So we are finally here.
It’s time for the New Jersey High School Basketball Tournament, which means March Madness is right around the corner, too.
If you live for hoops, this is a great time of year. Starting Wednesday, the remaining 16 teams (after a qualifying match) will play in the first round of the 2022 Mercer County Tournament, with the quarter-final scheduled for Friday. Trenton Catholic is the first seed and heavy favorite (HEAVY) to win its third straight title, fourth in five tournaments (no tournament in 2021, COVID-19), seventh title in 10 years and ninth all-time.
In other brackets, 19th-seeded South Hunterdon were dismissed from the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex bracket 57-30 by 10th-seeded Newton, while Montgomery is yet to start his run in the tournament. of the county of Somerset.
Here’s a look at how I think the MCT will play out over the next week and a half.
FIRST ROUND PREDICTIONS
Notre Dame will win on the road, but it looks like the chalk will advance in every other game. The Ewing/Lawrence contest could be very interesting.
PREDICTIONS FOR THE QUARTER-FINALS
Trenton Catholic and Robbinsville should advance to the semifinals, but the other two matchups should be very tough to call. Nottingham already have a win over Hamilton West, and the Northstars could get another win in the Galaxy. Trenton will visit Hightstown with a full squad, and it could be the upset of the round, although the Rams are coming off a CVC Colonial win over the Tornadoes. I’ll take Trenton.
Trenton Catholic will beat either Nottingham or Hamilton West, but it’s the first semi-final at CURE Insurance Arena that should be the one to watch. Since I don’t think either can beat TCPA, I’ll go with a second straight upset here, as Trenton topples Robbinsville.
No one in Mercer County beats Trenton Catholic. TCPA has already beaten second seed Robbinsville 69-53, third seed Hightstown 78-60 and sixth seed Trenton 65-52. These are all the teams that have a chance to come out of the bottom half of the table.
The Iron Mikes win, with Michael Jones the MVP.
First round, Wednesday February 16
(16) PDS at (1) Trenton Catholic, 6 p.m.
(9) Lawrence at (8) Ewing, 7 p.m.
(12) Princeton at (5) Hamilton West, 4 p.m.
(13) WW-P South at (4) Nottingham, 5:30 p.m.
(14) Allentown at (3) Hightstown, 6 p.m.
(11) Hopewell at (6) Trenton, 4 p.m.
(10) Notre Dame to (7) Pennington, 6 p.m.
(15) Steinert at (2) Robbinsville, 7 p.m.
Quarter-finals, Friday February 18
Trenton Catholic/WW-P North/PDS winner vs. Ewing/Lawrence winner
Winner of Hamilton West/Princeton v Nottingham/WW-P South winner
Winner of Hightstown/Allentown vs Winner of Trenton/Hopewell
Winner of Pennington/Notre Dame vs Winner of Robbinsville/Steinert
Semi-finals, Tuesday, February 22, at CURE Insurance Arena, 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Finals, Thursday, February 24, at CURE Insurance Arena, 7 p.m.
BACK ON THE WEEK THAT WAS
Trenton head coach Darryl Young wins his 100th game against Notre Dame
The reigning regional coach of the year has his tornadoes ready to enter tournament season. Young earned his decisive win in a 66-57 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday.
Lawrence gives Hightstown the second CVC loss of the season
Blurring the CVC’s image even further, the Cardinals got 16 from Gabe Mitchell-White and 15 from Brandon Ford to beat Hightstown 61-53 on Tuesday. Lawrence is going to be a dangerous team in the upcoming CJ 3 installment.
Robbinsville’s late-season regular swoon continued Saturday against state-ranked Colonia
The Ravens (15-6) lost four of five before the MCT, after losing 61-43 to NJ.com No. 14 Colonia (17-3). Brian Herbert had just five points and no Robbinsville player scored in double figures. The good news? Robbinsville is 12-0 in the CVC heading into Monday’s final conference game against Notre Dame, a team the Ravens could face in the quarterfinals. But Robbinsville is just 3-6 out of the conference and 1-5 in its last six games.
A LOOK AT THE ACTION THIS WEEK
Wednesday February 16, Lawrence at Ewing, MCT first round
The interesting thing about this game is that it could be the second game in a potential trilogy between the two neighbors. The two appear to be the four and five seeds in the CJ3 bracket, and both would have a better chance of making a deep run in the section bracket, since TCPA is on the way here next Friday.
Friday, Feb. 18, MCT quarterfinals, TBD.
By my calculations, it looks like we could have some interesting grudge matchups in the quarters. Hamilton could travel to Nottingham in a rematch of the two teams’ opener this year, Trenton could face CVC rivals Colonial Hightstown, and Notre Dame could face Robbinsville in a freefall for the second time in five days.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK AREA
Michael Jones, G, TCPA, So. : the future regional player of the year had another big week for the Iron Mikes. Jones scored 22, 10 and 23 in four wins last week.
REGION TEAM OF THE WEEK
Trenton Catholic (4-0, 15-4): Iron Mikes had five straight wins before the MCT and will also be the first seed in the NJSIAA South Jersey, Non-Public B tournament. TCPA won all three games by at least 16 points.
BIG 8 ZONE TIMES
1. Chun (11-8)
2. TCPA (15-4)
3. Robbinsville (15-6)
4. Trenton (12-7)
5. Hightstown (12-7)
6. Nottingham (15-6)
7. Ewing (10-6)
8. Lawrence (12-8)
HVAC TOP FIVE
1. Robbinsville (15-6)
2. Trenton (12-7)
3. Hightstown (12-8)
4. Nottingham (15-6)
5. Ewing (10-6)
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