The Madness begins tonight around the state of Michigan with the opening games of the state basketball tournaments. Here’s a preview of all of the district action. Included in here you’ll find the schedules for all Kalamazoo area districts and my pick for who will win each district.
District 1 @ Portage Northern
Opening rounds at individual sites. Semi-finals and Finals at Portage Northern
Portage Northern (13-7) @ Niles (6-14). 7:00
St. Joseph (10-10) @ Portage Central (6-14). 7:00
Kalamazoo Central (19-1) @ Stevensville-Lakeshore (18-2). 7:00
KC/SL winner vs. Mattawan (6-14). 5:30
PN/Niles winner vs. SJ/PC winner. 7:00
District final. 7:00
My Pick to win: Kalamazoo Central
Other contenders: Stevensville-Lakeshore, Portage Northern
Analysis: This is Kalamazoo Central’s district to lose. The toughest competition will come in game one against Stevensville-Lakeshore. Central should beat Lakeshore, and if they do they should cruise through the rest of the bracket. A K-Central-Portage Northern championship seems to be a likely scenario.
District 2 @ Loy Norrix
Opening rounds at individual sites. Semi-finals and Finals at Loy Norrix
Loy Norrix (11-9) @ Battle Creek Central (12-8). 7:00
Holt (8-11) @ Battle Creek Lakeview (2-18). 7:00
Gull Lake (2-18) @ Mason (2-17). 7:00
GL/Mason winner vs. Jackson (9-11). 6:00
LN/BCC winner vs. Holt/BCL winner. 7:30
My Pick to Win: Loy Norrix
Other Contenders: Battle Creek Central and Jackson
Analysis: Loy Norrix and Battle Creek Central are the only two teams with winning records in this district and they meet in the opening game. It seems whoever wins that game should be the favorite to win the district and Loy Norrix gets the Bearcats at home. On top of that, the Knights are one of the areas hottest team going into tournament time with six straight wins.
District 49 @ South Haven
Otsego (17-3) vs. South Haven (10-8). 5:30
Plainwell (13-7) vs. Hopkins (9-11). 7:00
Otsego/SH winner vs. Allegan (0-20). 5:30
Plain/Hopkins winner vs. Paw Paw (12-8). 7:00
My Pick to Win: Otsego
Other Contenders: South Haven and Plainwell
Analysis: Everything has built up to this year for Otsego and as long as they are focused they should have no problems getting out of this district. They open up with South Haven who was one of the hottest teams in the Wolverine down the stretch. If they get to the championship they might get one more chance at rival Plainwell.
District 35 @ Harper Creek
Delton (10-10) vs. Parchment (1-19). 6:00
Harper Creek (18-2) vs. Marshall (9-11). 7:30
Delton/Parch winner vs. Comstock (9-11). 6:00
HC/Marsh winner vs. Pennfield (10-10). 7:30
My Pick: Harper Creek
Other Contender: Marshall
Analysis: It would come as a huge surprise if Harper Creek doesn’t win this district. The closest competition to them is their first round opponent, Marshall, but they’ve won both regular season games by 21. As long as they can get by their rivals in the opener they should have an easy ride to the regional where they will have a likely rematch of last year’s regional semi-final against Otsego.
District 34 @ Coldwater
Vicksburg (9-11) vs. Edwardsburg (15-5). 6:00
Vicks/ED winner vs. Three Rivers (4-16). 6:00
Sturgis (11-9) vs. Coldwater (5-15). 7:30
My Pick: Edwardsburg
Other contenders: Sturgis and Vicksburg
Analysis: Edwardsburg is the favorite in a district that lacks a lot of great talent. The Eddies open with Vicksburg who is confident coming into the district after winning four of five to end the season. Sturgis has had a fine season and will be looking to get to the finals but to do it they will need to get revenge against Coldwater whom they lost to just two weeks ago.
District 76 @ Gobles
Bloomingdale (3-15) vs. Hartford (7-12). 6:00
Hackett (14-6) vs. Bangor (8-11). 7:30
Bloom/Hart winner vs. Kalamazoo Christian (12-8). 6:00
Hack/Bang winner vs. Gobles (6-14). 7:30
My Pick: Hackett
Other Contender: Kalamazoo Christian
Analysis: Hackett is looking to make it back to back district championships and it appears there’s one team in their way. The Irish finished behind Christian in the KVA standings, but they finished the season like a steam roller with seven straight wins. It’s very likely that they meet their rivals Christian in the championship. Hartford made it to the championship game last year against Hackett, but I don’t see anyone outside of Hackett or Christian winning this one.
District 66 @ Lawton
Opening rounds at individual sites. Semi-finals and Finals at Lawton.
White Pigeon (10-10) @ Lawton (1-19). 7:00
Constantine (18-2) @ Centreville (4-16). 7:00
Marcellus (13-6) @ Schoolcraft (7-12). 7:00
LAW/WP winner vs. Const/Centre winner. 5:30
Mar/SC winner vs. Decatur (13-7). 7:00
My Pick: Constantine
Other Contenders: Marcellus and Decatur
Analysis: Constantine has the best record and seems like the favorite here, but it might not be a cakewalk. The Falcons have made it a habit of playing close games with most everyone this year regardless of their talent. If that keeps happening they could be just a bad bounce or two away from losing to anyone. On the other side Marcellus may very well be waiting for them and they too have a veteran team and lost by just four to Constantine on the opening night of the season.
District 77 @ Springport
Potterville (1-19) vs. Springport (0-19). 7:00
Maple Valley (3-17) vs. Dansville (7-13). 5:30
Pott/Spring winner vs. Galesburg-Augusta (4-16). 7:00
My Pick: Dansville
Other Contenders: Maple Valley and Galesburg-Augusta
Analysis: Dansville might be the favorite here based on their record but there isn’t a team with a winning record in this whole bracket. It will be a dream come true for any of these teams to advance to the regional after finishing under .500 on the season, and it’s going to happen for one of them. Galesburg faces the winner of two teams with one combined win so they will have a good look to get to the championship and anything can happen at that point.
District 109 @ Climax-Scotts
Kalamazoo Phoenix (3-7) vs. Climax-Scotts (16-4). 5:30
Calhoun Christian (1-15) vs. Kalamazoo Lakeside. 7:00
Phoenix/CS winner vs. Heritage Christian (8-12). 5:30
CC/Lakeside winner vs. Martin (10-10). 7:00
My Pick: Climax-Scotts
Other Contender: Martin
Analysis: CS is at home and they are the for sure team to win. Their biggest competition will likely come in the championship game against Martin who had a very solid campaign with a 10-10 record.
District 97 @ Three Oaks River Valley
Benton Harbor Countryside (6-6) @ Lawrence (19-1). 7:00
St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (11-9) @ Watervliet Grace Christian (0-15). 7:00
St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran (4-14) @ Covert (4-4). 7:00
LMC/WGC winner vs. ML/COV winner. 6:00
Lawrence/BHC winner vs. Three Oaks River Valley (5-15). 7:30
My Pick: Lawrence
Other Contender: Covert and LMC
Analysis: This might be the year for Lawrence who is looking to return to the regional stage. They lost to Covert in the district championship a year ago and it appears they are headed for a rematch. If the Tigers can get through the district they have the talent to make a deep run.
District 98 @ Athens
Howardsville Christian (10-10) vs. Burr Oak (8-12). 7:00
Mendon (10-10) vs. Colon (7-13)
HC/BO winner vs. Athens (6-14)
My Pick: Mendon
Other Contenders: Colon and Athens
Analysis: This bracket is as wide open as it gets. Mendon has the best record but to win this they will need to turn the corner on a rough end to the season which saw them lose seven of their last eight. The reason I’ll stick with Mendon here is the fact that the Hornets hold easy wins over Athens, Colon and Howardsville Christian this season.