Sunday , 22 April 2018

Mike Bruu: The Fourth-Place Battle, Lady Bulldog Basketball Dominance & ‘The Americans’

By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Editor

1. Oh, Super Bowl week. The one seven-day stretch of the season that talking about a team’s punt coverage situation to your buddy isn’t looked at as completely nerdy. I really do love Super Bowl week and everything that the week offers the die-hard fan like myself, but at a certain point a producer has to run out of topics to discuss on these preview shows. If someone can come up with eight and a half hours of pregame coverage on Sunday without repeating any segments, you will become my hero.

2. While the eyes of the country are firmly planted on New Orleans, don’t forget about the local sports topics that are occurring right here in our backyard. After the non-district portion of the season, both the McKinney High and McKinney Boyd boys basketball teams seemed poised to make a serious run at the District 10-5A championship. At the very least both teams were making the postseason, without question. Now with four games remaining in district play, both the Broncos and Lions are tied with the Plano Wildcats for fourth place in 10-5A at 1-5. The current standings look like such:

1. Plano East   6-0
2. Allen           5-1
3. Plano West  4-2
4. Boyd           1-5
4. McKinney   1-5

4. Plano           1-5

Plano East is the only school to have clinched a playoff berth thus far, while Allen can clinch a berth with a victory over McKinney High on Friday night. Plano West can also finalize its playoff plans with a win over Plano and a loss by Boyd or MHS on Friday. So inferring that East, Allen, and West all make the top four seeds, that leaves just one of the bottom three teams to sneak in and claim the fourth seed in 10-5A. Here are the opponents left for each school:

Boyd: vs. Plano East, @ MHS, vs. Plano West, @ Plano
MHS: @ Allen, vs. Boyd, @ Plano, @ Plano East
Plano: vs. Plano West, vs. Allen, vs. MHS, vs. Boyd

Just by looking at the future schedules for each school, you have to give a slight advantage to the Wildcats because of their last four games occurring at home (after starting the year off at home versus Plano East, Plano played five straight road district games). The good thing about the schedule is that all three schools will play one another so that the final spot will be settled on the court and not through scenarios involving other teams. Obviously the MHS-Boyd matchup at McKinney High on Feb. 5 will be the most anticipated matchup for either team down the stretch, but the team that can upset one of the top three seeds in the district will be the team to sneak into the playoffs comes Feb. 13.

3. When I break down the points scored by quarter in district play for the Broncos and Lions, you can start to understand why both teams have struggled to find wins recently. Boyd outscores opponents 88-65 in the second quarter and 79-59 in the third quarter, a total of 167-124. However, the Broncos have been outscored 86-62 in the first quarter and 97-62 in the fourth quarter and overtime, a total of 183-124. But while Boyd has at least had some success in quarters this district season, the Lions have been outscored in each quarter this season despite averaging at least 16 points per quarter. McKinney has been outscored 224-192 in the first half and 230-194 in the second half, and for a team that likes to play an up-and-down, fast tempo style of basketball mixed with a district filled with opportunistic defenses, it doesn’t surprise me that a Lions basketball game is in the 60’s and 70’s every night.

4. If you thought the drama was pretty intense on the boys side of 10-5A basketball, the girls side of the court might be too much for you to handle. With just two games remaining in the regular season for each team, the current standings look like so:

1. Plano                  8-0
2. Plano West         7-1
3. Plano East          3-5
4. Allen                  2-6
4. McKinney          2-6
4. McKinney Boyd 2-6

Plano and Plano West have secured playoff berths and will play one another this Friday night in one of the area’s most anticipated matchups. With essentially four teams vying for two open spots, here are the remaining games for each school:

Plano East: @ Boyd, vs. Plano West
Allen: vs. MHS, @ Plano
MHS: @ Allen, vs. Boyd
Boyd: vs. East, @ MHS

Out of the four teams remaining, you have to say that the Lionettes and Lady Broncos have the best opportunity to make the postseason because of the way the schedule plays out. Both teams have a game this Friday night versus a team they are tied with or one-game below, then the two teams will meet next Tuesday night at McKinney High for the season finale crosstown showdown.

Now I won’t get into the tiebreaker situations this week until Friday’s games are completed, but an early outlook on the standings could see a three-way tied after the last games are completed. Everyone should know by now that I love playoff scenarios.

5. The McKinney North Lady Bulldogs defeated Greenville 69-32 on Tuesday night, winning their 20th straight game in a row. The 13-4A champions have not lost a game since Nov. 29 versus Frisco Liberty in the Collin County Roundball Classic, an astonishing feat that includes a three-game sweep to win the Sherman Holiday Invitational, a 67-62 win over Plano, and leaves the Lady Bulldogs two wins away from sweeping district play. Since their 43-38 loss to Liberty, the Lady Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 1,224-827 during the winning streak, a difference of 397 points. While 13-4A certainly isn’t in the running for the state’s toughest district, the domination that North has put on display for the last three months is nothing short of remarkable. When you combine the scoring ability of Alexis Mason and the toughness of Chanterria Jackson, mixed with a bench that can contribute on both offense and defense, the Lady Bulldogs have the makeup to march on to a state championship appearance.

6. Programming note: National Signing Day is next Wednesday and TSB will be your home for everything you need to know about where McKinney’s favorite student-athletes will be playing their college ball! Follow me on Twitter @TSBSportsBruu for the latest Signing Day information as the day approaches.

7. High school baseball and softball have begun. While I will have a full preview for each team in the upcoming weeks, it is great to know that the sound of the ball hitting the bat is back once again.

8. My grade for FX’s new show The Americans? A-plus. Set in the 1980s during the Cold War, the show centers around a group of Soviet KGB officers who impersonate American citizens by getting thrown into a suburban life in which they know very little about. Like Breaking Bad and Dexter, the main “heroes” of the show are also shown in the same light as villains, causing the viewer to have a moral conflict within about whether or not to root for these characters. I love the tempo of the show and how it doesn’t throw shock after shock down your throat for effect (see The Following), but it does give you that anxious feeling as you watch it and keeps you entertained for the full hour. The Americans is definitely worth the DVR space.

9. Y.O.L.O by The Lonely Island featuring Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar is one of the greatest digital shorts I have ever laid eyes on. Pure genius in every way. Golf clap for you, Andy Samberg.

10. Quick Super Bowl 47 Pick: San Francisco over Baltimore 24-21, for anyone out there that cares at least. Oh, and listen to The Sports Bruu Podcast. Please and thank you.

11. I believe that about does it for this week. Whether you are rooting for New Orleans or Baltimore this weekend, remember this: predicting the winner and the score correctly doesn’t give you the right to brag the next day on Twitter, the halftime show is just Beyonce so plan your beer and food runs around that time, and most importantly, remind everyone in the room to shut up when the commercials come on. You can thank me later, McKinney. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.

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