Break out the champagne and ticker tape! I have finally accomplished a milestone, my 100th correct pick!
It has been a long ride, I could not have done it without you readers and all of the fantastic athletes that have helped me along the way. 100 correct picks is something truly amazing. Nobody else is willing to bring a more random variety of picks and overly opinionated ramblings on a weekly basis to the county he loves. More importantly, nobody else besides you readers are willing to take the time to read my thoughts and opinions every week. Today is a day for celebrating such a wonderful milestone that we have all reached, together.
The truth is, if you readers were not taking the time to read my weekly picks, the big wigs upstairs would pull the plug on this operation. In a way, you created me, Kosciusko (there’s a scary thought). So, I owe this 100th correct pick to you and your loyalty. Thank you, readers! T-shirts and hats of this momentous occasion will be available upon approval from management.
Last Week: 8-2
High School Wrestling 12/5
Wawasee (0-5) at Northridge (1-0), 6:45 p.m.
The Scoop: Wrestling? Yes, wrestling! If I have to suffer by driving up to Middlebury tonight, than you all can suffer reading about my thoughts on the match that will take place. Nobody truly likes going to Middlebury for anything other than eating at Das Essenhaus, let’s just get that fact out of the way now.
Thursday night is no exception for travelers from Syracuse. The Warriors are in for a long season, they are short-handed and very inexperienced. While there is some talent on the roster, it is a “work-in-progress” type of year for Wawasee. Wawasee will be short in at least five weight classes, meaning they will have to forfeit in those spots. Those five forfeits give Northridge a 30-point cushion before the Raiders even break a sweat. I expect to see sophomore sensation Tristan Ponsler (a 2013 semi-state qualifier) get a win but outside of that it will be a toss-up for Wawasee.
The Pick: Northridge 54, Wawasee 21.
Girls High School Basketball 12/5-12/6
Tippecanoe Valley (3-1) at Plymouth (5-0), 7:30 p.m. 12/5
The Scoop: Coach Chris Kindig has his Lady Vikings out to a tremendous start this season. Valley started 3-0 before dropping a seven-point decision to Noblesville (6-1). Whatever Kindig has done this season to get his girls playing such great ball has really worked. The Lady Vikings have won their three games by an average of 17 points and two of those victories came over 4A schools (Warsaw, Portage). This week the Vikings, a 3A school, take on yet another 4A team in Plymouth. Bremen is the lone common opponent for these two schools so far and both Valley and Plymouth won big over the Lions. This will be the biggest test for the Lady Vikings to date, I do not think they pass.
The Pick: Plymouth 67, Valley 53.
Jimtown (2-3) at Lakeland Christian Academy (2-3), 7:30 p.m. 12/6
The Scoop: After starting 2-0, the Lady Cougars have dropped three straight games and you might be wondering why. In short, LCA’s competition became much, much better. The Cougs first two wins were over South Bend Career Academy and Howe Military. SBCA is in its second year of existence and has only scored double-digits once this season and Howe has won exactly one game since restarting its program last year. LCA’s last three opponents have a combined record of just 9-9, but that is much more respectable than the 0-5 combined record’s of Howe and SBCA. Jimtown, meanwhile has not beaten any ranked teams or anything but has played five games against schools with better-established programs. Neither team has really lit up the scoreboard this season so this could be a toss-up game. But simply based on quality of competition, I have to go with the Jimmies.
The Pick: Jimtown 49, LCA 39.
Boys High School Basketball 12/6
Manchester (2-0) at Wawasee (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: Wawasee is a young team and is in the process of learning a new system under a new head coach, and it shows. The Warriors have not yet put together a complete game but have played well in each of their first two games this season. Last Saturday Wawasee fell in a heartbreaking last-second loss to Angola, this Friday will be the first chance this young team has to make a response to that adversity. If the Warriors lose this game, it will be even more heartbreaking. Wawasee has not lose to Manchester since January of 2005 and have not lost at home to the Squires since February of 1998! This is a must win for Wawasee. I really hope to see Wawasee work the ball inside to Stori Bright and Jayce Boatwright, those two players give Wawasee a great compliment to a cast of good outside shooters on the rest of the roster. Light it up, Warriors.
The Pick: Wawasee 67, Manchester 59.
Homestead (1-1) at Warsaw (1-1), 7:45 p.m.
The Scoop: Warsaw rebounded from a tough loss to Tippecanoe Valley with a win over Columbia City on Saturday night. So far this season the Tigers have not showed a lot of offensive prowess. That is not always a concern, but this week it might be. Homestead comes in with the same record as Warsaw but the Spartans victory was an impressive 29-point beat down of a ranked Merrillville team last Saturday. Now, we can sit and debate how important preseason rankings are all day and get nowhere. Maybe Merrillville is not a top-20 team this season, but the Pirates won their regional last season and have not had a losing season since 2003-04. I will give some credit to Homestead for wiping the floor with them. I hate to form a pattern with my picks this week but it is hard to know what a team is amde of this early in the season, so I have to go off of what both teams have shown me. Right now, Homestead is the more impressive team, prove me wrong Warsaw.
The Pick: Homestead 78, Warsaw 63.
NorthWood (0-0) at Triton (2-0), 7:45 p.m.
The Scoop: Is anyone impresses with the Trojans yet, or is this just business as usual in Bourbon? Yes, it has only been two games but the Trojans look good, really good. They demolished an Oregon-Davis team in their first game, which they should have done. Then on Tuesday night they turned heads in Marshall County by beating Division 1 prospect Mack Mercer and his Plymouth Pilgrims by 15 points. Triton is on a mission this year and they have already shocked one NLC team this season, why not make it another? NorthWood is my pick to win its sectional at the end of the season, the Panthers bring back a lot of talent from last year’s team that went 16-7. NorthWood will challenge for the NLC crown this season and may make some noise in the postseason, but the Panthers have yet to take the court this season, meanwhile Triton has been shooting lights-out from everywhere on the court. If this match up were in January, I would be all over NorthWood to win. But the Panthers have to shake off the rust before they get any respect.
The Pick: Triton 63, NorthWood 58.
Women’s College Soccer 12/6
Grace College (12-6-3) v. Dallas Baptist University (16-6-1), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: The Lady Lancers have fought their way into the NCCAA semifinals this weekend in Kissimmee, Florida. With just four teams left, the road gets very difficult and Grace has the toughest road of the four teams as the Lady Lancers are seeded fourth and will take on No. 1 seeded Dallas Baptist for a chance to play in Saturday’s championship. Very few things could happen this weekend that would be greater than seeing Grace bring home top honors in the NCCAA National Tournament, but it will take a near perfect performance for Grace to pull out a win on Friday.
Dallas Baptist is currently riding a four game winning streak and has outscored its opponents 44-2 in its past 13 games. Think about how ridiculous that statistic is! In fact, no team has yet to score a goal on DBU in the NCCAA tournament. Anything is possible at this point in the tourney, but DBU is the favorite and for good reason. For the record, I am hoping for the upset.
The Pick: Dallas Baptist 3, Grace 0.
Mens College Basketball 12/7
Dartmouth (3-1) at IPFW (6-4), 7 p.m.
The Scoop: It’s Homecoming Week in the Summit City! All week students have been buzzing around campus to all of the different activities that come with this fantastic week. The week of free food, shirts and tube socks (I am not even kidding, they give away IPFW tube socks) comes to grand conclusion at Allen County Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night. This season the Mastodons welcome in the Darmouth Big Green of the Ivy League for Homecoming. This Mastodons team is good. Three of their four losses were by a combined four points while the fourth loss was by a mere seven points. If this team can learn how to close games, they just might be dancing come March. But, until then ‘Dons fans can look forward to wiping the floor with the Big Green. I will not even entertain the possibility that IPFW will lose this game, not a chance. IPFW will let loose on Dartmouth and maybe even Warsaw graduate Jared Bloom will get a chance to make some plays. It’s Homecoming, I’m excited and you can’t take that away from me.
The Pick: IPFW 81, Dartmouth 56.
NFL Week 14 12/8-12/9
Indianapolis (8-4) at Cincinnati (8-4), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: I have a bone to pick this week. The Colts have a young quarterback by the name of Andrew Luck, the guy is pretty darn talented. The problem here is that, for some reason, the Colts coaching staff seems determined to take the ball out of his hands in favor of a mediocre running game. This bothers me.
Coach Pagano, Andrew Luck can hand off a ball just fine, but he is much better at throwing it down the field. Utilize this weapon that you have been blessed with, do not handcuff it simply because you think its more mainstream to run the ball. You have shown your cards, Pagano, Colts Nation has seen them and we realize that you are bluffing. Let Luck do what Luck does best, do not pigeon-hole him into doing something that does not accent his greater talents.
I beg and plead with the Colts staff this weekend to just let the young quarterback cut loose on this Bengals defense. Let Luck get you the lead, then hand it off to any of your running backs to milk the clock and seal the win.
If the Colts let Luck control this game, its a big win for Indy over a playoff team. I just fear that the Colts have not learned their lesson yet.
The Pick: Bengals 27, Colts 24.
Dallas (7-5) at Chicago (6-6), 12/9 Monday Night Football 8:40 p.m.
The Scoop: The Bears really hurt themselves last week with an overtime loss in Minnesota. The Bears have to win out and hopes that division-leading Detroit trips up a few times in order for Chicago to get into the playoffs. Yes, the Wildcard is still an option but that would take a lot of pieces to fall in the Bears favor, its not impossible, but it is improbable. This Monday Tony Romo and the Cowboys come into the Windy City and while that offense should put up some big points, so should the Bears. The Cowboys defense is far from dominant and has only forced two turnovers in the past four weeks. Bears receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will demand a lot of attention from a bad Cowboys secondary. That will open things up for tight end Martellus Bennett, running back Matt Forte out of the backfield and maybe even receiver Earl Bennett will make some plays (cue all the Bears fans laughing at that last comment). I don’t see the Bears making the playoffs, but I do see them making some noise on Monday night.
The Pick: Bears 38, Cowboys 27.