Lots of people have lots of theories about what it takes to win a state title.
Some say defense wins championships.
Some say it takes veterans.
Some say it's youthful exuberance.
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Some say it's star power.
Some say it's good chemistry.
Some say it's just plain, dumb luck.
Whatever it is, this week's KHSAA/Houchens Industries Girls Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green seems to have it all.
"It's going to be a fun, fun ride," Manual Coach Stacy Pendleton said.
At 30-4, the top-rated Crimsons are one of three 30-win teams in the field, which also includes three tournament first-timers, four All 'A' tournament participants and a surprise team that finished the season 15-15.
Manual is one of many teams that thinks it has a good chance when the ball is tossed up Wednesday in Diddle Arena.
But coming out of the 7th Region, where there were as many as five ranked teams this season, gives Pendleton some confidence.
"We do expect to win," he said.
The favorite label doesn't faze him or his players. "We're kind of used to it at this point, and our kids have handled it pretty well," he said.
But not every team is ready to hand over the shiny gold trophy just yet.
"Manual has proven all year long that they're a little bit better than everybody," Perry County Central Coach Randy Napier said. "But I'm not sure everyone playing in the state tournament is convinced. I'm not sure there's a clear favorite."
Calloway County Coach Scott Sivills agreed.
"You may have eight or 10 teams in this tournament that are good enough to win it," he said. "It takes the right chemistry, the right players to win the state tournament."
Chrysti Noble knows that.
It takes more than a little bit of luck to win the Sweet Sixteen. Her Rockcastle County team was just ticks away from making it to the title game last season but fell short.
"It would be really nice to be on the other end," said Noble, whose team has five senior starters and another that comes off the bench, "but a lot of things have to happen. The stars have to line up just right."
Her Rockets — along with Sivills' Calloway team — still hasn't lost a game to an in-state opponent this season.
Hometown favorite Bowling Green comes in with only one loss all season (to Manual).
The Rockets, with Louisville signee and Miss Basketball front-runner Sara Hammond, are rated co-No. 1 in the Cantrall Ratings with Manual.
"When you get to this point, you don't care what anyone's record is or what anyone's ranking is," Noble said. "You just hope for the best."
This tournament has its share of star power, too, and not just with Hammond, the state's first-ever McDonald's All-American.
Three players in the top 10 in scoring in Kentucky will be there, including sophomore Rebecca Greenwell and her 32.8 points a game. The Owensboro Catholic guard leads the state in scoring.
There's Calloway's Averee Fields, who has signed with West Virginia, and Sheldon Clark's Carla Booth, an Eastern Kentucky signee, who both average 23.5 points.
There's a trio of stars at Marion County, which many thought would win it all last year only to see them fall in the first round to eventual champion Mercy.
"Manual's probably the deepest, and they're the favorites, but I wouldn't trade my team for anybody," Marion Coach Trent Milby said. "I'll take my chances with my three," he said of Bre Elder, Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers.
Just looking at the big names and numbers in this tournament, it's hard to know what to make of it.
"You may have a few teams that are a little bit better than some of the others but, for the most part, it's anybody's ball game," Sheldon Clark's Darrin Rice said. "Whoever comes to play for four games in a row and has a little bit of luck and gets a few breaks here and there, they could be cutting down the nets on Saturday night."