Conference Preview

Posted On: 02/24/16 12:15 PM

NHR Playoff Central. It was actually a fairly wild night of excitement despite the lack of upsets around the state. Tonight, Wednesday night, the big schools the stage as most of the Class AAAA opening round games will be played. No, no double headers anywhere but a load of schools hosting at seven this evening.

Last night Allen Wilson made us look good as he went off on St. Cloud Tech leading Rogers on a 15-0 run to end the game after being down eight points. Also, how big are free throws? Jordan, who beat Glencoe-Silver Lake 78-76 in overtime, will tell you. The Panthers missed a late And1 attempt and the front end of a one and one to allow the Hubmen to go into overtime and eventually win.

The Big Stage. The 4/5 games take center stage with some quality battles around the metro. The biggest will likely be rivals Eden Prairie at Minnetonka, Farmington at New Prague, East Ridge and North St. Paul, and St. Louis Park. Most of those teams had really good seasons but not quite as good as the top state contenders in their section so they will be scrapping through sections on night one.

I think we could see a couple upsets this evening. Fridley is at Columbia Heights in the 3/6, St. Anthony Village at Totino-Grace in the 4/5, Owatonna at Lakeville South in the 3/6, 19 win St. Paul Central is at Cretin-Derham Hall in the 2/7, and Minneapolis South at Robbinsdale Cooper in the 3/6. Between those games I bet on at least one upset. Don’t forget what South did at Minnetonka last year.

Civic Center. Workers have a rare night off unless there is a game there tonight that isn’t on the schedules anywhere. Take the night off, you have earned it. And rest up, some big days are ahead.

Name to Watch. Sam Gubbrud of St. Paul Central. Sam goes to school in the heart of the Twin Cities but somehow his excellent career has been somewhat quiet state wide. Tonight he leads a 19-7 Central team as the seven seed at CDH and if you think motivation was needed, the 7 seed likely pushed it over the edge. But no St. Paul public school kid playing the local big private school in the playoffs needs much more motivation.

Upset City. Based on the seeding numbers Orono over Waconia was the night’s biggest upset but considering that both were/are top ten teams and that Orono just beat Waconia by ten points eleven days ago tough to call it an upset (not much to choose from besides some 5s beating 4s).   Sam Sustacek controlled the game up front with 25 points and sophomore Colton Codute had 22.

Hat Tip to the Career. Jake Dale of Mankato West. Dale was the heart of the Scarlet program for the last four seasons and is one of the toughest players in the state pound for pound. When it comes to effort, toughness, low post craft, and character Jake is one of the best.