2011 Tuneup Weekend Preview

Its the end of June and that means it time to tuneup for the big July recruiting period that is just around the corner.  For Minnesota teams that usually means a trip to the Dakota Showcase in Sioux Falls.  But this year teams and D2 coaches will also be flocking to St. Cloud for the 2011 Great Plains Alliance Tournament.  12 teams each in the Platinum and Gold Divisions.  If it wasn't for the Crown Prince being in town all weekend for the Brewers/Twins series, that's where I'd be.  But here's what I would watch there and some comments on the Dakota Showcase.

In St. Cloud at the Whitney, Pool A should be dominated by the top Comets squad with Joe Burt and Tyler Vaughan.  WI Force, 2nd ECI team and Heat Lesewski round out the pool.  Heat Elite (possibly with Eric Robertson which would add much need athleticism) plays the top Select crew with Brady Wohler et al at 11:30 Friday morning for the top spot in pool B.  Comets Seevers and EOTO Black (2nd team) round out that pool.  Fury Blue, the top ECI team, and a pair of Comets teams round out the pool.  Keep an eye on Daniel Yale from ECI and who knows if AJ Jacobsen will appear.  Center Mike Schreiber has played well inside for Fury Blue recently and Marquealis Edwards and Tony Kuplic are 2 who can go off at anytime.  I like Fury here but no walkovers vs Comets Stock or ECI in the pool

Quarterfinals are Friday night with the semifinals and championship early Saturday (10:20 and 12:40).  I like the Pool B/Pool C 2nd place matchup in the quarters.  Wouldn't surprise me to see Comets Hanson win it by taking out both of the top teams from Pool B (Heat, Select) on Saturday.

The Gold Bracket is a combination of 15s and 16s.  The top Comets 16s and Nate Huot should handle Triple Threat, WOTN and ECI's 15s in pool A.  7:20 on Thursday features Carson Shanks and the top Select 16s taking on Nick Carroll's Fury Black 15s.  Expect that to decide pool B.  Last pool is wide open with ECI 16s, Fury White (3rd team), Team Flight (who?) and the top Comets 15s.  Bracket play should turn out similar as I see Select's top team taking on the Comets top team with the home squad hanging on to win.

In Sioux Falls, 9 of the 24 teams are from Minnesota and the noteworthy ones are mostly 16U teams playing up.  Fury Blue 16s play Ultimate Hoops 16s at 9 AM Friday in a very good pool matchup between 2 of the better 16U teams MN.  Those teams have the Iowa Barnstormers team with James Harrington in their pool.  MN Cagers and WOTN 17s are a pair of feisty squads in pool B.  EOTO Gold (top team) has the Glory 16s in Pool C.  Glory Elite highlights pool D.  Anders Broman and Carey Woods coming off very good showings in Mankato last weekend.  SW MN Stars with Cody Schilling and Zach Huisken are in pool E.  WOTN 16s are in the final pool.

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