Note: Win a $50 Amazon gift card by participating in the 2A Girls Deseret News Hoops Picks contest. The contest closes on Saturday at 9 a.m.
When the first round of the 2A boys basketball state tournament gets under way this Saturday at Snow College, the majority of the teams know exactly what they're getting into.
Of the eight first round games, six are rematches of regular season games. Only one of those six games was decided by single digits, and Waterford coach Reid Monson doesn't expect anything less when his team faces Gunnison again at 1:30 p.m.
"They're a great team. They're tough, they're physical, they've got guard play and good big guys," said Monson, whose team beat Gunnison 50-43 back on Jan. 4. "They've won a lot of quality games, and they've been in almost every they've played in this year."
Waterford (14-5) vs. Gunnison (12-8) is the only game of the day pitting teams with winning records.
The eight winners advance to the next phase of the 2A state tournament in Richfield next Thursday-Saturday. Top-ranked South Sevier is the team to beat, no question, but Wasatch Academy, Manti, South Summit and Waterford are among those itching at a shot to dethrone the champs.
Even though the first round of the 2A tournament is this weekend, in some respects the playoff atmosphere doesn't really get under way until the tournament shifts to the Sevier Valley Center next week.
"State is what everyone's playing for. Everybody wants a chance to keep their season alive for one more week. I've been in the equation of getting to the championship game and the equation where we've been upset and don't get to go down there at all," said Monson.
For Waterford and the other seven favorites, this first weekend is all about taking care of business to set the stage for next week's quarterfinals.
Another intriguing opening round game is North Sevier (7-12) vs. South Summit (10-11) at 6:30 p.m. North Sevier dominated the first meeting with a 60-43 win, but the Wildcats are playing much better since as they captured the Region 14 title and are arguably the favorite in the rematch.
Saturday's two games that aren't regular season rematches are San Juan (7-11) vs. Beaver (12-7) at 10:30 a.m. and Enterprise (10-11) vs. Emery (10-9) at 8 p.m. Both figure to be competitive match-ups.
The other four games involve the top four teams in 2A, and all are rematches of lopsided previous meetings.
No. 2 Manti (14-6) kicks off the day at 9 a.m. against North Summit (9-11). No. 1 South Sevier (20-1) is in action at noon against Parowan (4-17).
No. 4 Richfield (14-6) takes the court at 3:30 p.m. against Millard (8-10), with No. 3 Wasatch Academy (18-2) immediately following against Rowland Hall (6-16) at 5 p.m.