One of the fun things our friends at WisSports.net do is put together a list of media members picking state winners and participants ahead of the playoffs. I joined in this year although I am notoriously terrible at these things. Here is the first in a few articles projecting who will win state for high school girls' basketball.
Below are my picks, including my picks before the tournament and picks based on what is seeded at Green Bay. We did the picks without knowing obviously how teams would be seeded, so I tried to guess the seedings of the teams based on who I thought would advance.
Jimmie's picks before the playoffs: #1 Mukwonago over #3 Arrowhead; #2 Appleton North, #4 Milwaukee King
Actual seeding: #1 Arrowhead, #2 Mukwonago, #3 Oak Creek, #4 Appleton North
My state pick from before the playoffs still could come to pass (Mukwonago over Arrowhead) but with slightly different seeding involved. Mukwonago has a tough opponent in Oak Creek in order to reach the championship, and could be one of the best games at state this year. The potential Arrowhead-Mukwonago championship game could be outstanding.
Picks: They stay the same as before the playoffs for the most part. #1 Arrowhead over #4 Appleton North, #2 Mukwonago over #3 Oak Creek... #2 Mukwonago over #1 Arrowhead.
Jimmie's picks before the playoffs: #1 Beaver Dam over #3 Monroe; #2 New Berlin Eisenhower, #4 Onalaska
Actual seeding: #1 Beaver Dam, #2 Monroe, #3 New Berlin Eisenhower, #4 Hortonville
Another division where I went 3-for-4, with Hortonville replacing Onalaska as the Sectional 1 winner. I think Beaver Dam already had their toughest game of the playoffs in the sectional semifinals, but a potential state title game against Monroe or New Berlin Eisenhower wouldn't be easy either. Monroe vs. New Berlin Eisenhower is a rematch from a game near the start of the season, so you can't put a ton of stock into that outcome.
Picks: They don't really change. #1 Beaver Dam over #4 Hortonville, #2 Monroe over #3 New Berlin Eisenhower... #1 Beaver Dam over #2 Monroe.
Jimmie's picks before the playoffs: #2 Wrightstown over #1 Laconia; #4 Hawyard, #3 Dodgeville
Actual seeding: #1 Marshall, #2 Amherst, #3 St. Thomas More, #4 Wisconsin Dells
I wrote in the sectional preview about how balanced this division was, and nearly everything came to pass. There's no favorite here. Some of the better match-ups in the sectionals, like Wisconsin Dells vs. G-E-T, ended up great contests. After hearing from all four coaches, it sounds like they expect the state field to play out mostly the same way, which makes it really hard to predict. Any of these four teams could take home the title.
Programming note: Previews with Marshall coach Alex Koeller and Wisconsin Dells coach Bob Buss will post Wednesday on thebig1070.com
Picks: I get to re-draw all of my picks here, so here goes. #1 Marshall over #4 Wisconsin Dells, #2 Amherst over #3 St. Thomas More... #1 Marshall over #2 Amherst. (Yes, I'm going chalk in the most wide-open division in the state).
Jimmie's picks before the playoffs: #1 Aquinas over #3 Melrose-Mindoro; #2 Marathon, #4 Manitowoc Lutheran
Actual seeding: #1 Aquinas, #2 Melrose-Mindoro, #3 Manitowoc Lutheran, #4 Crandon
I never even gave Crandon a chance, but I was on to something with the other three. Aquinas, like Beaver Dam in Division 2, is a clear-cut favorite here. I think the Melrose-Mindoro vs. Manitowoc Lutheran semifinal as the nightcap to day one at state has some intrigue to it as one of the better semifinal games. Seeing as Aquinas has dominated the playoff field, I'm not sure even the prospect of an undefeated vs. undefeated championship game would really change that. Aquinas is dominating opponents. They won the sectional final by 53 points.
Picks: It doesn't really change. #1 Aquinas over #4 Crandon, #2 Melrose-Mindoro over #3 Manitowoc Lutheran... #1 Aquinas over #2 Melrose Mindoro.
Jimmie's picks before the playoffs: #2 Flambeau over #1 Black Hawk; #3 Bangor, #4 Newman Catholic
[Ed. Note: Jimmie is a Flambeau graduate.]
Actual seeding: #1 Black Hawk, #2 Bangor, #3 Clayton, #4 Newman Catholic
I wasn't over Flambeau losing to Clayton until they made it to state. Black Hawk is a decent favorite--maybe not as clear-cut as Beaver Dam or Aquinas, but definitely not as wide-open as D1 or D3. Their top five scorers are sophomores or freshman. While they've had battles with Newman Catholic, that's in the past. Black Hawk's closest game was in Iowa... they've blown out every Wisconsin team they've faced. I took in their regional final championship and they are seriously impressive. Bangor vs. Clayton is a pretty great way to get things going Friday morning in the second game.
Picks: Flambeau over everyone. Just kidding! #1 Black Hawk over #4 Newman Catholic, #3 Clayton over #2 Bangor... #1 Black Hawk over #3 Clayton.
We'll preview the entire state field on Wednesday night's Prep Report with Norbert Durst of WisSports.net.