GEICO Nationals field is beginning to take shape

GEICO Nationals field is beginning to take shape

Boys Basketball

GEICO Nationals field is beginning to take shape

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We’re less than two months away from opening tip at the GEICO Nationals, which will run April 4-6 at Christ the King High School (Middle Village, N.Y.) and as teams scramble to beef-up their resumes in hopes of earning a bid in the final weeks of the regular season and playoffs, the picture of the eight-team field is becoming clearer.

Of the states that allow teams to participate in GEICO Nationals – Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Hawaii, Washington, District of Columbia, Utah, North Carolina (private schools) and Maryland (private schools) – here are who we’re projecting as locks.

No. 1 seed: La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.)

No. 2 seed: McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Ga.)

No. 3 seed: Montverde (Fla.) Academy

No. 4 seed: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

No. 5 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)

Sharife Cooper, of McEachern, drives to the net during the championship game against Sunrise Christian Academy at the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions at JQH Arena on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.
Andrew Jansen/News-Leader

Of our projected locks, McEachern is the only school that’s pursuing a state title in one of the toughest states in the country.

The logical question is: If the Indians stumble on their quest, would GEICO Nationals still take them in April?

It would be the first time in the tournament’s history that it would take a school that didn’t win its state title.

The answer would have to be a resounding yes.

The reality is that McEachern could make a strong case at being No. 1 because its body of work is so strong with seven convincing wins over Super 25 teams this season.

After those five there are a handful of teams on the bubble like Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), Federal Way (Wash.) High School, Rainier Beach High School (Seattle), Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah), University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas).

In the past, GEICO Nationals has taken the North Carolina private schools champion, but they haven’t traditionally fared well, going 1-7 in the event. If GEICO Nationals opted to take a school from North Carolina, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian or Carmel Christian School (Matthews, N.C.) would likely be in the running.

The North Carolina Athletic Association doesn’t allow its schools to participate in GEICO Nationals, which is why South Central High School (Winterville, N.C.), ranked No. 6 overall in the Super 25, wouldn’t be eligible.

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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