2013-14 Playoff Predictions

Its time once again for the always infamous bracket predictions.  A chance to throw the outrageous at the wall and see if it sticks and to spew some opinion on particular matchups.  So without further delay, here's what see.

Section 4A (high seeds 2/25, 2/27, 3/1, 3/4 High Seeds and at Macalester 3/7)
Pigtails: Nova, CPA and Hope
Round of 16: MCA, Bethany, SW Christian, W Lutheran, Heritage, MTS, Legacy, North
Quarters: MCA, SW Christian, Heritage, North
Semis: MCA, North
Champion: North

For the 1st time ever, I'm actually confident in the pigtail picks (saw 2 of those teams this year).  The 8/9 game at CHOF should be very good as Bethany won the 1st meeting at CHOF by 2.  I think a case can be made that Bethany should be hosting that game.  CHOF young but with more overall pieces than Bethany but Sam Hagen is the top player on the floor in that one.  The 7 vs 10 game is a rematch of a game I saw in November with Cristo Rey winning at Legacy and they did it without star frosh Jericho Sims.  I still think Legacy is better but an upset alert has been issued.  Christian Life may have won the EMAC regular season but the EMAC has struggled against most of the section.   North vs Maranatha is an state tourney worthy game.

Section 4AA (high seeds 2/27, 3/1, 3/4 High Seeds and at Macalester 3/7)
Round of 16: St Croix Prep, St. Croix Lutheran, Concordia, New Life, Roosevelt, Trinity (2 byes)
Quarters: Minnehaha, Concordia, New Life, SPA
Semis: Minnehaha, SPA
Champion: Minnehaha

I'll take all of the chalk in this section.  SPA would like to have back their 53-47 loss at Minnehaha early in the year where I saw them give up a big lead to a young Redhawks squad.  (Czar's Note: I blew that one, SPA did give up a big lead but ended up winning that game by that score).  Now that they have a full season in, I expect Minnehaha to be better than that night.  New Life Academy is a dangerous sleeper team here.

Section 5AA South (2/27 High Seeds, 3/1 and 3/4 TBD, and at SCSU 3/7)
Quarters: HLWW, Providence Academy, Breck, Watertown-Mayer
Semis: HLWW, Watertown-Mayer
Sub Section Champion:  HLWW
5AA Champion: North Winner

The idea of the west metro schools not playing locally is a bit strange when we're used to seeing them here.  Providence Academy stays disciplined enough to knock off Brooklyn Center again.  Breck gets through round 1 and then loses another close one to Watertown-Mayer to end a very disappointing season.  HLWW wins the subsection but falls to the winner of the loaded and far stronger north half.

Section 3AAA (2/27 High Seeds, 3/4 and 3/7 at Coon Rapids)
Quarters: De La Salle, Fridley, Columbia Heights, Totino-Grace
Semis: De La Salle, Totino-Grace
Champion: De La Salle

Keep an eye on the 3/6 and 4/5 games here.  Como Park has knocked off Fridley and Columbia Heights this season and lost by 4 to Totino-Grace.  All of those on the road.  Spring Lake Park would not surprise me with a win over Fridley despite losing to them twice in the result season.  TC Robinson could put the Panthers on his back at least for a game.

Section 4AAA (2/28 High Seeds, 3/4 and 3/7 at St. Paul Washington)
Quarters: Johnson, Hill-Murray, Central, St. Thomas Academy
Semis: Johnson, St. Thomas Academy
Champion: St. Thomas Academy

I'll go out on a limb on this one.  Johnson hasn't been challenged in weeks and they really don't have much scoring outside of Jalen Mobley and Peirre Conwell despite having 5 guys in double figures.  St. Thomas Academy has put it together winning their last 11 on their way to the Classic Suburban title.  While Johnson has taken it to the Cadets the last 2 years in section play, I think all the factors lineup for STA to have a great chance to win and I'll make that pick.  I'll also take Hill-Murray to avenge 2 tight regular season losses to Simley as I think Dick Ghizoni will have a plan.

Section 6AAA (2/25 High Seeds, 3/1 and 3/6 at Chanhassen)
Quarters: Holy Family, Washburn, Waconia, Benilde-St. Margaret's
Semis: Holy Family, Waconia
Champion: Holy Family

Fun section here.  Despite a head to head win I thought Waconia and BSM should have flopped the 2 and 3 seeds and I'll pick it that way.  I think Waconia avenges that loss and I think Holy Family knocks off Washburn again.  Holy Family's big front line just too much for Waconia in the championship but expect a game more like their 3 point meeting in game 1 than the 21 blowout in game 2.  High quality final there.

Section 1AAAA (2/26 and 3/1 High Seeds and 3/7 at Mayo Civic Center)
Quarters: Lakeville North, Owatonna, Rochester John Marshall, Farmington
Semis: Lakeville North, Rochester John Marshall
Champion: Lakeville North

Owatonna lost in 2 OT and won the last meeting vs Century, have to like that upset pick.  Farmington gets through round 1 but the loss of Zach Speikers is just too much to overcome Rochester John Marshall.  Lakeville North will get a test from JM but ultimately move on.

Section 2AAAA (2/26 High Seeds, 3/1 and 3/7 at Apple Valley)
Quarters: Shakopee, Prior Lake, Bloomington Kennedy, Chanhassen
Semis: Shakopee, Chanhassen
Champion: Chanhassen

Coach Willie Braziel went undefeated in section and still got the 3 seed.  I know he won't be happy with that.  While he has a great case, its also hard to argue with the way Chanhassen has been playing.  They won 9 of 10 before losing to Red Wing last week.  They just knocked off Shakopee and I don't think that's a fluke as I think they'll do it again.  Prior Lake vs Chaska is an outstanding 4 vs 5 game.  The biggest Vegas line that you would have a sneaky chance to win on?  How about Burnsville vs Shakopee.  Shakopee needed overtime to win their annual regular season battle.  But Burnsville top guards, #1 scorer Zach Smith (out injured) and Jake Ruffing (limited by bad thumb) are question marks for the game.

Section 3AAAA (2/26 High Seeds, 3/1 and 3/6 at Farmington)
Quarters: Apple Valley, Rosemount, East Ridge, Cretin-Derham Hall
Semis: Apple Valley, East Ridge
Champion: Apple Valley

Best matchup here is the dynamite semifinal between Cretin-Derham Hall and East Ridge.  East Ridge just knocked off CDH to win the Suburban East.  Ryan Keenan and Ryan Mathis inside changes the complexion of things for East Ridge. They missed the CDH win in January.  Then you look at what CDH has done in their big games (losses to DLS, East Ridge, Bettendorf, 2 to Woodbury).  East Ridge will be able to slow tempo and win.  But a CDH vs Apple Valley final would be one of the more high scoring games of the season and very entertaining.

Section 4AAAA (2/26 High Seeds, 3/1 and 3/5 at East Ridge) 
Quarters: Woodbury, Mounds View, Tartan, Stillwater
Semis: Woodbury, Tartan
Champion: Tartan

Stillwater got a great draw here has they won at Roseville in the regular season and they lost the 2 games to Woodbury by a combined 6 points.  I can pick them once as Roseville's disappointing season would have proper disappointing ending with a home playoff loss.   Tartan's ability to play off the bounce is the difference in knocking off Mounds View.  Tartan can also matchup with Woodbury's offense.

Section 5AAAA (2/27 High Seeds, 3/3 or 3/4 then 3/7 at Rogers)
Quarters: Champlin Park, Centennial, Maple Grove, Osseo
Semis: Champlin Park, Osseo
Champion: Champlin Park

Osseo without Ian Theisen will get through the 1st round and then they get a brutally tough semifinal with Maple Grove.  Champlin Park with no problems in their first 2 games and I think they are too much for Osseo in the 3rd meeting of the teams.

Section 6AAAA (2/27 High Seeds, 3/1 and 3/5 at Chaska)
Quarters: Hopkins, Armstrong, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka
Semis: Hopkins, Eden Prairie
Champion: Hopkins

I've beaten the Armstrong or Tonka seeding argument to death so I won't go there here.  Hopkins is a bad matchup for Armstrong (see Champlin Park) with their length and athletes and they'll ultimately win the section.  EP and Tonka with another battle but away from home I think the Tonka shooting isn't there and EP is too good defensively.  Only question is can they find enough offense outside of Wallace and Gillard. 

Section 7AAAA (2/27 High Seeds, 3/4 and 3/7 at North Branch)
Quarters: St. Francis, Blaine, Andover, Cambridge-Isanti
Semis: St. Francis, Andover
Champion: St. Francis

Here's a stat, Hopkins and Apple Valley have more wins than the bottom 5 teams in this section combined.  I'll take St. Francis by default.  My sleeper here is Blaine with Jason Travis leading the way and lots of length, they can steal this bad section.

Section 8AAAA (2/25 High Seeds, 3/1 at SCSU, 3/6 Neutral Site)
Quarters: Tech, STMA, Buffalo, Elk River
Semis: Tech, Elk River
Champion: St. Cloud Tech

I'll predict this section since I saw the top 3 seeds.  Tech is the best team here and they really shoot it and have a star in Andy Foley.  Elk River gets Buffalo again in a classic semifinal.  Cody Dorow and Moorhead lost by 1 at home at STMA and now get the road game there.  Dorow won't be enough to carry the Spuds on.

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