Sunday, March 9, 2008

Don't spit them out

Here are the class AAAA seeds for the state tournament:

1. Minneapolis South
2. Eastview
3. St. Paul Central
4. Osseo
5. Chaska
6. St. Cloud Tech
7. St. Francis
8. Owatonna

At least all their games will be played at Target Center, so they won't be bounced around from one arena to another, although I think they should have them play at Williams Arena at least once. I know, I'm a Gopher. A friend of mine who went to state a few years ago said Williams is a scarier place to play than Target Center because of the raised floor.

South will no doubt be the heavy favorite. They resemble last year's Central team in a lot of ways: South's roster is filled with versatile players that can shoot, drive and play defense. Their bench is deep and can contribute right away. South executes the full-court press well and have a go-to player in Tayler Hill to top it all off. Osseo is ranked in the top 10, but South has gone toe-to-toe with the best and probably will march unscathed to the final.

Central had a scare against White Bear Lake before coasting against Woodbury. Given their weaker section, their 2nd game against South was that more important for the tournament. St. Cloud Tech had a low strength of schedule as Kevin Anderson points out. Central does have an advantage over everyone else by playing against Long Beach Poly, who are ranked among the top schools in the nation. Where was that game? Target Center. Central won't have to adjust like everyone else. If Central beats St. Cloud Tech, they'll likely have Eastview waiting for them. Central can earn the chance to win back-to-back titles, but they need to play their A-game throughout.

Recent history doesn't bode well for South if they play Central a third time. Osseo beat Centennial on their third try and Michigan State did the same to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament. On that note, there could be a similar situation in class AAA with DeLaSalle and Minnehaha Academy. DeLaSalle won both times, but only by a combined nine points.

There will be more uncertainty compared to last year, and that will only make the tournament more fun.

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