The draw for the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen draw was released today. All the games should be fun, but if you absolutely don’t want to miss any of the NCAA Tournament games, then I suggest coming to the afternoon section on Wednesday. It may be one of the best sessions of the entire tournament.
Here is a look at three exciting potential 1st round matchups:
Region 2 vs Region 4
Wednesday, March 18 at 12:00 p.m.
We may be treated to a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal game that featured Madisonville-North Hopkins and Warren Central. Warren Central completed a furious comeback to defeat the Maroons 66-62 to reach the semifinals. #6 Madisonville-North Hopkins (22-3) features Mr. Basketball candidate Kenny White and big man Ksuan Casey. Bowling Green (20-5) is also a threat to come out of the 4th region.
Region 5 vs Region 16
Wednesday, March 18 at 1:30
If the undefeated #1 Ashland Tomcats (23-0) do indeed win the 16th region, they will be playing a very good team in the first round. Possible opponents include #4 John Hardin (25-2), #8 Elizabethtown (19-2), and Bardstown (19-6). John Hardin’s Alex Matthews and Bardstown’s JJ Traynor are both Mr. Basketball candidates.
Region 7 vs Region 8
Thursday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m.
#2 Ballard (22-3) or #3 Male (22-4) will likely win the 7th region. Male is led by Mr. Basketball candidate Tyren Moore. The 8th region is one of the deepest in the state. Collins (19-6) and Oldham County (23-2) look to be the two favorites to win that region. Collins is led by Mr. Basketball candidate Dayvion McKnight.
Here are my top two favorites to win each region:
Region 1: McCracken County, Marshall County
Region 2: Madisonville-North Hopkins, Webster County
Region 3: Owensboro, Ohio County
Region 4: Warren Central, Bowling Green
Region 5: John Hardin, Elizabethtown
Region 6: Fern Creek, Butler
Region 7: Male, Ballard
Region 8: Collins, Oldham County
Region 9: Covington Catholic, St. Henry
Region 10: Bourbon County, George Rogers Clark
Region 11: Lexington Catholic, Henry Clay
Region 12: Lincoln County, Pulaski County
Region 13: South Laurel, Clay County
Region 14: Hazard, Knott County Central
Region 15: Shelby Valley, Paintsville
Region 16: Ashland, Rowan County
The strongest regions top to bottom are the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th. They each have several high-quality teams.
In the top half of the bracket I’m going to pick some upsets, just because it is boring to always pick chalk. I’ll go with Madisonville-North Hopkins knocking off Bourbon County in the semifinals. I was thinking about picking John Hardin, but they play in such a strong region that it is hard to even know if they will make it out of the region. Ashland going undefeated would be awesome to see, but sometimes the pressure of being undefeated can make it that much harder to win. Just ask John Hardin last year.
I look for Male or Covington Catholic to come out of the bottom bracket. I’m going to pick Male to win the whole tournament since they are healthy now that Howard Fleming has returned to the lineup, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ballard knocks off Male in the 7th region tournament.
AP Boys Basketball Poll (February 10)
Rank-School (FPV) Rcd TP Pvs
- Ashland Blazer (8) 23-0 114 1
- Male (2) 22-4 107 3
- Ballard 22-3 85 4
- John Hardin 25-2 80 2
- Covington Catholic (2) 22-4 77 6
- Madisonville-North Hopkins 22-3 65 7
- Lexington Catholic 22-2 51 8
- Elizabethtown 19-2 39 5
- South Laurel (1) 20-4 24 10
- McCracken County 21-4 23 9
Others receiving votes: Henry Clay 17. Oldham County 14. Fern Creek 7. Ballard Memorial 7. Highlands 3. Clay County 2.