A look at the Class 1A and 2A boys basketball playoffs in the metro-east:
Class 1A Lebanon Regional
Top seeds: (1) Okawville (22-7), (2) Gibault (20-8), (3) New Athens (12-11), (4) Lovejoy (10-14)
Pick: Too close to call, only shock would be if someone other than Okawville or Gibault wins
Could challenge: New Athens, because of its big forwards.
Comment: Okawville beat Gibault in the lone head-to-head matchup and both teams play extremely strong schedules. There's always a chance for injury or upset, but these are clearly the strongest teams here.
Class 1A Bunker Hill Regional
Top seeds: (1) Madison (14-9), (2) Carrollton, (3) Hardin Calhoun, (4) Metro-East Lutheran (14-14)
Could challenge: Carrollton
Comment: Madison's schedule should prepare it for anything and with the possible exceptional of a gritty Carrollton squad pulling the upset, the Trojans should advance.
Class 2A Mater Dei Regional
Top seeds: (1) Mater Dei (18-9), (2) Central (20-8), (3) Carlyle (20-8), (4) Wesclin (11-16)
Pick: Also too close to call, just like it is every year in this regional. Mater Dei has the easier road, but even with a semifinal win will have to face Central or Carlyle.
Could challenge: Mater Dei has superior size, Central plays the best defense and Carlyle got hot at the end of the season and is playing its best basketball. Wesclin can never be counted out with its 3-point shooting ability.
Class 2A Nashville Regional
Top seeds: (1) Nashville (20-7), (2) Pinckneyville (18-10), (3) Sparta (14-13), (4) Du Quoin (2-24)
Could challenge: Winner of the Pinckneyville-Sparta semifinal.
Comment: Nashville's combination of size and defense should help overcome its typical lack of a 3-point threat. Hornets aren't unbeatable, but they are at home and that helps a lot.
-- Norm Sanders