Sarachek Preview Panel Predictions
Sarachek is just 2 days away and with that we decided it is time to get some predictions for the upcoming matchups on Thursday. Before each day we will post an article with the predictions for that day's games.
North Shore vs Fuchs Mizrachi
Ari Schopf (AS): Coming off a dominant Championship win in the Yeshiva League, North Shore may struggle early in this one and fall behind against a good and physical Fuchs Mizrachi team. North Shore will rally in the second half and win by 5.
Akiva Poppers (AP): North Shore has some trouble with Mizrachi’s man-to-man and motion offense, but their length propels them to a second half comeback. The Lions give up a season-high 60 points, but escape with a narrow win.
Oren Glickman (OG): The time slot was always interesting based on what kind of spot North Shore would be in on the heels of the Yeshiva League Championship in the same gym a few days prior. Now we know North Shore easily dispatched Frisch by over 20 and the season is already considered a success after completing an unbeaten season in YL play. I think Fuchs come out as the more hungry side and you may see them on top through large portions of the game. They won’t be able to close though. North Shore rallies and wins by 5.
Katz vs Ida Crown:
AS: Ida Crown makes a statement that they are deserving to be mentioned amongst the top teams in this tournament. Behind great performances from Okner and Wortman, the Aces maintain a comfortable lead throughout this game. Ida Crown by 14.
AP: The Storm come out on fire, ready to prove that last Sarachek was an anomaly, but the Aces quickly respond, take the lead before the 1st quarter comes to an end, and don’t look back. ICJA by 10.
OG: I feel like this is a black box matchup for the average Jewish basketball fan. Rumor has it Ida Crown felt they were deserving of a higher seed. Katz are probably just happy to be back in Tier 1. I’ll take the Aces by 13.
DRS vs Magen David
AS: Magen David controls the tempo for the majority of the game behind a stifling defensive performance. DRS makes a late rally with the help of their full court press, but it is too little too late. Magen David by 8.
AP: I think MDY is the better team, and both squads are extremely well coached. However, I’ll take a well-rested DRS to win the season rubber match by 3, because if this game comes down to the wire, the pressure will be on Magen David as the favorite. Fan turnout could be a major factor here; it is unclear whether or not the Greenhouse will be in full effect.
OG: Two teams that are extremely familiar with each other. Not common you get division rivals meeting on opening day at Sarachek. They split the regular season series. Magen are still reeling from their tough playoff loss to Frisch in the semifinals while DRS lost a round earlier at SAR. I think DRS come into this game more motivated than Magen David does. Wildcats by 4.
Maimonides vs YULA
AS: YULA is coming off a down year last season. In this game they redeem themselves with a comfortable win and put themselves in a position to make a run in Tier 1. YULA by 9.
AP: A rematch of last year’s 19th Place Game. I’m not certain there is as big of a gap between these teams as the seeds may indicate. Both teams are older and better than last season. YULA played a weaker schedule this year than last year, which may create a false sense of confidence. Weinstock scores 20. M-Cats pull the upset.
OG: Every game has a storyline. This’ll be all about Ed Gelb coaching against YULA. YULA are considered “back” after an off year last year, but are still in the shadow of Shalhevet and Valley Torah. Maimo has some very unique pieces. We know every opening game for YULA is considered a home game for them. I think the M-Cats pull it out through Spira, Gewurz, and Weinstock. Maimo by 7.
Berman vs Frisch
AS: I am very confident that the Cougars will win this game.
AP: This could be the best game of day 1. It is hard to come back from a Championship game loss. Berman is tough and will respond to every Frisch punch; neither team will hold a double-digit lead all game. The Berman Cougars hold Zelenetz and Schiffman to 19 combined points, but the Frisch Cougars escape with a 3-point win on the backs of a 30-point Zakheim performance.
OG: Feeling upset potential here as well. Berman are a tough as nails team led by Asher Falk (PVAC player of the year) with a solid entourage of Epstein and August behind him. Zakheim will always provide his 20+ points for Frisch (as we saw even in the championship blowout loss to North Shore). But will he get the help? My gut says Zakheim shows up as always but the rest of his teammates are not mentally ready to respond after that championship loss. Berman by 8.
MTA vs Shalhevet:
AS: The star power of the Shalhevet Firehawks will prove to be too much for MTA to handle. Shalhevet will jump out to a big lead in the first half and never look back. Shalhevet by 24.
AP: Flying 3000 miles and playing a home team is not easy. MTA jumps out to an early lead, but it evaporates by the beginning of quarter #2. The Firehawks will only be up single digits at halftime, but will win by almost 30.
OG: This game is over before it even started- Firehawks may break a record for biggest Sarachek blowout win ever in a Tier 1 game.
Mekor Chaim vs SAR:
AS: This will be the game of the day. The first half will be a low scoring defensive battle with neither team finding any offensive rhythm. In the second half both offenses will find their groove and provide an exciting back and forth end to this game. Mekor Chaim will convert a go ahead basket with under 1 minute left. Mekor Chaim by 2.
AP: I will be on the YMC sideline so I’ll abstain.
OG: This is a conflict of interest for me. Coach Katz is a close personal friend and therefore it would be inappropriate for me to make a prediction. I will echo the sentiments of Ari. A classic 12/5 matchup upset trap (though that was not the case in March Madness this year with 5 seeds all winning). This will be the matchup of the day and could go down to the final possession of the game.
TABC vs Valley Torah
AS: TABC jumps out to an early lead in the first quarter led by strong play from Netanel Benloulou. Valley Torah locks in defensively and retakes a lead by the end of the second quarter. Valley Torah dominates the second half behind excellent play from Johnny Dan and Noam Mayouhas and the Wolfpack pressure defense gives TABC trouble. Valley Torah by 16.
AP: Ready to flip the script on their first half struggles from last Sarachek, Valley Torah pounces on early TABC turnovers and jumps out to a 10-point lead. Benloulou finally gets going in the third quarter and things get a little interesting, but the Wolfpack regain their composure and emerge victorious by 18.
OG: A rematch of last year’s Tier 1 semifinal matchup where it looked as though TABC could knock off Valley Torah at one point. I don’t think there’s any room for optimism this time around. Benloulou can only do so much on his own. Dan and Mayouhas will pour it on early. Maybe you see List even score in double figures too. Valley Torah by 20+.
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