1. Can Ottawa-Glandorf make a long tournament run?
The Titans have almost everyone back from a team that lost to Elida in the semifinals of the Division II district at Ohio Northern last season and finished 21-3. O-G puts pressure on opponents offensively and defensively. Scoring over 90 points is not unusual for the Titans in an era when those kind of offensive numbers are rare.
Players and coaches will tell you it’s one game at a time, but fans don’t operate under similar restraints. Many of them might be looking ahead to a possible matchup against Archbold in a regional semifinal game as a key to how far Ottawa-Glandorf can go in the tournament.
2. Is there another another high stakes Lima Senior-Toledo St. John’s tournament matchup on the horizon?
Lima Senior beat the Titans by one point in a district championship game in 2016 on its way to the state tournament and won by 21 points in a regional semifinal in 2015.
The Spartans don’t have the gaudy record they had those two seasons, but if the tournament seeding holds up, they could see St. John’s again in a district championship game. Lima Senior is the second-highest seed (No. 7) after St. John’s (No. 1) in the Toledo 1 district. Seeds No. 2 through No. 6 are in the Toledo 2 district and apparently wanted no part of Three Rivers Athletic Conference champion St. John’s.
3. Can Pandora-Gilboa make a long tournament run?
The Rockets made history by winning the Putnam County League and the Blanchard Valley Conference in the same season for the first time. If they would make it all the way to Columbus, it would be the first time in school history and would mean every current PCL team had played in a boys state basketball tournament.
4. Can Crestview make a long tournament run?
The Knights were district runner-up to Delphos St. John’s last year, and many of the players on last year’s roster are back this year.
After a somewhat slow start when it lost three of its first seven games, Crestview has played at a high level. It is the No. 1 seed in the Elida district, but two of those early losses came to teams in that district, Ottoville and Fort Jennings. It could face one of those teams in the district, along with Delphos St. John’s and rivals Lincolnview and Wayne Trace.
5. Will the OHSAA’s competitive balance regulations have an effect on the tournament in their first year?
Six of the eight teams in last year’s boys state championship games were private schools. Four of those have been moved up a division this year.
Last year’s Division IV finalists, Cleveland Lutheran East and The Wellington School, are in Division III this year. Last year’s Division III finalists, Cincinnati Roger Bacon and Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph, are now in Division II.
Division II state champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary is still in that division, and Division I runner-up Cincinnati Moeller remained in Division I.
6. Will this year’s Mr. Basketball also win a state championship?
There has been only one time in the last 10 years that Ohio’s Mr. Basketball played for a team that won the state title, and that was nine years ago when Jared Sullinger led Columbus Northland to the 2009 Division I state championship.
Lima Senior’s Xavier Simpson (2016), Columbus Northland’s Trey Burke (2011) and Toledo Libbey’s William Buford (2008) played on state runner-up teams in that time frame.
7. Will we see a running clock in a tournament game? Or, maybe more likely, when will we see it?
The Ohio High School Athletic Association has approved a running clock if a team falls behind by 35 points for tournament games this year. If the lead drops below 30 points, the clock reverts to normal.
8. Will there be a shock the world type upset?
The truly stunning tournament upsets are sort of like an erratic comet. They come around every few years, but there is no predicting exactly when they will appear.
Huge upsets seem to have become more rare in recent years, though.
9. Who gets the Buy Some New Michelins and Check The Oil Award for driving the farthest for a first-round sectional game?
Toledo Scott wins the prize with a 79-mile trip to play Shawnee at Lima Senior in a Division II game.
10. How hard is it to predict who will win a state championship?
Whoever you are, it’s not easy to win a state championship. Five of the best northwest Ohio boys basketball coaches ever — Bob Arnzen, Dick Kortokrax, Ed Heintschel, Ron Niekamp and Bob Seggerson — coached a total of 24 teams in the boys state basketball tournament. They all had great players. They won the championship three times. It’s not easy.