Section Final Previews

In honor of Dick Vitale's VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index), the Czar would like to note that he used the CBI (Czar's Blindness Index) to do all of the section predictions. The Emperor has also issued a statement saying that he has no affiliation with the Emperor's Club. Speaking for myself, being client #9 may not have been a bad thing.

All of these games are Tuesday night unless noted

Section 2AAAA: #4 Kennedy vs #2 Shakopee 8 PM at St. Olaf. Kennedy doesn't have any real size to give a small Shakopee team trouble. This game is very similar for me to the Richfield/Shakopee game in the quarters in terms of the matchup. Shakopee wins with their discipline.

Czar's Original Prediction: Eden Prairie
Czar's Updated Prediction: Shakopee easily, but not necessarily a blowout.

Section 3AAAA: #1 Burnsville vs #2 Eastview 8 PM at St. Olaf. These teams played a couple of classics during the regular season with Burnsville winning by 6 in OT at Eastview Jan 17th and then at home 62-59 Feb 26th. Eastview still doesn't have an answer for Tarell Clark and Devon Knopke is playing well right now.

Czar's Original Prediction: Burnsville in another classic.

Section 4AAAA: #1 Cretin-Derham Hall vs #2 Henry Sibley 8 PM at Concordia-St. Paul. No surprise here with these 2 teams making it thru a tough bracket. These have been 2 of the better teams in the metro all season so this game is definitely worth watching.

Czar's Original Prediction: Sibley in a great game unless Michael Floyd's injury on Friday night is still an issue. Sibley with so much balance inside (Bruesewitz), outside (Leslie) and role players (Kaiser, Hernandez). Not to mention Chris Halvorsen.

Section 5AAAA: #1 Osseo vs #3 Cooper 7 PM at Rogers. This game was no contest last year as Osseo blew the Hawks out in the semis. Don't think Cooper has forgotten that. But don't think Osseo has forgotten that Armstrong blew them out in the section final last year. Carrington Tankson has returned to give Osseo a major lift and they have too many weapons, especially inside.

Czar's Original Prediction: Mounds View (on the assumption that Tankson was out)
Czar's Updated Prediction: Osseo easily with the chance that its a blowout.

Section 6AAAA: #1 Hopkins vs #2 Minnetonka 8 PM at Osseo. No surprise here either and obviously the game of the night. These teams split during the regular season as each team won on the road. Expect this game to be up even another level from the regular season games.

Czar's Original Prediction: Minnetonka due to experience.

Section 7AAAA: #1 Forest Lake vs #2 Cambridge-Isanti 7 PM Wednesday at Elk River. Much to my surprise everything went according to form here. This is the least compelling of the local AAAA finals.

Czar's Original Prediction: Blaine
Czar's Updated Prediction: Forest Lake as they've shown the ability to beat the top teams (Stillwater and CDH).

Section 3AAA: #1 Spring Lake Park vs #2 Minneapolis Patrick Henry 5:30 PM at Osseo. No surprise here as these are the best 2 teams. The HUGE matchup inside of Cory Polta (SLP) and Alonzo Melton (Henry) will be fun to watch. SLP will need huge games from Taylor Hall and Shaun Jensen to keep up with the explosive offensive of Henry guards Mandela Jackson, Jordan Hughes and Louis Cox. I don't see it happening though as I don't like this matchup for SLP. Jerome Vaughn should give Taylor Hall problems, Melton is maybe the biggest Polta will go up against all year in terms of bulk so I think that works in Henry's favor. I don't see SLP being able to slow down the Henry guards.

Czar's Original Prediction: Henry in a blowout despite the fact that they don't defend.

Section 4AAA: #1 Johnson vs #2 Como Park 7 PM at Arlington. No surprise here, but this is the one section final I don't want to see. Johnson won 2 close regular season meetings including a 46-41 debacle at Johnson Jan 23rd. Como Park didn't win the big games vs city teams during the regular season, I don't see it here either. This game will be competitive, but not pretty.

Czar's Original Prediction: Johnson wins ugly again.

Section 6AAA: #1 Benilde St. Margaret's vs #2 Holy Angels 5:30 PM at Concordia-St. Paul. These teams played a great game where BSM won only by 2 at home on Jan 10th. One of the few times all year where BSM was challenged at the 3A level (their 3 losses are all to 4A teams). Holy Angels can win this game with the guard play of Stoddard Barnhill and James Pfitzinger inside but BSM is playing well right now and has more weapons.

Czar's Original Prediction: Benilde-St. Margaret's wins, but no blowout.

Section 4AA: #1 St. Bernard's vs #2 Breck at Holy Angels 8 PM. These teams played a 57-53 game with SB winning at Breck on Dec 11th. Breck has been much improved the 2nd half of the season and despite a couple of losses while adjusting to the departure of coach John Gray, they've won 11 of 14.

Czar's Original Prediction: St. Bernard's wins, but this is closer than many might think.

Section 4A: #1 Maranatha vs #1 Minnesota Transitions at Holy Angels 6 PM. For MTS, will they be able to rebound with MCA's size? Who else scores for either team besides the stars Kevin Noreen and David Hanson? The longer MCA goes without having to put David Hanson on Kevin Noreen, the better their chances are. MCA will come in as prepared and well coached as anybody MTS has played so expect them to have a plan for Virgil Baker and Kyle Noreen. Do we potentially see something strange like 3 guys man-man with 2 playing zone?

Czar's Original Prediction: CHOF
Czar's Updated Prediction: Minnesota Transitions as they continue to get it done in a magical run. MTS gets more from the supporting cast and their unique defensive scheme disrupts 8th grade PG Darian Pittman of MCA. Expect this one to be close.

Bonus Selection
Section 5AAA: #1 St. Michael-Albertville vs #3 Monticello Wednesday at St. Cloud State 7:30 PM. Monticello got blown out at STMA, but only lost by 4 at home in the 2 regular season Mississippi 8 meetings. This game will be all about pace. If STMA can get out and run, they win. If Monticello can make it a half-court affair with their Princeton set, they can make it very interesting. But ultimately Theo Rothstein gets it done for STMA to advance.

Czar's Prediction: STMA

Section finals schedule for the Czar:

Tuesday: 4A/4AA section finals at Holy Angels.

Wednesday: 5AAA/8AAA section finals at St. Cloud State. I was hoping that Princeton and Rocori would be in these games so I could see those teams again. But not all is lost as I have seen Monticello and STMA.

YTD Stats
  • 132 games (104 MN split 88 boys and 16 girls, 28 WI split 24 boys and 4 girls)
  • 51 buildings
  • 153 teams (121 boys and 32 girls, 110 MN teams split 87 boys and 23 girls, 37 Wisconsin split 29 boys and 8 girls, 6 outstate split 5 boys and 1 girls)
  • 2 Genders

3 comments:

  1. You constant ripping on St Paul Johnson is hilarious. They win with a young team by playing Defense . Offense sells tickets and pleases fans Defense wins games . Fans need to learn to appreciate the beauty of defense . I love watching Johnson play and think they will scare the H#ll out of teams in the state tourney . They all play "D and you cant game plan to stop just one person like you could in the past . You will forget about Coleman , Ricks and Haynes by the time these kids careers are done .

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  2. More to the point, I've been critical of their inability to score. Defensively they do get it done and they are disciplined on offense. They are young which is also part of the explanation. You're right in a couple of years they could be even more scary. They deserve credit for getting it done, its just not the easiest thing to watch.

    Johnson's athletes would scary me, but if you don't turn it over, how are they going to score enough to beat high powered teams like BSM, Henry and St. Thomas Academy? Granted, that's easier said than done.

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