Division II boys basketball tournament predictions
It’s time for my third annual ‘February Frenzy’ bracket challenge, where I face off against nobody in a quest to fill out the perfect bracket. Here are the Division II predictions. Division I can be found here.
First round: No. 16 Flagstaff over No. 17 Bradshaw Mountain; No. 9 Saguaro over No. 24 Thunderbird; No. 12 Poston Butte over No. 21 Youngker; No. 13 Sunnyslope over No. 20 Douglas; No. 19 Apollo over No. 14 Cactus Shadows; No. 22 Tempe over No. 11 Coconino; No. 10 Nogales over No. 23 Casa Grande; No. 18 Queen Creek over No. 15 Catalina Foothills.
The upset picks are Apollo over Cactus Shadows, Tempe over Coconino and Queen Creek over Catalina Foothills, but those are in seeds only. Even though Apollo, Tempe and Queen Creek are on the road, each one might be the favorite to win their respective matchups.
Second round: No. 1 Arcadia over Flagstaff; Saguaro over No. 8 Salpointe Catholic; No. 5 Betty Fairfax over Poston Butte; No. 4 Peoria over Sunnyslope; No. 3 Amphitheater over Apollo; No. 6 Sierra Linda over Tempe; Nogales over No. 7 Paradise Valley; No. 2 Kellis over Queen Creek.
Saguaro-Salpointe and Nogales-Paradise Valley look like two potentially intriguing second-round matchups. Tempe gets a pretty good matchup against Sierra Linda, but the Buffaloes don’t have Jordan Baker to lead them on a surprise run to the championship game this year.
Quarterfinals: Arcadia over Saguaro; Peoria over Fairfax; Amphitheater over Sierra Linda; Kellis over Nogales.
Some very good matchups here if the tournament plays out like this. Peoria and Fairfax may be two of the three best teams in the division but will face off in the quarterfinals. Arcadia and Saguaro have already played three times this season and could meet again.
Semifinals: Peoria over Arcadia; Kellis over Amphitheater.
The semifinals should be interesting because it could feature teams from all over Arizona that have not seen each other. Amphitheater is the 4A-II defending champion and has Tim Derksen, but it’s hard to tell how it will fare against Kellis. Peoria and Arcadia have not faced off this season, but the Panthers’ body of work is a little more impressive.
Finals: Peoria over Kellis.
These two teams have played three times this year, with the Panthers winning in a blowout in the first matchup and Kellis winning the past two by narrow margins. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Peoria, Kellis, Fairfax, Arcadia or Amphitheater win the championship. Peoria has the toughest quarterfinal matchup, but if it can get past Fairfax, I think the Panthers win it all.