Hello, hoops fans! It's time for the Mile High Madness to begin with our big school Class 5A and 4A boys brackets now released!
Those who follow Ball Fever also know we don't think this is a rare time for Colorado hoops, but a result of numerous factors leading to good basketball being played on our high school courts.
The buzz about Colorado hoops is legit and we can thank a growing basketball community for that from our peewee rec leagues to competitive club ball, increasing individual personal training opportunities, and truly dedicated high school staffs.
The basketball product hitting the Colorado hardwood is improving and colleges of all levels are taking notice!
Great time to be a part of Colorado hoops ... let's get to the Madness!
Class 5A Preview
Chauncey Billups Region
Don't have to look much further than the bracket's overall No. 1 seed in 23-0 Rangeview here. The defending champs have the depth and senior leadership needed to pull off the elusive repeat. Mountain Vista pulls the bye in the top of this region, with Boulder and Columbine getting the chance to scout their Round 2 opponent, as well.
Boulder is the highest seed at No. 8 behind Rangeview in this region but they can't look too far ahead because if ThunderRidge can earn a win in Round 1 vs. Lakewood then Boulder will have their hands full right away with a tough Continental league foe in the Grizzlies.
Favorites: Very easy to be tempted to type in Rangeview straight across this region with their well-documented talent of the Speller twins and veteran roster who has been here before. Senior Obi Agbim is actually the Raiders leading scoring on the season at 12 points per game on this balanced squad and stepped up big at the Coliseum one year ago.
Watch out for: Speaking of scoring look no further than Luke O'Brien's 25 points and amazing 12 rebounds per game for the No. 9 seed Columbine. The CU-bound guard has the ability to help the Rebels pull off an upset on any given night! Should that Rangeview/Columbine match up happen as the Fever Crew predicts for this region the Rebels will have to score to keep up with the Raiders 73 points per game. A lot has to happen before we get there...can't wait!
Chuck Williams Region
A little RPI controversy is to be expected and here it is with Fairview coming in as the No. 2 overall seed. The Knights haven't lost since December, are 12-0 league champs, and riding a 14-game win streak into this Region. Chaparral, Vista PEAK, and Smoky Hill are the others who earned Round 1 byes here.
All four top seeds in region have been in our 5A top 10 poll at some point this season! Chaparral is the highest seed outside of Ralston Valley at No. 7 here. The young Wolverines have strong sophs in Jeremiah Coleman and Joel Speckman along with their senior leader Kobe Sanders who can heat up. The Wolverines are on a high after winning the Continental League.
Favorites: Fairview and Chap are the highest seeds as mentioned but not sure either has the depth to take down Smoky Hill in this region. Smoky's #CentennialTough schedule and myriad of athletes has them as the Fever's crew favorite to come out of this region.
Watch out for: One thing we've learned over the years is to not count out that "sweet sweet left" hand of Kobe Sanders when we get late in the post season. The Wolverines suffered a five-point loss in early December tourney play to Smoky Hill but they are a much improved and cohesive squad than they were two months ago should that match up present itself again and we think it will! Tough Region Here!!
Larry Farmer Region
Well, it just continues to be tough. Just the way we like it in this region! Another RPI surprise for many is Ralston Valley rolling in at the 3rd overall seed. League champs with an overall 20-3 record have been battled tested but do they ever have some strong company in the Farmer Region with Valor, Eaglecrest, and Horizon the others waiting for Round 2 action with a bye.
The Fever Crew believes Eaglecrest has top 5-team in the state type talent and have kept a close eye on the Raptors this season. They had ups and downs in the Centennial League but don't let that 11 seed fool you. The "Firm" of Ruckard, Robinson, and Wilson can flat out play.
Speaking of not overlooking teams, Overland can ruin anyone's day as they've proven over and over this season. Possible Round 2 match up of Overland/Eaglecrest could be a heavyweight bout.
Favorites: Valor hasn't lost since its two-point loss to Ralston Valley and are on a seven-game win streak. Valor is balanced with four players average at least 10 points per game led by Roger Rosengarten's 12 points and 6 rebounds. Fever Crew saw the Centennial League the most this season and that may be why the prediction here is for the Raptors of Eaglecrest to get on a run late season.
Watch out for: So much to watch in this region! Round 1: Pomona has an upset over Denver East this season and would love to do nothing more to add GW to the upset list! Whoever survives will face a TALENTED young Horizon squad with numerous sophomores contributing and Brock Wisne is a "super soph" the whole state will be aware of soon...complete game averaging a double-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds. No. 3 seed Ralston Valley will have their hands full of Arapahoe's guards Bryson Stephens (recent 50 point game!) and Korey Hess.
Kent Smith Region
Many felt that the run Cherry Creek has been on was certainly worthy of a No. 2 seed in the bracket but they came out as No. 4. Early season some had them predicted to finish fourth in the Centennial League but they only had one league loss and are on an eight-game winning streak with a ton of confidence.
Joining the Bruins with Round 1 bye are Grandview, Denver East, and Pine Creek. The Wolves have four college-bound seniors in their starting line up and have depth to go far. Denver East was rolling until they ran into GW at the ThunderDome Saturday for a loss in final game of season. The Angels will be hungry.
Favorites: Don't have to look much further than Julian Hammond and Myles Purchase of Cherry Creek for a favorite. A dynamic duo that impacts the game on both sides of the floor. When senior Sebastion Cole is contributing on the offensive end and the big men down low put in work, the Bruins are hard to beat! Grandview would love another shot down the line to avenge last week's loss to Creek that sealed the Centennial title for the Bruins.
Watch out for: With Pine Creek playing down south the Fever Crew hasn't had a chance to see them live. Senior guard Kenny Pham is leading Creek with 10 points, 4 assists, 3 steals per game and they'll be motivated to show their 20-3 record is legit. Senior Peyton Westfall handling the lead scoring duties at 14 points per game.
Class 4A Preview
Ron Vlasin Region
Deservedly so Mead comes in as the overall NO. 1 seed. They are a fun, high paced, above-the-rim crew to watch! Inside power with the soph James Shiers and senior leadership that may be unmatched. The next highest seed here is Cheyenne Mountain who is limping into this one with an end of season loss to Lewis-Palmer.
Favorites: Our favorites are the two teams already discussed. Mead's unselfish brand of team ball and that MAN Javonte Johnson for Cheyenne Mountain who is averaging a crazy 30-point, 10-rebound average for the ENTIRE season.
Watch out for: Lincoln has two seniors in TJ Bamba and Ty Foster who are capable of putting the Lancers on their back and upsetting any team in the region.
Larry Brunson Region
With a 20-3 overall record and unbeaten league title under their belt, Glenwood Springs comes in as an unknown to many of us hoop followers but not to folks out West. Harrison, which had its ups and downs this season, is hungry to show that their early top three ranking was not a fluke and they come in as the No. 7 seed.
Favorites: John Iuele and Mitchell Burt are senior guards from Glenwood who combine for 25 points per game. Donta Dawson is the lead man for Harrison and averaging 18 points per game for a Harrison squad eager to prove they belong in March.
Watch out for: Pueblo West has big wins on their resume, including an early-season win over Harrison on their home floor. Watch out for this 10 seed who will likely rekindle some fire with Sand Creek in round 2.
Guy Gibbs Region
Longmont comes in as the No. 3 seed in this region followed by Skyline as RPI No. 6 seed. Longmont is 20-3 overall and losses to Erie, Mead, and Silver Creek can happen to any 4A squad.
Favorites: Skyline has a football stud senior to be dealt with in senior Austin Robison who's at 15 points, 6 rebounds per session for the season. Speaking of big fellas! Longmont has 6-foot-4 Dallas Dye and 6-foot-8 Eddie Kurjac who are combining for 30 points every night out!
Watch out for: Classical Academy has a "stat-stuffer" in senior Micah Lamberth who averaged 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals during the regular season. Let's see how the young man from the Springs shows up tourney time!
Richard Tate Region
No. 4 Seed Golden and No. 5 Northfield are solid squads leading the way in this region. The Fever Crew got its first chance to see Northfield recently vs a tough game vs Denver East but foul trouble was a factor in that one.
Favorites: Golden seems to be right there every year in 4A. Seniors McLaughlin and Mulligan both scoring 12 points per game along with a "Freshman Alert!" of Alan Acevedo's 11 points, 5 rebounds per game.
Watch out for: Coach Ocansey and Nahsyah Bolar's 18 points per game woke up the DPL in a major way this year! Northfield has three other players averaging minimum 10 points per game so that balance puts them in the mix 4A, folks! None of the Ball Fever Crew would be surprised if Pueblo East or Erie makes noise in Gibbs Region ... they've already surprised this season.
Ok, hoop fans! Wednesday it all starts.
The RPI/Human Element/Better System debate is always interesting and no system will be perfect.
The Fever Crew is just happy that our young basketball stars now have the chance to quiet the rhetoric and settle things on the court ... the way it should be.
The Cream Will Rise! Enjoy...