I love regional Saturday in Indiana, where the 64 sectional winners all go to 16 different sites, four teams at each sites, and cut the field down to a final four in each class. It is a throwback to the days of the old tournament, where you had to win two games in one day three times to be a state champion. Now it is the only round where you have to wins twice in one day to move on. The grueling nature of the day means that there are no cheap regional winners. Everyone earns it.
Purdue has plenty of interest in this year's tournament, as do other schools that have recruited players from in state. Here is a very quick look at all 16 regionals:
South Bend Riley [10-14] vs. Northridge [14-9]
Munster [18-9] vs. Crown Point [18-8]
This is a pretty weak regional for class 4A, but that is because the favorite, East Chicago Central, was upset by Munster. The Mustangs have won this regional twice in recent seasons and were undefeated in 2011 before losing in the semi-state. Most likely the winner will get stomped in the semi-state by the winner at Marion.
Carroll (Fort Wayne) [23-3] vs. Homestead [25-2]
McCutcheon [22-4] vs. Carmel [22-2]
Holy crap is this regional loaded! Ryan Cline for Carmel is a Purdue commit. His teammate Keegan Culp will go to Air Force. Homestead has Caleb Swanigan (a five star Purdue target) and Dana Batt, who is going to Colgate. Chandler White of Carroll is going to Toledo. McCutcheon is a solid, well-coached team that might be the worst of the four, but they could easily win any other regional in the state. Of Carroll's two losses, two have come to Homestead 48-39 and 46-34. All three games here should be excellent.
Pike [18-8] vs. Richmond [24-3]
Brownsburg [20-6] vs. Lawrence North [19-5]
This is another excellent regional where some very, very good teams like Southport were knocked out early. Pike has Tahjai Teague who is headed to Ball State. Richmond has a single loss, by a point, since early December. Brownsburg is a team loaded with shooters led by K.J. Walton, an uncommitted four-star that could end up at Minnesota (and Purdue has shown some interest in). Lawrence North has Kevin Easley, who is a freshman that Purdue is already recruiting.
Franklin Central [8-15] vs. Bloomington South [21-2]
New Albany [23-2] vs. Evansville Reitz [26-1]
Reitz is the top-rated team in the state and their only loss came very late in the year when they went to Southport and lost. They are a team that doesn't have a lot of star power, but plays really well together. New Albany and Bloomington South are always factors in March, while Franklin Central, as its record shows, is a big surprise to be here.
South Bend St. Joseph's [18-6] vs. Andrean [14-10]
Twin Lakes [18-8] vs. Griffith [16-3]
Andrean is always strong as they play a tough schedule of larger schools. The same is true for South Bend St. Joseph's. St. Joseph's managed to knock of No. 1 Mishawaka Marian in the sectional, so that likely makes them the favorite.
Fort Wayne Dwenger [12-13] vs. Hamilton Heights [19-7]
Columbia City [19-7] vs. NorthWood [22-2]
Purdue has an eye here as Grant Weatherford leads Hamilton Heights into this regional. The Huskies have never advanced beyond the regional, but they are a balanced team that plays uptempo, so they could win this. NorthWood is an excellent team in its own right, with one of its two losses coming by one to South Bend St. Joseph's.
Guerin Catholic [18-8] vs. Lebanon [9-15]
West Vigo [14-12] vs. Tri-West [20-4]
I would be stunned if this final was not Guerin Catholic vs. Tri-West. Lebanon is a bad, bad team that got a favorable draw to get here. I saw them more than once this year and Guerin will roll them. Guerin's Matt Holba is a D-I player headed to Lehigh after this season.
Evansville Memorial [17-6] vs. Silver Creek [23-2]
Greensburg [21-3] vs. Vincennes Lincoln [19-6]
Can someone finally beat Greensburg, who is the two-time defending state champion in Class 3A and has Ryan Welage headed to San Jose State after losing Bryant McIntosh to Northwestern? Silver Creek looks solid, but Greensburg has barely lost anything in the last four years (six losses in the last four seasons total).
Fort Wayne Canterbury [14-10] vs. Hammond Noll [11-13]
LaVille [20-6] vs. Winamac [20-4]
This is a very wide open regional. In fact, the entire northern half of the bracket doesn't have a clear favorite. If Winamac wins it will be its first regional title since 1932.
Frankton [23-2] vs. Fountain Central [20-8]
Oak Hill [18-6] vs. Madison-Grant [14-9]
On paper it looks like No. 3 rated Frankton could walk to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but Regional Saturday is always tough. Oak Hill might give them a game, but Frankton beat them by 33 in December.
Park Tudor [22-2] vs. Northeastern [22-3]
Cloverdale [22-5] vs. Indianapolis Attucks [18-5]
Purdue is looking at Park Tudor's Jaren Jackson, and the Panthers are heavily favored to win a second straight state title and fourth in five years. The closest that Northwastern has come to playing a team of their caliber came in losses to Indianapolis Crispus Attucks and Richmond. Cloverdale coach Pat Rady is also of note, as he is the state's active leader in wins with 761 victories in 51 years of coaching.
Evansville Mater Dei [19-6] vs. Linton-Stockton [20-6]
South Ripley [16-8] vs. Eastern (Pekin) [15-10]
Mater Dei has a 15-point regular season win over Linton-Stockton and is generally tougher than their record shows, so they will probably pull this one out.
Marquette Catholic [21-6] vs. Fort Wayne Blackhawk [20-6]
Oregon-Davis [11-13] vs. Tri-County [20-5]
Marquette Catholic is the defending champion in Class A and has Ryan Fazekas, who is headed to Providence next season. They should roll through this.
Liberty Christian [23-3] vs. Seton Catholic [18-6]
Lafayette Central Catholic [15-9] vs. Rossville [11-15]
Three private schools and a tiny public school. Central Catholic already upset No. 1 ranked Covington on their way to a 14th straight sectional crown. It has been awhile (2003) since they have gone all the way to Indy, however. Jackson Anthrop, the little brother of Dru Anthrop and Danny Anthrop, is one of their top players.
Indianapolis Tindley [17-10] vs. Clay City [22-4]
Jac-Cen-Del [18-8] vs. Indianapolis Lutheran [9-15]
I don't know a lot about the teams here except that Clay City won this regional a year ago. That experience should benefit them.
Christian Academy [21-4] vs. Barr-Reeve [23-2]
Orleans [21-3] vs. Wood Memorial [17-9]
Look for a final of Barr-Reeve vs. Orleans, which will be excellent. Barr-Reeve is ranked third and Orleans is ranked second. The teams played twice during the season and split the meetings, so round three should be fun. Barr-Reeve is the perpetual Class A bridesmaid, with four trips to Indy but no championships yet. Their closest was last year's 4-point overtime loss to Marquette Catholic.