Today just doesn’t feel like one of those days for high school basketball, but it is. The 84th edition of the New Franklin Tournament begins today, but there have been several changes to the brackets over the past 28 hours.
One more change was added this morning, but I won’t repost new brackets this time. It’s not a major change. Westran and Tipton were supposed to play a girl/boy doubleheader tonight, but instead, those games have been moved to 1:30 and 3 p.m. on Jan. 2, which now has the remaining six first-round games. That’s one way to ring in the New Year.
For now, it’s back to prediction time. I went 18-4 at the Glasgow Tournament. Any chance I improve my record for this tournament? Eh, we’ll see.
No. 6 Pilot Grove (G) vs. No. 3 Sweet Springs (4:30 p.m. tip-off): Normally, I don’t know much about either team entering this tournament. The only thing I can tell you is Sweet Springs walloped Pilot Grove 57-29 earlier this month at the State Fair Holiday Shootout. For me, that game is probably a pretty good indicator of which team wins this game. Picking the score, now that’s another thing. Prediction: Sweet Springs 51, Pilot Grove 33.
No. 5 Pilot Grove (B) vs. No. 4 New Franklin (6 p.m. tip-off): I’m going to bill this as the most anticipated first-round game of the tournament. Pilot Grove appears to be an early favorite to win the CCAA, but the Tigers would be a middle-of-the-pack team in the CAC at best, which is exactly where New Franklin is right now. Pilot Grove is already 8-1, having won the inaugural Pilot Grove Classic and won a couple of other close games. Their only loss was to Sweet Springs, the tournament’s No. 6 seed, by five points. New Franklin, on the other hand, is a team that is better than its record indicates. The Bulldogs’ four losses (Fayette, Glasgow and Cairo twice) come against teams with a combined 22-4 record, and they are responsible for one of those losses as well (vs. Fayette in the Glasgow Tournament). The strength of schedule edge easily goes to New Franklin, but I’m not sure I can factor that too much into my prediction. The record edge goes to Pilot Grove, but again, I’m not going to factor that into my prediction. These two teams met in the first round of last year’s tournament, which Pilot Grove won by nine points. I don’t think that happens this year. Prediction: New Franklin 61, Pilot Grove 56.