By GREG MENGELT
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
I haven’t gone out on a limb much this season.
I was all ready to pick Christian Academy to beat Borden in the sectional — then the Braves defeated Clarksville late in the year and I just couldn’t do it.
I penciled in Jennings County to beat New Albany last week. At the last minute, I changed my mind and went with the Bulldogs, who needed a last-second shot to beat Jennings to get into the title game.
But here I go. First time all year. Clarksville’s going to win a regional championship this weekend. And that still may not be the end of it.
Listen to me as I write this: No one at that regional is better than Providence. Perry Central is good. Linton’s also good. Neither is as good as Providence.
This is the Generals’ regional to lose.
Does that mean it won’t be tough or that I’m willing to make a guarantee? Nope.
Does that mean I fully expect to be back here writing my Class 2A semi-state pick a week from now? Yes, I do.
With Trevon Bluitt and defending champion Park Tudor out of the way, Clarksville will have a chance to win that one, as well.
In fact, No. 1, No. 3 , No. 4, No. 11 and No. 16 in Class 2A are all sitting at home this weekend while Clarksville is playing. No. 2 Tipton and No. 7 Bowman Academy are probably the state championship favorites, but it seems to be a wide-open field. Who knows what Clarksville may be able to accomplish?
Borden and Jeffersonville also have opportunities to make deep tournament runs. Both are certainly in the category of contender this weekend.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s regional matchups and picks:
CLASS 4A SEYMOUR REGIONAL
Jeffersonville (22-3) vs. Evansville Harrison (22-1)
• Time: Approximately noon.
• Radio: WHBE-680 AM, WQKC-1450 AM
• Rankings: Jeff — Class 4A No. 13 AP; IBCA No. 11; Harrison — Class 4A No. 4 AP; IBCA No. 4.
• Computer-based Sagarin Ratings: Jeffersonville 14 (Class 4A No. 14); Harrison 8 (Class 4A No. 8). According to Sagarin, Harrison is favored by 2.25 points.
• Series all-time: Jeff 4-2.
• Series last 15 years: Jeff 3-2.
• Regular-season matchup: Harrison 73, at Jeffersonville 70 on Feb. 2.
• Analysis: In a game that is expected to be so close, the Keenan Williams suspension was enough to sway me toward Harrison.
• Greg’s Pick: Harrison 77, Jeffersonville 72.
Columbus North (23-1) vs. Franklin Central (11-10)
• Time: 10 a.m.
• Rankings: North — Class 4A No. 3 AP; No. 3 IBCA.
• Computer-based Sagarin Ratings: North 9 (Class 4A No. 9); Central 36 (Class 4A No. 30). According to Sagarin, North is favored by 8.94 points.
• Series last 15 years: Central 13-3.
• Regular-season matchup: At North 76, Central 65 on Dec. 7.
• Analysis: The Conference Indiana foes met already this season, but that was way back in December. The bottom line is the Bull Dogs have more top-end go-to talent.
• Greg’s Pick: Columbus North 66, Franklin Central 58.
• PREDICTION: Columbus North 67, Evansville Harrison 62. I’m taking North only because, of the four teams, the Bull Dogs are the most certain to get to Saturday’s championship. And getting to the championship game is half the battle. In all honesty, Jeff, Harrison and North are all about even. And the Flashes are far from incapable.
CLASS 2A SOUTHRIDGE REGIONAL
Clarksville (18-5) vs. Linton-Stockton (21-3)
• Time: Approximately 1 p.m.
• Rankings: Clarksville — Class 2A No. 8 AP; Linton-Stockton — Class 2A No. 10 AP.
• Computer-based Sagarin Ratings: Clarksville 89 (Class 2A No. 7); Linton-Stockton 114 (Class 2A No. 13). According to Sagarin, Clarksville is favored by 3.35 points.
• Series last 15 years: No meetings.
• Analysis: Expect the Generals to use their athleticism to pull away late for a fairly comfortable victory.
• Greg’s Pick: Clarksville 64, Linton-Stockton 54.
Perry Central (21-3) vs. Switzerland County (18-4)
• Time: 11 a.m.
• Rankings: Perry Central — Class 2A No. 13 AP.
• Computer-based Sagarin Ratings: Perry Central 101 (Class 2A No. 10); Switzerland County 181 (Class 2A No. 27). According to Sagarin, Perry Central is favored by 10.6 points.
• Series last 15 years: No meetings.
• Analysis: Congrats to the Pacers on winning a really weak sectional. Their prize: An early exit from the Southridge Regional.
• Greg’s Pick: Perry Central 56, Switzlerland County 39.
• PREDICTION: Clarksville 51, Perry Central 46. These are two very strong defenses. The good news for Clarksville is it has played grind-it-out games like this all season and has generally done well in them.
CLASS A LOOGOOTEE REGIONAL
Borden (20-3) vs. Orleans (13-10)
• Time: 10:30 a.m.
• Rankings: Borden — Class A No. 10 AP.
• Computer-based Sagarin Ratings: Borden 158 (Class A No. 12); Orleans 166 (Class A No. 15). According to Sagarin, Borden is favored by 1.75 points.
• Series last 15 years: Orleans 12-6.
• Regular-season matchup: Borden 37, at Orleans 36 on Jan. 25.
• Analysis: With the way this series as gone, anyone who makes a prediction is making a wild stab in the dark. However, Borden won at Orleans in the regular season. That’s usually enough of an indication of which team is better. In a toss-up game, that’s enough for me.
• Greg’s Pick: Borden 49, Orleans 46.
Barr-Reeve (23-1) vs. Northeast Dubois (12-12)
• Time: Approximately 12:30 p.m.
• Rankings: Barr-Reeve — Class A No. 3.
• Computer-based Sagarin Ratings: Barr-Reeve 95 (Class A No. 3); Northeast Dubois 187 (Class A No. 18). According to Sagarin, Barr-Reeve is favored by 11.82 points.
• Series last 15 years: Barr-Reeve 14-2.
• Regular-season matchup: At Barr-Reeve 72, Northeast Dubois 55.
• Analysis: This is not the most experienced Barr-Reeve team to play in this regional, but it is one of its most talented. And, as always, they play their patented tight defense under Coach Bryan Hughes.
• Greg’s Pick: Barr-Reeve 67, Northeast Dubois 54.
• PREDICTION: Barr-Reeve 44, Borden 38. Barr-Reeve is just the class of the field and may not stop winning until it gets to the state championship game for the fourth time in 12 years. One of these years, the Vikings are even going to win it.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Cody Bachman, Borden
Bachman was one of four Braves in double-figures in Saturday’s 59-50 win over Lanesville. A year after missing the sectional with a broken leg, Bachman finished with 18 points and eight rebounds as Borden won its fourth sectional title in six years.
• Jacquari Chandler, Jeffersonville: 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting in Saturday’s 63-50 win over New Albany in Saturday’s Seymour Sectional championship.
• Andrew Jones, Clarksville: Game-high 21 points in Friday’s 63-40 sectional semifinal victory over Eastern.
• Leondre McBirth, New Albany: 17 points, including the game winner, and 7 boards in New Albany’s 61-59 win over Jennings County on Friday; 15 points, 10 rebounds in Saturday’s championship game loss to Jeffersonville.
• Austin Johnson, Clarksville: 11 points, 7 rebounds in Saturday’s 46-38 sectional championship win over Paoli.
• Drew Ellis, Jeffersonville: 21 points, 8 rebounds in Friday’s 83-58 win over Bedford North Lawrence.
• Michael Lynch, Borden: Team highs with 10 points and 6 rebounds in Friday’s 44-27 semifinal win over New Washington.
• Calvin McEwen, Clarksville: Team-high 15 points in Saturday’s 46-38 sectional championship victory over Paoli.
• Darryl Baker, Jeffersonville: 7 points and a team-high 9 rebounds in Saturday’s 63-50 sectional title game triumph over New Albany.
• Aaron Hayes, Christian Academy: In his last game as a Warrior, Hayes finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds in Friday’s 61-52 loss to Lanesville.
• DeVonta King, Christian Academy: In his last game as a Warrior, Hayes finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds in Friday’s 61-52 loss to Lanesville.
• Tevin Wolf, Eastern: Team-high 9 points in Friday’s 63-40 loss to Clarksville.
• Dustin Cooper, New Washington: Team-high 8 points in Mustangs’ 44-27 loss to Borden in Friday’s sectional semifinal.
BOYS’ FINAL POWER POLL
Team Record Last
1. Jeffersonville 22-3 1
2. Borden 20-3 2
3. Clarksville 18-5 3
4. New Albany 15-8 5
5. Providence 17-4 4
6. Charlestown 11-10 6
7. Silver Creek 9-12 7
8. Eastern 9-12 8
9. Christian Academy 11-10 9
10. New Washington 9-13 10
Note on the Power Poll: The power polls aren’t based solely on which teams would beat which. Team records, how teams are expected to perform in their respective class sectionals and how the teams are playing in the past couple of weeks are factors also taken into account.