Going to be a fun tournament this year. Here are my thoughts on the first round match ups.
Clay City vs. Pike Central
Clay City was a rough team last year and only lost one senior. They struggled to score, at times against bad teams. I don't expect them to make a huge jump from last year and will be right around the same as last year. It's a rough time down in Clay City. Pike Central, on the other hand, played a pretty tough schedule last year and hung tough with some of the big boys. But, this year is a different story. They lose their top six scorers to graduation and there wasn't really anyone on the team that impressed last year other than a few of those seniors. Only one guy is coming back who played in more than eight games, and he averaged 2.1 points a game in 21 games. Watch for PC to struggled this year. This will be a close game, but it won't be a good one.
Barr-Reeve vs. South Knox
Barr-Reeve has a new coach this year as Bryan Hughes is out and Josh Thompson from Vincennes Lincoln takes over the reins. Don't expect many low scoring games from this Barr-Reeve team. They are going to look to go fast and they have the players to do it. Fresh off a semi-state appearance, Barr-Reeve doesn't lose any starters off that team. Barr-Reeve is a state championship favorite in 1A. South Knox is going to be pretty solid this year once again, but they do lose some key pieces. Brandon Fickling has graduated and they lose a few depth pieces. It will lead to some early season turmoil but after a few weeks, coach Burkett will have them firing on all cylinders. I don't think they are as strong as Barr-Reeve because they don't have the offensive firepower, but they'll hang around in this one for three quarters.
Brownstown Central vs. FW Blackhawk
Brownstown Central only loses one guy off of last year's 18-7 team. They are well coaches and generally are really solid every year. This year won't be an exception as they return the talent they need to succeed. You can imagine that BC will make a deep run in the postseason again this year. BC is a team that isn't going to have many off games so it is paramount that you play well against them. FW Blackhawk are the favorites for the 1A crown and don't be surprised if they meet Barr-Reeve there. FW Blackhawk has a ton of talent and it all starts with Caleb Furst, the big man inside who has high major offers already. Frankie Davidson is a long guard who is very good as well. This FW Blackhawk team can beat you in anyway and they are my early pick to win this tournament. Quite frankly, I honestly don't think they will have that tough of a time doing so.
North Daviess vs. Loogootee
This is an interesting game in many regards. North Daviess only loses one player from the squad last year so they are going to be a veteran bunch. They do have some talent, but it hasn't really showed that often in years past. I think that this is going to be a big year for them, maybe not in terms of winning 20 games, but you'll see progress. They are kind of searching for their identity. Loogootee is a team that has some talent but not enough. Silas Bauer is going to be a monster for them. He improved a ton over the summer and expect huge things from him. I think Loogootee could sneakily surprise some people this year. This is a game that I think they can win due to the talent at the top.