Wednesday, March 11, 2009

AAA Final Four primer

Friday at Macon Centreplex
Westover vs. Gainesville, 5:30 p.m.
South Atlanta vs. Columbia, 8:30 p.m.

Why Westover wins: There may not be a tougher player in the AAA tournament that senior guard Terrence Noel. He’s stepped up in the playoffs despite a reoccurring separated shoulder problem he’s been fighting through this season. The Albany locals have raved about this team and some have even called this team the best Albany has offered up in nearly five years. That’s impressive.

Why Gainesville wins: No one outside of Hall County is expecting them to win it. Being the underdog is a huge advantage in your own world. It’s a me against the planet mentality. The Red Elephants roll out a heavy senior laden lineup. The team is 21-5 since Jan. 1, too.

Why South Atlanta wins: It never hurts when the best player in the country mans the middle of your lineup. It’s time for Derrick Favors to shake the monkey off his back, too. The state’s most dominate player since Dwight Howard has yet to claim a state championship title. It is now or never. Think the big fella needs any more motivation than that? Throw in Andre Malone, Nick Watkins, Nick Jacobs, Rashaud Bell and a host of other players that are all difficult to match-up with, the Hornets are ready for anything.

Why Columbia wins: They have to play South Atlanta in the semi-finals. If that won’t get you excited for the big dance, nothing will. Columbia has been here before. Playing in the Final Four is nothing new for this club. Junior JerShon Cobb (pictured above) is a tough match-up for South Atlanta because of his versatility. Mix in Columbia’s size, depth and coaching and Phil McCrary’s kids could be playing for another title.

Georgia Hoops picks: Westover over Gainesville, South Atlanta over Columbia