State of New Mexico is on notice.
Throw away your preconceived notions about what to expect at the state basketball tournament, because you’re going to be wrong. Count on it.
The landscape across the state — be it Class AAAAA or AA, boys or girls — indicates that March will be full of surprises. January and February have been full of them already.
Who saw Albuquerque Sandia being able to beat the mighty La Cueva Bears on Tuesday?
What about Bosque School handing Laguna-Acoma its first AA loss on the same day?
Oh, and did you hear that Las Vegas Robertson — that’s 9-11 Las Vegas Robertson — went to Sandia Preparatory and beat the Sundevils? The same Sundevils who beat Eldorado, the defending AAAAA champion, in late January?
Closer to home, thanks to Española Valley’s win over Bernalillo on Wednesday, District 2AAAA has a three-way tie for first among the Sundevils, the Spartans and the Capital Jaguars.
That’s just the boys side.
The girls are full of plot twists and turns that will make you scratch your head. In AAAAA, Clovis is ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps.com but it’s lone loss is to No. 3 Hobbs, who has a loss to No. 2 Las Cruces Mayfield and to AAA’s No. 1 team Hope Christian. The Lady Huskies own a loss to Eldorado, which beat Hobbs last weekend. Got that?
And don’t even start with AAAA and District 6AAAA. It houses the de-facto No. 1 Los Lunas, which is unscathed so far in district play. District foes No. 4 Gallup, No. 7 Valencia, No. 8 Miyamura and No. 11 Grants all have at least two losses.
District 2AAA is another fine mess, as three teams (Raton, West Las Vegas, Pojoaque Valley) are all 2-2, with Taos at 2-1 and Robertson at 1-2. Had the Taos-Robertson game not been snowed out last week, there’s chance that the district could have had a five way tie for first. And last.
While this head-spinning game of one-upsmanship is wonderful so far this season, it could mean nothing when March commences. But the variety of upsets seem to indicate one thing: seeding is not as important as matchups. Last year’s AAAA bracket was a prime example as the top four seeds were gone by the semifinals.
Coaches can talk about controlling their own destiny during the regular season, but they might be wringing their hands raw at the sight what their teams will have to battle when the bracket is announced on March 3.
All these losses show that there is plenty of parity to spread around in each class — some more than others, mind you. Arguments — good ones, even — can be made that seven or eight teams in some classes (AAAAA boys and girls, AAAA girls and boys, plus AA boys, to name a few) have a legitimate shot at hoisting the blue trophy come the final weekend in The Pit.
That gives hope to plenty of schools in the state, even in those places where it might seem that hope is faint.
So the scent of excitement and fear reeks from a lot of gyms and locker rooms.
You’ve been warned. Just be ready.