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Posted on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 5:30 a.m.

Try to 'Beat Pete' with conference titles on the line

By Pete Cunningham

Last week, I was 7-1 in my picks, which would pass as respectable in most forums. Against the informed readers of, very average.

Nine people (listed below) went 8-0 on their picks and were able to beat me. Among the nine is former intern photographer and McRib enthusiast Joe Tobianski, who confided a few weeks ago that it was one of his life goals to beat me.

Well Joe, you’ve been trying since football season and finally reached the mountaintop. Congratulations, it’s all downhill from here.

Matt Seidl, of Dexter is this week’s winner of a $20 Domino’s Pizza gift card. Seidl is the head coach of the Saline boys varsity team. Treat your team with some pizza Matt, and hopefully it will boost morale.

Every week we will continue to pick one “Beat Pete” participant at random for the Domino’s gift card and every month will pick another participant at random and donate $150 to the school of their choice. There are two weeks left in the season, so get your picks in. (Official contest rules.)

Pete’s picks:

Before this season, the boys and girls basketball coaches of the Southeastern Conference decided not every team would play each other during the regular season. Teams in the Red and White divisions played every divisional opponent twice, but were required to have just two crossover games.

This afforded teams more flexibility in scheduling, allowing them to play more nonconference against games. An unfortunate result for the girls this year was that the two best teams in the league, Chelsea and Huron, happened to be in different divisions and happened to not have a crossover game against one another.

Fortunately, the coaches also decided that every team would play a cross-divisional counterpart based on league standings as a regular season finale. So Chelsea — which clinched an outright SEC White title with a 44-43 win over Lincoln on Tuesday — will host Huron on Friday. Huron didn't lose a single game in league play this season after defeating Skyline 53-19 on Tuesday.

Chelsea coach Todd Blomquist said he tried to get every SEC Red team he didn’t play in conference play on as a non-conference opponent because in year's past its better prepared them for the state tournament.

"We really felt like it’s been a big advantage for us," Blomquist said.

Things just didn’t work out with Huron, though.

“(Huron coach) Steve (Vinson) and I are good friends and we knew if we took care of business we could still see each other at the end of the year,” Blomquist said.

While the winner won’t be considered an overall SEC champion, bragging rights will be on the line on Friday. Vinson said with districts on the horizon, he isn’t over-preparing for Chelsea, but hopes a competitive game can benefit his team.

The River Rats are on an 11-game winning streak with an average margin of victory of 25 points.

The gap between Chelsea, ranked ninth in Class B, and its SEC opponents isn’t as glaring, with an average margin of victory of 14.2 points against league opponents and four wins of five points or less, plus a late-season loss to league rival Dexter.

Still, Blomquist looks forward to the game as a tune up for the upcoming postseason.

“We think this will help us prepare for the state tournament,” Blomquist said. “We know playing against them and playing against their defensive style and pressure can do nothing but help us.”

The unofficial SEC championship game will lead off this week's picks. Please note, all SEC boys games will be played on Thursday night this week due to the girls crossover games on Friday, so get your picks in early.

Beat Pete Winners

Terry Breneman
Terry Etchison
Dave Evanski
Tim Giard
Tony Love
Donald Shipley
Joe Tobianski
Aaron Ward
Tom Weeks

Pete's picks record: 55-15.

People who have "Beat Pete" so far: 55.

Contact Pete Cunningham at or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


Pete Cunningham

Thu, Feb 23, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

The Skyline and Pioneer boys basketball teams will play tonight at Skyline High School at 7 p.m. The game was not on our original schedule for some reason, which is why it was left off of this week's picks. Rest assured, there will be coverage of the game here at The last time the teams met, Pioneer won on a 3-pointer at the buzzer, so tonight should be a good one: <a href=""></a>