As expected, the Male Bulldogs (30-4) and the Ballard Bruins (28-6) will play each other in the Seventh Region final on Tuesday night at Valley High School. Male and Ballard have been at the top of the Region's rankings all season and are among the very best teams in the state.

These teams split their two regular season contests. On January 17 in the LIT, Ballard prevailed 71-58 while the Bulldogs won 76-67 two weeks later on January 31.

The rosters of both teams are loaded with talent. For example, Male has a double figure scorer who is hitting 46.4% from 3-point range - and he is not Male's best shooter. The 46.4% shooter is junior Cam Pope, who has had a tremendous season and is averaging 10.9 ppg, while the other is Seventh Region Player of the Year Tyren Moore, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 18.2 ppg and is shooting 48.7% from 3's. Jake Evans (8.1 ppg) is a steady point guard who rounds out the Bulldogs' backcourt.

Howard Fleming missed most of the season for Male (including the first game against Ballard), but has made the most of things since returning to the floor for the second game against Ballard, averaging 15.8 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Add in freshman Kaleb Glenn, who is averaging a double double at 13.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg (and shoots 73.3% from the field, the highest in Kentucky), plus additional talented players such as Noah Courtney (7.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Dez Lindsay (5.6 ppg), and you realize that Male has a lot to throw at you.

So does Ballard, the state's highest scoring team at 82.2 ppg. The Bruins have 7 players averaging 9 ppg or higher, including the freshman backcourt tandem of Gabe Sisk (11.8 ppg) and Jake Edelen (11.2 ppg); big men Rashad Bishop (12.5 ppg, 5 rpg) and Makar Bar (10.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg); plus talented contributors Lewis Richards (12.8 ppg), Josh Minkins (9.4 ppg), and Terrnece McDaniels (9.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg). In its regional semi-final game against St. X, which Ballard won 79-55, the Bruins shot 72% from the field. That will win a lot of games.

Male has not lost since the loss to Ballard on January 17, winning its last 15 games. Ballard lost 3 games in February (to Henry Clay, Seneca, and Jeffersonville (IN)), but has looked really good in the post-season, winning its 4 tournament games by an average of 33 points.

So who wins Tuesday night? I don't know. Both teams will be ready to play. I look forward to being there to watch it.