RPI: February 1stJanuary 31st, 2013 at 12:33 pm by Ross Rowling under Ross Rowling's Roundup, Sports, WTHI Blog
RPI: February 1st
The RPI hits the presses this week following the first perfect predicting in it’s history. Congratulations to Terre Haute North Boys, Terre Haute South Girls, Barr-Reeve, Loogootee, and Casey-Westfield for living up to my predictions with wins last week. I’ve got to say, this was probably the toughest week to date to narrow the field down to just five games. I had a tough time not including Clay City vs. Shakamak in this one, or Eastern Greene and White River Valley but rules are rules and here’s my top five games of the week.
Indy North Central at Terre Haute North
We’ll start with Terre Haute North. Coming off of a win against their bitter rivals, Terre Haute South, the Patriots head to Indianapolis to take on 10th ranked Indy North Central. The Panthers have won three straight, the most recent a seven point victory over Warren Central. North Central has a terrific cast of talent led by Eron Gordon who’s young, but incredibly talented. The matchup I’m looking forward too most is a battle of beef in the post. Two incredibly talented D-1 football recruits go at it on the basketball floor. Calvin Blank and Darius Latham will duke it out in the lane. Blank will go to Ball State while the 6-5 270 pound Latham is committed to the University of Indiana. Blank needs to get the better end of that battle for the Patriots to have a chance, and I think he will. Make no mistake, a Terre Haute North win in this game would absolutely be an upset, but I think they have the ingredients to pull something off that no ones expecting. To make the unexpected come true North will need a stellar shooting performance from Stephen Davis and/or Casey Vickers. Both are very capable from long range, and shots falling from deep would go a long way in the upset. The Patriots will always defend, which puts them in every game. Blank comes up large and Davis goes for 20. Terre Haute North comes up with a 4-point win.
Pick: Terre Haute North
Vincennes Lincoln at Washington
The oldest rivalry in Indiana continues Friday night when Vincennes Lincoln travels to Washington. The Zellers are long gone, with youngest Cody making his mark as one of the top players in the country at Indiana, but make no mistake this one will be tight. The Hatchets come into this contest at 6-9 on the season, and are led by big man Cullen Arnold. He’s 6-7 and brings a nice skill set to go along with his size in the post. Vincennes comes in at 11-5 and will be the favorites in this one. The Alices have surprised some folks with the high level of success already this season and to take it to the next level they need to take better care of the basketball, but this team is made up of some really nice pieces. The centerpiece is big man Avory Mickens. The powerful post presence averages 17 points per game. He can score with his back to the basket and use to the dribble to take bigger defenders to the hole. His interior teammate Josh Sprinkle provides another tough matchup inside for the Hatchets. Lincoln’s junior stands at 6’5”, he’s averaging over 12 points per game and has really stepped up his game of late. There’s no doubt the strength of this Vincennes team is on the interior, but guards Patrick Toole and Cole Claycomb do a fantastic job of making open shots and forcing defenses to pay close attention. I really like the makeup of Vincennes Lincoln. I think they have the roster to win a sectional, and even with Arnold and legendary coach Gene Miiller, the Alices get the better end of this one.
Pick: Vincennes Lincoln
Rockville at Fountain Central
The question remains “Can any team beat Rockville?” At 18-0, the Rox seem invincible this season. The toughest test they’ll see in the conference comes Friday night when they travel to Fountain Central. The Mustangs enter the game at 14-2. If we’re just looking at records, this should be a good one, but I don’t think it’ll be that close. Rockville is just in a different league this year. For instance, one of the Mustangs loses came against Covington. The Rox beat Covington by 21 points. This team is built perfectly against star forward and recent Indiana-Wesleyan signee Lane Mahurin. We all know about sharp shooters Jordan McFall and Gary Ulrich, who just signed with Wabash College. Lately, tiny point guard Keyontre Wilkey has been getting his name in the paper more often as well. If Wilkey’s turning turnovers into layups, you can forget about beating the Rox. With the top of the conference at stake, I don’t see Rockville feeling bad about a blowout. Rox win by 25.
North Daviess at Bloomfield
Let’s just start with giving props for an electric environment at Glover Gymnasium. The Cardinals student section is awesome. They showed it off Tuesday night with Sports 10 cameras rolling. The Cardinals team is pretty impressive as well. Matt Britton’s squad is 10-7 on the season and they’re riding a three game winning streak heading into Friday night. Everybody knows about Ben Hays, but Kyle Robinson has been playing well of late for Bloomfield. He’ll need to continue that trend to beat North Daviess. Another key to Bloomfield’s win streak is freshman Brandon VanSant. Like any freshman playing at the varsity level, he’s getting better as the season continues. VanSant has a nice face up game from mid-range and can even knock down the three if you leave him. He’s aggressive in the post, and really hits the offensive boards. VanSant should have a nice career for the Cardinals. North Daviess has been through the gauntlet of their schedule this season. The matchup between their star guard Nick Crays and Bloomfield standout Ben Hays will be worth the price of admission. Crays is smart enough at the point to handle the pressure that Bloomfield will certainly try to use. Bloomfield is coming along nicely, but the Cougars are ranked 10th in the state for good reason.
Pick: North Daviess
Newton at Robinson
Newton shocked the Maroons in the semi-finals of the LIC tournament when they sent Robinson packing a round before expected. You can bet Coach Mack Thompson hasn’t forgotten that meeting and I’m sure he’s reminding his team of it every day leading up to the rematch. The Maroons got good shots deep in the paint the first time around, they just didn’t get all of them to fall. On the other hand, Newton shot it well; they were unconscious from beyond the arc. (9-17) When it comes down to it the Maroons are very physical inside and should dominate the boards. They have Aaron Siler who is typically the best player on the floor when the Maroons play anyone. Newton neutralized Siler in the first win that may be tough to repeat. Uncharacteristically, Robinson turned the ball over 17 times in the first meeting between those teams. Credit Newton’s defense for that, but I think Robinson will be ready this time around. The Maroons got a taste of defeat in the LIC Tournament, and I don’t think they liked it. They’ll be on a mission during a big weekend that includes a tough game Saturday night against Castle (Indiana). Robinson will take care of business behind 23 from Siler.
Here’s hoping for 10 in a row. Good luck to all the teams going at it on Friday night. I’ll see you at the game.