Play Along: Predicting regular-season games while looking forward to the playoffs
The playoff-like atmosphere at Tuesday night’s game between the Huron and Ypsilanti high school boys basketball teams has me itching for the first two weeks of March.
(Or maybe all the paczki I ate made me itchy? No. I’m pretty sure it was the game.)
Call it the traditional March Madness, or go with the MHSAA’s March Magic moniker if you prefer. Whatever the name, the two weeks jam-packed with basketball district tournament games (girls March 1-5 and boys March 8-12) are unequivocally the best on the high school calendar.
And I’m already looking forward to it.
But look at me getting ahead of myself. Sure, I happen to feel like I’m hitting my late-season stride with last week’s 10-0 predictions record.
Still, I’ve got to remember to take it one week at a time, because just when you start to overlook a run-of-the-mill Friday night schedule filled with seemingly predictable games that’s when a 3-7 record jumps up and gets ya right in the inflated ego.
So, here we go with this Friday’s 10 featured games. You can play along and predict the games yourself by filling out the polls below.
BOYS GAMES Monroe at Pioneer: The last time these teams met, Pioneer’s David Veals was limited because of an injury and held to three points in a 61-42 win. Ever since, Veals has been Pioneer’s leading scorer with a 16.0-point average over eight games. The moral of this story? Pioneer wins by more with a healthy Veals. Pioneer, 67-40.
Huron at Bedford: With a 5:30 p.m. start time as the first game of a varsity doubleheader, the River Rats could probably have this one wrapped up, be on the bus and back home in time to catch the Olympic medal run of the men’s skeleton. On the other hand, staying to watch the Huron girls team pick up a win would probably be more exciting. Huron, 70-46
Dexter at Ypsilanti: The Phoenix will have to recover quickly from Tuesday’s emotional loss to Huron because both Dexter and Chelsea are itching to get back into the SEC White Division title hunt. They’re a distant three games behind, but both have another shot at reeling Ypsilanti back to the pack. The Phoenix needed a 15-foot buzzer-beating jumper from Jevonte McGuire to beat the Dreadnaughts on Jan. 15. Ypsilanti, 53-48
Chelsea at Adrian: See above for the importance of every game to the Bulldogs. And Adrian’s 48-41 win earlier this season adds to Chelsea’s motivation. Chelsea, 59-55
Milan at Carleton Airport: Milan came away with a wild double-overtime win when these teams met just three weeks ago. Since that game, the Big Reds have dropped three of four games while the Jets have won three of four. Milan, 54-51
GIRLS GAMES Huron at Bedford: The Bedford gymnasium has been the site of some haunting losses for the Huron girls over the past few seasons. But definitely not this year. With a little help from their cross-town friends, the River Rats could even clinch a share of the SEC Red Division title on the three-time defending champ’s home court. Huron, 60-41
Pioneer at Monroe: Second-place in the SEC Red is on the line in this game, a rematch of a Jan. 15 game that Monroe won, 51-50, in the final seconds. A Pioneer win would give Huron a three-game lead over both teams with three conference games remaining. Pioneer, 53-50
Adrian at Chelsea: The Bulldogs’ results since a 45-32 loss to Adrian earlier this season: L, W, L, W, L, W, L. I’m normally too obsessive-compulsive to break up a pattern like that, but the host Maples have proven themselves the best team in the SEC White. Adrian, 50-41
Ypsilanti at Dexter: The Dreadnaughts, two games back in the SEC White standings, are hoping for an Adrian slip-up before their regular-season finale on Feb. 26. Dexter, 48-39
Tecumseh at Lincoln: The first time these teams met, Tecumseh picked up its first and only SEC win of the season. Friday night, the Railsplitters will have their best chance at their first SEC win of the season. Lincoln, 43-35
Season: 46-16 (.742). Last week: 10-0 (1.000). Best pick: Romulus 55, Pioneer 43 (Romulus girls won, 57-43). Worst pick: All surprisingly good.