The girls basketball postseason is fully underway, which means that soon the boys season will start to wind down and wrap up.
As we. get closer to that, we thought it would make sense to take a look at the conference races and reflect some possible endings and champions.
Current 1st Place: Snider (5-1)
Still in the running: Homestead (5-1), Concordia (5-1)
This could be a logjam, BUT the SAC is the area conference that actually does break its ties when applicable. And here, it is applicable. Snider owns wins over Homestead and Concordia, so right now the Panthers are solely in first place despite the identical records. The Panthers need to win out in their final three conference games (hosting Bishop Dwenger and South Side and visiting Bishop Luers) to win the title. While things have certainly changed, it is notable that Snider lost its SAC hopes at Bishop Luers two seasons ago.
Homestead’s final three conference games are trips to Wayne and Concordia while hosting Carroll. That. game in the cage at Concordia on February 11 could eliminate one of the two teams from the race. If Homestead can win out and Snider loses just once, the Spartans will be the lone champs.
Concordia too can win an outright title if it wins out and Snider loses one game. The Cadets, outside of February 11 hosting Homestead, also visit Northrop and host Wayne.
And then there is the chance that each of those three teams loses one of their last three and we go back to the same situation we are in now. It remains convoluted in the SAC when it comes to scenarios, but it still stands strongest that if Snider wins its final three games, it keeps the title to itself.
There are four other current three-loss teams that are not mathematically eliminated yet, but conventional wisdom says that Bishop Dwenger, South Side, North Side and Northrop are out of the running.
Current 1st Place: Leo (4-1), Norwell (4-1), Columbia City (4-1)
Still in the running: Huntington North (3-2), New Haven (3-2)
Buckle up, because here we go. Just like with the NE8 girls, we have a crowded scene at the top.
Leo at Columbia City on February 11 is big. Only one of those teams will come out with a share of the title realistically in reach. Leo also hosts Dekalb before that game and while the Barons are winless in conference, they have the intangibles that say they shouldn’t be counted out.
Columbia City also has Norwell on the schedule so things get tough.
Columbia City winning out against Norwell and Leo would mean it would end up as the sole champion. If it splits its two remaining games, it will need help to share a title. If the Eagles lose both, they will be out of the conversation.
Norwell too obviously wants to win out. But Columbia City at home and a road game at Huntington North aren’t easy.
Final survey: it is way too early to tell in the NE8. However, weather pending, we could get some clarity with Thursday’s Columbia City at Norwell game. By February 11 though, we will know a champion or champions. Things move fast in the NE8 now.
Huntington North and New Haven aren’t out of it, but the Vikings need to beat Norwell and get some help while the Bulldogs no longer control their own destiny at all.
Current 1st Place: Jay County (4-0)
Still in the running: Adams Central (3-1), Woodlan (2-2)
Jay County controls its destiny here with a chance to win out. The Patriots host fifth-place Southern Wells and sixth-place Heritage coming up and by February 11, we will know if they have claimed an outright ACAC title. They already beat Southern Wells by 36 during the conference tournament and only twice has an ACAC opponent been within 10 points of them, both of those instances coming in the ACAC Tournament that Jay County ultimately won.
Adams Central needs the Patriots to lose one of the games coming up. The Flying Jets have lost twice to Jay County this season but there is no tiebreaker in the ACAC. If Jay loses a game and Adams Central gets wins at South Adams and at home against Southern Wells, the Flying Jets can share the conference title. But again, if Jay County wins both of its remaining ACAC games, then Adams Central is out.
Woodlan has not been officially eliminated but it needs Jay County to lose both of its upcoming games.
Current 1st Place: Eastside (7-0)
Still in the running: Central Noble (6-1), Fairfield (6-1)
Eastside is in a win out and win the title spot. The Blazers have four remaining conference games with three of the four being against some of the bottom teams in the conference, including Hamilton and Churubusco who are both 0-6 in NECC play. The Blazers play Garrett but the biggest challenge remains at Coach Ed Bentley’s old stomping grounds of Angola on February 18. If Eastside wins all four, it will have an outright title, while winning three earns it a share of the title as of right now.
Central Noble and Fairfield’s pursuits means they need to win out and get at least one loss on Eastside’s record to share a title. The two teams end the regular season against each other on February 25, so barring an Eastside meltdown, only one of them realistically has the chance to at least share the title. Central Noble also has challenging games against Prairie Heights and Fremont, while Fairfield’s biggest conference challenge outside the Cougars is a trip to Fairfield.
For argument’s sake, Prairie Heights (5-2), Angola (4-3), Fremont (3-3), Westview (4-4) and West Noble (3-4) have not been mathematically eliminated yet. As Eastside wins more games, these teams will be eliminated and the rate the top teams in the conference are playing, there is little chance any of these teams claiming a title.
Current 1st Place: NorthWood (5-0 in conference)
Still in the running: Mishawaka (3-1), Warsaw (3-2), Concord (3-2)
We look into this conference mostly for Warsaw, the lone “area” team for OTH in the NLC. The Tigers have two games left to play and they need to win out in order to have a shot at a crown.
Warsaw still plays at Mishawaka and home against Plymouth. If NorthWood wins one of its two remaining NLC games, then Warsaw is out of the hunt.
NorthWood is 16-1 overall on the season. It is simple, win out and it is champion. Unbeaten in the conference, NorthWood has a trip to Concord and a home game against Mishawaka still on the agenda. Those won’t be easy as each of those two teams, especially Mishawaka, are still in the title running themselves.