Tuesday brings the resumption of the 6A/5A boys and girls basketball state tournament starting with the state quarterfinals.
All games through the championship will be held at the University of Utah’s Jon Huntsman Center.
Here’s some things to keep an eye out for in the tournament.
WHAT’S LOOMING FOR REGION 1’S BIG THREE?
One could say that in the 6A boys state tournament, No. 1-seeded Davis, No. 2 Fremont and No. 3 Layton are the big, bad teams everyone should be scared of in the quarterfinals and beyond.
Everyone should be wary of Skyridge, the Region 4 champion. The Falcons have three players averaging a combined 52.1 points per game and a respected coach, Jeff Gardner, who led Brighton to some deep playoff runs in the last decade.
Skyridge faces No. 12 Lone Peak, which is having an up-and-down year and is currently trending up after beating No. 5 Corner Canyon on the road in the second round.
Davis faces No. 9 Westlake in the quarterfinals (11:10 a.m. Wednesday), a rematch of last year’s first-round thriller that the Darts won 62-61 in overtime.
Fremont faces No. 10 West Jordan (12:50 p.m. Wednesday), which won Region 2 with a 10-0 record. Layton faces No. 11 Pleasant Grove (2:30 p.m. Wednesday).
All three of Region 1’s opponents are coming off road wins in the second round of the playoffs.
The way the bracket is set up, Fremont and Layton would potentially meet in the semifinals, with Davis and Skyridge in the other semifinal. Fremont and Layton split their meetings this year (Fremont won 70-66 at home, Layton won 77-69 at home).
The last all-Region 1 semifinal was Layton-Viewmont in 2015.
WHAT DOES A TOP SEED REALLY DO FOR A TEAM?
In the 6A girls bracket, top-seeded Fremont will get everyone’s best shot at the tournament, something it’s been used to in Region 1 for a couple of years, starting with No. 8 Herriman.
It’s not that Fremont needs any extra motivation to play hard at the state tournament. The Silverwolves expected to win last year’s title, didn’t win it and have pretty much their whole team back to try and reclaim the top spot.
The top seed doesn’t automatically translate into a state championship, obviously. Of the four basketball state tournament trophies handed out so far, two have gone to top seeds, one went to a No. 2 and another went to a No. 7 seed.
In the fall, top-seeded teams won two of the five football crowns, two of the five girls soccer crowns and one of the six volleyball titles.
The No. 8 seed is probably a disservice to Herriman, which beat Copper Hills twice and split against Bingham in the regular season.
The Fremont-Herriman (5:50 p.m. Wednesday) winner takes on the Syracuse-Skyridge (4:10 p.m. Wednesday) winner in the semifinals.
Both the Titans and Falcons have balanced individual scoring, so there’s no real indication one way or another who has the edge.
THE 5A CLASSIFICATION COULDN’T BE MORE
A new realignment usually does a couple of things, such as move super successful teams up one classification.
The past two seasons saw Corner Canyon and Skyridge dominate the 5A classification as relatively new schools.
Now that they’re both in 6A, most every 5A state tournament has been wide-open, and boys basketball is no exception, meaning Region 5’s trio of quarterfinalists — No. 3 Woods Cross, No. 8 Farmington and No. 10 Bountiful — have more than a fighting chance at a state championship.
Their situation is improved by the absence of No. 1 seed Maple Mountain, which lost to No. 17 Provo in the second round.
Farmington will face the aforementioned No. 17 seed in the quarterfinals and attempt to further what’s already the longest playoff run in school history (the Phoenix went one and done last season). Provo likes to keep games low-scoring, with scoring offense and defense averaging in the 50s.
In the quarters, Bountiful gets No. 2 seed Springville, a team that’s careful with the ball and stays out of foul trouble. Bountiful’s two playoff wins so far appear to indicate the team easily forgot last year’s first-round flop.
Woods Cross would appear to be playing its best basketball at the opportune time: now. The Wildcats have won seven straight games, six by double digits.
It’s not as wide open on the girls side, where top-seeded Lehi is the overwhelming favorite. But No. 10 Viewmont faces No. 18 Mountain View in the quarterfinals (7:30 p.m. Tuesday) with a legitimate chance at making a surprise semifinal run.
WEBER STATE HOSTING
The 4A boys and girls basketball state tournaments continue Thursday and end Saturday at Weber State, in case driving to Salt Lake City sounds a little too laborious.
Here’s some info on each tournament for the neutral fan.
The girls tournament is very wide open between defending state champion and No. 1-seeded Cedar, No. 2 seed Ridgeline, No. 3 Desert Hills, No. 4 Juan Diego and No. 5 Green Canyon, all of whom have 17-plus wins this season.
Cedar is 21-2 this year after running the table last year on its way to the first girls basketball title in school history and a 25-0 record.
On the boys side, defending state champion Sky View probably has the best two players in the tournament, Mason Falslev and Sam Phipps.
Falslev, a bouncy 6-foot-4 guard, is a Utah signee who averages 21 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game and has a habit of throwing down can’t-miss slam dunks.
Phipps is a 6-6 forward averaging 14.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and also has been known for high-flying dunks.