High school basketball's post-season tips off Monday with district tournaments across the state, and I'm here to tell you that anything can happen between now and the state finals.
Don't believe it?
Would you believe that little ol' Lynn Camp could beat big ol' Ballard?
Ballard's boys are No. 1 in the 7th Region and No. 1 in the state. Lynn Camp is next-to-last in the 13th Region and No. 236 in the state.
But: Ballard lost to Pleasure Ridge Park. which lost to Louisville Holy Cross, which lost to East Jessamine, which lost to North Laurel, which lost to Harlan, which lost to Oneida Baptist, which lost to Lynn Camp.
Dreams can be based on facts if not common sense.
The Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls' Sweet Sixteen is March 12-16 in Western Kentucky's Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
The Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen is March 19-23 in Rupp Arena.
To get you primed for tournament time, 16 shots of information and opinion:
1. Schools with the best chance of reaching the boys' Sweet Sixteen for the first time: Collins (8th Region) and Lawrence County (15th).
2. Schools with the best chance of reaching the girls' Sweet Sixteen for the first time: LaRue County (5th Region), Ballard (7th), Danville (12th), Southwestern (12th) and Bell County (13th).
3. Hopkinsville hopes to do what Scott County did in 2007: go unbeaten against Kentucky competition on its way to the boys' state title. Hoptown, 26-2 overall, is 22-0 against in-state opponents. Coach Tim Haworth's Tigers, led by junior Jaqualis Matlock, are two-time defending 2nd Region champs.
4. Ballard vs. Trinity will decide the boys' 7th Region. Again.
5. All great runs must come to an end. Marion County's girls lost 13 games this season after losing a total of 14 games the previous three seasons.
6. Four Mr. Basketball finalists play for teams rated No. 1 in their regions: Quentin Snider and Kelan Martin of Ballard (7th Region), Trent Gilbert of Scott County (11th) and Shane Hall of Johnson Central (15th). The other finalists play for region contenders. Brandon Hatton of Dixie Heights (No. 4 in the 9th). Jackson Davis of Lafayette (No. 2 in the 11th). Justin Johnson of Perry Central (No. 2 in the 14th).
7. The best senior who's not a Mr. Basketball finalist with the best chance of leading his team to the state title: LaMontray Harris of Pleasure Ridge Park.
8. Four Miss Basketball finalists play for teams rated No. 1 in their region: DaiJia Ruffin of Sacred Heart (7th Region), Eriel McKee and Makenzie Cann of Anderson County (8th), and Kayla Rankin of Perry Central (14th). The other finalists play for region contenders. Ivy Brown of LaRue County (No. 2 in the 5th). Javonna Layfield of Ballard (No. 2 in the 7th). Nicole Kiernan of Newport Central Catholic (No. 2 in the 9th).
9. How the Mr. and Miss Basketball finalists fare in the post-season won't enhance or diminish their chances of winning the award. The voting among coaches, conducted by the sponsoring Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, has ended.
10. Newport Central Catholic, which hasn't lost since Dec. 29 and just last week ended Trinity's 25-game home winning streak, could do what Shelby Valley did in 2010: sweep the All "A" and Sweet Sixteen titles. Easier said than done considering NewCath must contend with Covington Catholic and Holmes in the 9th Region.
11. It's no coincidence that three of the best free-throw shooting boys' teams in the state are in Dave Cantrall's top seven: Scott County (76 percent), Wayne County (76 percent) and Covington Catholic (75 percent).
12. Three coaches with more than 800 victories apiece and at least one state title have teams favored to win their region: Perry Central girls' coach Randy Napier; Scott County boys' coach Billy Hicks, and PRP boys' coach Dale Mabrey.
13. Manual was girls' state runner-up in 2011 then won the title in 2012. Marion County was state runner-up in 2012 then won the title in 2013. Notre Dame was state runner-up in 2013, so does that mean the Pandas will be champs this year?
14. Schools with the best chance of sending both their boys' and girls' teams to the state tournaments: Elizabethtown (5th Region), Ballard (7th), Newport Central Catholic (9th), Lafayette (11th) and Perry Central (14th).
15. Franklin County and Lafayette, rated the top two girls' teams in the 11th Region, haven't been to the Sweet Sixteen in a while. Franklin County's last region title was in 1980. Lafayette's last state tournament appearance was in 1984.
16. If Cantrall's ratings hold true, the boys' state semifinals will be boffo: Ballard vs. Scott County, and Wayne County vs. Newport Central Catholic. The girls' semifinals will be Henderson County vs. Butler, and Bell County vs. Elizabethtown. Remember, both championship games will be on Sunday afternoons this year. The girls' finals are March 16 in WKU's Diddle Arena, and the boys' finals are March 23 in Rupp Arena.