Polo (8-3) vs. Newman (10-2)
Enrollments/Class: Polo 213/1A; Newman 432.30/2A
Coaches: Polo - Matt Messer; Newman - Ray Sharp
Conferences: Polo - NUIC East; Newman - Three Rivers
Players to watch: Brady Bushman, Polo sr. G; AJ Dollmeyer, Polo jr. F; Kyle Moore, Newman sr. F: Austin Reeder, Polo sr. F; A.J. Sharp, Newman, jr. G; Lucas Terveer, Newman sr. G
Outlook: Newman has won two tournaments (Sauk Valley Shootout and the Newman tournament) this season after advancing to the Class 1A supersectional in 2012. They have impressive wins over Rock Falls and Oregon this season, and have shown an ability to create confusion by altering its defense from zone to man. Polo lost a lot of scoring to graduation, but has been more balanced in 2012. The Marcos are young and will need to be consistent for four quarters to beat Newman.
SVM pick: Newman
Providence St. Mel (11-2) vs. Aurora Christian (9-5)
Enrollments/Class: Providence St. Mel 351.41/2A; Aurora Christian 513/2A
Coaches: St. Mel - Tim Ervin; Aurora Christian - Pat McNamara
Conferences: St. Mel - Chicago Prep; Aurora Christian - Suburban Christian
Players to watch: Ryan McQuade, Aurora Christian sr. G; Tevin King, St. Mel jr. G: Paxton Singer, Aurora Christian sr. F; Khalil Small, St. Mel sr. G: Ryan Suttle, Aurora Christian sr. F
Outlook: Rock Falls fans will remember St. Mel from the State Farm Classic. They met in the second round with St. Mel winning 69-46. Guard Tevin King is ranked as one of the top juniors in the state by chicagohoops.com. Guard Khalil Small was an IBCA 1A/2A All-State selection last year. Aurora Christian has shown that it can score, including scoring 94 points in a win over Mendota at the Plano tournament and 87 points in a season-opening win over IMSA. The Eagles went 4-1 at the Plano tournament, losing to Belvidere 68-53 in the semifinals.
SVM pick: St. Mel
Sycamore (9-5) vs. Rock Falls (11-4)
Enrollments/Class: Sycamore 1,234/3A; Rock Falls 646/3A
Coaches: Sycamore - Andrew Stacy; Rock Falls - Brad Bickett
Conference: Sycamore - NIB-12 East; Rock Falls - BNC West
Players to watch: Jace Anderson, Rock Falls sr. G; Steven Armoska, Rock Falls sr. F: Curt Buzzard, Sycamore sr. G; Kyle Buzzard, Sycamore sr. G; Alex Leaf, Rock Falls sr. G; Devin Mottet, Sycamore jr. G
Outlook: Sycamore returned five of its top eight players from the 2012 team that finished 9-20. They have already equaled that win mark this season. The Spartans are coming off an appearance in the championship game of the Marengo tournament, and have some very good team speed. The Rockets placed fifth at the State Farm Classic last week as they continue to improve after a 12-15 season in 2012. Steven Armoska is one of the leading candidates for SVM player of year, as he has been a huge force in the middle for the Rockets.
SVM pick: Rock Falls