It seems like the top four seeds in the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoff bracket were decided before the season even began.
In some way, shape or form, Chino Hills, Torrance Bishop Montgomery, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon and Santa Ana Mater Dei were going to represent the top four teams in Southern Section in some order.
Now that we’ve reached the end of high school basketball regular season with Chino Hills undefeated, Bishop Montgomery’s only loss to Chino Hills, Sierra Canyon with three losses to tough teams and Mater Dei in the same boat as the Trailblazers, those teams most definitely held court with those preseason predictions.
The CIF-SS Open Division committee will meet Friday to decide which 16 teams will make up the daunting field. The bracket is scheduled to be unveiled at 3 p.m. the same day.
But before things become official, HoopsByUgland.com, which has seen a lot of basketball this year, will try its hand at predicting the 16 Open Division teams to be announced in a matter of hours.
Here are the predictions from one to 16:
1. Chino Hills (27-0, 10-0 Baseline League)
2. Bishop Montgomery (26-1, 10-0 Del Rey League)
3. Sierra Canyon (22-3, 10-0 Gold Coast League)
4. Mater Dei (23-4, 10-0 Trinity League)
5. Redondo Union (21-4, 9-1 Bay League)
6. La Verne Damien (24-3, 8-2 Baseline League)
7. Corona Centennial (21-6, 9-1 Big VIII League)
8. Encino Crespi (24-3, 10-2 Mission League)
9. Eastvale Roosevelt (21-6, 9-1 Big VIII League)
10. Alemany (21-6, 11-1 Mission League)
11. Santa Monica (24-2, 10-0 Ocean League)
12. Los Alamitos (23-4, 10-0 Sunset League)
13. Chino Hills Ayala (23-3, 9-1 Palomares League)
14. Inglewood (20-6, 8-2 Bay League)
15. Compton (18-8, 10-2 Moore League)
16. Orange Lutheran (21-6, 8-2 Trinity League)
Bubble: Santa Margarita, Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart, Long Beach Poly, Pomona Diamond Ranch, Riverside JW North, La Canada
And here are the predictions in match-up form:
1. Chino Hills vs. 16. Orange Lutheran
2. Torrance Bishop Montgomery vs. 15. Compton
3. Chatsworth Sierra Canyon vs. 14. Inglewood
4. Santa Ana Mater Dei vs. 13. Chino Hills Ayala
5. Redondo Union vs. 12. Los Alamitos
6. Damien vs. No. 11 Santa Monica
7. Corona Centennial vs. 10. Alemany
8. Crespi vs. 9. Eastvale Roosevelt
One of the most intriguing of the above games has to be No. 5 Redondo Union and its great guard-play against No. 12 Los Alamitos and UC Irvine-bound point guard Eyassu Worku, who is the second-best 2016 PG in the state behind Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills.
Another interesting match-up would be Crespi and Eastvale Roosevelt. Both those squads are fairly guard-oriented.
Crespi has USC signee De’Anthony Melton and high-scoring sophomore Brandon Williams, while Roosevelt brings sharp-shooting California-commit Jemarl Baker to the table. Mustangs junior forward Matt Mitchell would be a key player in that game.
No. 11 Santa Monica could also give No. 6 Damien a run due to the presence of USC-bound shooting guard Jonah Mathews and the continued improvement of junior forward Daniel Schreier and sophomore wing Rip Economou.