1st Region Tournament Preview
The end of the road for all but one team in Region 1 is upon us. All the hard work these teams have put is about to come to a conclusion. Here is a very short recap of what happened in region 1 this season.
Mayfield started out as the preseason number 1 since they went undefeated in the regular season in region play last year, and they didnít lose anything. They struggled out of the gate however and fell out of that number one spot. Paducah Tilghman lost a lot, but had some significant transfer additions and looked as they could be in it all season. The talent was there, but they could put it together many nights against talented competition. McCracken started out the season ranked 4th, but quickly stormed to the front only losing one game to Kentucky teams. Graves County has been very good, the only KY team that defeated McCracken this season. Murray may have played the toughest schedule of all region 1 teams, and got better throughout the year because of it. Fulton County had one of their best seasons in quite sometime while Marshall County and Carlisle have had their struggles.
Here is the first round tournament games for the tournament and who the favorite will be for each game. All games will be played at the CFSB center at Murray State University starting Monday.
Game 1: Murray vs Fulton County (Feb 25 at 6:00 pm)
This is a very interesting matchup. Both teams have competed better than expected over the course of the year, and both teams have improved. They did not play each other during the regular season. Neither team has a star scorer, but instead have balanced scoring attacks. Fulton is averaging 61.6 ppg on the year where as Murray is averaging 57.9. The Tigers scoring is balanced between 4 main players, Hunter Utley (11.9), RaVichael Strickland (12.1), Grant Whitaker (9.1), and Will Lovins (8.0). Fulton County also relies on four main scoring threats, Caleb Kimble (14.5), Kahari Miller (12.0), Geroge Scott (10.1) and Camden Aldridge (9.4).
This is the second hardest matchup to predict in this tournament. Fulton County has the advantage on the inside as Camden Aldridge is pulling down over 12 rebounds per game. Murray is the better team from the outside hitting over 170 threes on the year (6.3/game). Both teams are hard playing and play with high emotions. Will be a very entertaining game.
Prediction: Murray 55 Fulton County 49
Game 2: McCracken County vs Graves County (Feb 25 at 7:45 pm)
This will be one of the most competitive games in the first round of any region. McCracken County only lost one game to a Kentucky team all year long, that was to Graves County 67-56. However two weeks later, McCracken returned the favor winning by 4.
McCracken is led by the best player in region 1 this year, Jackson Sivills who is averaging 20.3 ppg. They also rely on Noah Dumas (13 ppg) and Trevor Winsett (9.1 ppg). Graves County has a trio of talented scoring threats with Jordyn Naranjo leading the way with (16.9 ppg), Ryan Mathis (16.0 ppg), and Jacob Savage (13.6 ppg). Graves probably has the more prolific offense, but the Mustangs of McCracken have a great fundamental defense. Both teams are good on the boards and both teams have excellent guard play.
There were two glaring differences in the two regular season games. In the game Graves won, the Eagles were able to hold Sivills to 5 pts. They also went to the foul line 30 times, hitting 17 free throws. In the game McCracken won, Sivills exploded for 30 points and Graves only went to the line 15 times hitting only 7 free throws. If these are any indication of what to expect, Graves will have to go to the basket more to draw fouls, and will also have to figure out a way to stop Sivills. I think the Eagles figure out a way to do this and pull the upset.
Prediction: Graves County 64 McCracken County 62
Game 3: Mayfield vs Marshall County (Feb 26 at 6:00 pm)
This one has the chance of being over early, but more likely Marshall County will stay close. These two teams met only once during the regular season with the Cardinals coming out on top 62-51. Mayfield has a trio of scoring threats including Region 1 Player of the Year Connor Guthrie who averages 15.8 ppg. His brother Carson averages 13.3 ppg but also is huge on the boards pulling down almost 10 a game. Desean Jones is the third threat averaging 12.4 ppg. Mayfield is one of the teams in Region 1 that can play inside and outside well. Connor Guthrie can hit from anywhere on the floor and Carson Guthrie plays best around the bucket.
Marshall County also has three players to watch out for. Jonathan Stokes is averaging 15.6 ppg and 10 rpg. Tyler Powell is adding 14.1 ppg, and Bryce Flatt is getting about 9.1 ppg. Marshall has struggled this year to win big games, but they always seem to hang around, rarely allowing the game to get out of hand. If they can keep Mayfield close, they have the chance to pull a big upset. However they have only been able to win 6 of their last 17 games, it will be an uphill battle.
Prediction: Mayfield 72 Marshall County 59
Game 4: Carlisle County vs Paducah Tilghman (Feb 26 at 7:45 pm)
These two teams only met once this season and it was way back in November. Paducah Tilghman won that matchup by 23 points. Lots of games and lots of things have happened since that game, however the result of this game may not be much different. On paper Tilghman is hands down more talented than Carlisle, however PT has been a very Jekyll and Hyde team this year, and which one shows up will determine who wins this game.
Paducah Tilghman is led by Thomas Rodriguez with 14.8 ppg, followed by Micheal Laster at 12.3 ppg and Avery Strayhorn at 10.5 ppg. Carlisle is led by Reese Anderson at almost 16 ppg and Trey Wilson with 14 ppg. Blacke Elder adds 10 ppg. Niether team is very big or dominant on the glass, so this game will be won with guard play and fundamentals.
Prediction: Paducah Tilghman 68 Carlisle County 52