Staff writer Scott Ericson takes a look at this month’s CIAC girls basketball tournaments.
Overview: This is as wide open as Class LL has been in some time with any number of teams capable of getting to the championship.
This year lacks the dominant team or teams like Norwalk or New London who everyone will pencil into the finals.
Instead, we have a field of high-quality teams, many of whom could end up at Mohegan Sun, if they get hot.
No. 1 Staples has no guarantees of a spot with a potential second round matchup with No. 16 Wilbur Cross and possible quarterfinal opponents No. 8 Glastonbury and No. 9 Southington, both of which spent time in the GametimeCT Top 10, this season.
On the same side of the bracket, No. 4 NFA and No. 5 Trumbull are looming but both of them could face stiff tests as early as the second round.
On the other side are last year’s finalists No. 3 New London and No. 7 Norwalk as well as FCIAC champion No. 14 Ridgefield and SCC champion, No. 19 Hamden.
No. 2 Newtown is also in the bottom of that draw.
Seeded upsets on the horizon?: No. 18 Ludlowe over No. 15 East Hartford; In the second round, Hamden or Ridgefield over No. 3 New London and No. 12 Conard over No. 5 Trumbull.
The final four: No. 1 Staples, No. 4 NFA, No. 2 Newtown, No. 19 Hamden
Overview: Can any team stop No. 1 Notre Dame-Fairfield?
The best shot might come from potential semifinal opponent, No. 4 Hand.
On the bottom of the draw, No. 2 St. Paul wants to be the first NVL team in a state final since Holy Cross made it in 2017. A very tough No. 7 Wethersfield team could be waiting in the quarterfinals for St. Paul.
On that same side, No. 3 Newington is staring at a potential second round game with CCC tournament champions No. 14 E.O. Smith.
Seeded upsets on the horizon?: No. 20 Wilton over No. 13 Suffield; In the second round, No. 14 E.O. Smith over Newington
The final four: No. 1 Notre Dame-Fairfield; No. 4 Hand; No. 7 Wethersfield; No. 14 E.O. Smith
Champion: Notre Dame-Fairfield
Overview: The newly formed Class MM is a mix of smaller schools from larger conferences and larger schools from smaller conferences. It all makes for an interesting tournament.
No. 1 Berlin has plenty of company in a very competitive bracket.
Starting with a potential second round game against No. 16 Law out of the SCC.
No. 4 Bacon Academy could play a hot No. 13 New Fairfield team in the second round.
Reigning Class L champion No. 18 Hillhouse are looming as a potential second round matchup for No. 2 Nonnewaug.
The bottom pod is loaded with No. 3 Sheehan, No. 14 St. Joseph, CCC runner-up No. 6 East Catholic and SCC runner-up No. 11 East Haven.
Seeded upsets on the horizon?: No. 18 Hillhouse over No. 15 Ellington; No. 25 Brookfield over No. 8 Bullard-Havens; In the second round, No. 11 East Haven over No. 6 East Catholic; No. 18 Hillhouse over No. 2 Nonnewaug
The final four: No. 1 Berlin, No. 4 Bacon Academy, No. 18 Hillhouse, No. 3 Sheehan
Overview: Class M might sneak up on everyone as the best tournament on the girls side with competitive matchups all over the place.
No. 1 Abbott Tech will need to deal with No. 16 SMSA in the second round and if they can survive that, could get No. 8 Woodland or No. 9 Cromwell in the quarterfinals.
Cromwell won Class M a year ago and is ready to defend.
Also in the field is No. 2 Canton, the Class S runner-up last season; Shoreline runner-up No. 6 Morgan; NVL champions No. 3 Holy Cross and a dangerous No. 12 seed in Bassick.
Seeded upsets on the horizon?: In the second round, No. 12 Bassick over No. 5 Seymour; No. 10 Coginchaug over No. 7 Ansonia
The final four: No. 9 Cromwell, No. 4 Bloomfield, No. 2 Canton, No. 3 Holy Cross
Overview: The S field is quite watered down with 12 teams finishing with under a .400 winning percentage.
No. 1 East Hampton is the only team in any tournament with a bye after Terryville opted to not participate in the tournament.
No. 4 Windsor Locks looms as potential roadblock to Mohegan Sun for East Hampton. Do not sleep on No. 5 Shepaug, either.
No. 6 East Windsor is in the bottom of the draw along with No. 2 Putnam and No. 7 Thomaston.
Seeded upsets on the horizon?: No. 24 Derby over No. 9 Aerospace; No. 19 East Granby over No. 14 Windham Tech
The final four: No. 1 East Hampton, No. 4 Windsor Locks, No. 2 Putnam, No. 6 East Windsor
Champion: East Windsor