EMPORIA, Kan. - Eight man two has been a two pony race most of the season, with Hanover and Victoria favored and nearly going wire to wire. However, Victoria lost in district play and now Otis-Bison has emerged as someone to watch. The East half of the bracket features some intriguing match-ups as does the West, overall this could be a very fun bracket to watch.
Week One Intrigue
The teams get started with Tuesday match-ups next week. Here's a match-up by match-up prediction and breakdown for week one.
Wilson (4-5) at Hanover (8-1)
Hanover's only loss came to 8-man one's top ranked squad in Baileyville B&B, and should win easily here against Wilson who fought their way out of a weak bracket.
Prediction: Hanover 55-7
South Haven (6-3) at Lost Springs-Centre (7-1)
South Haven played a tough schedule, but a loss to Wichita Sunrise doesn't help them. Lost Springs-Centre had a by week and haven't lost since falling to Hope in week three. South Haven will have trouble on the road, but their tough schedule could pay of in this match-up.
Prediction: Lost Springs-Centre 55-37
Hope (8-1) at Beloit-St. Johns-Tipton (9-0)
St. John's has the higher seed here and have succeeded in an undefeated season. However they have only faced one team in the state bracket in 4-5 Wilson. Hope however had their only loss come against top seeded Hanover and got a win over Lost Springs-Centre.
Prediction: Hope 48-24
Waverly (5-3) at Caldwell (9-0)
Waverly plays in a tough part of the state with games against Madison, Lebo and Lost Springs. However all those games were loses for the Bulldogs. The Bluejays have surprised alot of people this season and will need to continue to surprise to take out some of the talented teams from the east.
Prediction: Caldwell 49-45
Haviland (7-2) at Quivira-Heights (7-2)
This is one of the most intriguing match-ups on the docket Tuesday night, and I'm really looking forward to it. Both teams lost to a Division I team and to an top ranked team in the bracket. Haviland has a little more tradition in the playoffs, but Heights gets to play at home.
Prediction: Quivira Heights 48-35
Sharon Springs (7-2) at Otis-Bison (9-0)
Otis-Bison has looked good all season, and have knocked off some powerhouses in Victoria and Macksville. Sharon Springs certainly doesn't have anything to hang it's head about as they played a close game with Macksville earlier in the season.
Prediction: Otis-Bison 46-17
South Barber (6-3) at Ashland (9-0)
Ashland has kept near the top of the rankings all season, and have some marquee wins over some playoff teams. South Barber has traditionally had alot of success in the playoffs, and some DI talent has come out their senior classes.
Prediction: Ashland 48-8
Victoria (8-1) at Golden Plains (7-2)
One of the rare match-ups where the better team is playing on the road. Victoria has been setting right behind Hanover all year, but hadn't made the move up. And after falling to Otis Bison they find themselves having to claw back from a lower seeded position.
Prediction: Victoria 56-14
Late Round Match-Ups I Want To See
Caldwell vs. Hope
Are the Blue Jays for real, here's our chance to find out. Hope has tradition and playoff experience and Caldwell will be looking to prove they are for real, if they can win it will set up another great match-up. Which is.......
Caldwell vs. Hanover
Is there an 8-man II team that can beat Hanover, could it be the Blue Jays of Caldwell. Mick Schaffer of metro sports is a Caldwell alum, so they might get some media coverage. This could be one of the most fun match-ups to watch is Caldwell can get past Hope.
Ashland vs. Victoria
Victoria is out to prove they are still legitimate and hopefully to set up a re-match with District Champion Otis-Bison. If they want to do this they are going to have to get by Ashland who has racked up some marquee wins this season.
Victoria/Ashland vs. Otis-Bison
These three teams are really it in the West, and whoever wins this match-up will likely have an unimpeeded road to the State Championship. Otis-Bison vs. Ashland would be a match-up of unbeatens and could be really fun to watch.
Otis-Bison vs. Hanover
As much as I would like to see cinderella get the glass slipper and see Caldwell in this game. Hanover has the experience and good play to make it to this game.
Prediction: Otis-Bison 48-47 in what should be a great game.