Newman Girls Face Tough Bracket in Nike TOC
The 6-2 Cardinal Newman Girl's Basketball Team is traveling to Phoenix, Arizona for the NIKE Tournament of Champions and will face the Mesquite Wildcats in their 1st game. The Wildcats are 20th in the State of Arizona and are 9-1 coming into the game. The Cardinals are coming off a 3rd Place finish at the Paris Twins Classic and are 6-2 and 41st in the State of California. Monica Mertle's Cardinals enter a tough bracket filled with teams that have D1 and D2 commits on their rosters, but the Cardinals have had some great games this year and put up some great fights against great Northern California teams like Bishop O'Dowd, Piedmont, Vanden and Archbishop Mitty. Newman will tip off tomorrow in the Mike Bracket at 3:30 PM Pacific Standard Time.
In the Mike Bracket are tough teams with top recruits from 6 different states. The biggest recruit in the bracket is the 18th recruit in the country Riley Nelson who plays for The Bullis School and is a 5 star committed to Maryland. Bishop O'Dowd has the 5th ranked Freshman in the country, Devin Cosgriff, but Newman was able to stop the Dragons 81-65 earlier in the season. The matchups are going to be great ones to watch as some put 2 possible state champions against each other in hopes of advancing to try to win the bracket. Here are the matchups and my predictions:
Game 1: Cardinal Newman (CA, 6-2) v. Mesquite (AZ, 9-1)
Game 2: Corona Centennial (CA, 3-4) v. Columbine (CO, 4-3)
Game 3: Thunder Ridge (CO, 4-2) v. Bishop Manogue (NV, 3-2)
Game 4: Spring-Ford (PA, 4-0) v. Pinnacle (AZ, 9-2) (Game of Round 1)
Game 5: Skutt Catholic (NE, 5-0) v. Bishop O'Dowd (CA, 2-1)
Game 6: Valley View (CA, 9-1) v. Mesa (AZ, 7-2)
Game 7: St. Anthony (CA, 6-3) v. The Bulls School (MD, 1-3)
Game 8: Sandra Day O'Connor (AZ, 6-0) v. Orange Lutheran (CA, 9-2)
Game 1: Newman 53, Mesquite 48
Reason: Newman has faced way tougher teams then Mesquite, but the Wildcats did face a tough team this year, Flagstaff who they beat 47-43. The Wildcats have their only loss to crosstown rival Gilbert High School, who they lost to 49-48. Newman has faced 3 top 25 California teams and have gone 1-2 against them. Newman's strength of schedule so far is greater than Mesquite's, so the Wildcats are really going to have to be on their game to beat the Cardinals. It will be a close game that will probably be decided in the last minutes of the game and I have the Cardinals winning by 5, 53-48.
Game 2: Corona Centennial 49, Columbine 47
Reason: Both teams have had tough schedules, but Corona has the tougher schedule, playing Top 25 California Teams and have shown grit throughout those games. These teams are very evenly matched, but I think Corona will be able to edge the #44 team in Colorado Columbine in a close game.
Game 3: Thunder Ridge 58, Bishop Manogue 49
Reason: Both teams are very good and only have suffered losses to tough teams, but Thunder Ridge have had an incredibly tough schedule early on and have competed well against top Colorado teams including #4 Cherokee Trail from Aurora. Manogue is really good and the game will be great to watch, but Thunder Ridge should pull out a close win.
Game 4: Pinnacle 65, Spring-Ford 53
Reason: This will be a fantastic game as Spring-Ford is one of the best teams from Pennsylvania and Pinnacle is one of the best teams from Arizona. Pinnacle has shown to be stronger though throughout their season and they are a favorite to win the bracket, so they should be able to edge out a win that will be a lot closer then the final score will show as Spring-Ford will put up a great fight.
Game 5: Final Score: Bishop O'Dowd 57, Skutt Catholic 48
My Prediction: Bishop O'Dowd 61, Skutt Catholic 56 (written on Dec. 18)
Reason: Bishop O'Dowd has played a tougher schedule then Skutt and have shown to be good, beating a tough Marin Catholic and putting up a good fight against Newman. Skutt's toughest opponent was Elkhorn North who they beat 42-35 and the rest of their opponents were teams that weren't too tough and Skutt destroyed them all by 25 or more points. BOD (O'Dowd) should pull out the victory because of their strength of schedule and the jet lag that they won't have compared Skutt who will have the jet lag.
Game 6: Final Score: Valley View 46, Mesa 34
Prediction: Valley View 54, Mesa 50 (Written on Dec. 18)
Reason: Valley View has a great offense while Mesa, who has had a hard schedule, has an offense who has not scored over 60 in regulation all season. Valley View has scored more than 60 in 9 of their 10 games and the only game they didn't score 60 or more, they scored 59. If Mesa plays great defense they will make it a close game, but Valley View should be able to pull out a victory.
Game 7: Final: Bullis 62, St. Anthony 44
Prediction: Bullis School 59, St. Anthony 51 (Written on Dec. 18)
Reason: The Bullis School has had a very tough schedule and Riley Nelson is a big factor in this game. St. Anthony has done well this season, but haven't had that tough of a schedule. These teams are very evenly matched, but I think Bullis are too strong of a team for St. Anthony to stop. It will be a close game, but Bullis should win.
Game 8: Orange Lutheran 60, O'Connor 58
Reason: O'Connor is one of the best squads in Arizona and Lutheran who has a very tough schedule, has been falling in California ranks in the past week. Lutheran has faced way tougher opponents than O'Connor which will give them a leg up in this game. It will be close, but Lutheran should be able to beat the undefeated Eagles.
Winners' Quarterfinals Predictions:
Newman v. Centennial: Newman 57, Centennial 49
Thunder Ridge v. Pinnacle: Pinnacle 64, Thunder Ridge 55
BOD v. Valley View: Valley View 71, BOD 62
Bullis School v. Orange Lutheran: Bullis 61, Orange Lutheran 50
Losers' Quarterfinals Predictions:
Mesquite v. Columbine: Mesquite 66, Columbine 57
Spring-Ford v. Bishop Manogue: Spring-Ford 50, Manogue 46
Skutt Catholic v. Mesa: Mesa 52, Skutt Catholic 44
St. Anthony v. O'Connor: O'Connor 65, St. Anthony 51
Winners' Semifinals Predictions
Newman v. Pinnacle: Pinnacle 71, Newman 57
Valley View v. Bullis School: Bullis 64, Valley View 54
Losers' Semifinals Predictions
Mesquite v. Spring-Ford: Mesquite 63, Spring-Ford 61
Mesa v. O'Connor: O'Connor 57, Mesa 53
Losers of Consolation Quarterfinals Predictions: Top Center bracket
Columbine v. Bishop Manogue: Bishop Manogue 56, Columbine 52
Skutt Catholic v. St. Anthony: Skutt Catholic 54, St. Anthony 47
Losers of Winners' Quarterfinals Predictions: Bottom Center Bracket
Corona Centennial v. Thunder Ridge: Thunder Ridge 63, Corona Centennial 52
Bishop O'Dowd v Orange Lutheran: Orange Lutheran 57, BOD 52
Final Game Predictions:
Championship Game: Pinnacle v. Bullis School: Pinnacle 63, Bullis School 59
3rd Place Game: Cardinal Newman v. Valley View: Newman 68, Valley View 61
5th Place Game: Thunder Ridge v. Orange Lutheran: Thunder Ridge 57, Orange Lutheran 50
7th Place Game: Bishop O'Dowd v. Corona Centennial: BOD 59, Centennial 54
9th Place: Consolation Championship: Mesquite v. O'Connor: O'Connor 61, Mesquite 54
11th Place: Consolation 3rd Place: Mesa v. Spring-Ford: Spring-Ford 56, Mesa 45
13th Place: Consolation 5th Place: Bishop Manogue v. Skutt Catholic:
Bishop Manogue 65, Skutt Catholic 60
15th Place: Columbine v. St. Anthony: Columbine 56, St. Anthony 45