I doubt this is what the Indiana High School Athletic Association had in mind when it created the tournament success factor.
Second-ranked Tipton and No. 7 Gary Bowman meet in a Class 2A semistate in Huntington on Saturday in what should be a great game, a rematch of last year’s semistate won by Bowman. Tipton senior Mike Crawford, a 2,000-point scorer, against Bowman’s frenetic pace and wave of talented young players.
But a sidebar to this, in an odd scenario, is that the winner will move up to 3A next year and the loser will remain in 2A.
Welcome to the IHSAA Tournament Success Factor Bowl.
It happened this way: Tipton’s enrollment is slated to make it the smallest 3A program in the state for the next two years, as the IHSAA released its new classifications this week. But if Bowman wins Saturday, it will have reached the state finals two years in a row and accumulated the six points necessary to bump it up a class according to the new tournament success factor, pushing Tipton back to 2A.
I’m picking Tipton (25-2) to beat Bowman this year, leaving the Blue Devils to battle it out in 3A the next two years.
That may not mean much, however, as my regional picks were even worse than the sectional round. I was 7-for-16 picking regional winners, not a bad average if I was facing the Texas Rangers in a four-game series.
Here are the rest of my picks for Saturday:
Huntington Semistate: After Tipton knocks off Bowman, the 3A game will match third-ranked Andrean (22-3) against No. 7 Fort Wayne Concordia (22-4). Neither team has lost to a 3A team all season, going a combined 23-0. I’ll take Concordia in what should be a very competitive game.
Lafayette Semistate: After handing Class A top-ranked Rockville its first loss, No. 6 Lafayette Central Catholic (18-8) returns home to play No. 10 Triton (19-5), which is in search of its fourth state finals appearance in six years. I’ll take Lafayette Central Catholic to make its first title game in 10 years.
In the 4A game, No. 1 and defending champion Carmel (23-2) can clinch a return visit to Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a win over unranked Merrillville (22-3), which took out second-ranked Munster last week. I’ll take Carmel and its experience to survive the Pirates.
Richmond Semistate: Class 2A No. 10 Linton-Stockton (23-3) has been busting down doors, winning its first sectional since 1982 and first regional since 1946. Speedway (21-4) took out two talented teams in Scecina and Broad Ripple at the Connersville Regional last week. I’ll take unranked Speedway to make its first state title game since winning it in 2002.
The 3A game could be the game of the day as No. 1 Mt. Vernon (24-1) plays No. 2 Greensburg (24-1). The Marauders have played a tougher overall schedule, but any doubts about Greensburg were washed away in last week’s regional wins over Evansville Bosse and Brownstown Central. Call it a tossup. I’ll take Mt. Vernon, possibly in overtime.
Seymour Semistate: In the Class A game, University (15-11) plays No. 10 Borden (22-3), which upset Barr-Reeve 43-42 in the regional final last week. I’ll take Borden.
In the 4A game, No. 7 Cathedral (24-5) takes an 18-game winning streak into its game with unranked Jeffersonville (24-3), which took out Evansville Harrison and Franklin Central last week. This is another game I feel like could be a tossup. I’ll take Cathedral in close one.