Well, so much for Oxford’s girls. And so much for my “expertise.” Nevertheless, I will boldly analyze tonight’s boys matchups. Here we go.
• Class 5A: While Starkville is the favorite, there are no gimmes. Tonight’s opponent, Olive Branch, is 24-6. Of course, this team went unbeaten in the 2006-07 regular season and then – poof! – was eliminated in the first round of North half. As for Tupelo, it split with Horn Lake this season – the Golden Wave won 70-57 in the regular season finale.
• Class 4A: Either the elite teams of this class aren’t as good as we thought, or 4A is even deeper than we figured. I suspect the latter. If I could watch one out-of-area game tonight, it’d be Lanier at New Hope, who met in last year’s state final (Lanier won its third straight title). Oxford, which faces New Albany, must rebound from a 19-point loss to Hernando in the Region 2-4A final. I really like Pontotoc’s chances of getting to state, but I won’t say anything else lest I jinx them, as apparently I did to Oxford’s girls (sorry).
• Class 3A: South Pontotoc at Ripley intrigues me. The visiting Cougars think nothing of dropping 100 points on you, but Ripley’s defense is too good for that. Ripley coach Harvey Childers always seems able to adjust his team’s approach to make things go his way.
• Class 2A: The two surprises here are H.W. Byers and New Site, a pair of sub-.500 teams hosting tonight. I think Bruce, the 2-2A champ, has the best shot of moving on to Thursday. Maybe Baldwyn can regain its form.
• Class 1A: This should be the most fun class to watch unfold. Four of the eight games are all-NeMiss matchups, and from what I’ve gathered, most of the out-of-area teams are awfully strong, too. No predictions here, except to say there’s going to be some great basketball being played.