Its playoff time for Oregon’s largest playoff field: 32 teams looking for the dream of bringing home a state championship on November 6th at Liberty HS. 4A and 1A are in a play-in stage of their bracket, so 6A gets the spotlight to start things off. With the bracket officially locked, its time to look at the games to watch and make predictions for the opening round of action!
Top Seeds Hit Cruise Control
While its usually not a good idea to be on cruise control in the playoffs, and certainly anything is possible in HS sports, this edition of the OSAA state tournament won’t feature any jaw-dropping upsets. West Linn, Bend, Jesuit, and Central Catholic all host teams that simply can’t measure up to them, no matter the pairings that they might put out on the court. South Salem’s only loss outside the higher seeds was one to Summit before the Storm got banged up with injuries, and Sunset certainly isn’t a threat of that level to the Saxons. Sherwood is on fire, Oregon City is battle tested, Lake Oswego is too inconsistent this season to consider an upset pick for Clackamas, and Sheldon isn’t going to have much trouble with Glencoe despite the fighting mentality they’ll bring to Eugene. Rounding out the Top 10 seeds is Westview, who face a Century team they have seen a couple times in tournament play, never having a problem with them then so don’t look for them to have one on Wednesday. Take all the Top 10 teams as winners, its a very safe bet to make!
UPSET Watch: Newberg and Grant Have Their Hands Full
The Top 10 don’t have much to worry about, but the teams right below them aren’t quite as fortunate. Here is an upset watch breakdown for these three high seeds:
Sprague at Newberg: Go ahead and scratch your head or laugh, I see that Sprague is on six game skid and only won three sets in those six games. However, one of these teams is battle tested and looked decent, the other one has only been tested by one team twice. Sprague isn’t getting blown out by any stretch, they’re just struggling to close out sets and put together a full game. This is the team that pushed #5 South Salem to their brink, and it can be the same team that takes out Newberg. The Tigers have only faced one legitimate threat this season, the Sherwood Bowmen, and they got swept in both meetings. Couple that with a loss to Glencoe and its all the red flags that this can be an upset, even with the Tigers on a roll entering the playoffs. Stamp an O on my forehead, I’ve got the Olys pulling the upset.
McNary at Grant: The Generals are a good team, McNary is a good team: This should come out to a great game! Grant has only really been tested by the PIL, and couldn’t come through in tests out of conference play, setting up this one to be a great game. McNary plays in a rough and tough MVC, improving against their foes steadily as the season went along. The seeds show a gap, but I don’t see one between McNary and Grant, so its a toss-up as far as I’m concerned.
Predicting The Rest Of The Field
Now that the main storylines are done, lets predict the rest of the games: I’ve got Nelson winning their first playoff game in school history over Roseburg, West Salem cruises past Lakeridge, Mountainside beats North Medford, and despite their huge injury season I think Summit comes over the mountains and takes down Wells in Portland.
Here are my official picks in full: Top 10 seeds win, Sprague upsets Newberg, Grant hangs on against McNary, Nelson beats Roseburg, West Salem beats Lakeridge, Mountainside over North Medford, and Summit beats Wells. Those are my predictions for the Round of 32, now lets see what happens when they actually hit the court on Wednesday! Good luck ladies and may the best girls take the ultimate dub in Hillsboro!