I will try and improve on last year’s 75 percent mark by taking a crack at Northern Indiana and Northern Lakes Conference games during the regular season. Records are from 2016-17 season unless indicated.
Concord (8-15) at Prairie Heights (2-21): The Minutemen rolled to a 58-34 win over Prairie Heights last season. Senior Grant Magnuson tallied 169 points for Concord last year. Sophomore Mike Perkins averaged eight points a game for the Panthers. Matt’s pick: Concord 52, Prairie Heights 48.
Northridge (13-10) at Elkhart Central (North Side Gym): The Blazers slipped past Northridge, 57-55, a year ago. Senior Connor Utley is back after tallying 11.9 points a contest for the Raiders. Junior Ryan Charles comes over from Elkhart Christian where he netted 231 points a season ago. Matt’s pick: Northridge 56, Elkhart Central 51.
Riley (19-3) at LaPorte (19-7): The Slicers handed Riley its first loss in 2016-17 with a 95-85 overtime victory. Senior Shamar Dilliard recorded 11.5 points per contest for the Wildcats. Sophomore Garrott Ott-Large averaged 8.8 points for LaPorte before going down with a knee injury. Eric Brand takes over Mark Johnson at Riley, while Kyle Benge replaces Tom Wells at LaPorte. Matt’s pick: Riley 76, LaPorte 65.
Wawasee (6-18) at Fairfield (13-13): The Warriors handed Fairfield a 48-39 loss last year. Senior Trevon Coleman scored an average of 13.3 points a game for Wawasee. Senior Luke Stephens returns after pouring in 16.8 points a game for the defending Class 3A sectional Falcons. Matt’s pick: Fairfield 45, Wawasee 42.
Argos (15-9) at Bremen (8-17): The Dragons cruised to a 57-36 win against Bremen a season ago. Junior Luke VanderWeele averaged 5.2 points a contest for Argos. Senior Jacob Strehler scored 12 points a game for the Lions. Matt’s pick: Bremen 53, Argos 50.
Carroll (Fort Wayne) (13-10) at Adams (21-5): The Eagles soared past Carroll, 75-66, last season. Senior Riley Perlich netted 10.2 points a game for the Chargers. Senior Rico Swanson Jr. tallied 113 points last year for Adams. Matt’s pick: Carroll 64, Adams 61.
Elkhart Memorial (11-12) at Mishawaka (9-14): The Cavemen needed overtime to post a 59-53 win against Elkhart Memorial a year ago. Junior Hank Smith scored an average of 11.7 points a game for the Chargers. Senior John Binion finished with 406 points for Mishawaka. Ron Hecklinski takes over for Ryan Watson at Mishawaka. Matt’s pick: Mishawaka 57, Elkhart Memorial 53.
Lakeland (8-16) at NorthWood (21-3): The Panthers earned a pair of victories against Lakeland a season ago by counts of 60-49 and 78-35. Senior Cameron Bontrager helped the Lakers with a 16.5 scoring average. Senior Caleb Lung scored 9.5 points a contest for NorthWood. Nick Burlingame replaced Scott LaPlace as the top man at Lakeland. Matt’s pick: NorthWood 61, Lakeland 52.
Plymouth (15-10) at Glenn (8-15): The Pilgrims went to overtime to come away with a 60-53 win over Glenn. Junior Clay Hilliard netted 10 points a game for Plymouth. Junior Zac Mago had a 13.5 scoring average for the Falcons. Matt’s pick: Plymouth 62, Glenn 57.
Warsaw (18-10) at Tippecanoe Valley (10-14): The Tigers breezed past Tippecanoe Valley, 75-27, in their last meeting. Senior Zach Riley will look to improve on his 2.1 points per game average for Warsaw. Sophomore Tanner Trippiedi finished with 97 points last season for the Vikings. Chad Patrick replaces his father, Bill Patrick, as the man in charge at Tippecanoe Valley. Matt’s pick: Warsaw 55, Tippecanoe Valley 49.
Clay (7-16) at LaPorte (0-1): The Slicers won twice against Clay last season by scores of 81-58 and 61-58. The Colonials are looking for their first winning campaign since going 14-9 in the 2012-13 season. Carson Crass finished with 11 points in LaPorte’s 89-38 loss to Riley. Matt’s pick: Clay 60, LaPorte 57.
Fairfield (1-0) at Goshen (15-10): The Falcons slipped by Goshen, 49-45, a year ago. Peyton Faldoe contributed 14 points in Fairfield’s 52-27 victory over Wawasee. Senior Will Line is back for the RedHawks after averaging 13.3 points per game. Matt’s pick: Fairfield 59, Goshen 54.
Lake Central (0-1) at Washington (10-13): The Indians were a 46-39 winner over Washington a season ago. Justin Graciano netted 32 points in Lake Central’s 78-74 loss to Andrean. Senior Cory McKinney tallied 13.4 points per contest for the Panthers. Ryan Varga takes over for Chad Johnston at Washington. Matt’s pick: Lake Central 66, Washington 57.
Michigan City (19-7) at Concord (1-0): The Wolves cruised to a 66-26 victory over Concord last year. Senior William Hanyard managed only 13 points for Michigan City last season. Drew McDougle scored 15 points for the Minutemen in their 64-60 overtime victory over Prairie Heights. Matt’s pick: Concord 53, Michigan City 49.
New Prairie (12-12) at Plymouth (1-0): The Cougars dropped a 60-45 contest against Plymouth in their last meeting. Senior Bryce Bloode finished with 319 points for New Prairie last season. Benji Nixon chipped in eight points in the Pilgrims’ 46-35 win at Glenn. Matt’s pick: Plymouth 50, New Prairie 41.
Saint Joseph (8-15) at NorthWood (1-0): The Panthers clawed their way to 68-60 win over Saint Joseph last year. Senior Brady Powers tallied 195 points for the Indians a season ago. Caleb Glick recoded 12 points on NorthWood’s 69-52 triumph over Lakeland. Matt’s pick: NorthWood 61, Saint Joseph 55.
Warsaw (1-0) at Columbia City (0-1): The Tigers posted a 62-41 win against Columbia City during the 2016-17 campaign. Nolan Groninger scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead Warsaw to a 51-44 win at Tippecanoe Valley. The Eagles are looking to rebound from a 46-40 loss to Whitko. Matt’s pick: Warsaw 47, Columbia City 45.
Westview (1-0) at Northridge (1-0): The Warriors earned a 59-47 victory over Northridge last season. Charlie Yoder came up with 28 points in Westview’s 82-36 win at Bethany Christian. Jackson Erickson contributed 17 points in the Raiders’ 66-54 win over Elkhart Central. Matt’s pick: Westview 64, Northridge 59.