Much like I did for the girls, I’m going to take a deeper look at the boys brackets and, long story short, pick against the model. Well…more like use the model to pick an upset in each region.
Again, for some of these regions, I’ve seen every team. For others, I haven’t seen anyone. We’ll do 2 picks, the model’s pick and mine. Maybe I’ll do better than the model, but probably not. But I’m gonna take some fliers. Kind of like you might in your NCAA brackets. Because picking chalk is boring.
We’ll skip AA, because they’re on break. And obviously since the tourney has already started, I’m not going to pretend teams haven’t already been knocked out.
I’ll add class D later. I’m running out of time to get this posted.
Last week, I asked a coach in A North how many teams could realistically win that region. His response, “Overall, or just the teams that got in?” It’s that deep. Hampden is obviously the favorite, but consider this: Hampden is ranked 4th overall. Nokomis is 28th overall and they’re the 2 seed. Then comes #4 Cony at 44. The 11 seed is ranked 64th and they only take 8 teams. If Hampden were to lose, you might as well draw names out of a hat. Cony’s chaos can give teams fits, and I kind of want to pick Medomak, because the redemption story would be fun, but Nokomis has been great over the second half.
Model: Hampden (53.3%)
Greely has won 41 straight, so you’d be crazy to pick against them, but they’ve gotta lose sometime, right? Right? So…um…Falmouth is the 4 seed despite a 9-9 record. The 6th toughest schedule in the state will do that. But, still. They’re 9-9. Westbrook got blown out by Biddeford on the final day of the season. Biddeford has won 9 straight. They were ranked 6th over the second half. And they haven’t played Greely yet.
Model: Greely (85.0%)
On that forum we don’t talk about here, they’re calling this the Hermon Invitational or something, which is weird considering 5 other schools have a better chance of winning their region. But facts don’t often quell an angry mob. Hermon nearly lost at home to a Presque Isle that’s lost 3 of their last 4 and stumbled into the tourney after a stellar start. They lost by 17 to MDI, who’ve also struggled down the stretch and lost twice to Hermon in the second half. So let’s look to the team that played the toughest schedule in class B (long-time readers will be as shocked as I am by that) and have won their last 7. The big obstacle? They’ve never won a game in Bangor. Ever.
Model: Hermon (47.1%)
The model has #3 Yarmouth as the favorite over #2 Cape by the slimmest of margins (21.848% vs 21.846%), so it’s already a bit of a toss-up. But whither #1 Wells? The model isn’t high on Wells. It ranks them 30th, just a little bit higher than the 6 seed Maranacook and the 4 seed Lake Region. There’s 6 teams clustered between 30th and 43rd, and that’s not including the co-favorites. It’s a deep region. So let’s go through it.
#6 Maranacook played the easiest schedule but they have the best scoring differential and the best conversion rate. However, they were 80th in the second half. #1 Wells had the worst scoring differential (+69) of the 8 teams still standing. #4 Spruce Mountain is 2-5 against the top 50. #8 Freeport only converted at a 43% clip against the 61st schedule. #7 Mountain Valley had a strong second half, but they’re a pretty big underdog against Cape. #5 GNG converted at an every worse rate than Freeport (38.3%), but they played a much tougher schedule. They also beat Wells on the road. You can kind of see them getting there, but I think the Regional Final might be in the semis. Yarmouth and Cape split in the regular season. I’m taking Yarmouth in the rubber match.
Model: Yarmouth & Cape Elizabeth (21.9%)
George Stevens has dominated C North the last couple years and everyone expects them to win it again, but the model only puts them at 25%, so there’s room for someone to wrestle the crown away from them. The region is actually pretty deep. No one has less than a 5% chance of winning it and Houlton—the 9 seed—is at 12.9%. Houlton, of course, was in B and they’re one of the bigger schools in C. The model thinks they’re the second-best team in the region, yet they’re the 9 seed. Their biggest hurdle will be the quarterfinals. Let’s say they don’t get there. Piscataquis played the toughest schedule of the C North tourney teams. The model thinks they should be the 5. In any other world, I’d take them, but the temptation to take a 9 seed is just too much.
Model: George Stevens (25.4%)
Hall-Dale lost their perfect season in a thriller, but it clearly didn’t bother them, as they ripped off 5 straight wins, including an avenging 13-point win over the Dirigo team that cost them perfection. They’re ranked 9th overall. Dirigo owns that win over Hall-Dale and an early-season victory over Winthrop. Winthrop, as usual, is in the mix, but their late-season home loss to Madison gives me pause. Richmond struggled down the stretch when they finally hit the tough part of their schedule. Waynflete led the region in point differential. They’ve won 12 straight after their 1-point loss to Class B Yarmouth, and they’ve posted at least a 95% Win% in 11 of those games, the only exception being a 73.1% against Class B Lake Region.
Model: Hall-Dale (37.9%)
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