2012-2013 Playoff Predictions

Its time again for the annual playoff predictions, so lets go through the 11 metro area sections.

Section 1A
I start the predictions 1-0 as my twitter prediction of Goodhue over Bethany came true.

Section 2A
I like Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity and SW Christian as sleepers in this section.  Both are battle tested with 4 games this season against the MCAA North heavyweights.  SW Christian is hot right now winning 8 out of 9 and the only loss was an OT loss to LP/HT.  That includes a win over Heritage in the MCAA showcase.  I'll take the Stars to beat ACGC on the road before giving top seed Sleepy Eye St. Mary's a scare.   SESM on their own winning streak of 15 right now.  SESM then takes out LP/HT who I think upsets Cedar Mountain/Comfrey.  Nick Machemehl vs Sam Pendleton is a very entertaining guard matchup there.

Section 4A
18 teams in the bracket this year.  Maranatha is the clear favorite.  Heritage and West Lutheran are contenders.  Sleepers are St. Croix Prep and MetroTech.  So basically no surprises here.  But the seeding of the EMAC teams was interesting considering North Lakes was 2nd in the regular season but was seeded behind Community of Peace (EMAC tourney champ) and Calvin Christian.   Give me chalk for the 2 pigtail games and the round of 16.  I like chalk in the round of 8 as well.  The 4/5 game with St. Croix Prep vs Metro Tech has plenty of fun storylines as upstart charter schools, the new incoming kids vs the program that built from the ground up etc etc.  I like Heritage to knock off West Lutheran at home in the semis and Maranatha to make the trip to state.

Section 4AA
I like chalk here as this is one of the weaker sections out there.  The only game I'll go against the seeds is taking New Life over Brooklyn Center in the 4 vs 5 quarterfinal.  Breck keeps it close vs Minnehaha in the title game but ultimately the Redhawks have too many athletes.

Section 3AAA
I'll take Totino-Grace to cross the highway and beat rival Fridley (teams split 2 regular season close games).  Reggie Meyer is the difference there.  I'll take chalk the rest of the way.  Columbia Heights has won 5 in a row while Spring Lake Park has lost 5 in a row so I like the Hylanders in the semis.

Section 4AAA
Johnson rolling right now with wins in 11 out of 12.  I think they take out South St. Paul, Hill-Murray and Highland Park for another trip to state.  Central more talented than Highland but Jon DePerry has the Scots playing well right now, I think they get the Minutemen again.  Hill-Murray has enough shooters to bother Johnson in their semi but they've lost to both Central and Highland Park this season so I can't pick an upset here.

Section 6AAA
This will be one of my favorite sections to watch.  Holy Angels gets the top seed but that puts them on the tougher side of the bracket.  They'll take out Roosevelt in round 1.  But the second round game against the Chaska/Holy Family winner will be very scary for them.  I like Chaska to win that opener in one of the better 4 vs 5 games out there.  Blake and Richfield should easily advance in the 1st round and I like Blake to beat Richfield again in the semi.  Holy Angels hangs on in the semi but I think Blake gets them in the title game.  John Veil missed the 1st meeting that AHA won, I think he'll have something to prove there.

Section 1AAAA
I like Lakeville North to run through the section with wins over Hastings, Farmington and Rochester John Marshall.  Owatonna takes out Northfield in the 1st round.

Section 2AAAA
Wake me up when somebody gets to 25 points in the Jefferson at Shakopee opener.  That game will not be for the faint of heart.  Shakopee too tough inside in that game.  Eden Prairie and Prior Lake with no problems in the 1st round.  Chanhassen is tough to figure out but I think they survive the 4 vs 5 game at home with Kennedy.  Eden Prairie moves on in 1 semifinal and then Prior Lake advances out of the old Missota rivalry game with Shakopee.  Too much Jon Sobaski in that one but if Prior Lake doesn't make shots, Shakopee is tough enough where I see them dominating the glass.  Eden Prairie advances over Prior Lake in the championship

Section 3AAAA
CDH got a very bad style draw for their game at Eastview.  Eastview's way of play I think will drive the Raiders nuts.  The more interesting game here is the 3 vs 6 with Sibley going to Eagan.  Both of these teams have big lineups.  Sibley has a shooter in Adam Huessner while Michael Gorder has had a big year for Eagan.  Expect that game to be close.  East Ridge moves though to the final before falling to Apple Valley.  Apple Valley hammers Park, gets a tough game from Eastview and then takes out East Ridge to advance to state.

Section 4AAAA
This is my other section to watch.  I like chalk in the 1st round with the more interesting than usual Mahtomedi at Tartan matchup.  I think Tartan takes out Woodbury in 1 semifinal while Roseville slogs through a game with Stillwater.  Tartan's defense and style I think takes advantage of Woodbury's quick shots.  But can Brody Jackson be a factor in that game for Tartan or will the pace take him off the floor?  I think Roseville finds enough offense to advance to state.

Section 5AAAA
Cooper runs the table in the North Suburban and gets a road game.  Slap to the North Suburban and props to the Northwest Suburban.  Rashad Vaughn goes big but Maple Grove gets a first round win.  The rest is also chalk in the 1st round and the semis.  The final is a 3rd meeting between Osseo and Park Center and that should be outstanding.  2 huge factors in that game.  Whoever wins the Tusler vs Hooker battle and the X Factor of Devin Buckley.  Buckley was a huge key in the win and didn't play in the loss for Park Center.  Only fitting this rivalry's rubber match for all the marbles is on a neutral floor.  I think Tim Theisen is the difference here so I'll take Osseo.  I think that also closes the door on Quinton Hooker's chances at winning Mr. Basketball.

Section 6AAAA
The best records in a 4 vs 5 game goes to the St. Louis Park at Armstrong game.  38-13 between these 2.  Armstrong is a different team without Konner Goettsche but arguably more balanced. St. Louis Park's dribble drive can be a nightmare to defend.  I think Armstrong gets it done at home.  The top seeds from the Lake easily advance in round 1.  Edina gets their rematch with Armstrong who knocked them off to win the Edina holiday tournament and a Tonka vs Hopkins 3rd meeting.  That's a quality set of semifinals.  Hopkins shows weakness inside and Tonka has the beef and grit to exploit that.  I think they get it done again.  Edina gets a pair of tough tests but I think they ultimately pull through.  Minnetonka hasn't figured out how to guard Graham Woodward yet, hard to believe they will now. But that triangle and 2 they pulled out in the last meeting showed some potential so expect some tweaks there and more garbage defense.  Edina's advancing to state puts Woodward as the front runner for Mr. Basketball.

Section 7AAAA
Then there's this section.  6 teams in each of the previous 4 sections we've discussed have a higher QRF than the top QRF in this section.  St. Francis earned the top seed and 1st round bye with a win at Duluth East on Friday.  Andover survives Blaine, Duluth East takes out Anoka and Forest Lake defeats Cambridge-Isanti in the 1st round.    Forest Lake takes out the 2 seed Duluth East before falling to St. Francis in repeat results of the regular season.

Section 8AAAA
I like Elk River to take out St. Cloud Tech and Buffalo before a rematch with Brainerd.  A basketball purist delight to have a Buffalo or STMA vs Elk River game as those teams are very disciplined and well coached.  Elk River lost by 20 at Brainerd during the regular season, I don't see that happening again.  Give me the Elks to make it through a balanced section.

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