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1. Contenders and Pretenders in the SAC?
From top to bottom, the Summit Athletic Conference is as deep as it has been in years, but that does not mean every team has an equal shot at the league crown. While no team will break out of the pack this weekend atop the standings, there could be some teams that find themselves already out of the race. North Side, considered a contender by some, will drop to 0-2 in the league with a home defeat to Northrop on Friday. Wayne, Bishop Dwenger and South Side could also drop to 0-2. The balance of the league will also be a detriment to any team that drops its first two league contests, due to the fact that there are really no “gimmee” games in the league. In short, an 0-2 start is a death sentence to any team hoping to compete for a league championship.
2. Can James Blackmon Jr. keep up the pace?
The Bishop Luers junior is averaging 41 points per game after two games, an amazing feat. Can he keep the scoring output going this weekend? Concordia Lutheran is the opponent on Friday in a huge early-season SAC showdown. The Cadets are tall and wide across the floor, giving Blackmon Jr. plenty of challenges to worry about. Blackmon Jr. turned plenty of heads around the state when he matched Mishawaka Marian senior and Notre Dame commit Demetrius Jackson, a top-30 player according to Rivals.com, score-for-score in the season opener on Dec. 1. He could get more local eyes on him if he takes over the game Friday against the Cadets.
3. Is Woodlan a threat in the ACAC?
With a victory on Friday, the Warriors will match their victory total for a year ago, six. That is the same amount of games the program won the three seasons before that. In other words, hoops is on the rise in Woodburn. Coach Dave Randall has a strong core in Jaylin Bennett, Corbin Evans and Shawn McGettigan, a trio that can match up with anyone in the league. However, Woodlan's five victories have come against teams with a combined six wins. A win on the road against a solid foe in Adams Central on Friday could make more believers in a program that has not finished above .500 in a season in 15 years.
4. What about Huntington North?
Some people questioned former Whitko coach Rob Irwin when he took the job with the Vikings, wondering how he was going to not only compete in the NCC, but also deal with some of the off-the-court distractions that have plagued the last few coaches who held the position. So far, so good with Irwin, who has the Vikings at 3-2 heading into their first league game on Friday, a tough one at Richmond. Huntington North may not beat the Red Devils, but the improvement on the court has been an obvious one.
5. Is New Haven's offense as potent as its stats represent?
Before we get excited about the Bulldogs' 85 ppg average, remember that they have played just two games so far. Even so, if New Haven can stay close to that average long term, it will be a very tough out not just in the NHC, but the state tournament as well. As of Thursday, the Bulldogs rank No. 2 in the state in scoring average, trailing just Indianapolis Marshall (87.25). Still a long way to go, but a storyline worth keeping an eye on heading into New Haven's game at Bellmont on Friday.