Friday, March 12, 2010

Let the basketball begin

The Central Region men's basketball tournament begins Saturday at Bresnan Arena, and it could be the best day of basketball that venue has ever seen.
In the first game at noon, Chop Tang, the former Mankato East standout, brings his New Mexico Highlands teammates to town to face Augustana. This game has the potential for a track meet between two gifted offensive teams so the team that makes an occasional stop will win. I'll take Augustana.
In the second game at 2:30 p.m., Mesa State takes on Winona State. Mesa State was the top seed in the region for the first month of rankings but faltered late. Guard Mike Dominguez might be the most gifted offensive player in the tournament. Winona State needs to replace leading scorer David Johnson, who is out with a leg injury. I'll take Mesa State, though this should be close. It's tough to ever count out Winona State.
At 6 p.m., the Mavericks take on Colorado School of Mines. This looks like the most lopsided first-round matchup, though Minnesota State has struggled the last couple of weeks. The Mavericks should be too big, deep and athletic for Mines, who need to contro the tempo.
The nightcap pits St. Cloud State and Metro State. These teams both won conference tournaments, and it comes down to the Huskies' inside strength vs. Metro's athleticism. It's tough to pick against St. Cloud State, considering they have the intangible of getting screwed in the seeding process.
For an extensive preview of the tournament, check out Saturday's print edition.

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