Our picks in the first round of regional action came in a perfect 8-0. Our philosophy of stick with the home team proved on target. The result makes for some outstanding regional finals in Class 1A.
Best Matchup: It is sort of a shame that two of the better teams in the classification, Wildwood and Hawthorne, meet this early in the playoffs. This is sort of like Duke vs. North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament. As well as these two communities support their high school athletics, no doubt the FHSAA would rather have that kind of crowd at the Lakeland Center. Also, look for the Malone/Crossroad Academy game to be a good one. The game is at Crossroad Academy. If it weren’t for COVID, Crossroad would probably have to find a bigger gym in Tally to hold all those who want to attend.
Best Chance for an Upset: Undefeated and top-ranked Central out of Milton has to go on the road to Poplar Springs n Graceville Tuesday night. Poplar Springs has been a top ten team in the power rankings all season long. They present a big hurdle for Central looking to continue a historic season.
Central over Poplar Springs
Crossroad Academy over Malone
Madison County over Trenton
Wildwood over Hawthorne
We finished 11 up and 5 down in our first round picks. In the biggest surprise to us, NFEI lost to crosstown foe University Christian. St. John Paul II out of Tally journeyed to Gainesville and defeated St. Francis. On the West Coast, Both Brandon Academy and SWFL Christian Academy won on the road, setting up a pair of district final rematches in Region 2’s semi-final round. In South Florida, Miami Christian took down Sheridan Hills Christian.
Best Matchup: Either game in region three should be entertaining. Both are district re-matches. Mount Dora Christian Academy must go into Central Florida Christian Academy on Tuesday night. That should be a close one as was the district final. On the other side of the bracket for that region, Orlando Christian Prep hosts City of Life out of Kissimmee. OCP won by twenty in the district final on a neutral court. It would be a shook if something similar didn’t occur on Tuesday night.
Best Chance for an Upset: Many of the games are district final re-matches. Of those that are not, University Christian has to go to Impact Christian in Jacksonville while Atlantic Christian has to go down to Grandview Prep. In both of those situations, the home team has a far greater power ranking than the visitor. Essentially, we don’t see any upsets on the horizon in this classification on Tuesday night.
FAMU over SJP II
Impact Christian over University Christian
Cambridge Christian over Brandon Academy
FBA Naples over SWFL Christian Academy
Central Florida Christian Academy over Mount Dora Christian Academy
Orlando Christian Prep over City of Life
Grandview Prep over Atlantic Christian
Brito over Miami Christian
We were 13 up and 3 down in our first round picks. We had been warned by the Panhandle Prophet of Hoops that Jackson would go in a take care of Florida High. We felt being at home and having seen Jackson struggle to score points on various occasions would bode well for Florida High. However, never in our wildest dreams did we think Jackson would put up 80+ in a blowout win. In Gainesville, Trinity Prep connected on a three at the buzzer to take down P.K. Yonge on the road. Our final “miss” of the night was Archbishop Carroll taking down Westminster Christian in another wild game. Tough to fathom how a Westminster Christian team that beat both Calvary Christian and Mater Academy, top of the top three teams in South Florida along with Pine Crest, could not get past the first round of the playoffs.
Best Matchup: While there are several good games in this classification Tuesday, the marquee game has to be St. Andrew’s on the road at Calvary Christian. There will be lots of college level talent on the floor and St. Andrew’s is trying to repeat. St. Andrew’s will need to stay out of foul trouble, especially inside, if they want to have a chance to advance.
Best Chance for an Upset: We give Chaminade a chance to go on the road and defeat Miami Country Day for one reason: Melvin Randall. He’s seen it all as a multi-time state champion at both Deerfield and Ely. No doubt his team will be ready.
Bishop Snyder over Jackson
Orlando The First Academy over Trinity Prep
Bishop McLaughlin over Carrollwood Day
Community School of Naples over Fort Myers Canterbury
Holy Trinity over Santa Fe Catholic
Calvary Christian over St. Andrew’s
Miami Country Day over Chaminade
Florida Christian over Archbishop Carroll