PSL varsity boys basketball playoff bracket breakdown and predictions
I knew the Detroit Public School League boys varsity basketball would start off good, but not this good. In one of the four play-in games, now that the league has gone to 20 teams, No.5 seed in the East bracket, Pershing (3-7 in the PSL), has to travel down Seven Mile to No.4 seed Osborn (4-6 in the PSL) on Monday at 4 p.m. The two teams split the two regular season games. Osborn won by one on a buzzer-beater in the last meeting last week. I expect nothing less of another instant classic come game time Monday. The rest of the bracket is below.
Other play-in games
Renaissance (4-6 in the PSL) finds itself in an unfamiliar position, playing in a play-in game against Mumford (1-8 in the PSL) at home on Monday at 4 p.m. They should take care of Mumford and face Frederick Douglass (10-1 in the PSL) in the first round in the West bracket.
Delta Prep (2-8 in the PSL) is the newcomer to the league. They face Southeastern (5-5 in the PSL) on the road Monday at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will play Cass Tech (8-2 in the PSL) in the first round. I have SE winning that one to face CT.
Central (3-7 in the PSL) and West Side (0-10 in the PSL) round out the rest of the play-in games. The lucky winner of that one faces East English Village Prep in the first round. Good luck Central.
First round games
On the West side of the bracket, No.2 seed King (6-2 in the PSL) plays a very good Cody team, that went 5-5 in league play. Cody is better than they were last season, but King is too much for them. Should Renni get past Mumford, they will play a sleeper, in my opinion, Fred D. The Hurricanes might be too senior-laden for the Phoenix. Fred D and King should move on to the quarterfinals in the top half of the West bracket.
In the bottom half of the West bracket, Edison (6-4 in the PSL) hosts CMA (5-5 in the PSL). Easy win for the Pioneers. SE should take care of Delta Prep, where they would travel downtown to play Cass Tech. The Junagleers do not have enough for the Technicians will bring. Edison against Cass Tech in the quarters will be a good one.
Moving over to the top half of the East bracket, I like Pershing to knock off Osborn, where they would play Northwestern (10-0 in the PSL). Pershing is on a roll, and I like them to upset the undefeated Colts. Strength of schedule is important. The Doughboys might be more battle tested. Denby (6-4 in the PSL) hosts Henry Ford (5-5 in the PSL). Tough game for the Tars. Coach Flo and the boys will advance. Pershing and Henry Ford in the quarterfinals.
Western (5-5 in the PSL) has to travel to Davis Aerospace (6-4 in the PSL) on Tuesday. Davis is a team on the rise, but they have not seen a team like Western. Advantage Cowboys. EEVP (7-3 in the PSL) will take care of Central to face Western in the quarterfinals of the East bracket.
EEVP and Western played twice in the regular season, with the Bulldogs having use everything they had to pull out wins in both games. If you were looking for an upset special, this would be the one. But not this year. EEVP should advance. In the top half, of the East bracket, Henry Ford will face Pershing. I like Pershing's team, and they have played well all year, but Ken Flowers and Henry Ford have been there. Coaching will be a huge factor in this one. I like Pershing to move on and play EEVP in the semifinals in the East bracket
In the West bracket, Fred D has the guards to play with King, but the Crusaders have a lot of size and one of the best point guards in the state, Jesse Scarber, to be able to win this one, and they should. On to the semifinals for coach George Ward and crew. Cass Tech and Edison will be a very entertaining game to see, full of young guards. Both teams are young, but Cass Tech has more depth. They will play rival King in the semis on the West.
We were not lucky enough to see King against Cass Tech in the regular season, but we should in the PSL semifinals, which will be held at Renaissance, and not Cass Tech. Big advantage for King. Coach Steve Hall has talented bunch at Cass Tech, and will be strong against next season, but King is better overall. The Crusaders will advance to the PSL city championship for the first time since 2012 when they won it all.
On the East, Pershing is talented at the guard spot, and will play hard for their coach, but EEVP has better guards, in Michigan commit David Dejulius and Mr. Basketball candidate Greg Elliott. They have not played well as of late, but the target is on their back, and when they play well, are unbeatable. EEVP moves on to the city title game to defend its 2016 crown.
Championship game at Calihan Hall
King and EEVP played this past Friday, in a game that came down to the wire. EEVP was up double-digits in the first half, but it was senior night for King, and they were not going to go out like that. They took over the lead in the third, and stunned EEVP. Considering EEVP popped them by 14 a few week prior, of course King wanted to win bad. The third game will be interesting. EEVP obviously has the more talented team, with Dejulius, Elliott, Zavon Godwin, Sam Womack and others. And they will want to repeat. But King is tough, and likes the underdog role. They are just as good with Scarber, Tre Orr, Antonio Marshall, Drevon Taylor, and the rest of the group.
EEVP came in the season as my favorite, and if they do not win, could be the biggest disappointment in the PSL in recent years. But I do not see them letting us down. It is about the 'Jimmies and Joes' in these games, and EEVP has some elite talent in the state. They will beat King by 10 to repeat.
Charge it to my head, and not my heart.