There are 10 boys basketball teams from the City League and AV-CTL leagues that are playing this week, and each of them can win a state championship Saturday.
Here are facts and stats to back each team’s claim at state:
Class 6A - Derby
The Panthers put together one of the most dominant sub-state tournaments across the state. Derby beat Junction City by 42 in the opening round and Garden City by 25 in the final.
Derby has one of the most consistent offenses across the top four classifications. The Panthers scored 90 against Newton, and its season-low 58 against McPherson is the highest season-low point total from Class 4A-Division II up.
Derby scored 66.7 points per game against teams that were sub-state finalists, the highest average among the Class 6-4A state qualifiers.
Class 6A - South
South is the only team to beat a No. 1 seed among all boys and girls sub-state tournaments in Classes 6 and 5A this season. The Titans beat top-seeded Southeast 54-45 in overtime to clinch their spot in the state tournament.
South is tied for second among Class 6A qualifiers in scoring margin in all games compared with margins against sub-state finalists this season. The Titans’ scoring margin only goes down 2.4 points per game against the teams that have played in March.
Momentum and poise are on South’s side, and that might be enough to progress through the bracket.
Class 5A - Eisenhower
One of Kansas’ most potent offense comes out of Eisenhower.
The Tigers have the highest single-game point total among all state qualifiers from the four largest classes, scoring 96 against Maize South on Feb. 13. Eisenhower has the top scoring offense in Class 5A.
The Tigers have a hill to climb though. The senior class hasn’t made it past the second round of the state tournament despite a 44-4 record in the past two seasons. Eisenhower enters as the No. 1 seed in 2018.
Class 5A - Heights
Salina Central has the best statistical defense in Class 5A, but Heights is not far behind.
At 47.9 points per game, the Falcons are second in opponents’ points per game among Class 5A qualifiers. But above all, Heights is consistent. Without a 30-point scorer on the roster, Heights has learned to spread the ball and be patient with its possessions.
The Falcons haven’t gotten too high or too low despite winning the City League this season, and that led them to a No. 3 seed in the state tournament.
Heights is looking to win its second state title in four years.
Class 5A - Carroll
Few teams in Kansas were better in the second half of the season than the Eagles.
Carroll went 13-1 starting with the City League/AV-CTL Challenge on Jan. 12. The Eagles played Arkansas City at Koch Arena and won 56-53 after a buzzer-beater was waved off.
They haven’t gone untested either. The Eagles’ six wins against teams that are sub-state champions are the most among all qualifiers in Kansas’ top four classes.
Much like Heights, Carroll has been consistent. The Eagles average 1.9 more points against sub-state finalists and champions than their season average. Only four other state qualifiers in Kansas’ top four classes are positive in that category. Ark City is one of them.
Class 5A - Salina Central
Class 5A’s state tournament will feature perhaps Kansas’ best defense.
The Mustangs held seven teams to their season-low scoring output this season. Maize was one of them. After losing to the Eagles twice, Salina Central beat Maize 40-30 in the sub-state final.
Eisenhower was another to post a season-low against Central. Although the Tigers won 48-46, they didn’t score in the 40s in any other game this season.
If Central can find its three-point stride, it proves to be a tough opponent as a No. 6 seed.
Class 4A-Division I - McPherson
The Bullpups met Miege once this season and lost 48-46 on the road. Playing in Salina for a state title could be a different story.
History shows there is little reason to believe the Class 4A-Division I final won’t be McPherson and Miege again. They have met in the final the past two years, and McPherson hasn’t lost at state to anyone other than Miege since 2012.
McPherson has the widest average margin of victory among state qualifiers in Classes 6-4A at 27.3 points per game.
Class 4A-Division I - Andover Central
Statistically, the Jaguars are at the top of the class.
Andover Central scored more and allowed fewer points to sub-state finalists than Miege. Its three wins against state qualifiers are the same amount Miege has. And against sub-state finalists, the Jaguars went 5-0.
Andover Central played 14 games against Class 5 and 6A teams this season and went 12-2, including a 70-61 win against Derby. Miege played the same number against higher competition and finished the season with one more loss in those games.
Class 4A-Division I - Arkansas City
Carroll and Ark City have extremely similar resumes.
Both entered their City League/AV-CTL Challenge matchup 4-4. Since, Carroll has lost once. The Bulldogs are undefeated.
For the first time in school history, Ark City swept Eisenhower. The Bulldogs were the only team Eisenhower lost to during the regular season.
Ark City has hard-to-match size with three of its five top scorers standing at least 6-foot-1. Add in point guard Cevin Clark, who averages 22 points, and the Bulldogs become hard to defend.
Ark City is one of two Class 4A-Division I qualifiers to increase its points per game in games against sub-state finalists.
Class 4A-Divison II - Andale
Andale might have already played the class’ second-best team.
The Indians won one of two one-point sub-state finals with a 40-39 overtime victory over top-seeded Trinity Academy.
The Indians are the only state qualifier in the top four classes to allow fewer than 40 points per game at 37.3 on average. They allow the fewest points to sub-state finalists, too, at 42.2 points per game.
Andale enters as the tournament’s No. 2 seed behind 21-1 Holcomb. Trinity beat Holcomb by 19 early this season.