By Joe Henricksen
For a look at the Hoops Report’s Class 4A picks, go to 4A picks
Who are you picking? What are your upset specials?
CLASS 3A REGIONAL PICKS
Hope over University
Avery Busch and Hope move on to the sectional.
Harper over Jones
A top four finish in the Red-Central for Harper compared to bottom half finish in the Blue-Central for Jones.
King over Perspectives
This isn’t the King of old, but the Jaguars still favorite to win the sectional as the top seed.
Lindblom over Robeson
Blue Central champs escaped with OT win over Bowen on Tuesday and should move on.
Morgan Park over Harlan
This could be a tougher matchup for highly-regarded Morgan Park than people realize. Familiarity for both teams–Harlan played Morgan Park tough in an early January loss–but Morgan Park with too much overall talent.
Rich East Regional
Brooks over Tinley Park
There aren’t many teams playing better than Brooks. Tinley Park played Hillcrest tough a while back, but the backcourt of Mike Powell and George Marshall should cruise.
Hillcrest over Corliss
Homecourt, Juice Brown and Hillcrest’s past March experience overwhelms Corliss.
T.F. North Regional
T.F. North over Carver
This should be one of the marquee 3A regional finals, with T.F. North edging DeShawn Delaney and Carver on its home floor.
Aurora Central over Rochelle
A competitive schedule has prepared Aurora Central for March.
Belvidere North Regional
Rockford East over Belvidere North
A couple of teams that struggled mightily down the stretch–Rockford East went 4-8 in the final 12 regular-season games and Belvidere North went 2-8 in its final 10 games. But Rockford East beat Belvidere North a month ago.
Woodstock Marian over Woodstock
Marian comes in 14-15 and Woodstock 10-18. One of them has to advance.
Crystal Lake Central over Marmion
Quietly, Crystal Lake Central is 23-4 and riding a 10-game win streak.
Morris over Streator
Morris looking for second straight regional title. Since a 2-5 start to the season, Morris has put together a solid year in the win column and should advance to face Rock Island in the Peoria Sectional.
Rock Island Regional
Rock Island over Sterling
This is one regional final that won’t be close. Sterling lost to Peoria Notre Dame, the top-ranked 3A team in the state, 71-42 last month.
Peoria Richwoods Regional
Peoria Notre Dame over Galesburg
The No. 1 team in Class 3A should cruise after taking care of Galesburg in a regular-season game. But Galesburg has piled up 25 wins and somehow knocked off Warren.
Peoria Manual Regional
Peoria Manual over Peoria Central
A rivalry game and one of the top 3A regional title matchups in the state. Despite the fact Central crushed Manual 79-48 last week, this will go down to the wire. Talented junior guard Jeff White didn’t play for Manual last week.
Morton over Springfield Lanphier
Morton and junior Brett Bisping upset the host Railers and have played very well in the second half of the season; Lanphier lost twice to Lincoln this season. Look for Morton to claim its third consecutive regional championship.
Decatur Eisenhower Regional
Springfield Southeast over Decatur MacArthur
Southeast, a sleeper to reach Peoria, takes its first step towards that goal.
Washington over Bloomington
Since the calendar turned to 2011, Washington has been on run with just two losses–an impressive 16-2 since late December. And the Hoops Report will take any team coached by Kevin Brown.
Champaign Centennial over Urbana
These two teams split during the regular, with Urbana winning a late January matchup. Centennial is still kicking after a magical two-year run and have played well of late, going 8-3 in their last 11 games.
Breese Mater Dei over Centralia
Should be a barnburner down south as Centralia has piled up 23 wins. But the Orphans did lose to Breese Mater Dei in mid-February by 15 points.
Salem over Mattoon
A .500 Salem team gets past a Mattoon team that has really struggled this season.
Highland over Jacksonville
Although Jacksonville beat Highland earlier this year, Jacksonville sputtered down the stretch and Highland has played well.
Cahokia over Belleville Althoff
Another regional championship featuring two teams with less-than-inspiring records. Cahokia took care of Althoff easily just last week, winning 76-61.
Wheaton Academy Regional
Wheaton Academy over North Lawndale
No early regional departure for Wheaton Academy this year as home floor fuels Warriors.
St. Joseph Regional
Crane over St. Joseph
St. Joe’s escaped with an overtime win over Raby Wednesday night to set up an opportunity to play the No. 1 sectional seed on its home floor.
Nazareth Academy Regional
Riverside-Brookfield over Wheaton St. Francis
If the game goes down to the wire, favored R-B could be in trouble. St. Francis has grown up in the second half of the season (10-3 in its last 13 games) and has had a knack for winning tight games. Their last four wins have been by 2, 1, 2 and 3 points.
Marshall over Orr
In what should be a good one, Marshall gets the edge due to Keifer Sykes having shown the ability to get it done in big games.
Fenton over Senn
Senn pulled off the upset Tuesday over favorite Grayslake North, while Fenton (10-19) has a great shot of winning the school’s first regional title in 35 years.
Gordon Tech Regional
North Chicago over Gordon Tech
The won-loss record may not be what it’s been due to a spiced up schedule, but North Chicago is on pace to win its fourth straight regional and third sectional in four years. But few have noticed that Gordon Tech has won two straight regional titles of its own.
Ridgewood over Lakes
Ridgewood has played a much tougher schedule and is seeking first regional title since 1998. Lakes (9-19) hopes to pull off the upset on its home floor.
Vernon Hills Regional
Vernon Hills over Grayslake Central
Vernon Hills and top player Davaris Daniels are in position to claim the program’s first-ever regional championship. Grayslake Central, however, handed Vernon Hills a mid-February 56-50 defeat.