2018-19 Section 4A Preview

This is the 14th preview in the 2018-2019 season preview series.  Phase 2 of the previews starts today and over the next 3 weeks I'll cover 14 sections, mostly metro based, including all 8 class AAAA sections.  That will include looks at some section teams that I haven't done yet plus some sprinkled comments about local teams that aren't in the 14 sections being previewed.  Let's start with a look at Section 4A.  If you missed any of the conference previews during phase 1, I previewed 121 metro area teams from 12 conferences and independents.  For a list of all the season previews and how they are generated, click here.

Section 4A (24 Teams)
Defending Champion: Heritage Christian Academy

Tournament Schedule:
Round 1: Monday, March 4th (number of games will be number of teams in section - 16)
Round 2: Tuesday, March 5th (16 teams left)
Round 3: Thursday, March 7th (12 teams left)
Quarterfinals: Saturday, March 9th
Semifinals: Tuesday, March 12th at Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Finals: Friday, March 15th at Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Predicted Seeding
  1. Prairie Seeds
  2. CHOF 
  3. Christian Life
  4. Mounds Park Academy
  5. West Lutheran
  6. Hope Academy
  7. Minnesota Transitions
I'm going to assume 4A (and 4AA tomorrow) both go with the same NCAA small conference tournament format of byes they used last year.  The intent was to avoid the 130-12 type beatdowns that were happening in the 1 vs 16 games.  It actually added to the fun that was 4A last year with the 15 seed winning 3 games to reach the quarterfinals and the 16 seed winning twice to advance.  See if you can keep all of these byes straight.

Seeds 13-lower: Round 1
Seeds 9-12: Byes to Round 2 (play round 1 winners)
Seeds 5-8: Byes to Round 3 (play round 2 winners)
Seeds 1-4: Byes to the Quarterfinals (play round 3 winners)

As is always the case in this section of tiny charter schools, the full list of teams won't be playing in the bracket.  With 20 teams the above structure still works.  However, if there's a 21st team and it looks like there will be, then I'm guessing that the 12 seed would lose their bye and have to play the 21 seed in round 1.

As to the games themselves, this section was a total tossup last year with 6 seed Mounds Park Academy making a cinderella run to the section final with a third of their wins being in the tournament series.  Not to mention 5 seed Heritage making state after not making their own conference tournament.  I think Mounds Park Academy could once again use the tough IMAC schedule to their advantage come tourney time to make another run.  Christian Life and CHOF will be tough outs with plenty coming back.  But its the guard play of Prairie Seeds Academy that sticks out to me here.  They're just so quick compared to everybody else in the section.  But they're also the type of team that keeps the game interesting up 20 or down 20.

A couple other previewed class A teams to note here.  MCAA member Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity is in section 2A.  I'll stick with last year's finish.  The Bulldogs win a 1st round home game but then go out in the subsection semis.  TCAC member Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, if they play the tournament series in section 1A, is likely looking at going out in a pigtail game.

Sleeper:  Minnesota Transitions.  The battle of the mangy coats is Dec 6th at Prairie Seeds Academy but it wouldn't be ridiculous to see these wolf creatures cross paths again come March.  But with everybody coming back and a weak section, another run during tourney time would not be a major surprise.

Section Winner: CHOF.  Prairie Seeds Academy is the pick on paper here.  But that's been the case for the Lycans the last 2 or 3 years.  I think CHOF's schedule will help them and in a wide open section, I'm going to go off the main path for the pick.

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