Monday, February 25, 2008

10 questions heading into the second round

Here we are in the Sweet 16. How about 10 questions that need answers going into Tuesday's slate of games?

1. What are my top 16 games for Tuesday night in order:

Jordan at Glenn Hills

Columbia at Pebblebrook

McEachern at Wheeler

Lithia Springs at Dacula

Appling County at Randolph Clay

Savannah at Mundy's Mill

Centennial at Norcross

Jonesboro at Statesboro

Blessed Trinity at Hart County

Westover at Carver-Columbus

Northview at Marietta

Franklin County at Dunwoody

Dublin at Swainsboro

Laney at Long County

Hancock Central at Gordon-Lee

2. Who are my winners from those games:

Glenn Hills



Lithia Springs

Appling County



Blessed Trinity





Long County

Hancock Central

I was 65-15 in my first round picks in all classes. Someone buy me a cookie. Preferably the ones they sell at the Lithia Springs games.

3. Who has the biggest chance to pull off the upset on Tuesday night?

I like Pebblebrook to beat Columbia. Why? Simple, Bennie Gibbs has his team playing big-time basketball with speed in the backcourt and a great pressure defense from end to end. Chris Beasley, Pebblebrook's top player, is a scoring machine. Columbia received a scare in the region tournament from North Springs because of a press and key perimeter scoring. Guard play is the biggest question mark with Columbia right now. Plus, the game is at Pebblebrook.

Randolph Clay is 27-0. Appling County is 26-2. Between the two AA schools, that is 53 wins this season. Think this one will be exciting? I like Appling County in this one by a bucket. Appling's defense wins out over Randolph-Clay's offense. Should be a close one and a great one!

4. What team is surging at the right time?

Keep an eye on the winner of the Westover-Carver game. Both teams are playing as good as anyone in the AAA bracket right now. Westover may be sleeping in the AAA bracket. There is a strong chance that the team can make the march to Macon. They have that kind of talent, led by senior Chris Edwards.

Carver beat a good Mary Persons team easily and like a lot of teams, they are making a move at the right time.

5. What sleeper should the state get to know for the second round of the tournament?

How about Statesboro's Eric Ferguson? The 6-6 senior can shoot the three, athletic enough to play at the rim and his team is rolling at the right time. Statesboro is playing at home and the Blue Devils could very well upset the visiting Jonesboro squad.

6. What are the five best individual match-up on Tuesday?

Wheeler's Phil Taylor vs. McEachern's Trae Golden – The two sophomores should see some time against each other in the great Cobb County battle on Tuesday. In fact, both are in the final running for the Georgia Hoops Sophomore of the Year running. Taylor glues it all together at Wheeler and Golden is one of the most dynamic guards in the state.

Norcross's Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Centennial's Lorenzo Brown – Do any two players do more for their teams individually at such a high level than these two? They probably won't log too much time against each other but this is one of the best elite level match-ups all year long. Both players should have tremendous individual out puts.

Long County's Jimmy Bacon vs. Laney's Harold Doby – Looking for a sleeper match-up? Try this one on. Both are long 6-5 (or taller). Both are athletic. Both are inside-out kind of players. Both are under the radar juniors. Both are Division I prospects. Buckle up. This one could have some serious fireworks.

Franklin County's DeMario Mayfield vs. Dunwoody's Pierre Jordan – Mayfield, a junior committed to Georgia, is a tremendous scorer. Jordan, a Florida State signee, is a big time defender. Oil and water. Someone has to win out. Mayfield and his mates beat South Atlanta last year in the tournament. Can they play giant killer again?

Jordan's Terrence Hill vs. Glenn Hill's Jerel Stephenson – The two seniors are major parts to the puzzle for their respective teams. The winner of the game and the match-up could very well be in Macon next week playing for a state title. Hill has one. Stephenson wants one. It will be a battle of who wants it most.

7. What do I think about the higher seed home team?

Don't like it one bit. Think about the great opportunity for basketball on Tuesday. Four games at one venue (two girls and two boys games) has been the norm for so long. Now we are limited to back-to-back rounds of singular games.

This means less excitement, less fans, poorer officiating, less college coaches in town to see players and a lot of 10 p.m. phone calls to friends to find out scores.

I've heard through the grapevine that next year's state tournament might be worse with the Final Four being the only non neutral court. Two major thumbs down to the GHSA if that happens. And two major thumbs down to the local colleges with the big gyms that can't see the benefit of hosting a state tournament.

Here is my suggestion:

AAAAA – Georgia Tech/Georgia

AAAA – Georgia State/Savannah State

AAA – Kennesaw State/Georgia College

AA – Mercer/Albany State

A – Clayton State/Rome Forum

8. After one round, what bracket looks the strongest going into Tuesday?

I still like the AAA bracket the best with the AAAA bracket right behind it. The top half of the AAAAA lacks real star power and a team that is a state championship level type of club. Single A needs to call Brian Mcnamee for some human growth hormone. It's a little weak right now. That will change next round.

9. Where will Georgia Hoops be on Tuesday?

I'll be at Norcross. I missed last year's AAAAA state final because of a national assignment at another tournament. I can't miss this one this year. Someone save me a seat. And a parking spot.

10. What will be on the iPod?

For those of you that know me well, you know that I can't watch a game without a trio of things. My shot chart sheet, a pack of gum and my iPod. Everyone wants to know what I'm listening to, too. I'm going old school for Tuesday. I just put on Bill Withers "Greatest Hits" on the iPod. Don't interrupt me if I'm bobbing my head.

Enjoy the games on Tuesday!