Posted On: 11/27/17 8:00 AM

Derrick Diggins

MONDAY (Nov. 27)

Game of the night: Dubuque Wahlert at Cedar Rapids Kennedy

The season kicks off with an interesting MVC battle between Wahlert and Kennedy. The Golden Eagles will be looking to get revenge on the Cougars after being swept in the season series last year with an extremely young team. Six key rotation players return for Wahlert, and they’re adding a few talented youngsters to the roster. They should comfortably be able to go nine or ten deep. It’ll be the Derrick Diggins and Jackson Foley show for Kennedy, as they begin their quest to return to the state tournament after another trip last season. That backcourt duo will be one of the best in the state, let alone the MVC, and they should cause some issues on both ends of the floor here. The program is always deep and talented, and Jon McKowen is one of the best defensive coaches in the state. Expect to see many different defensive looks from the Cougars here, which could frustrate the young Eagles.
Our pick: Cedar Rapids Kennedy 57, Dubuque Wahlert 51

Others to monitor
West Delaware at Benton Community
Sioux City West at Sergeant Bluff-Luton
Carlisle at Dallas Center-Grimes
1A No. 1 Grand View Christian at Earlham


Brady Sartorius

TUESDAY (Nov. 28)

Game of the night: 3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier at 3A No. 2 Mount Pleasant

Undoubtedly the game of the week will happen on Tuesday night in Mount Pleasant, as our top two ranked teams in Class 3A take the floor. This is a series that Xavier has dominated in recent years, both in their annual first game of the season matchup, and at the state tournament. But the Saints will be vulnerable, looking to replace a lot of pieces from last year’s state title team. The point guard matchup here will be a blast between Xavier’s Matt Mims and Mount Pleasant’s Brady Sartorius. The Panthers return all but one player from last year’s roster, which fell to the Saints in Des Moines. With all that experience back, and Xavier breaking in lots of new pieces, Mount Pleasant will be looking to make a statement. And we think they will.
Our pick: Mount Pleasant 62, Cedar Rapids Xavier 55

Others to monitor
4A No. 6 Waukee at Des Moines North
Ankeny Centennial at West Des Moines Dowling
Boyden-Hull at 2A No. 4 Sheldon
Waterloo East at 3A No. 9 Waverly-Shell Rock
Winterset at Atlantic
Newton at Boone
Dike-New Hartford at 3A No. 7 Charles City
Nevada at 1A No. 1 Grand View Christian
2A No. 3 Sioux Center at 2A No. 10 Rock Valley


Patrick McCaffery

THURSDAY (Nov. 30)

Game of the night: West Des Moines Dowling at 4A No. 1 Iowa City West

The top ranked Trojans will begin their title defense with a significantly different cast of characters then they had last season. However, led by nationally ranked junior (and Iowa commit) Patrick McCaffery, they’ll still be dangerous and loaded with talent. They welcome in the Maroons for what should be one of the best non-conference games of the year in the state. Players like Seybian Sims, Hakeem Odunsi and Evan Flitz will be stepping into significantly larger roles for West this season, and they’ll have their hands full with the inside-out combination of Sam Ingoli and John Waggoner from Dowling. This should be an entertaining affair, and we’ll give the edge to the home team, despite the many new faces playing big roles, as Dowling kind of has the same issue they’ll be working through.
Our pick: Iowa City West 68, West Des Moines Dowling 58

Others to monitor
4A No. 9 Linn-Mar at Cedar Rapids Kennedy
4A No. 4 Cedar Falls at West Delaware
1A No. 1 Grand View Christian at Ankeny Christian Academy


Tyus Arends

FRIDAY (Dec. 1)

Game of the night: 2A No. 4 Sheldon at 2A No. 3 Sioux Center

The first in what will be many games of the night in the loaded Siouxland Conference, two of our top four teams in Class 2A meet up on the opening Friday night of the season. Sioux Center took two of three games against the Orabs last season and are our favorite to win the league this year. Led by our preseason POY in the conference, Tyus Arends, Sioux Center returns four double figure scorers (and it’s top six scorers overall) to a team that averaged 71.1 points a game last season. Sheldon, on the other hand, has one of the best trios in 2A in Kyle Boerhave, Ryan Van Marel and Jaden Kleinhesslink, a trio that will be difficult for most teams to contain. With the Warriors having taken two of three last season, and playing this one at home, we’ll give them the edge in what should be a great game.
Our pick: Sioux Center 73, Sheldon 67

Others to monitor
4A No. 10 Des Moines Hoover at 4A No. 5 West Des Moines Valley
Des Moines North at Ankeny Centennial
Tipton at Camanche
2A No. 7 Forest City at Garner-Hayfield-Ventura
2A No. 10 Rock Valley at 1A No. 7 George-Little Rock
North Scott at Cedar Rapids Prairie
Atlantic at 1A No. 3 Council Bluffs, St. Albert
Rockford at West Fork
Johnston at Ames
Central Decatur at Martensdale-St. Mary’s


Zaine Leedom


Game of the night: 1A No. 4 Lynnville-Sully at 2A No. 8 East Marshall

The final night of the opening week features a number of quality games, but none are bigger than this non-conference tilt featuring a pair of top-10 teams. Lynnville-Sully returns their top four scorers from a state qualifying team, led by Jesse Van Wyk, a do-everything wing who led the Hawks in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks last season. Routinely one of the best defensive teams in the state, they’ll have their hands full with the high-flying attack of East Marshall. The Mustangs have a trio of double figure scorers returning to a team that was among the best in 2A after Zaine Leedom became eligible last season. A highly athletic and versatile scoring wing, the Hawks will have difficulty slowing Leedom down. The attack is paced by point guard Tyler DeBondt, who had 190 assists and just 35 turnovers last season. A high scoring game will favor the Mustangs, and in this home contest, we believe they’ll be able to dictate the tempo.
Our pick: East Marshall 68, Lynnville-Sully 56

Others to monitor
4A No. 1 Iowa City West at DeLaSalle (MN)
4A No. 10 Des Moines Hoover at Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln
Central Decatur at 1A No. 1 Grand View Christian
Garner-Hayfield-Ventura at Osage
3A No. 6 Davenport Assumption at Dubuque Wahlert
3A No. 9 Waverly-Shell Rock at 3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier
4A No. 9 Linn-Mar at Bettendorf