Division II state tournament predictions
Here are my predictions for the Division I tournament. Below are my thoughts on how Division II will turn out, although the parity this season makes it tough to predict.
First round: No. 17 Cactus Shadows over No. 16 Notre Dame; No. 9 Saguaro over No. 24 Flagstaff; No. 12 Desert Edge over No. 21 Canyon del Oro; No. 20 Coconino over No. 13 Cholla; No. 14 Copper Canyon over No. 19 Amphitheater; No. 11 Greenway over No. 22 Queen Creek; No. 10 Poston Butte over No. 23 Prescott; No. 18 Agua Fria over No. 15 Kellis.
Analysis: This looks like it will shape up to be more competitive than Division I’s first round. I think Cactus Shadows, Coconino, Agua Fria and Queen Creek could all pull off upsets as low seeds.
Second round: No. 1 Sunnyslope over Cactus Shadows; Saguaro over No. 8 Sahuaro; No. 5 Shadow Mountain over Desert Edge; No. 4 Paradise Valley over Coconino; Greenway over No. 6 Salpointe; Poston Butte over No. 7 Nogales; No. 2 Catalina Foothills over Agua Fria.
Analysis: The tournament could start getting unpredictable as early as the second round. The potential Saguaro-Sahuaro; Greenway-Salpointe and Poston Butte-Nogales matchups could all go either way. The higher seeds probably won’t have too much trouble, although Paradise Valley can’t overlook Coconino.
Quarterfinals: Sunnyslope over Saguaro; Paradise Valley over Shadow Mountain; Sierra Linda over Greenway; Catalina Foothills over Poston Butte.
Analysis: All of these would be great matchups, particularly Catalina Foothills-Poston Butte, who are both talented enough to win it all. I took all four top seeds to advance but upsets are once again very possible.
Semifinals: Sunnyslope over Paradise Valley; Catalina Foothills over Sierra Linda.
Analysis: Paradise Valley was the preseason No. 1 and has beaten several top teams, but overall inconsistency has been a problem. The Trojans could very well get hot and win the whole thing, but Sunnyslope is on a roll and I like the Vikings to advance. Sierra Linda gets a good draw up to this point but Catalina Foothills is a tough foe.
Finals: Catalina Foothills 59, Sunnyslope 56.
Analysis: There are a host of teams who could conceivably win it all, but I’ll take the top two seeds to advance to the title game. Catalina Foothills has a dynamic duo in Chaz Mack and Austin Nehls, and while both are just juniors, the team has faced a good schedule and should be ready. A title game between these two teams would likely be pretty evenly matched, but I like the Falcons to come away with the trophy.