By Joe Henricksen
Class 3A Final Four
Marshall over Washington and Simeon over Decatur Eisenhower
Class 3A Championship
Simeon over Marshall
The City/Suburban Hoops Report has made state tournament predictions in each of the publication's 13 years. Never before have the picks been easier to make than this year's Class 3A state predictions. Will all of them hold up? As always, I am sure there will be an upset along the way. But from the aspect of actually having to pick teams, deliberate over matchups and contemplate picking a Cinderella story, there was none of that involved. It's an exclamation point as to how weak and watered down Class 3A is after expanding to four classes.
Another "never before in Hoops Report history" item is this...
In the Hoops Report State Tournament preview issue, in mailboxes of subscribers this week, a total of nine basketball "experts" make their annual picks. This year, for the first time in 13 years, it was near unanimous as to what four teams would be playing in the state semifinals -- in Class 3A, that is. That is unheard of. There are always different opinions and picks, with tough calls to make on certain matchups in regional, sectional and supersectional play. Of the nine "experts" that made picks, eight of them had the exact same Final Four in Class 3A: Simeon, Marshall, Decatur Eisenhower and Washington. The other "expert" had two of the same teams in the Final Four.
Again, another indication of how weak the Class 3A field is.
The Hoops Report will be absolutely shocked if Simeon and Marshall aren't playing in Peoria. They are two of the premier teams in Illinois, regardless of class, and the road to Carver Arena is as soft as either one of those two tradition-rich programs have ever traveled down in their respective program's history. Then there is Decatur Eisenhower, which is unbeaten, owns a win over Simeon and is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A. Eisenhower will get a test this Friday night against a 23-win Mt. Zion team. And then have a couple of rivalry-type games that could produce an upset. But again, this team hasn't lost all season and is a big favorite to reach Peoria.
That leaves us with the final pick, Washington. Of the four consensus picks in Class 3A, this is the team most likely to fall by the wayside. Washington is the least talented of the "Big Four" and has the toughest road of any of them, having to play and beat the Peoria-area schools along the way. But as the Hoops Report mentioned in a previous blog, terrific backcourts and money players can take you a long way. And Washington has both in senior Matt Roth and junior Dyricus Simms-Edwards.