2017-18 Section 5AA Preview

This is the 16th preview in my 2017-2018 season preview series.  In this preview, a look at section 5AA.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Section 5AA (16 teams)
Defending Champion: Annandale

Tournament Schedule:
Round of 16: Thursday, March 8th
Quarterfinals: Saturday, March 10th at St. Michael-Albertville
Semifinals: Wednesday, March 14th at St. Michael-Albertville
Finals: Friday, March 16th 8 PM at St. Cloud State

New teams in the section
  • Blake (6AAA)
  • Maranatha Christian (4A)
  • Minneapolis North (4A)
Teams that left the section
  • Annandale (6AA)
  • Eden Valley-Watkins (6AA)
  • Maple Lake (6AA)
  • Minneapolis Edison (4AA)
  • Paynesville (3AA)
  • Spectrum (6AA)
Predicted Seeding
  1. Minneapolis North
  2. Brooklyn Center
  3. Holy Family
  4. Maranatha
  5. Breck
  6. Litchfield
  7. Southwest Christian
  8. Rockford 
  9. Providence   
  10. Watertown-Mayer
  11. Blake
  12. HLWW
  13. PACT
  14. International School
While 16 teams are listed, we'll be down to 14 thanks to co-ops in the Minneapolis City.  In 1 co-op FAIR is now with Henry.  Instead of a Wellstone/Heritage co-op, those teams have combined with Roosevelt and Edison respectively.  We'll see if any in-season adjustments are made to the section.  2 time defending class A champ Minneapolis North is the big addition to the section.  Maranatha also is a top contender moving in from section 4A.  Defending champ Annandale moves west to 6AA.

Minneapolis North goes in the top spot as they have Odell Wilson inside, Tayler Johnson outside and a truckload of athletes that these teams just can't replicate.  Brooklyn Center has plenty back and should be in or around the rankings all year.  Holy Family won only 10 games during the regular season last year.  But they upset the Centaurs in the quarters and were a miracle buzzer-beater from the section final.  Now the Fire return everybody from last year.  The record may not show it because of the gauntlet known as the Wright County East but that schedule will benefit them come section time.

Maranatha and Breck are the next tier of teams with their stars David Roddy and Beijan Newbern being a level above the remainder of the section.  Litchfield has Owen Boerema coming back and SW Christian has guard firepower in the next group.  Providence will look to jump in that group with Matt Richelsen.  1 more group of 3 before PACT and ISM fight it out for the final spot.

In 6AA, I see Spectrum going out in a 1st round road game.

Sleeper: SW Christian.  Their shooting and nasty matchup zone are both able to keep them in any game.  In a 1 and done scenario, that's always a chance.

Section Winner: Minneapolis North. Too athletic and having Odell Wilson inside means they still advance.  But they won't have a cakewalk like Minnehaha as the top of the section has plenty of quality.

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