While we’re going to be a little busy on Saturday afternoon making up for Tuesday’s failures and winning the Big Ten championship, the 2:30 tipoff at Northwestern happens at the perfect time if you’re a basketball junkie. Saturday is Regional Saturday. It is the marathon where the 64 sectional winners are whittled to 16 in just one day. The victors must win twice to stay alive, making the night games very interesting. If an underdog wins the first game and the favorite has to play a lengthy overtime game in the second morning game it can be a great equalizer.
This year only Isaiah Thompson and Zionsville are still alive, as New Castle with Mason Gillis on injured reserve lost a barnburner to Delta last week and Brandon Newman’s Valparaiso was stunned by Chesterton. There are still some future Purdue targets alive, however, so here is your look at Regional Saturday.
#9 Penn [22-3] vs. Chesterton [19-6]
Northridge [18-8] vs. Munster [22-4]
This is a very interesting field, as there is no clear favorite. Penn is the only ranked team in the field. Chesterton won a sectional for the first time in 32 years. Both Chesterton and Northridge have never won a regional title. Penn beat Northridge in the regular season by 28 and Chesterton beat Munster by 5. I look for this to be a Munster-Penn final though.
#1 Carmel [22-1] vs. Fort Wayne Northrop [16-8]
Huntington North [22-4] vs. #7 Zionsville [20-5]
Here is Isaiah’s regional, and the Eagles fell last year in a tight game to Ft. Wayne North and Keion Brooks in the morning session. Isaiah is at 2,104 points for his career and is averaging a little over 24 per game. He needs 52 points to reach the top 25 in state history all-time. Carmel is the defending champion and lost once on the year, to Brownsburg by 2 on January 19th. Carmel beat Zionsville 66-61 in the first game of the season where Isaiah did not play that well. John Michael Malloy, a Butler commit, is a great big man for them. Carmel also has Matt Waddell’s son on the roster. Huntington North, Chris Kramer’s old school, won a sectional for the first time since 2001. Northrop is in the regional for the first time since they had Bryson Scott. A Carmel-Zionsville rematch would be excellent.
Avon [15-9] vs. New Palestine [17-8]
#2 Lawrence Central [22-3] vs. Ben Davis [17-7]
Lawrence Central might have an easier time in the regional than it did in an absolutely loaded sectional that had Cathedral, Warren Central, and Lawrence North. They’ve been playing great basketball and ousted defending 4A champion Warren Central to get here. They have a 72-57 win over Ben Davis already this year, while Ben Davis has a 69-53 win over Avon. Avon won a sectional for the first time since 2002 and both they and New Palestine have never won a regional. Look for Lawrence Central to dominate here.
Jasper [16-9] vs. Center Grove [19-8]
#5 Bloomington South [23-3] vs. Jeffersonville [19-5]
Center Grove boasts 5-star Indiana signee Trayce Jackson-Davis, while Bloomington South has the state’s all-time winningest coach. J.R. Holmes took the record late in the season and has 809 career wins with two state titles. They are the strong favorite here, but never count out Jeffersonville. A surprise win by Jasper would be their first regional title since 1972.
SOUTH BEND WASHINGTON
Hanover Central [17-8] vs. #3 Culver Academy [21-3]
Hammond [17-7] vs. West Lafayette [16-9]
Purdue has an eye on 2020 prospect Trey Galloway with Culver Academy, who won last year’s 3A title. A regional crown this year would give them enough success points that they would be forced to play at the 4A level the next two seasons. Hanover Central is in a regional for the first time since 1986. West Lafayette has football target Yanni Karlaftis and they already lost to Culver 60-23 on January 25th. Culver is likely the heavy favorite here.
Angola [20-5] vs. Marion [17-7]
#1 Delta [26-0] vs. Tippecanoe Valley [15-9]
Anticipate a great night game between Delta, the state’s only undefeated team, and Marion, the 8-time state champion (even if one is a false 3A title) on its home floor. Marion has a prolific scorer in Jalen Blackmon, the youngest brother of James Blackmon Jr. Delta, Matt Painter’s alma mater, has won every game by at least four points, but has not played a super strong schedule. Marion, on the other hand, always plays a tough 4A level schedule.
Beech Grove [17-7] vs. Greencastle [21-4]
Indianapolis Attucks [18-8] vs. Owen Valley [14-12]
This is a very open field with no top 10 teams. Attucks is the legendary program that has a recent 3A title in 2017. Greencastle is playing at home and has a 58-35 win over Owen Valley. They will have their hands full with an athletic Beech Grove team. I would pick Attucks to reach the night game and win the regional overall.
Batesville [15-10] vs. Princeton [20-5]
Evansville Memorial [16-9] vs. #6 Silver Creek [21-3]
Silver Creek is one of only three top 10 teams left in 3A as the sectional level had a lot of upsets and carnage. Princeton won the 2009 3A title and has a 59-45 regular season win over Evansville Memorial. Princeton should face off against Silver Creek in what would be a very good championship game. Silver Creek is No. 2 in the state in scoring at 75.5 points per game
Marquette Catholic [16-8] vs. Andrean [17-8]
#5 Westview [24-5] vs. Bluffton [9-15]
Marquette Catholic is already playing up due to success factor in 1A and another run to the state finals likely means they stay up. Andrean beat them during the regular season 69-55, however. Westview went to the state finals in 2014 and is probably the favorite here, especially since they will likely have an easy morning game against the team left with the worst record overall.
Wabash [21-4] vs. #4 Frankton [23-3]
Covington [21-4] vs. Alexandria [19-7]
This is always one of the best regionals in the state and it should be once again. Wabash is having a generational year in winning its 27th sectional ever, but first since 1967. They haven’t won a regional since 1956. Frankton was the 2A champion in 2017 and the eventual 2A state champ has come out of this regional the last three years in Lapel (2016), Frankton (2017) and Oak Hill (2018). Frankton beat Alexandria twice 60-57 and 65-59 during the season. This should be an excellent and balanced field.
Monrovia [19-6] vs. Northeastern [17-8]
#2 Shenandoah [24-1] vs. Heritage Christian [19-5]
Monrovia won its first sectional since 2000. Shenandoah beat Northeastern 63-53 during the season for the only potential rematch. Shenandoah is the pretty clear favorite here, but Heritage Christian has played a tougher schedule. Shenandoah’s lone loss was in double overtime to 4A sectional champ New Palestine.
#8 Linton-Stockton [24-3] vs. #9 Paoli [23-3]
#1 Southwestern (Hanover) [25-1] vs. Tell City [20-5]
This is a really balanced field and even Tell City is just outside the final top 10 at No. 11. Linton-Stockton beat Paoli 67-62 on January 5th and Tell City beat Paoli 62-61 on December 15. Tell City won its first sectional since 1993 and hasn’t won a regional since 1973. It is honestly hard to pick this field because it is probably the most balanced in the state. Southwestern’s lone loss was to Madison 72-61 on December 22nd, but they had already beaten them on November 21st.
#7 Argos [21-4] vs. #10 Covenant Christian (DeMotte) [22-4]
#1 Fort Wayne Blackhawk [24-2] vs. #3 Gary 21st Century [19-6]
2021 target Caleb Furst leads Blackhawk as the state’s highest scoring team at 80.8 points per game. Their game with Gary 21st Century will feature points as that team is third in the state at 74.9 ppg. With all four teams in the top 10 this is another really good, balanced field. Gary 21st Century has the only potential rematch, as they beat Covenant Christian 85-61 on February 14th.
North Vermillion [19-8] vs. Southern Wells [11-14]
Randolph Southern [12-12] vs. #4 Lafayette Central Catholic [22-4]
Central Catholic is a heavy favorite here even without an Anthrop brother. Their lengthy run of sectional title was broken by Southwood last year and they are out for revenge. They made the 2017 state title game as well. Randolph Southern beat Southern Wells 67-63 during the season, but this should be an easy one for Central Catholic.
#8 Morristown [22-4] vs. Greenwood Christian [15-10]
Bloomfield [18-7] vs. Indianapolis Metropolitan [16-9]
Morristown is your defending 1A state champion and a regional title this year forces them up to 2A for the next two seasons. Indy Metropolitan is an interesting team here, as they are a small Indy charter school hat made a magical run to the 1A title in 2011. Look for Morristown to repeat. They beat Greenwood Christian 71-61 on February 5th and would have a good game with Metropolitan.
Lanesville [14-11] vs. West Washington [10-15]
Evansville Day [11-11] vs. #2 Barr-Reeve [23-2]
This is all Barr-Reeve, as the other three teams are pretty weak. West Washington was even a spoiler last week in beating Crothersville and denying them their first sectional title after playing in the tournament for 103 years. Barr-Reeve won this regional last year before losing to Morristown in the semi-state, so a rematch next week is a real possibility.