2010 Pacesetter Sweet 16 Preview

The 2010-2011 season gets a preview this weekend as the Pacesetter Sweet 16 takes place at St. Benedict's college just outside of St. Cloud.  Always a fun event with 4 of the top 4 teams from each class thrown together in a 16 team tournament format.   See the full bracket here.

Day 1 features the round of 16 games at 10 and 11:20 AM with the quarters at 3:20 PM  Semifinals and championship are Sunday.

Hopkins vs Waconia - Hopkins just too much here.  I think they hound Ben Korteum to limit his 3 point looks.  Marvin Singleton vs Shelby Moats is arguably the best interior matchup of the tournament.

Windom vs Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.  The Holt twins give Windom size inside and they're 2 of 4 top returnees for the Eagles .  Windom only allowed 51.9 points per game last year.  BBE was 25-4 last year and was #11 in offense at 71.9 points a game with a top 10 finish in point differential.  I'll take BBE.

Apple Valley vs Braham.  Guard play on display here as a pair of Howard Pulley teammates go at it.  Tyus Jones lead Apple Valley in against Braham's Tyler Vaughan.  But these teams aren't 1 man bands.  Thomas Schalk is the other major Apple Valley threat.  Ben Thiry was a 16 point a game scorer behind Vaughan's 26.7 a night.  Expect a fast paced fun game in this one with Apple Valley being too much.

Orono vs Ellsworth.  A pair of teams looking to make return trips to state.  Jordan Smith leads the way for Orono along with Brady Wohler and the versatile Jeremy Borg.  Despite the loss of Trevor Gruis to South Dakota, Ellsworth still has Casey Schilling who had a very nice summer for the South Dakota Heat and shooter Dalton Huisman.  Look for Borg to matchup on Schilling.  I'll take Orono with their dribble-drive style.

To the bottom half of the bracket and that brings us to Eastview vs Minnesota Transitions.  While Kevin Noreen is gone, you may think he's in a different jersey as Eastview has a similar type of player in forward Joey King.  While it'd be interesting to see Kyle Noreen or Rodney Owens guard him, MTS is known for nothing but zone and I don't expect anything different here.  Tough game to pick but I'll take Eastview with their depth.

Benilde-St. Margaret's loses a stellar senior class but their junior class is loaded.  Isaiah Zierden leads that cast of many against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.  WEM was 27-0 last season and then lost in the 2nd round of section play causing many to wonder if they were for real.  They may be this year, who knows, but BSM is just that good so I take them to win.

I love the bottom quarter of the bracket.  It starts with Lakeville South vs St. Cloud Apollo.  Apollo looks to break the Little Falls curse and make a run for a state title with an entire cast returning this year.  That includes bull Blake Maslonkowski inside.  Lakeville South has their own bull in wing Alex Richter.  2 guys that are very tough to stop when they want to get to the basket.  Jon Christenson and Spencer Pankonin will have their hands full defending Maslonkowski and Simon Krych in the post.  I like Apollo in a very good game.

Plainview-Elgin-Millville vs Sebeka in a matchup of teams that made state last year.  Sebeka returns 3 of their top 5 including John Clark.  I hope he gets matched up with Cole Olstad.  Hopefully Cole plays well on Saturday with the last day of colleges being able to watch.  Another game where pace will be an issue.  PEM was tops in AA in points against last year.  Sebeka was #6 in points scored in class A.  I think Olstad along with PEM's defense put them over the top.

Here are my picks for the rest of the bracket.
Winner's Bracket
Hopkins over BBE
Apple Valley over Orono
BSM over Eastview
Apollo over PEM

Hopkins over Apple Valley (love the idea of Chambers vs Jones)
BSM over Apollo (battle of 2 of 3A's best)

Hopkins over BSM for 1st
Apple Valley over Apollo for 3rd

Consolation Bracket
Waconia over Windom
Braham over Ellsworth (don't we wish that would have happened with Isaiah Dahlman and Cody Schilling)
MTS over WEM
Lakeville South over Sebeka

Braham over Waconia (big style contrast there)
Lakeville South over MTS

Lakeville South over Braham to win the consolation bracket
Waconia over MTS for 3rd in the consolation bracket

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