The prep boys basketball state tournament has reached its last and grandest stage, with the remaining teams fulfilling their season-long dreams of advancing to play in the state’s final four at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.
Semifinal games are Thursday and Friday, with the championship games on Saturday for all four divisions.
Here’s a schedule and overview of what should be a memorable three days of games.
Howell (20-6) vs. Ypsilanti Lincoln (21-4), noon
Detroit U-D Jesuit (24-2) vs. Okemos (23-2), 2 p.m.
Championship: 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
Overview: The Emoni Bates hype train moves on to East Lansing. Bates, the consensus top freshman in the country who is averaging over 30 points and nine rebounds a game, has helped lead Lincoln to its first-ever semifinal berth. Standing in the way is a gritty Howell team, which hasn’t made a semifinal since 1927. On the other side, Okemos will try and upset a U-D Jesuit team that is deep, talented and considered the favorite to win it all.
Predicted winner: U-D Jesuit.
Ludington (14-10) vs. Hudsonville Unity Christian (24-2), 5:30 p.m.
River Rouge (22-2) vs. Harper Woods Chandler Park (21-0), 7:30 p.m.
Championship: 6:45 p.m. Saturday.
Overview: There was a mild surprise in the quarterfinals, when Chandler Park knocked off No. 1-ranked New Haven, which featured Mr. Basketball winner Romeo Weems. Chandler Park will have to refocus and deal with a talented River Rouge squad that could easily win. Hudsonville Unity Christian beat defending state champion Benton Harbor in regionals and is favored to beat a Ludington team that is better than its record shows. Ludington also made it to the state championship game two years ago.
Predicted winner: Unity Christian.
Iron Mountain (26-0) vs. Detroit Edison (19-7), noon
Erie-Mason (23-2) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (26-0), 2 p.m.
Championship: 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Overview: To the surprise of many, Flint Beecher, which has won five state championships since 2012 and was ranked No. 1, was knocked out by Edison in the quarterfinals. That leaves Edison, last year’s champion, as the favorite heading into the weekend. Even though there are two unbeatens and a two-loss squad still left, Edison has played a tough schedule and will be hard to beat.
Predicted winner: Detroit Edison.
Dollar Bay (21-4) vs. Southfield Christian (19-6), 5:30 p.m.
Frankfort (20-5) vs. Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian (22-3), 7:30 p.m.
Championship: 10 a.m. Saturday.
Overview: Much like in Division 3, the team with the most losses going into the weekend is the clear favorite. Southfield Christian each year plays, and beats, bigger schools on its schedule and is a good bet to win its fifth state title since 2012.
Predicted winner: Southfield Christian.