd quarter and after an Aquinas timeout, they go on a 19-0 run across the 3rd and 4th quarters to put it away. Jimmy Whitehead is a real player for them. Look for them to win the Mississippi Valley again.

4) Girls games were ugly. Janesville Parker doesn't have the size they've had in the past, but they're still very good and can really shoot which you don't see much from girls teams.

5) Marquis Mason of Madison East is terrific. He's the #5 soph in Wisconsin and has been offered by Marquette. Strong, tough, improving shot, a handful. St. Bernard's plays them in Milwaukee on Dec 27th in what should be a very good game.

6) Eau Claire Memorial got hammered by East, but they'll be OK in the Big Rivers. Madison Edgewood will be a very solid team in the Badger South. East/West will be mid-level teams in the Big 8. I look forward to possibly seeing their matchup at East on Jan 25th (prior to the border battle in Verona)

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