I know, I know - the 4A boys hoops playoffs don't start until Feb. 25. A lot can happen in 2 weeks...injury, suspension, ineligibility...but I can't help it. Here are my East Aurora Sectional predictions...
No. 10 East Aurora upsets No. 8 Bartlett on its home floor in the semi-finals, setting up a classic duel with No. 1 Batavia in the championship game. The Tomcats hang close for 3 1/2 quarters, but then foul trouble catches up with them. David Bryant or Phil Albrecht will hit a big shot down the stretch for Batavia.
Naperville North Regional
I think No. 5 Naperville Central will beat No. 12 Geneva in the semi-final, only because the Vikings will not be able to control Drew Crawford - who will take a major step toward all-state status in the postseason. That said, the Redhawks will beat Wheaton North to win the regional.
Waubonsie Valley Regional
No. 11 Oswego East will upset No. 7 York in the semi-finals, and then beat No. 2 Waubonsie Valley in the biggest upset of the sectional. The Wolves got the Warriors once already this year, and the infusion of offense from sophomore Jordon Harris will be enough to get them over the top yet again.
No. 3 West Aurora will once again pound Wheaton Warrenville South in the semi-final to face No. 6 Neuqua Valley in the final. In a slow, system-dominated game, the Wildcats will upset the Blackhawks to claim the title.
East Aurora Sectional
No. 1 Batavia vs. No. 5 Naperville Central
The Bulldogs will barely squeak out a victory here, as the Redhawks are on a roll and Batavia will have no defense for Crawford.
No. 11 Oswego East vs. No. 6 Neuqua Valley
The Wolves eeked out an OT victory over the Wildcats in early February, but I think the Wildcats have finally figured out how to win close games. Neuqua wins this one.
No. 1 Batavia vs. No. 6 Neuqua Valley
This is familar territory for Neuqua, which has lost two consecutive sectional title games. I think Batavia is weak inside, and Wildcats center Dan Pawelski could dominate in the post. The Wildcats are also quick and long on the perimeter, and can disrupt things offensively for Nick Fruendt and the Bulldogs' sharpshooters.
Neuqua wins this in overtime.