High school basketball fans hoping that a long shot, or at least a dark horse, boys' basketball team makes it to the state championship game will get their wish this year.
Friday's draw for the 94th PNC/KHSAA Sweet Sixteen clustered the power regions — home to the top 14 teams in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State — in the upper bracket. That includes the following:
2nd Region: No. 11 Christian County;
4th Region: No. 8 Warren Central, No. 14 Bowling Green;
7th Region: No. 1 Eastern, No. 2 Ballard, No. 6 Trinity, No. 7 Jeffersontown, No. 8 Moore;
9th Region: No. 11 Newport Central Catholic;
10th Region: No. 3 Clark County;
11th Region: No. 4 Lexington Catholic, No. 5 Tates Creek, No. 10 Scott County; No. 13 Henry Clay.
Last year's draw was similar, with the supposed power regions in the top bracket. Ballard survived a gauntlet of tough competition in the first three rounds, but Shelby Valley beat the Bruins for the championship.
If the region favorites make it to the Sweet Sixteen, the highest-rated teams in the lower bracket would be Central or Pleasure Ridge Park out of the 6th Region, and Ashland Blazer out of the 16th.
The state tournament will be played March 16-19 in Rupp Arena.