2017 Section Predictions

Its time for 2017 section predictions.  Last year I had my best season ever of predictions.  For those who don't know, when we refer to "chalk" that means taking high seeds.  When I measure my results, I don't reference a percentage as any one can get 80-90% picking only chalk.  I measure it in terms of how many games I have right compared to picking just the high seeds.

Section 1A
Czar takes the free center square by picking Lyle/Pacelli over Christian Life (Lyle won big).

Section 2A
Only 1 game to pick here and that's the 3/6 North matchup between Mayer Lutheran and Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity.  LP/HT with 5 straight wins coming in.  But Mayer Lutheran won the regular season meeting on neutral turf by 14.  They get the home game this time and advance.

Section 4A 

Pigtails (3/6): 1st rule of 4A pigtails, take chalk.  So give me Learning for Leadership, Calvin Christian and Chesterton.  Chesterton and Groves split their games this season.  Chesterton won the 2nd game late in the year at home while the loss was on opening night.  Give me the home team.

Round of 16 (3/9): I take chalk here with nothing all that compelling. 

Quarters (3/11): Chalk again here with Cristo Rey vs Maranatha as the only game that tweaks interest.

Semis (3/14 ARCC): North over Cristo Rey in 1 semifinal as North has too much depth.  Their pressure will be a major problem against the young Pumas guards.  Prairie Seeds beat Heritage last year in the semis in a surprise to many.  This year its no surprise.  Prairie Seeds can pressure Heritage which is the difference.  but CJ Woda is a problem for the Lycans.

Final (3/17 ARCC): North too deep again but Prairie Seeds will be up for the game.

Section 4AA
Lots of interesting tiebreaker scenarios played out here making for some interesting games.   Lots of teams dropping out so only 15 teams playing.
Round of 16 (3/9): No problems for Roosevelt, New Life or St. Croix Lutheran in round 1.  St. Paul Prep moved up in tiebreaks and I think they beat Humboldt.  Math and Science also moved up in tiebreaks as the lower seed but St. Agnes beats them.  The last 2 games are very interesting rematches.  In the 7/10 game, Washington beat Trinity on the road by 2 .  In the 8/9 game game, St. Croix Prep won at St. Paul Academy by 3 in January.  High seeds get the rematches at home so I stay with them.

Quarters (3/11): I see the top 4 seeds moving on without trouble. 

Semis (3/14 Washington): Minnehaha over St. Croix Lutheran.  I'll take the upset in the other semifinal with New Life taking out Minneapolis Roosevelt.

Final (3/17 Washington): New Life kept the regular season meeting with Minnehaha close thanks to Jalen Suggs foul trouble.  This time New Life isn't at home and I picked Minnehaha all the way at the start of the season.  Can't change now.

Section 5AA
Another deep section at the top.  I'll go out on a limb and predict all of these games even though they include lots of teams west of the metro that I don't know.

Pigtails (3/7): I'll take Heritage Academy being athletic and Paynesville having to make the long trip.  I'll go against better judgement and pick the upset in the other game with Cade Johnson being the difference for PACT going into Edison and getting a win.

Round of 16 (3/9): I see the top 5 seeds moving on without trouble.  I take chalk in the other 3 games but they are more interesting.

Quarters (3/11 STMA): I see the top 3 seeds moving on without trouble.  EV-W beat Annandale, Annandale handled Breck last Friday.  Give me EV-W in the other game.

Semis (3/14 STMA): Brooklyn Center is battle tested but their run ends here with a loss to EV-W.  Annandale and Watertown-Mayer split the regular season.  Annandale's only loss since the EV-W loss is a 1 point loss to Hopkins.  They're playing too well right now.  Give me Annandale.

Final (3/17 SCSU): Annandale gets revenge in the section final over EV-W.

Section 3AAA
Quarters (3/7): No surprises here as the top 3 seeds roll.  Kennedy after a 4-1 start went 3-17 so give me Simley in the 4/5 game.

Semis (3/10 Jefferson):  St. Thomas beats Simley but its closer than you may think.  Richfield lost 9 of 10 to end the season.  Highland Park won 11 of their last 12 (loss cost them a trip to the Twin Cities Game).  Scots move on.

Final (3/16 Jefferson):  Guards everywhere in the final.  Highland Park will try to use their quickness to speed St. Thomas up.  But I think St. Thomas moves on.

Section 4AAA
Quarters (3/8): Mahtomedi gets a revenge chance against Hill-Murray after being knocked out in this same 1/8 game last year.  They've won both regular season meetings by 40, expect the same here.  St. Paul Johnson's pressure makes for an interesting matchup vs St. Anthony but too much Rhys Langums means the Huskies advance.  Totino-Grace gets the Moore Lake rivalry game vs Fridley.  TG too good.  And don't get me started on TG getting the 4 seed.  Columbia Heights too much for Como Park.

Semis (3/11 Washington):  This should be a fantastic night of games.  TG vs Mahtomedi in 1 semifinal is worth of a final.  TG may have 12 losses but 7 of them are to top 10 teams in 4A QRF and all to 4A opponents.  Give me Mahtomedi in a great game.  Columbia Heights is a bad matchup for St. Anthony and beat the Huskies by 16 in the regular season.  Heights moves on.
Final (3/16 Washington):  Columbia Heights beat Mahtomedi in the regular season on one of the craziest shots you'll ever see (my recap here).  Heights pressure will bother Mahtomedi but since they've already seen it and the game is neutral site, give me Mahtomedi to win a close one.

Section 6AAA
Quarters (3/8): Delano with a late season collapse falls from a possible 2 seed down to 4.  That makes for a compelling rematch with Waconia in the 4/5 game.  The teams split the regular season with wins on road.  Waconia won by 16 at Delano last Monday and has won 8 of 9 since their loss to Delano.  Waconia is disciplined and Delano's defense has been troublesome.  Give me the 5 seed here.  Like last year Henry is a bad matchup for BSM.  BSM has lost 10 of their last 13.  Henry has won 11 of 12 with the only loss to North.  Top 3 seeds advance without trouble.

Semis (3/11 High Seed):  Can't pick against De La Salle at home.  They handle Waconia.  Orono too much shooting at home advances against Henry.

Final (3/16 Chanhassen):  State championship level game here.  Barry Wohler will throw the kitchen sink at the Islanders.  De La Salle advances in a great game.

Section 1AAAA
Quarters (3/8): Top 3 seeds in blowouts.  Lakeville South over Owatonna in the 4/5 game.  But Owatonna will keep that interesting and would not be a shock if they win.

Semis (3/11 Mayo Civic Arena):  Nothing like going all the way to Rochester for the battle of Lakeville.  Can we borrow Farmington for a night?  Lakeville North moves on.  In the other semi, Rochester JM has won 20 in a row and steamrolled thru the Big 9.  New Prague plays a suffocating slow down defensive style.  That's in major contrast to the 3 uptempo games that JM lost in December.  Give me JM here.

Final (3/17 Mayo Civic Arena):  Kryptonite strikes for the 5th straight year as Lakeville North moves on.  But god forbid Rochester folks that we have a 64 team format so JM doesn't run into this every year.

Section 2AAAA
Quarters (3/8): Top 2 seeds move on without trouble.  Tough to find a better pair of 3/6, 4/5 games.  Minnetonka and Eden Prairie split their 2 meetings on home court.  Eden Prairie squeaks by at home.  Edina hosting Prior Lake may be the best 4 vs 5 game out there.  I've been consistent picking against Edina in this game, but I'm going to break that string here and go with the high seed.

Semis (3/11 Hopkins):  Great semis here.  Edina beat Chaska in the regular season but that was without Andrew Kallman.  Chaska wins a tight one.  Eden Prairie beat Jefferson in the regular season at Jefferson.  Its a classic size (Jefferson) vs guards (EP) matchup.  Eden Prairie can get into the Jefferson guards and get them out of their stuff.  I like Eden Prairie again. 

Final (3/17 Hopkins): Chaska won the regular season meeting by 2.  I expect a terrific game here.  But ultimately a team that relies on shooting will run into defense.  I think that Chaska defends the arc well enough here and too much Myles Hanson.  Chaska moves on.
Section 3AAAA
Quarters (3/7): Czar Pal John Carrier turns Rieshaun Satar into Phil Ford and Sibley shocks the world with a double figure 20-10 win over Apple Valley.  OK maybe not.  AV the only team above 500 in this section.  Yikes.  Top 3 seeds move on without trouble.  Burnsville beat Eagan twice in the regular season.  They do it again to allow the high seeds to hold serve.

Semis (3/10 Farmington):  Apple Valley no problem in the semifinal either as they handled Burnsville twice during the regular season.  Eastview has 2 5 point wins over Rosemount.  They advance again in a case of guards over bigs.

Final (3/16 Farmington): City of Apple Valley rivalry game here but Apple Valley won both games easily.  I don't see that changing.

Section 4AAAA
Quarters (3/8): Top 3 seeds move on without trouble.  North St. Paul at Cretin-Derham Hall is an unexpected 4 vs 5 game.  But I like CDH here at home.

Semis (3/11 Hastings):  Fun night of semifinals.  East Ridge is banged up right now.  The teams split but Daniel Oturu was out when CDH lost.  I like CDH here with too much Oturu.  High level guard play in the Woodbury vs Tartan game.  Tight game and I'll take Tartan to move on.

Final (3/16 Hastings): Quality matchup here.  CDH has been Jekyll and Hyde this year proving they can win big games (SPASH, Iowa City West) but a 37 point loss at East Ridge even without Daniel Oturu and a blowout at Apple Valley show another side.  Tartan with a long period to game plan moves on.

Section 5AAAA
Quarters (3/8): I'll take chalk here.  Roseville has been much improved down the stretch but not enough to beat Osseo.  Mounds View will play Centennial tough but the Cougars have too much firepower.

Semis (3/14 Maple Grove):  Champlin Park took care of Centennial twice in the regular season.  No problems here.  Then the rivalry game Osseo vs Park Center.  Very interesting regular season meetings with Osseo losing by 21 at home and then winning by 29 at Park Center.  Park Center's athleticism is a problem for Osseo.  Park Center has won 9 straight coming into the tourney.  But Osseo was 11-3 down the stretch with the 3 losses by 4 points each to Armstrong and twice to Maple Grove.  Park Center's time will come, but Osseo gets them here.

Final (3/17 Rogers): Champlin Park beat Osseo by 17 in the regular season.  They are an even bigger matchup problem for the Orioles than Park Center.

Section 6AAAA
Quarters (3/8): The top 3 seeds move on without trouble.  Cooper vs Armstrong rivalry factor makes the 3 vs 6 interesting.  Cooper's guards can pressure Armstrong but too much Race Thompson.  St. Louis Park won at Washburn in the regular season.  They win at home this time to keep chalk intact.

Semis (3/11 Osseo):  Wayzata beat St. Louis Park by 17 in the regular season.  Very similar dribble drive styles from both teams.  But too much Wayzata firepower.  Hopkins is a very different team the last month or so of the season.  Armstrong gives them a tough test but Hopkins advances.

Final (3/15 Osseo): The 3rd meeting between Hopkins and Wayzata is a worthy section final.  The high low style that Hopkins has gone to is a problem for Wayzata.  Hopkins wins a tight one.

Section 7AAAA
Quarters (3/9): The most wide open section of all so let's go wild with picks. Forest Lake won at Cambridge by 5 in the regular season and that's a 1/8 game.  Forest Lake advances and that's most confidence I have in any pick here.  Duluth East beat St. Francis by 12 on home court, they do it again in the 4/5 game.  In the 2/7, Blaine beat Andover twice but by a total of only 9 points.  In the 3/6, Coon Rapids and Anoka split with road wins.  Total coin flips there.  Logan Rezac getting hot could carry Andover to the section final.  But I think Blaine sneaks thru at home.  Coon Rapids gets by in their home game.

Semis (3/14 North Branch?):  Tough picks here too.  Forest Lake beat Duluth East by 2 in the regular season.  But I'm going all upsets here.  Too much Cody Carlson carries East.  Coon Rapids split with Blaine and won the last meeting by 16.  Give me the Cards here.  Their 1-3-1 zone and athletes are a bad matchup for Blaine.

Final (3/17 North Branch): One of the few head to head matchups that didn't happen during the year.  Duluth East moves on with Carlson again being too much. Coon Rapids with a much improved season but a lack of big game experience hurts them here.

Section 8AAAA
Quarters (3/7): Top 3 seeds no trouble here.  STMA beat Elk River by 15 in the regular season . They've also beaten Edina, had Chaska beat until the final play and played Rogers tough in the last month of the season.  Give me STMA to win on the road.

Semis (3/11 SCSU):  Maple Grove handled STMA in the regular season, that happens again.  St. Cloud Tech beat Rogers by 1 in the regular season.  Great rematch but its in St. Cloud and Tech is too deep.  Give me Tech.

Final (3/16 Monticello/Neutral):  Tech's depth and size presents some challenges for Maple Grove.  But Brad Davison won't let the Crimson lose.  Maple Grove advances.

1 comment:

  1. Defense wins championships not one star🏀⛹🏽
    Next time I bet you bet on the defense not your favorite team.


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