Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A look at the area boys teams, their state tournament seeds, and their matchups

UPDATE: Crosby took a forfeit from Shelton and moved on to the Class LL second round. Bristol Central lost to Bethel in a Class L qualifying round game.

The state tournament seeds have been released for boys basketball by the CIAC. The area is well represented, and there's certainly some state title contenders out there, led of course by Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart, No. 1 seed in Class M (18-2 regular season)
The CIAC doesn't want high-seeded teams to have byes, so as a result, the Hearts open with No. 32 Killingly, which has a record of 7-13. I'm personally not a fan of letting teams with .350 or even .300 winning percentages into the postseason, but it's the CIAC's call and enough coaches supported it, so it is what it is. That being said, Sacred Heart will open with this ECC opponent on Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m at Alumni Hall. The Hearts come in as a major favorite to win the Class M state title.

Holy Cross, No. 5 seed in Class S (14-6 regular season)
The Crusaders will open at home on Monday night at 7 against No. 28 Wamogo (10-10) of the nearby Berkshire League. One veteran coach, Holy Cross' Ed Generali, will face another in Wamogo's Gregg Hunt. Both have won state titles and know what it takes to succeed in March. The Crusaders, if healthy, should be thought of as a dangerous team in Class S.

Kennedy, No. 9 seed in Class LL (15-5 regular season)
The Eagles also drew a tough SCC opponent in No. 24 Cheshire (10-10 regular season). These two teams tip off on Tuesday at 7 at Kennedy. The Rams got hot in the second half, which helped them clinch a state tournament berth. Again, if Kennedy and Crosby win, they meet in the second round on Thursday at 7 at The Palace. That would be fun, but they both need to win first.  

Wilby, No. 9 seed in Class L (14-6 regular season)
The Wildcats have the potential to be a dangerous team, as they showed in the NVL Tournament. Wilby opens state tournament play Monday at 7 against No. 24 New Fairfield (10-10) of the SWC. If the good Wildcats show up Monday, they can punch a ticket to the second round.

Wolcott, No. 19 seed in Class M (12-8 regular season)
The Eagles open with what may be one of the worst trips of the state tournament, through Hartford during rush hour to the eastern side of the state for a 7 p.m. tip Tuesday at No. 14 Windham (13-7) of the ECC. It's a long ride, but Wolcott is happy to be in the postseason. The Eagles are battle-tested and want to prove they belong in the state tournament.

Waterbury Career Academy, No. 21 seed in Class S (11-9 regular season)
It has been a great first varsity season for the Spartans, who open play against No. 12 University (13-7) of the CSC on Monday at 5 p.m. at SMSA in the first game of a doubleheader. St. Paul and SMSA play the second game around 7. WCA, not yet a full member of the NVL, played an interesting mix of tech and non-tech schools, including top-seeded Class S Immaculate. WCA also played Ansonia twice and lost by just five the second time around after being hammered by 20 in the first encounter. It will be interesting to see how WCA fares in its first state tournament game. Both WCA and University got hammered by Wilby during the regular season. 

Kaynor Tech, No. 29 seed in Class M (8-12 regular season)
The Panthers won their final regular season game to qualify, and their reward is a strong No. 4 Bloomfield (17-3) from the CCC. Kaynor Tech is happy to be in the state tournament, but it may not be so happy about who it has to face. This game tips Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Bloomfield.

St. Paul, No. 31 seed in Class S (10-10 regular season)
The Falcons open up on Monday at 7 against No. 2 SMSA, a member of the NCCC. This team  reached the NCCC Tournament semifinals and boasts a 17-3 regular season record. Don't doubt a Steve Phelps team in the postseason, though, because St. Paul will always be prepared and will always give its opponent a tough game.

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