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
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