by Tim Snyder and Andrew Marcum of OhioBasketball.net
Let's get right to it, you've read (or will read) part one.
Part two is where Andrew and I predict out all the games. I'll name the game, give you Andrew's prediction, then mine.
For my analysis, I may substitute actual knowledge with humor, it's a diversionary tactic that has worked fairly well for me over the years.
For the record, I've not even glanced at Andrew's picks before doing my own.
Ready? How could you not be?
Starting at the top of the bracket with the sectional round.
Monday March 1 - Game 1
#9 Norwayne Bobcats vs. #10 Black River Pirates
Andrew: If it comes down to the wire, I am going to go with the team which I think has the better coach (not knowing much about Black River's) and that will likely have the crowd and momentum behind them, the underdog, Norwayne. Score: Norwayne 61 - Black River 54.
Me: No idea. Pirates are cool...but couldn't fend off a mad Bobcat unless he had his sword. Plus, Black River stomped Orrville in the playoffs back in 2003 (I think). Pick....Norwayne 58-51.
Actual Result - Black River 71-46.
Monday March 1 - Game 2
#6 Northwestern Huskies vs #8 Tuslaw Mustangs
Andrew: Having one of the best players (McKean) and best coaches (Alberts Jr. in the area, Northwestern has big potential in the 1st round, and I think they are going to get the victory in a game that will come easy to them but not be a great point margin. Score: Northwestern 60 - Tuslaw 50.
Me: This one could be a very solid game. Both teams have had their successes and near wins over good teams. But the more consistent team is clearly Northwestern, so I'll go with the Huskies by a 67-52 score.
Actual Result - Northwestern 54-49....(1 point for Andrew as his prediction was closer)
Tuesday March 2 - Game 1
#11 Columbia Raiders vs #3 Hillsdale Falcons
Andrew: I have a feeling the Falcons are going to come ready to play and take care of business. I'm setting myself up for failure here, but it's hard to predict the score in this game, which could easily be a blowout, in my opinion. Score: Hillsdale 64 -Columbia 47.
Me: More Pirates. Can't pick this version of scallywags either. Four times this season, Columbia didn't get out of the 30's for points scored. Hillsdale early and often.....68-49.
Actual Result - Hillsdale 73-44...(1 point for Tim)
Tuesday March 2 - Game 2
#2 Triway Titans vs #13 Chippewa Chipps (creative!)
Andrew: Chippewa I don't think has the size, athleticism, or basketball talent to stay in this game very long,
but I thought the same thing about Fairless earlier in the season. Enough over thinking, though. Triway wins. Score: Triway 70 - Chippewa 51.
Me: Titans. They're built for March. Plus all their snow days have gotten them plenty of extra gym time. Chipps will have to put all their hopes in soccer in the fall. Triway wins 71-53.
Actual Result - Triway 74-57.....(another point for Tim)
Wednesday March 3rd - Game 1
#4 Smithville Smithies vs #14 Oberlin Phoenix (would have never guessed Phoenix)
Andrew: Ugly. Very ugly. This will be the widest scoring margin of the tournament, almost guaranteed. Well, Orrville/Norwayne will challenge for that title. Anyway, Smithville is just too big and too talented, no matter how shallow their (lack of a) bench is. Score: Smithville 68 - Oberlin 39.
Me: The 3 worst teams (by seed) are all in the bottom half of this bracket. Where's the advantage for being the 1-seed? Oh, the first round bye? Ok. Smithies win and it could get ugly.....70-39.
**********OK, this is officially eerie. Our scores are very similar, both in range and margin.
Actual Result - Smithville 72-36......(another point for Tim, now leads 3 games to 1)
Wednesday March 3rd - Game 2
#7 Loudonville Redbirds vs #5 Wellington Dukes (same nickname as Marlington, less confusion that way)
Andrew: Loudonville has a former OCC coach and two players that are in the area scoring leader board. I'll go with my old time MAC rival Loudonville in this one, but this could very easily be the most exciting game in the 1st round. Score: Loudonville 54 - Wellington 50.
Me: Like 'Birds coach Seboe....and think they have enough to get by this one...but it will probably be the closest game of the opening round. L'ville wins 58-54.
Actual Result - Loudonville 49-45....(point for Andrew...we were both 4 points off, but his score was closer. Tim leads 3-2 after the sectional semifinal round)
Moving out to the Sectional Championships.............
Friday March 5th - Game 1
#1 Orrville Red Riders vs
Andrew: Orrville has the greatest potential in this tournament, in my opinion. There's that little piece of me that thinks they can be slowed down, but not against Norwayne. Sorry. Orrville will get to sit and watch Norwayne (or Black River) in the 1st round before taking them to the woodshed. The Bobcats just won't have any match for Bolyard, Wasson, and company. Too much size, athleticism, and depth.
Score: Orrville 68 - Norwayne 40.
Me: Riders seek their first sectional title since 2005, and get it. Hoping against a slow start, but see it coming. Orrville 68-50.
Actual Result - Orrville 74 - Black River 45. Neither of us had the Pirates in this game (but I don't think that would have changed anyone predictions.) Andrew's 28 point margin gets him the point, and we're tied at 3.
Friday March 5th - Game 2
#6 Northwestern Huskies vs #3 Hillsdale Falcons
Andrew: This game should be exciting to watch and is one I'm looking forward to. It's hard to beat a team twice in football, and three times in basketball. Give Coach Alberts three chances against a team, and I think he'll prevail. A mild upset, but I'm going with the Huskies nonetheless.
Score: Northwestern 69 - Hillsdale 63.
Me: For me, the first real tossup game. Depends which Northwestern team shows up. I think the Huskies pull enough rabbits out of the hat to advance......66-61 Northwestern.
Actual Result - Hillsdale 54-49. Both of us wrong...no points awarded.
Saturday March 6th - Game 1
#12 Waynedale Golden Bears vs #2 Triway Titans
Andrew: Triway has beaten Waynedale 17 straight times in basketball (or something very close to that). Even though I think Waynedale will keep this game close, I look for Triway to get a few clutch shots late and grab the win to survive. Score: Triway 59 - Waynedale 51
Me: A 13 seed and a 12 seed to get to the district semifinals. Good draw for the Titans. 70-49 Triway.
Actual Result - Triway 65-43. Point for Tim (leads 4-3)
Saturday March 6th - Game 2
#4 Smithville Smithies vs #7 Loudonville Redbirds
Andrew: I think it's going to be very hard for Loudonville to play a full four quarters and beat Smithville, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a single-digit game in the middle of the fourth. Smithville should win, and it's very hard to pick against them in this one. Score: Smithville 70 - Loudonville 56.
Me: This one has "upset special" written all over it....but I think in the end, the Green will have too much balance and inside presence. Smithville 68-55.
Actual Result - Smithville 63-42, point for Andrew (now tied at 4).
Both of us picked Northwestern to win, so the analysis is moot. I call a mulligan.
Monday March 8th - District Semifinal
#1 Orrville Red Riders vs #3 Hillsdale Falcons
See the full preview here.
Actual Result - Orrville 61-48. Point for Andrew. He now leads 5 games to 4.
Tuesday March 9th - District Semifinal
#2 Triway Titans vs #4 Smithville Smithies
Andrew: Even though Smithville is a very good team, I think Triway is the slight favorite going into this game, and I think they will be ready to step up and get back to the district championship game. This will not be a game for the faint of heart, as I think both teams will have their share of 6-10 point leads, but the Titans should prevail. Score: Triway 63 - Smithville 58.
Me: Real tough one to predict. So much will depend on Smithville's guard play. Caldwell, Orr and Frizell are battle tested, but I think Triway is the more complete and deep team. Titans advance and get revenge for last years district final loss. 59-53 Titans.
Actual Result - Triway 36-22. Technically point for Tim, but neither of us were really close on this one, other than picking the winner correctly. But that does tie it up at 5.
Friday March 12th - District Final
#1 Orrville Red Riders vs #2 Triway Titans
Andrew: A potential second matchup would favor the Red Riders, especially with payback on their minds. However, I think Triway knows the recipe to dealing with Orrville and will not let the red and black run away with the game. In the end, though, unless Wasson gets in foul trouble early like he has in a number of other big games this season, I see the Red Riders prevailing in a loud, packed house.
Score: Orrville 76 - Triway 62.
Me: Potential Rematch Game #2 for Orrville. So tough for me to even think about this potential matchup...so much basketball between now and then. Riders lost to Triway by 1 point at the Pit with the Titans shooting 60% for the game. Any less and Orrville wins by 8-10 points. I'll take my chances on a 2nd meeting. Orrville advances to the historic Canton Fieldhouse with a 61-57 win.
Actual Result - Orrville 69-65. A four point margin gives me the point...and the win...6 games to 5. Both Andrew and I predicted the winner in 11 of the 13 games.
After all that....14 teams, 13 games and 2 weeks of action....Andrew and I disagree on ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in terms of who we think will win. How boring. But these were his honest picks, as were mine. The first upset will totally wreck both of our predictions, and I'm sure it will happen.
What's amazing was how close our predictions were.....Andrew's total prediction came in at 853-688, a margin of 165 points.......my aggregate score was 850-686, a margin of 164 points. That's right....ONE point of difference in our predictions.
For what it's worth, Andrew went ahead and predicted Orrville winning both games at regionals and advancing to state......I won't even go there. Punch my ticket to Canton first, then we can talk.
Riders.....you have your shot. Tournaments have been an utter embarassment lately. Go get it done and change the perception of the program.
Hope you enjoyed. Here's looking forward to an exciting 2 weeks of local hoops.