Projecting Boys’ Hoops Tourney: January 21 Report

Projecting the Boys’ Tournament

With the selection meeting is scheduled for just over two weeks away, many ITCL followers are looking forward to a matchup two days afterwards. McDonald travels to Lisbon to decide who is the real top seed in the Struthers District on February 9. There’s been much anticipation for this contest between two teams who have combined for a 27-2 record and have tallied 2,499 points so far this season.

One has to question, why hasn’t either of these Blue Devils been able to crack the AP’s top ten? How much stronger is Mogadore, who is ranked 8th in this week’s poll, than Lisbon or McDonald? The Wildcats are 10-2. Since the AP poll began this year on January 11, Mogadore went from #4 to #8 after falling to Division II Woodridge (61-52) on January 12. Their other loss came in the Tallmadge Holiday Classic on December 29 against Division I Wooster (81-58). The ‘Cats have rebounded nicely to win their last three contests. Lisbon’s only blemish was an overtime setback at Division II East Liverpool (81-76) in the Potter Classic’s championship game. McDonald suffered a January 5 home loss to Division II Girard (72-68).

McDonald finds themselves at #13 but Lisbon did not receive mention this week. McDonald is trying to reach the top ten for the first time since February 22, 2011 (#10).

Selection Sunday – February 7, 2016

Division I – Alliance District
Projected Top 4 Seeds as of January 21
(1)Harding (10-1)
Next: Fitch, Jan. 22
-The Raiders have posted four straight wins since suffering their lone setback of the season (against St. Ignatius, 75-62). During that stretch, Harding has handed Poland their only loss as well as Cleveland Heights and Boardman their own impediments.

(2)Copley (12-0)
Next: at Barberton, Jan. 22
-The Indians keep on pushing along to an undefeated 12-0 start. Copley has not needed to play a full 32-minute game since December 22 (at Highland, 56-54).

(3)Louisville (11-3)
Next: West Branch, Jan. 22
-One of the hottest teams in the entire Northeast part of Ohio is Louisville. They’ve dropped a pair of 3-point games within the last month and a half sandwiched by ten wins (in their last twelve).

(4)Lake (10-4)
Next: Perry, Jan. 22
-Lake finished the past week with two major wins over Canton Central Catholic (49-48) on Friday and at Hoover (61-52) on Tuesday. The Blue Streaks have now won five in a row.

Fitch (7-5)
Next: at Harding, Jan. 22
-Since losing to Poland by two (54-52) and Canfield by one (48-47), the Falcons have put together four wins in their last five contests. What a win would it be if they can get by Harding. Earlier in the season, the Raiders won by thirteen (70-57) on December 8.

Division II – Boardman District
Projected Top 4 Seeds as of January 21
(1)Poland (12-1)
Next: at Howland, Jan. 22
-The Bulldogs appear to be primed for a strong run through February. First, they’ll have to get through January where they end the month with matchups against Howland, Fitch and their rival Canfield.

(2)Ursuline (10-5)
Next: at Canton Central Catholic, Jan. 23
-Each of the Irish’s five defeats came against teams who have aspirations of playing deep into their respective tournaments. Ursuline has won three straight.

(3)Canfield (11-3)
Next: at Boardman, Jan. 22
-Since December 15, the Cardinals have lost just once while posting an 8-1 mark. Their next three at Boardman, at Harding and home against rival Poland.

(4)Cardinal Mooney (7-4)
Next: at Steubenville, Jan. 22
-The Cardinals have lost their last two (against top teams from the Cleveland area – St. Ignatius and Brecksville-Broadview Heights). Mooney still has a bunch of signature wins including Maple Heights, Canton South and Lake Catholic.

Salem (7-6)
Next: at Carrollton, Jan. 22
-The Quakers have quietly won four of their last six games including a 20-point victory over South Range (78-58) sixteen days ago.

Division III – Warren District
Projected Top 4 Seeds as of January 21
(1)LaBrae (11-2)
Next: Campbell, Jan. 22
-The Vikings will play three games in five days as they meet Campbell tomorrow, Neshannock on Saturday and Springfield on Tuesday.

(2)Berkshire (11-3)
Next: at Kirtland, Jan. 22
-Berkshire has a victory over LaBrae (72-66) earlier in the season. The Badgers have posted three consecutive wins since falling to Richmond Heights (60-54) two weeks ago.

(3)Newton Falls (11-3)
Next: at Rootstown, Jan. 22
-The Tigers have a tough road out of the month of January. Newton Falls will be matched against Rootstown, Girard, and Brookfield all before the end of the month.

(4)Champion (6-6)
Next: Girard, Jan. 22
-The Golden Flashes have defeated Howland (88-83) and Brookfield (60-47) within the last two weeks. Champion will have to make their hay by knocking off a couple stingy customers in Girard (tomorrow) and Liberty (on Tuesday) to stay in consideration of being slotted in the top four.

Liberty (3-9)
Next: at Brookfield, Jan. 22
-I know, the Leopards’ record isn’t appealing. When a team loses four of their last five, it’s hard to make a good argument for why a team is rising. However, Liberty has been in games against Howland (lost by 13), Newton Falls (lost by 9) and JFK (lost by 4) within the last month. The Leopards even took a season series against Girard. They’re a bunch which most coaches won’t want to see come then end of next month.

Division III – Salem District
Projected Top 4 Seeds as of January 21
(1)Tuslaw (15-0)
Next: at Fairless, Jan. 29
-The Mustangs have cruised, as of late, to an unbeaten start. Tuslaw has held their last 12 opponents to an average of 41.2 points per game.

(2)Canton Central Catholic (6-3)
Next: Ursuline, Jan. 23
-Central has fallen in their last two outings by a combined total of four points against Lake (49-48) and to First Love Christian Academy (53-50) at the Mercy Medical Basketball Classic on Saturday.

(3)St. Thomas Aquinas (7-5)
Next: Villa Angela, Jan. 22
-St. Thomas Aquinas has won three of their last five games. Their two losses came against Cleveland Central Catholic (52-49) on Friday and at Alliance (63-49) on Tuesday.

(4)Springfield (10-3)
Next: East Palestine, Jan. 22
-Following Tuesday’s win over Mineral Ridge (70-65), the Tigers have won their last six games. With a showdown at home against LaBrae looming on Tuesday, Springfield could catapult themselves into a higher seed with a sucessful showing.

South Range (10-4)
Next: at United, Jan. 22
-After an 8-1 start, the Raiders have fallen in three of their last five. However, the level of competition has been anything but easy. Salem, Springfield and McDonald have all defeated South Range. With a favorable part of their schedule upcoming, the Raiders could gain much more confidence as they get closer to the end of their regular season schedule which may be the most difficult part (Springfield, Mooney and LaBrae).

Division IV – Struthers District
Projected Top 4 Seeds as of January 21
(1)Lisbon (13-1)
Next: Wellsville, Jan. 22
-Lisbon’s schedule takes a difficult turn within the next week or so. The Blue Devils are matched against Wellsville, Mineral Ridge and South Range in successive outings. A positive – they’re all at home.

(2)McDonald (14-1)
Next: at Lowellville, Jan. 22
-McDonald is a scoring machine, who have topped 75 points in each of the games but two. The Blue Devils have outscored their opposition by an average of 25 points.

(3)Lowellville (9-4)
Next: McDonald, Jan. 22
-The first go around against McDonald didn’t end as the Rocket faithful had envisioned (95-58 loss). This time around, Lowellville has won seven in a row and continue to gain confidence.

(4)Wellsville (11-3)
Next: at Lisbon, Jan. 22
-The Tigers lost to McDonald (89-56) and Southern (50-48) within the last two weeks after posting seven victories in a row. Wellsville could swing themselves back up in the projections with a win tomorrow over Lisbon.

Southern (7-7)
Next: at Leetonia, Jan. 22
-Despite falling in three of their last four contests, the Indians did edge Wellsville (50-48) in between. Let’s be honest, their losses came against South Range, Lisbon and Carrollton – three teams not to sneeze at.

Division IV – Orwell District
Projected Top 4 Seeds as of January 21
(1)Bristol (12-1)
Next: at Lordstown, Jan. 22
-The Panthers are currently playing superb basketball. The schedule gets much tougher in February but Bristol doesn’t seem to have much going wrong at this time. Their last five opponents have been able to muster just an average of 33.6 scoring.

(2)Cornerstone Christian (3-4)
Next: at Villa Angela, Jan. 23
-The Patriots could make some serious noise with good showings against two perennial powers in Villa Angela and Garfield Heights within the next week.

(3)Mathews (10-3)
Next: Grand Valley, Jan. 22
-Mathews has won five straight since falling to Bristol (82-31) on January 5. Outside of that hiccup, the Mustangs have allowed just one opponent to score 60 points or more within their last five contests.

(4)Warren JFK (4-8)
Next: at Trinity, Jan. 22
-JFK’s grueling schedule gets even tougher with contests against Trinity, West Middlesex, St. Thomas Aquinas, Cleveland Central Catholic, Cornerstone Christian, and Villa Angela all staring down the Eagles over their next six games. Kennedy has won two of their last three following their four-point victory over Liberty (54-50) on Tuesday.

Southington (8-5)
Next: Bloomfield, Jan. 22
-The Wildcats registered two huge wins to add to their resume this past week. First, Southington got by Mineral Ridge (72-67) on Saturday and then knocked off Windham (78-65) on Tuesday. A rematch with Bristol is almost a week away (Jan. 29).

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