The bad news: For the second time this season, one of my five picks wasn’t even played. And the Slam Dunk was pushed back until Monday.
The good news: I can make up for the lost picks by predicting more games this week. That starts with the Slam Dunk.
Here’s a look at my quick prediction for how the week will unfold:
Tappan Zee vs. Middletown, 12 p.m. — It’s obviously very tough to compare these teams at the moment, although Middletown has beat both the John Jays, Cross River and East Fishkill. But Middleown is a quality Class AA school from Section 9 with plenty of size (senior captain Jose Canario is 6-7). It should present TZ with one of its toughest matchups of the season. PREDICTION:> Middletown 58, Tappan Zee 50.
Kennedy vs. Burke Catholic, 6 p.m. — Two of the best Class B teams of the last decade renew their rivalry for the first time since 2005. You know what happened then: a fight in the fourth quarter forced officials to stop the game. The final few minutes were replayed at a later date and Kennedy held on to win — with just four players! Times have changed since, with the Gaels moving up to Class A. Burke is still a B powerhouse, as evidenced by last season’s run to the state final. Kennedy coach Frank Kelly said he expects son Frankie, the team’s point guard, to return after missing the last two games with a back injury. Kennedy will need Kelly at his best to beat one of the state’s top small-school programs. PREDICTION: Burke Catholic 66, Kennedy 60.
Mount St. Michael vs. Peekskill, 8 p.m. — This is a challenging matchup for Peekskill, which still has growing pains to endure against a team that has done much of its growing. It will also present a good matchup between top off guards in Peter Aguilar and Shane Carter. PREDICTION: Mount 76, Peekskill 62.
Horace Greeley vs. Albany Academy, 6 p.m. — Albany Academy appears like an improved team from a season ago, having already won against teams it lost to. However, this is the same program that lost to Kennedy a season ago. That bodes well for Greeley, which has played like one of the area’s top teams so far. PREDICTION: Greeley 67, Albany Academy 62.
Stepinac vs. White Plains, 8 p.m. — Last season, this was one of the most dramatic games at the County Center. It was also one of the ugliest. White Plains won it in overtime, but it was Stepinac that developed into a championship caliber team as the season progressed. The Crusaders have dropped their last three games but have done so against better competition. They enter this meeting as the favorite. PREDICTION: Stepinac 58, White Plains 49.
Woodlands vs. Salesian, 12 p.m. — Salesian, at times, has played like one of the area’s top teams. It has the type of size and athleticism that will make for a very difficult matchup for Woodlands, which is expected to be without Davonne Henry yet again. PREDICTION: Salesian 63, Woodlands 49.
Harrison vs. Mahopac, 12 p.m. — After an unbeaten start that has included three white-knucklers, Mahopac will take its perfect record against a Harrison team that is probably better than its 3-3 mark. The Huskies have lost the three games by a combined nine points, including two by a point, one to Greeley in OT. This game is anyone’s and could be one of the week’s most competitive. PREDICTION: Mahopac 61, Harrison 58 (OT).
Since we don’t know the matchups for Wednesday and/or Thursday, I’ll just give you my quick picks based on my first round predictions:
Peekskill 72, Kennedy 68
White Plains 64, Albany Academy 59
Mount St. Michael 71, Burke Catholic 59
Stepinac 64, Horace Greeley 50
Last week: 3-1