So was last week a quiet week? You betcha. Perhaps among the quietest of the year. Four of the five games we picked were wiped out by snow, leaving only Thursday’s New Rochelle-Clarkstown South game, one we both lost by picking New Ro. Let’s hope the snow and ice stay away this week.
It should be worthwhile. Mount Vernon will travel to White Plains on Wednesday in a game that should hint at the competitiveness Class AA has (or doesn’t have) to offer.
(Note: We originally listed Mount Vernon-New Rochelle as one of the Games of the Week, but the game is scheduled for next Friday, Jan. 17—not this Friday. We will replace it with Tappan Zee-Pearl River.)
Now, here’s a look at our records this season and who we’re picking this week:
Josh: 19-4 (0-1 last week)
Dan: 17-6 (0-1 last week)
Rye Neck at Valhalla, 4:30 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Rye Neck, 55-43. These teams enter the game with just one loss between them, but this is a step up in class for Valhalla. Although the Vikings played Fox Lane tough, their best wins to date are probably against Hen Hud and Westlake. Rye Neck has a few more impressive results to lean on and should be a favorite here. They are the two favorites in their league, so the head-to-head series could very likely determine the league title.
Dan’s pick: Rye Neck, 57-49. Rye Neck’s Matt Franks has been consistently productive as just about any big man in the section. This team isn’t built around Franks, though. The Panthers have their far share of scoring threats. I think Rye Neck is just more of a complete team and will get a key league win on the road.
Mount Vernon at White Plains, 4:15 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Mount Vernon, 88-71. I’ve hemmed and hawed on this matchup since I first saw White Plains this season. The Tigers do have plenty of talent. In fact, they have several players Mount Vernon could use. The Knights are a bit challenged from the perimeter and overall in the skill department, but what they have in large supply (muscle) should be an antidote to the very things that make the Tigers dangerous. I think White Plains will struggle to protect the backboard and will see its shooters kept away from their desired spots on offense. I think Mike DeMello and Jordan Tucker will have to be awfully hot to keep it close because the Tigers won’t get many second chances to score.
Dan’s pick: Mount Vernon, 77-69. White Plains has had as good a start as you could possibly want. Still, I’m not sure the Tigers are at the Knights’ level just yet. Just like Josh said, the size difference is all too apparent. Brandon Martin, Yhanni Bartley and Marques Henry will be a match up nightmare for White Plains inside. The Tigers knack for getting into foul trouble could also become an issue. I think White Plains has the talent to possibly upset Mount Vernon, just not yet.
Pearl River at Tappan Zee, 4:30 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Tappan Zee, 55-50. This should be a typical Pearl River-Tappan Zee game. Both teams are solid, but not great, meaning winning in the other team’s gym will be very, very tough. I also think guys like Ryan McWilliams and Luke McLaughlin can help contain Kevin Degnan and force Pearl River’s role players to win the game. Expect it to be close late, and for TZ to win it at the line.
Dan’s pick: Tappan Zee, 60-54. Two very evenly matched teams. The Dutchies have been a bit more consistent this season than Pearl River. The Pirates offense has really clicked recently, though, posting 70-plus games in their last two outings. I think there is a very good chance these teams will split their series. Home-court advantage will definitely play a factor. I’ll give the Dutchies the advantage as they’ll be playing in their friendly confines.
Spring Valley at Clarkstown South, 7 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Spring Valley, 74-70. Very, very tough call. I really could see South earning a split with Spring Valley — and what better game to do it than a Friday night at home. The Vikings are unbeaten for a reason, you know, and they should have every chance to win here. But I think Spring Valley can win a number of ways, while I think it’ll take a shooting expedition by South to emerge victorious. With that in mind, the Tigers are the safe pick.
Dan’s pick: Spring Valley, 80-76. If you’ve followed my first two sets of rankings, you already know where I’m going with my pick. I just think the Tigers are a more talented team than the Vikings. Spring Valley is just too big and too athletic for Clarkstown South to match up with. The Vikings are a very talented team, and the fact this game is at Clarkstown South on a Friday night makes it that much harder to pick against them, but Spring Valley is just too good. The Tigers take an early lead on Clarkstown South in the battle for the league title.
New Rochelle vs. Eastchester in JDRF Hoops for a Cure at NewRoc City, 8 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: New Rochelle, 85-80. It could be tough playing a day after a matchup with rival Mount Vernon, but New Ro will have over 24 hours to recover. As long as their legs are under them, the Huguenots should have an advantage inside that will allow them to pound the glass against Eastchester. The Eagles will enjoy the bigger Monroe College court, but it’s not like New Ro is a stranger to playing in the open floor.
Dan’s pick: New Rochelle, 75-73. Eastchester’s performance at the Slam Dunk tournament was a bit frustrating. I think the Eagles are a talented group, but I was disappointed in their loss in the consolation game to Bedford Academy. New Rochelle proves to be an interesting match up as the Eagles’ Jack Daly and Benny Dimirco will once again face another talented back court. That, combined with the Huguenots; size, will be too much for Eastchester.
To view all of our picks for the Games of the Week so far this season, click on the “Predictions” tab on the homepage at varsityinsider.lohudblogs.com.