State Boy's Basketball Sectional Preview & Picks

posted by Jimmie Kaska - 

Sectional semifinals are here in boy's basketball! Let's see how my picks are going, and given who is left, what we can expect in each sectional going forward as we are down to the final 80 teams in the state.

Not much has changed since regionals, but if you're interested in seeing the write-up, it's at the end of this page.

NOTE: They are re-seeding the state finals this year in basketball, so in addition to picking the four teams to make it to state, you had to also pick seeds #1-#4 as well. That wasn't laid out but I gave it a shot (the numbers are the projected seeds).

See all of the picks by statewide media here

See all of the state brackets by going here

Division 1

Jimmie's Picks: #2 Sun Prairie over #1 Oshkosh North; #4 Arrowhead, #3 Brookfield Central #3 Brookfield East

(Brookfield East replaces Brookfield Central in my picks with Central out... I left the seeding intact)

Sectional 1: Chalk so far, but Oshkosh North is still a clear favorite (23-1) in this sectional. The winner of SPASH/Kimberly will be interesting too as a challenger to Oshkosh North in the sectional final, assuming that Oshkosh gets by Eau Claire North. Still, I think this ends up being Oshkosh North emerging.

Sectional 2: Not much has changed in my thinking here. I thought the top three teams would be in the mix and all three are still there along with a five seed. Bay Port remains the favorite but they will have a tough sectional final match (should they beat Hamilton) against Arrowhead or Kettle Moraine.

Sectional 3: I thought this was the bracket ripe for an upset, but here we are with the final four seeds. Sun Prairie vs Madison La Follette should be high-scoring and entertaining. The Cardinals are the clear favorite of this bracket. Madison East taking on Waunakee is fascinating on the other side. What will Waunakee do to slow down Keshawn Justice, and can the Purgolders continue to have others elevate to the occasion around him? Will the Warriors slug it out defensively and take their pick-and-pops on the other hand, hoping to slow down the athletic Purgolders? Going to be a fun one.

Sectional 4: Everyone's bracket is trashed because of this bracket. The top remaining seed is #2 Brookfield East at 22-2, which is the pick I'll roll with out of this sectional with Brookfield Central out following a 58-56 loss to #6 West Allis Central. On the other side, one of the biggest upsets of the playoffs in the state occurred when #9 Marquette knocked out top-seeded Franklin by 15 points. They'll see fourth-seeded Racine Park.

Division 2

Jimmie's Picks: #1 Kaukauna over #3 La Crosse Central; #2 Monona Grove, #4 Pewaukee

Sectional 1: La Crosse Central against Onalaska is probably the game to decide who emerges from here. #2 Merrill and #5 Marshfield linger on the opposite side, but La Crosse Central and Onalaska are really strong favorites to advance to state, whoever wins that game. I picked Central.

Sectional 2: Kaukauna remains the heavy favorite, although Pulaski will be a sneaky-good game in the sectional final. The #1 and #2 seeds on the opposite side of the bracket have already been knocked out.

Sectional 3: Monona Grove and Stoughton meet for the third time, and the second time in a few weeks. That game at Sun Prairie will be an absolute slug-fest. On the opposite side of the bracket, it's Westosha Central drawing the four-seed, Elkhorn (I'll be calling this game Thursday at 940wfaw.com). I still believe Monona Grove is the team to beat in this sectional, but it won't be easy.

Sectional 4: Whitnall and Pewaukee is another outstanding game in the sectional semifinals (each sectional has one semifinal game that is an incredible match-up). Awaiting the winner will be another really good program, as Milwaukee Washington and Pius XI duke it out. While Pius XI is a seven-seed, they're still a threat, although the case will be made for one of the other three teams. I picked Pewaukee heading into the playoffs, so I stay there, but really the three of the top four seeds remaining wouldn't be a surprise to earn a state bid (although many are picking Whitnall and Tyler Herro).

Division 3

Jimmie's Picks: #1 Xavier over #3 Brown Deer #3 Martin Luther; #4 Bloomer #2 Waupun, #4 Wisconsin Dells

(Re-picks: I went with Wisconsin Dells to advance, and gave them the four-seed in place of Bloomer given the depth of the other sectionals. With Brown Deer out, I moved in one-loss Waupun, and gave them a two-seed, dropping Martin Luther one spot down... which is irrelevant since they'd still play each other.)

Sectional 1: With my upset pick out, I am taking Wisconsin Dells to make it two-for-two on trips to state for their basketball programs. Prescott on the top half of the bracket is a tough customer though, and their semifinal against Ellsworth should be a good one.

Sectional 2: This is a really deep sectional! Xavier, until they lose, is the pick though, regardless of how good the other three teams here are. Nobody has more than four losses that is remaining in this sectional.

Sectional 3: Martin Luther handled Lakeside Lutheran, a very good basketball team, by 18 points in the regional final. They'll get a tough draw with East Troy on the other side of the bracket, as the Trojans have great size and shooting that should help them hang with anyone. Speaking of shooting, Platteville and Edgerton I would expect to be a wildly entertaining affair in the comfy new Oregon gym Thursday night. I am in on Martin Luther, so that's where I stay.

Sectional 4: Kettle Moraine Lutheran beat Brown Deer, and now it sets up a fantastic sectional semifinal against Dominican. The winner there gets Waupun or Laconia. I am shifting my pick to Waupun with Brown Deer out. Waupun has out-scored its two playoff opponents 142-71... yes, doubling them up. Gets a little tougher now.

Division 4

Jimmie's Picks: #2 The Prairie School over #4 Mineral Point; #3 Marathon, #4 Osseo-Fairchild #1 Clear Lake

(Re-pick: With Osseo-Fairchild out, I move Clear Lake in. I have no idea how this division will get seeded with these four teams. I believe Prairie School and Mineral Point to be the top two, but both have losses and Clear Lake is undefeated. It's hard to know how a seeding meeting will play out. So, I changed the seeding numbers but tried to leave my title game intact.)

Sectional 1: I said at the outset of the playoffs that this sectional was a mess to figure out. Any of a half dozen teams or so could emerge. Well, #1 seed Osseo-Farichild is out, and so are both #2 seeds. Melrose-Mindoro and Durand will square off on one side of the bracket, while Lakeland squads Clear Lake and Webster battle on the other. I will roll with the highest remaining seed here, undefeated Clear Lake.

Sectional 2: Chalk with all #1 or #2 seeds left. Marathon is a #2 seed, so I'll stick to my guns here. I thought Shiocton would be an interesting pick to come out as well, and they are another #2 seed.

Sectional 3: What a final four. New Glarus stays undefeated and will take on Pardeeville. On the top half, Aquinas has rolled through as a #6 seed and will meet up with Mineral Point. I picked Mineral Point before the playoffs despite a head-to-head loss to New Glarus this season, so I can't change there, but what a sectional final that would be in Baraboo if they both get to Saturday. 

Sectional 4: Howards Grove and Roncalli will be a low-scoring slugfest on one side of the bracket, while The Prairie School and Destiny could be more of the same. The final four are the highest remaining seeds. I think The Prairie School is tops from this bracket based on the eye test, but it's a pretty balanced bracket.

Division 5

Jimmie's Picks: #1 Bangor over #3 Sheboygan Lutheran; #2 Columbus Catholic, #4 McDonell Central

Sectional 1: I picked a #3 seed (McDonell) and here they are, in a final four with two #1 seeds and a #2 seed. South Shore on the other side of the bracket has just three losses, and the other two remaining teams have seven losses each (#1 Rib Lake and #2 Drummond). So, I'm not feeling too bad about picking McDonell here, although all four remaining teams are pretty solid.

Sectional 2: #1 Columbus Catholic (two losses) has rolled in another chalky bracket, with the lowest seed remaining a #3 (by three points in the regional final), as has #1 Phelps (three losses) on the other side. Should be a fun sectional final.

Sectional 3: Bangor will meet up with second-seeded Royall in a pretty excellent sectional semi-final; neither team has had much trouble advancing so far. On the other side, top-seeded Seneca will get #7-seed Southwestern, one of the lowest remaining seeds (and if you discount D1, which seeds the entire sectional instead of half-sectionals, THE lowest remaining seed). Bangor was a favorite in this bracket coming in, and they still are in the final four.

Sectional 4: This played out to form in the brackets, with only one #3-over-#2 upset. On one side, Deerfield and Barneveld meet in an epic sectional semifinal; on the other, Sheboygan Lutheran and Lourdes Academy. Deerfield-Lourdes Academy would be an interesting potential sectional final.

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