MAM Final 4 Predictions

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So much for my bracket, Highland and Kingsbury, you killed me lol. Seriously though, that’s what it’s all about, advancing to the next game at this point of the MAM which is the Final 4 today. Bellevue won yesterday, 70-55 after finding themselves down early to a Snowden team who was looking for the upset but in the end, Snowden’s guard play and Johnathan Lawson was to much for them to overcome. Highland Oaks beat Southaven 67-44,  Kingsbury beat Lausanne, 44-36 behind Jalen Brown’s 22 points and Tristan Jones was pretty good with 18 points. He’s a player who’s improved steadily through out the season to me and one that could have a nice future as a big guard. White Station beat Briarcrest 45-40 in a game that Briarcrest was up in some in the first half. The Spartans sped up the pace some by pressing Briarcrest in the 2nd half and forcing them into turnovers which proved to be vital in the end. The Saints had a chances but as I said yesterday, they would have to do a lot right to win that game.

Today, the final 4 and title game will be held at Harding Academy. The times are 430 pm for both games as the old and new gym at the school will be used.  White Station will take on an upstart Kingsbury team who looks like a different team from when I saw them  just a month or so ago. They are getting contributions from role players, making shots and playing like a team that looks like they can beat anyone.  This game will be their toughest one of the season thus far against a White Station team who hasn’t lost a game and at times has looked dominant.  White Station looked a little vulnerable but I just think they are the most talented team and most of the time, the team with that wins. If Jalen Brown gets going early, he will score a lot of points for Kingsbury but Jones and someone else will be needed to score. Not only that, both will have to rebound with a bigger White Station team and keep them off the offensive glass where they thrive. They must take care of the ball as well and not have to many unforced turnovers because that gets them  going.  Set the tone early and don’t get into an up and down game and the Falcons can have a chance but again, White Station didn’t play great early on against Briarcrest last night because they played at Briarcrest pace. It wasn’t until late that they got going and were able to do somethings that they are accustomed to doing in games. White Station I think is just to talented and their depth will come into play but in the Final 4, you never know but I think they pull it out.

Bellevue and Highland should be a pretty good game I believe because both like to get out and go for easy scores but the up and down favors Bellevue.  Highland’s Alex Anderson and Cameron Donegan both will present challenges for Bellevue because of their ability to pass and get others involved as well as score. Anderson will be the determining factor in the game for Highland Oaks because of his versatility but he also must stay on the floor meaning that he can’t get into foul trouble as Highland gets much much smaller when he’s off the court. Donegan must be aggressive offensively and not sit back and wait to get going. He’s a patient guard and looks for his spots but he will need to be a 15-20 point player today. Will it be enough though if just those 2 play well? Who else is stepping up for Highland? Josh Holloway is the kind of player who can but in a game of this magnitude, someone will have to relieve some of the pressure off their two key guys. Their will be opportunities when the ball is swung to make something happen and he will have to be ready.  For Bellevue, it’s pretty simple, rely on what you have been relying on to get you there. The combination of Lawson, Beverly, Tuggle and Jacobs has been good in the MAM. Carlito and brother Cartier have been great of late, causing havoc defensively on the ball and off it. AP Paige has played well and they are getting contributions from the bench from a few. They are getting to the rim when they get ready and being the sparks that their team has needed all year. It looks like Bellevue is playing well at the right time and I see them winning the game as I said in my first post about the MAM a few days ago.

 

 

MAM Elite 8 Preview

 

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The sweet 16 has turned into the Elite 8 with teams advancing, some by small margins, others  in lop sided wins. Today will be interesting because all of the championship bracket games will move to the Grizz Center to give it that true MAM feel before the final 4 and championship game move to Harding tomorrow. Below is a schedule of today’s games which go at 7:00 and 8:00 on both courts at the MAM on Ball road.

Bellevue vs Snowden – 7:00 pm Grizz Center East- Hearing that Calvin Jennings didn’t play last night and don’t know it’s he playing tonight. That will leave Snowden with one true big and that might not be good especially with a team that’s bigger and has rebounder in 6’6 Johnathan Lawson, Aryion Paige who played pretty well yesterday and along with Tadarius Jacobs. Lawson as a passer was as good as I’ve seen him yesterday. Look for him to continue to be aggressive today as a play maker and scorer.

Highland Oaks vs Southaven– 7:00 pm  Grizz Center West-  “He doesn’t think we can the game” That’s what I heard yesterday from a Highland Oaks player but let’s say this, it’s one way to prove me wrong. Southaven got a win yesterday over a Sherwood and Highland Oaks cruised to an easy win over Grace St. Luke. Alex Anderson was big time for his team last night as well as Cameron Donegan. If both play well tonight, they can come away with the win but they need both to play up to expectation. Southaven plays hard and Highland will see that tonight. Show and prove Highland Oaks, make my prediction on this game wrong.

Briarcrest vs White Station– 8:00 pm Grizz Center East- White Station should win this one going away but I have a feeling it won’t be easy. A few things go there way, the Saints can make it a game but the problem is, more things have to go right for them than have to go wrong for White Station. If they get behind early, I don’t think Briarcrest will have enough fire power to come back from a big deficit. If Briarcrest can keep it within a 8-10 game, it will be interesting late. Big if though…

Lausanne VS Kingsbury– 8:00 pm Grizz Center West- Maybe the best overall scorer in Middle School (Jalen Brown) against another scorer in Deebo Coleman and it will  make for a great game. Problem for Lausanne will be if Dillon Woods doesn’t play tonight because he was out last night. My guess is though, he plays and he can cause problems for Kingsbury because he keeps a lot of missed shots alive for them. Kingsbury is really reliant on Brown to do a little of everything but Tristan Jones and Caleb Jackson both have to play well tonight. Watch for a big shot or 2 from Owen Babb and Landon Jeffries in this one.

MAM Update (Sweet 16)

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Day 1 of the MAM is over, 8-4 in first round predictions but hey, that’s why this is the MAM. You never know because of the match ups in some games. I saw Lester lose on what would have been a game winning lay up, Kirby lost to Grace St Luke by 3, Grizzlies Prep over Harding by 13 and the surprise of the night, the Memphis Nighthawks. This team is one that could very well make a run to the final 4 and end up in the title game. Well coached group ,6’1 who can get the rebound and go and finish and a 6’2 who provides a rebounding and shot blocking presence. They do something that a lot of teams don’t do, run a lock of pick and roll and they do it till they get lay ups, and lay ups and more lay ups. I like the look of them and they will be tough for anyone to play against.

Day 2 (Sweet 16)

Riverdale vs Briarcrest– 7:00 pm @ World Overcomers Ct – After getting past Lester yesterday,  Riverdale will have a much tougher challenge today in Briarcrest.
Kate Bond vs Lausanne– 7:00 pm @ Grizz Center West- More competitive game tonight for them but likely one that goes in their favor as well. Kate Bond will be reliant on their guards to do bulk of their scoring while Lausanne has edge inside with Dillon Woods who is as athletic a player as you will see in Middle School this year.
Southaven vs Sherwood– 7:00 pm @ World Overcomers Ct 1 – Sherwood cruised yesterday to a 20 point win over Woodstock yesterday. If Sherwood’s guards out play Southaven’s guard, they can win but Southaven has more depth and can match guards. Sherwood has to be patient offensively or they will play into the hands of their opponents.


Bellevue vs Ridgeway– 7:00 pm @ Grizz Center East- Ridgeway blew out MAHS last night and now get the number 1 player in the 8th grade Johnathan Lawson on tonight.  Ridgeway can keep this close but David Dixon can’t get in foul trouble early as he has had a tendency to do. He will be key as well as Chris Brunt and their young guards.

White Station vs Grizzlies Prep 8:00 pm @ Harding Academy- To much White Station.
Kingsbury vs PCA– 8:00 pm @ Grizz Center West- Jalen Brown will look to continue his scoring tear that he’s been on the last few weeks since he came back off injury.
Highland vs GSL– 8:00 pm @ Grizz Center East- Might be a game for a bit but I think GSL lack of depth might cause issue the later it gets in the game.
Memphis Nighthawks vs Snowden– 8:00 pm @ World Overcomers Ct 2- As mentioned, the Nighthawks are going to be tough to beat. Snowden is going to have to play extremely well to beat them. Calvin Jennings must be relied on heavily tonight but they don’t have much in the way of size so hitting the glass will be hard for Snowden. Guards will have to play huge and make shots, or otherwise the Nighhawks might open up a big lead early.

 

 

 

MAM Classic Predictions!!!

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The 2016 MAM Christmas Classic starts on today with  everyone having  the same goal, to play on Thursday in the championship. Last year, the White Station Spartans won the event beating American Way and this year and this year, look to be the overwhelming favorite. The number 1 middle school in the city has everything needed to win it, length, guard play and a lot of talent, all keys to having a great team in middle school.  Along with White Station, the other  teams that could be looked as the other top 3 schools were, Highland Oaks,  Bellevue and Kingsbury.

The best part of the MAM to me is to see all the teams regardless of classification in the same tournament. Large Schools, Small Schools and Private Schools because you really never see them all one event until this. In fact, this is probably the only time you see this all year which makes the MAM Classic, the biggest stage of the year in my opinion for middle school players locally. It’s going to have a little different feel this year because it’s starting earlier in the month than it normally would, usually starting after Christmas and ending on a Saturday but never the less, the MAM is the MAM, the biggest middle school tournament of the year and it’s starts on today.

Here are my MAM classic predictions for the entire tournament

12-19-2016 

Sherwood vs Woodstock 5:30 pm – Grizz Center West (Winner-Sherwood)

Bon Lin vs Snowden 5:30 pm– Grizz Center East – Has a chance to be one of the better games of the day. Bon Lin is coming off a win over previously undefeated Schilling Farms (Winner-Snowden)

Kate Bond vs Collierville– Grizz Center East- 4:30pm (Winner- Kate Bond)

Lester vs Riverdale– Grizz Center West- 4:30pm (Winner-Lester)

Briarcrest vs SBEC– World Overcomers CT 2 – 4:30pm (Winner-Briarcrest)

Lowrance vs Southaven– World Overcomers CT 1-  5:30pm (Winner-Southaven)

Memphis Nighthawks vs Colonial– World Overcomers CT 2- 7:00pm (Winner-Colonial)

Lausanne vs Dexter– World Overcomers CT 2-7:00 pm (Winner- Lausanne)

MAHS vs Ridgeway– Grizz Center East- 8:00 pm (Winner- Ridgeway)

PCA Knights vs Rise Academy – Grizz Center East- 8:00 pm (Winner- PCA)

Grizzlies Prep vs Harding– Harding Academy – Gym 1- 8:00 pm (Winner-Harding)

Kirby vs GSL– World Overcomers CT 2- 8:00 pm (Winner-Kirby)

12-20- Sweet 16

Bellevue vs Ridgeway– Grizz Center East- 7:00 pm- (Winner- Bellevue) This game can be close if  the young players play up to their talent level and not necessarily their grade. Ridgeway’s talent level is pretty good, just young. If David Dixon plays extremely well, Ridgeway can make it uncomfortable for Bellevue.

Kate Bond vs Lausanne- Grizz Center West- 7:00 pm (Winner-Lausanne) I think Deebo Coleman maybe one of the best players that they have seen this year and they are going to see a lot of him in this game.

Lester vs Briarcrest– World Overcomers CT1 7:00 pm (Winner-Briarcrest)

Southaven vs Sherwood– World Overcomers CT 1- (Winner- Southaven) Sherwood is dangerous if they are making shots from 3 because they shoot a lot of them but if not, I look for Southaven to take advantage.

Highland Oaks vs Kirby– Grizz Center East- 8:00 pm- (Winner-Highland Oaks) These two teams played each other a few weeks ago and it was a closer than anticipated game with Highland getting the W. Highland shouldn’t over look them at all but I think they win this one.

Kingsbury vs PCA– Grizz Center West-8:00 pm- (Winner-Kingsbury) The Falcons will be to much for PCA from the start.

Colonial vs Snowden-World Overcomers CT 2- 8:00 pm (Winner-Snowden) Tempted, Colonial has some size but experience leans towards Snowden.

White Station vs Harding- Harding Academy- Harding Gym 1 -8:00 pm (Winner- White Station)

12-21 Elite 8

Bellevue vs Snowden – Grizz Center East- 7:00 pm- (Winner-Bellevue) Interesting game, Snowden has the guards to stay in it but Bellevue has the guards to match them.

Highland Oaks vs Southaven- Grizz Center West- 7:00 pm- (Winner-Southaven) Jordan Hibbler and BJ Morgan make up a nice guard duo and one that Highland is going to have to contend with. Anderson and Donegan are going to be lot to deal with but I think Southaven role players might be a little bit better.

Briarcrest vs White Station-Grizz Center East- 8:00 pm- (Winner- White Station) Contrast in styles for both teams but this another game that can be closer than what fans might think. I think if the Saints can keep it close and make it to the 3rd without being down big, they will have say so in the 4th. Easier said than done though and I think White Station’s talent takes over in the 2nd half  for a victory. Watch out for Zander Yates and Willie Foreman match up.

Lausanne vs Kingsbury– Grizz Center West- 8:00 pm- (Winner- Lausanne) Kingsbury has a top 5 player in Kingsbury but so does Lausanne, Deebo Coleman. I think it might come down to players like Owen Babb, Landon Jeffries and Dillon Woods. Woods athleticism may give Kingsbury problems. I look for Lausanne for pull away in the 4th quarter.

12-22 Final Four

Bellevue vs Southaven – Harding Academy (New Gym)- 4:30 pm- These teams are familiar with each other from a pre-season scrimmage and both know who each has.  Bellevue tends to start slow and if they do, Southaven will take advantage. If they come out in the mode to take them out of the game early, the Chargers will have problems.

White Station vs Lausanne– Harding Academy (Old Gym) – 4:30 pm- Like the other final 4 game, White Station and Lausanne have faced each other before but in a real game during the season where White Station won at Lausanne.  Coleman will have to do a little of everything for them to have a chance but in the end, it may not be enough.

The championship game will be the same day as the final 4 at 7:30 pm

White Station vs Bellevue– Last time these two faced each other, the Spartans were as good as I’ve seen them all season. They shot it well and ran Bellevue out of the gym. Can it be different it time? Maybe, keys for Bellevue, another person has to step up, Johnathan Lawson played extremely well the last time they played but needed a second to help out with the scoring slack. Tadarius Jacobs will have to be the player for them in order for them to stay in the game. Can White Station play that same way again, I’m not sure, they looked like they prepared for that game for a few weeks. In the end, I think White Station is the better team, on paper, on the floor but things can be different if changes are made in strategy. Bellevue is good but who’s stopping White Station? MAM Champs: White Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle School- 901″Prep” Poll

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12-06-2016- Top 5 Teams In Middle School

1. White Station Middle (12-0) – Best team in the city right now and it’s not close. To big, to talented and in a few weeks, their biggest challenge might be the MAM of everything left in the season. One team has played them close and that was Highland who might be their biggest challenge on the large school side along with Schilling Farms. Jelani Willis has become their x factor and best utility player able to guard the best player on the other team, rebound and score through the drive.

2. Schilling Farms Middle (9-0) -Rolling in municipal right now, still without a blemish to their record. Really hoping to see them in the MAM against the best of the best.

3. Bellevue Middle (9-1) – After a big loss to the #1 team, Bellevue has rebounded but another opportunity is lurking around the corner but in small schools right now, clear cut favorite to win it for the 3rd straight year. Cartier Beverly and AP Paige must be big in the upcoming weeks, defensively and offensively.

4. Highland Oaks Middle (8-2) – Only team in the city to have White Station on the ropes late in a game and from fans, probably should have won it however, the Hawks remain a formidable threat for the crown.

5.Briarcrest Middle (10-3)– Lost a few tough ones without one of their leader at the point guard position but Briarcrest is still going to be a tough out late in the season. They will be tough draw for any team in the MAM tournament.