Who: No. 3 Bloomfield Cardinals (26-3) vs. No. 1 Liberty Christian Lions (25-4), 10:30 a.m.
Skinny: One of the three teams from central Indiana playing today will take the floor in the first game. Liberty Christian of Anderson has slowly built to the state level.
As the winners of five straight sectional titles and three straight regional titles, the Lions will get a chance at the biggest prize for the first time.
After defeating No. 2 Seton Catholic in the regional semifinal and traditional Class A power Lafayette Central Catholic in overtime in the regional final, the Lions easily advanced to the finals with a 103-80 victory against Gary 21st Century in the semistate.
Bloomfield also will be seeking its first title and the Cardinals are making just their second state finals appearance, having appeared in the first ever Class A championship game in 1998. Bloomfield has taken a defensive approach to its games this season, allowing 40.4 points per game, which is the fifth best defensive average in the state.
Sagarin Ratings, used to calculate how close a hypothetical game between any two schools regardless of class, indicate that six points separate Liberty Christian from Bloomfield.
Who: No. 7 Indianapolis Howe Hornets (23-7) vs. No. 2 Lapel Bulldogs (25-4), approximately 12:45 p.m.
Skinny: Lapel, winners of the 2005 Class A title, is seeking its first title at the Class 2A level, while Howe seeks its first title at any level.
The Bulldogs were able to dispatch their biggest roadblock, No. 3 Oak Hill, in the regional championship game.
Howe, the winner of the regional hosted by Greenfield-Central, will be the only Indianapolis team playing in the finals. Looking back, the Greenfield-Central Regional was a brutal one, with the Hornets needing to defeat local rival Broad Ripple and No. 4 Northeastern. The Hornets will use their team speed to try to push the tempo as they both score and give up around ten points more per game than Lapel.
Sagarin has this as the closest game of the day, with barely a half point between the two teams.
Who: Evansville Bosse Bulldogs (19-10) vs. No. 11 Marion Giants (22-7), 6 p.m.
Skinny: Class 3A has provided the finals with perhaps its most surprising matchup of the day, with the top ten ranked schools all bowing out before the main event.
Marion defeated No. 3 Griffith on Wednesday night in a game delayed by the bus accident involving Griffith’s team this past Saturday. Evansville Bosse defeated Tri-West in double overtime to advance.
Both schools have storied basketball histories. The Bulldogs are making their seventh state finals appearance and will be seeking their fourth state title, but first since 1962. Marion will be making its fifteenth finals appearance and is seeking its eighth title but first since 2000.
Sagarin dictates that Marion would be six points superior to Evansville Bosse.
Who: No. 1 New Albany Bulldogs (26-1) vs. No. 4 McCutcheon (28-3), approximately 8:15 p.m.
Skinny: The matchup of the night features two teams with vastly different tournament histories.
New Albany will be making its ninth finals appearance and seeking its second state title while McCutcheon will be making its first finals appearance and seeking its first title.
The highly anticipated matchup will be between two underclassmen. For New Albany, all the attention is on sophomore shooting guard Romeo Langford, a highly sought after Division I recruit. For McCutcheon, sophomore point guard Robert Phinisee, who has an offer from Purdue, stars for McCutcheon.
Sagarin predicts this as a three-point game in favor of New Albany, and with the talent level of its underclassmen, this matchup might be bound for a repeat in the coming years.