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High School basketball boys state tournament preview and pairings

Pairings are set for the high school basketball tournament

Ohio's high school version of "March Madness" is almost ready to begin. Starting this weekend, the girls will kick off their Road to Columbus, with the boys following suit next weekend. The brackets have been filled, and we are ready for some tournament basketball.

First, a little background as to how these pairings were put together, because it's a little different than in the past. There are four "regions" based on where the teams are located, that are broken down into four "districts". These districts are usually set up where the schools are located, so, for example, a team from Cleveland won't travel to Cincinnati to play their district games.

For example, using the boys tournament, in the Cleveland Region, the four districts are Solon, Euclid, Canton and Copley. They will play their regional games at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State. However, since here are more teams in the Cleveland area that any other area in the state, two districts from the Cleveland area, Grafton and Broadview Heights, will play their regional games at the University of Akron, joined by the district winners from Toledo and Bowling Green.

It gets even more interesting when "seeding" the teams. Each district (Solon, Euclid, Canton, Copley) used to have their own seedings for each of the teams within that district. Now, the seedings are done on a "combined district" basis. The 24 teams in the Solon and Euclid districts are seeded, and the same for Canton and Copley. What that means is that the top two seeds, if they both win, will meet in the regional semi-final, which is at Cleveland State using this example.

Let's take a look at four districts featuring Cleveland area boys teams:

Solon District (click here for tournament brackets)

The top team in the Solon District is Shaker Heights. They are also the #1 seed in the combined Solon/Euclid District. The Raiders could get a test from Bedford in the district semi-final and from either Garfield Heights or Cleveland Heights in the district final. Projected District Winner...Shaker Heights

Euclid District (click here for tournament brackets)

The top team in the Euclid District is East Tech, the #2 seeded team in the combined district. East Tech should breeze in the district final where they could play either third seeded Mentor, or fifth seeded Glenville. Projected District Winner... Mentor

Shaker Heights and Mentor would then play each other in a regional semi-final game at Cleveland State, with the winner playing the winner of the Canton/Copley combined district (Massillon Jackson and Uniontown Lake are the top two seeds)

Grafton District (click here for tournament brackets)

By far the toughest district in the area. The top team in the district in North Royalton. The Bears, the #2 seed in the combined district, have ridden the play of super sophomore Omari Spellman, and are playing very well of late. It doesn't mean their road to JAR Arena in Akron with be an easy one. They will have to get by #4 seed St. Ignatius in the district semi-final, and most likely the winner of #3 seed Berea-Midpark or #5 seed Olmsted Falls. Projected District Winner... St. Ignatius

Broadview Heights District (click here for tournament brackets)

For as tough as the Grafton district is, the Broadview Heights district is the complete opposite. Top seeded St. Edward is also the #1 team in the state polls. The Eagles should cruise to the district title, as the highest seeds they could potentially play are #6 Westlake or #7 Brunswick. Projected District Winner... St. Edward

St. Ignatius and St. Edward would then play another "Holy War" game in the regional semi-final in Akron, with the winner playing the winner of the Toledo/Bowling Green combined district (Mansfield Senior and Toledo Bowsher are the top two seeds)

For the regional breakdowns and state final brackets click here

For explanations as to how the districts and regions are set up, click here

Tomorrow...girls preview and pairings

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