Regional Saturday is one of the best days of the year in Indiana. At 16 sites 64 teams are whittled down to 16 in 48 games over 12 hours. It is the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament on steroids.
This year we’re, of course, tracking Caleb Furst and Trey Kaufman, as well as a few other promising players. Here is a quickie preview of all 16 regionals.
Northridge [21-5] vs. #6 Culver Academy [19-4]
Valparaiso [17-8] vs. Merrillville [12-12]
Indiana has some interest here as Culver Academy features 2020 signee Trey Galloway. They are playing up in class and are probably the favorite here. #4 Munster and #5 Chesterton were upset by Merrillville and Valparaiso, respectively, in the sectionals, so it kind of opened this regional up. Northridge has not lost since January 3rd.
Marion [14-11] vs. Fort Wayne Snider [19-6]
Carmel [18-7] vs. New Haven [18-6]
Carmel is the favorite here as the defending champ and team that is seemingly impossible to beat in the postseason over the past decade. They were state champs in 2012, 2013, and 2019 and state runner-up in 2018, so they have run this regional for a while. They feature Matt Waddell’s son Brian Waddell who had 26 in the sectional final win over Westfield and 19 in the opening round win over Hamilton Southeastern.
New Palestine [14-12] vs. #3 Lawrence North [25-2]
#9 Brownsburg [21-4] vs. Pike [17-9]
As usual, Lawrence North is loaded and survived the state’s toughest sectional by outlasting #2 Lawrence Central, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, and Warren Central. Brownsburg features junior guard Pierce Thomas, who recently committed to Butler. Lawrence Norther owns a 62-28 win over Brownsburg on December 13th and a 76-48 win over Pike on February 21. Pike lost to Brownsburg 61-55 on February 11.
Greenwood [19-6] vs. Evansville Reitz [17-7]
Floyd Central [18-6] vs. #1 Bloomington South [26-0]
Bloomington South has IU signee Anthony Leal and they are the state’s last undefeated team. Floyd Central is in a regional for the first time since 1989. Evansville Reitz has latest Indiana 5-star savior Khristian Lander, so we know where all the candystriped pants will be on Saturday.
SOUTH BEND WASHINGTON
Hanover Central [24-2] vs. #4 Mishawaka Marian [21-4]
Hammond [20-4] vs. Western [17-7]
Imagine how good Mishawaka Marian would be if Jaden Ivey had not gone to LaPorte LaLumiere. Surprisingly, despite their record, Hanover Central is not in the 3A poll at all. Hammond was just outside the top 10 at No. 11.
#6 Norwell [22-2] vs. NorthWood [18-6]
#8 Delta [20-4] vs. Leo [19-7]
This should be a pretty evenly matched field. Norwell’s only losses were to 4A homestead and Mishawaka Marian, so that is a potential semi-state preview next week. NorthWood is going for the double as their girls won the 3A title a few weeks ago.
#7 Danville [22-4] vs. Beech Grove [16-7]
Brownstown Central [11-15] vs. Brebeuf Jesuit [18-6]
I saw Brebeuf last week and they are a solid squad that can play from behind, as they trailed Lebanon for much of the first half. They are great at the free throw line in a close game. Danville won this regional a year ago.
#2 Heritage Hills [22-3] vs. #1 Silver Creek [25-2]
#3 Greensburg [23-2] vs. Washington [20-5]
Here is the best regional in the state, as it features the top three teams in Class 3A and a team playing on its home floor that is a historically strong program. Kaufman and Silver Creek are the defending 3A champions, but getting through this one will be difficult. They beat Heritage Hills 82-78 in overtime on December 28 in the Hall of Fame Tournament. Greensburg features Wright State recruit Andrew Welage.
#2 Fort Wayne Blackhawk [23-3] vs. Churubusco [17-6]
LaVille [19-6] vs. Bowman Academy [15-7]
Caleb Furst’s team is likely favored here, but Bowman Academy is always a very good tourney team. Bowman regularly has the Region’s top talent and plays a tough schedule. This is their best team since the 2014 State Runner-up in 3A.
Rossville [18-7] vs. Wapahani [20-5]
Rochester [12-10] vs. Blackford [21-5]
A pretty balanced field here, but the story is Luke Brown of Blackford. They won a sectional for the first time since 1991 and Brown, a junior, is already sitting at 2,061 points for his career, good for 42nd on the state’s career list before he even starts his senior season. He is 1,073 behind Damon Bailey’s record and assuming his squad gets two games on Saturday he could be right around a thousand away. There have been five 1,000 point single seasons in state history, topped by Dave Shepherd’s 1,079 points in 29 games in 1970. Shepherd averaged 37.2 per game that year and Brown averaged 35 last year, so he has an outside chance with 2-3 more games this year and 26-29 next year. Had he not missed eight games due to injury as a freshman he would be even higher.
Covenant Christian [19-7] vs. #6 South Decatur [24-2]
#7 Parke Heritage [23-3] vs. #1 Shenandoah [23-2]
Shenandoah is the top rated team in this class and South Decatur is the state’s highest scoring team at 87.65 points per game, more than 7 points per game above the No. 2 team. They are going to get out and run. That should make for a very good championship game.
#10 South Spencer [22-4] vs. Providence [18-7]
#3 Linton-Stockton [24-2] vs. Crawford County [14-11]
Linton-Stockton is somewhat of a small school power in all sports in southern Indiana and like NorthWood, they are also trying to pull off a boys/girls state title double in the same year. Their only losses were back in December to Terre Huate North and Barr-Reeve in a tournament.
#2 Gary 21st Century [22-3] vs. Elkhart Christian [11-13]
Caston [13-11] vs. Argos [16-9]
Gary 2st Century is a charter school much like Bowman Academy and they should roll through this regional with ease. All three losses they had were to 4A schools Chesteron, Mooresville, and Indy Crispus Attucks by 9 total points.
Southwood [11-13] vs. #7 Covington [20-6]
Blue River [19-6] vs. Cowan [14-10]
Cowan is a fun story here, as they won their first sectional title since 1976. They probably won’t go a lot farther than this, but it is fun to see them make it this far after such a long drought.
Indianapolis International [12-9] vs. Bloomfield [16-9]
Oldenburg Academy [18-7] vs. #3 Greenwood Christian [24-1]
Greenwood Christian’s only loss was in the final regular season game against University, so they should roll through this field with ease. Indianapolis International is a first time sectional winner here too.
Crothersville [14-10] vs. #1 Barr-Reeve [25-1]
Northeast Dubois [16-10] vs. #10 Christian Academy [18-7]
Barr-Reeve is always really good and their lone loss was to bitter rival Loogootee on January 17. It was a loss avenged in last week’s sectional, too. The most fun thing about this sectional is Crothersville, who has participated in the state tourney since 1915 and finally broke through to win their first ever sectional crown. Before last year, when they won two games to reach the sectional final, they had only won three postseason games total since 1987. Barr-Reeve will beat them, but they are playing in a regional when Kokomo (74), Vincennes Lincoln (71), Lafayette Jeff (68), Richmond (64) and several others with the most sectional titles are not.