2014 Indiana High School Basketball State Tournament: Semi-State Preview

A handful of Purdue prospects are still alive in the Indiana Tournament.

This weekend in Indiana eight games at four different sites, two at each site, will decide the eight state finalists in the four classes. Purdue has several targets still alive just a week before the state finals, and there is even one that would be a decent addition to the 2014 class if Matt Painter is looking to add someone with Ronnie Johnson leaving. Scratch that, Aaron Brennan signed with IUPUI

Class 4A

North Semi-State at Lafayette Jeff HS

No. 8 Lake Central (23-3) vs. Homestead (20-7)

Homestead was the surprise winner last week in the Marion regional, but 2016 Mr. Basketball candidate Caleb Swanigan had a monster game of 18 points and 22 rebounds against an experienced Kokomo squad then the Spartans upset Hamilton Southeastern in the championship. Lake Central has not won a regional or a semi-state since 1984, while Homestead just won its first regional. Tyler Wideman, a Butler commit, leads Lake Central, so this will be a fun battle between solid big men.

Swanigan is the real deal though, and with the game being a few miles from campus coach Painter would be wise to check him out in person with a scholarship offer in hand. Yes, he is only a sophomore, but we need to get on this kid because he is a top 25 player nationally in the 2016 class. Pick: Lake Central

South Semi-State at Richmond

No. 2 Indianapolis Tech (25-2) vs. Bloomington North (16-8)

Tech is on a mission. No Indianapolis Public Schools program has made the state finals since 1983, and Tech hadn't even won a sectional since 1978. Back in the day they were a state power in the old North Central Conference and they haven't made a state finals in 48 years. They are loaded, however. Their losses were to Bowman Academy by 4 (one of the best Class 3A teams) and Hamilton Southeastern by 6 (HSE was ranked No. 3 in Class 4A and made a regional final last week). Tech has Trey Lyles (2014 Kentucky), Rashaun Richardson (2014 Ball State), Jeremie Tyler (2014 Ball State) as committed D-1 players along with Mike Jones (2014) and C.J. Walker (2016) as uncommitted prospects.

Bloomington North has a history as the last real champion in Indiana in 1997, but Tech is destroying teams in this tournament. North only got this far because their quarter of the bracket was very weak. They are the heavy favorite not only to win here, but win the title next week, especially with some of the top North teams knocked out like Carmel, Marion, and HSE. Pick: Indianapolis Tech

Class 3A

North Semi-State at Huntington North

No. 3 Bowman Academy (21-4) vs. Fort Wayne Dwenger (17-8)

The Class 3A bracket was set up perfectly for the four best teams to all make it to the semi-state. Three of them did, but No. 4 New Haven was upset by Dwenger in the sectional final and the Saints went on to win a regional for the first time since 1996. I hate that 1996 team. They beat my Kokomo team with me as a sophomore 52-50 when we were 24-1 coming in. it cost me a state title.

Bowman has a lot of talent and is the defending Class 2A champ that has to play up in 3A due to the IHSAA's success factor rules. They only lost to Chicago power Simeon, Ben Davis, Carmel, and Kokomo, so none of their defeats are bad. They also beat Tech, Lake Central, and Clarksville as semi-state participants. Davon Dillard, a 2015 Purdue lead, is their top player. He is probably the closest 2015 player to committing. Pick: Bowman Academy

South Semi-State at Richmond

No.1 Greensburg (26-1) vs. No. 2 Guerin Catholic (22-3)

How is this for fun? The last two champions in Class 3A will battle, with the winner likely getting last year's 2A title winner. Guerin Catholic has an intriguing player in Aaron Brennan, who is the top uncommitted player in Indiana for 2014. He is a 6'6" forward that is averaging close to 20 points per game. He shoots almost 50% from the floor and 35% from three, has already won one state championship, and is a great leader. This would make him an intriguing addition if Matt Painter wants to add a good shooter to the 2014 class. (Ed. Note: After further research I found a small blurb where he signed with IUPUI, so Brennan is off the board.)

Greensburg has three D-1 prospects and has lost only three times in the last three seasons. Their lone loss this season was by 2 to Madison. Guerin's only losses were to Bloomington South and New Haven, both in the same tournament in Noblesville, and to Louisville Ballard. Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern 2014), Sean Sellers (Ball State 2014), and Ryan Welage (a 6'8" uncommitted 2015 player) lead Greensburg. This should be a fantastic game. Pick: Greensburg

Class 2A

North Semi-State at Huntington North

No. 7 Lewis Cass (22-2) vs. Westview (22-4)

No real D-I talent on display here that I know of, but it is a game between former Class 2A champions in Cass (2003) and Westview (1999 and 2000). Neither program has been back to the finals since those glory days, but they are programs built on kids that watched those former great teams as little kids. Cass started the year 2-2 but has reeled off 20 straight victories.

If you're looking for good, old-fashioned fundamental Indiana basketball this is your game. Cass averages 73.8 points per game and Westview is one of the state's better defensive teams. Pick: Lewis Cass

South Semi-State at Seymour

No. 1 Park Tudor (22-4) vs. Clarksville (23-2)

Xavier 2014 commit and one time Purdue target Trevon Bluiett of Park Tudor is the start here, averaging close to 35 points per game. He is going for a third state championship in four years and first without Indiana's Kevin Ferrell and Paul Bayt. Their four losses were to Tech, North Central, Brebeuf (with P.J. Thompson) and Martinsville. Park Tudor has played a very strong schedule and won the Marion County Tournament. They average 82 points per game as one of the top scoring teams in the state.

Clarksville isn't bad. They only lost to Bowman Academy and Brownstown Central, and they are lucky to be here. Both wins in the regional last week came in overtime, including one over the Class 2A runner-up from last season. Still, Bowman is the only team they played close to Park Tudor's skill level. That was only a 79-76 loss though, and Bowman is probably better than Park Tudor. Pick: Park Tudor

Class A

North Semi-State at Lafayette Jeff

No. 3 Marquette Catholic (18-6) vs. No. 10 Liberty Christian (20-6)

Both of these teams are newcomers to the semi-state round, but Marquette Catholic has Ryan Fazekas, who has already committed to Providence as a 2015 prospect. They are a strong scoring team at 68.8 points per game. Liberty Christian is good, but lost to some pretty bad 4A teams in Anderson and New Castle for a couple of their losses. Pick: Marquette Catholic

South Semi-State at Seymour

No. 1 Barr-Reeve (25-1) vs. Clay City (20-6)

Is this the year for Barr-Reeve? They are undefeated against Indiana teams, losing only to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In 2002, 2007, and 2010 they reached the Class A title game, but lost all four times. They also already have a 30-point win over Clay City earlier in the year back in December. Clay City is in its first semi-state since 1974, but has won three straight sectionals. Pick: Barr-Reeve

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