2011 State Tourney Predictions

So after a dreadful record of 5-6 in my section final predictions and a 76-17 finish, here are my early thoughts on the 2011 MSHSL Boys Basketball State Tournament. 

A striking thought is all the star power that won't be there.  No DeLaSalle and Jonah Travis.  No Benilde-St. Margaret's and their group of junior stars.  No Lakeview Christian and Anders Broman.  No Joey King and Eastview.  No Chaska and Ross Travis/Jake White.  No MTS and Kyle Noreen/Rodney Owens.  No Plainview-Elgin-Millvile and Cole Olstad.  No Braham and Tyler Vaughan.  No Sebeka, no Rushford-Peterson, no Tartan.  No Montevideo or Windom.  But its always fun regardless.  Here are my bracket predictions and thoughts.

Class A
Top half of the bracket is loaded with the state's last undefeated team Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and Kevin Kuefler.  He gets a matchup with Ashton Erie in the opener but BBE moves on.  That sets up a dynamite semifinal between them and the winner of the top class A quarterfinal MACCRAY/Maranatha.  Seth Hinrichs is a nightmare matchup, but MCA has good guard play with Darian Pittman.  I'll take MACCRAY to win both as they survived tough section 3.  The bottom half doesn't have the same appeal.  I'll take Chisholm over Fosston and Springfield (Tyler Marz back for the Tigers) over Upsala.  I'll take Springfield's experience over Chisholm in the other semi.  Not a bad pair of semis.  MACCRAY goes all the way.

Class AA
Don't sleep on Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.  Cody Warner had a very nice season to lead LPGE through their half of the West Central.  I'll take them over Rochester Lourdes.  Redwood Valley brings coach Markus Okeson back to state (led Ellsworth there previously).  Keep an eye on Michael Busack.  After knocking out Montevideo and Windom (in 4OT) to win section 3, I think they win their 1st 2 at state over upstart Minnehaha and LPGE.  In the bottom half a very good opener with Virginia and sentimental favorite Perham.  Perham stayed the course with only 1 OT loss after the on-court collapse of star Zach Gabbard in January.  You know the emotions for the Yellowjackets will run high.  No way I'm picking against that.  Waterville-Elysian-Morristown gets Zimmerman in the last quarterfinal.  WEM gave Tartan all they wanted a month ago, but Zimmerman is battle tested from the Mississippi 8 and has great guard play with Blake Ehley and Brandon Giese.  I'll take Zimmerman to win that one.  Perham then takes out Zimmerman and Redwood Valley to take home the title.

Class AAA
Johnson takes out New Prague in the first quarterfinal, too many athletes but New Prague is good enough defensively to keep this one close.  Columbia Heights takes out Marshall in another case of too many athletes.  Individual matchup of the day is 6'8 8th grader Alex Illikainen of Grand Rapids taking on Shelby Moats and Waconia.  Waconia really rolling right now, hard to pick against them but Grand Rapids showed last year that you can't count them out.  With guard Austin Pohlen and 67 Mike Spoden returning from that team, experience is still there.  I expect a low scoring affair.  Best game of the 4 is the rematch of Orono and St. Cloud Apollo.  Orono won the regular season meeting in the Granite City tournament.  Size vs speed as Orono won't have much answer for the Apollo size, but Orono shoots it so well.  Fun matchup but I'll take Orono with their time to prepare and throw in new crazy defensive wrinkles.

In the semis, its a Wright County rematch of Waconia and Orono.  Waconia won both regular season meetings, but I just have a hunch on Orono on this one.  The other semifinal between Johnson and Columbia Heights I think will be the best game of the entire tournament at any level.  Heights won't be intimidated by the Johnson pressure and Heights is the type of team that Johnson has had struggles with this season.  Johnson's last 3 losses in the last 3 seasons, all to Washburn.  Estan Tyler guarding Zach Lofton is going to be something really fun to watch.  I'll take Johnson to survive that game and defend their title. 

Class AAAA
Hopkins begins with a blowout of Owatonna.  Duluth East vs CDH isn't all that compelling but I'll take CDH with their zone.  Lakeville South vs Eden Prairie is an oustanding matchup.  Lakeville South rolling right now so I like them in that one.  Osseo cruises over Maple Grove in their 3rd meeting of the season.   Hopkins with a comfortable win in the semifinals.  Osseo vs Lakeville South should be an outstanding semifinal.  I like the matchup of Joey Sonnenfeld and Alex Richter in that one.  I'll take Osseo in a tight one.  Hopkins wins the rematch with Osseo to defend their title.


  1. I heard Sebeka blew a 25 pt lead.

  2. Osseo - Lakeville South...thing to think about, South lost to Hopkins by 4, Osseo lost by 20...


Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.