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This year's SWIAC boys race should be wide open

Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2010, at 2:02 PM

White River Valley boys basketball coach J.B. Neill issues commands to his team during action from last year. Neill, along with Shakamak coach Steve Brett, says this year's SWIAC race is wide open. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
There may not be total agreement between any two basketball coaches at any one time during the season, but White River Valley head coach J.B. Neill and Shakamak head coach Steve Brett do agree on one thing -- this year's Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference race will likely be as tight as any we've seen in recent years.

Both coaches agree that Eastern Greene is the early season favorite to win the SWIAC. With the majority of their team back from last year, the Thunderbirds appear above the rest for right now.

"Conference-wise I would say Eastern is the early season favorite with everybody they have back," Brett said.

But there are more than the Thunderbirds and everyone else in the SWIAC this year. And from an outsiders perspective at least, there appears to be a preseason order.

Eastern Greene and Linton-Stockton appear to be at the top of the order early, with Shakamak, White River Valley and North Daviess grouped in the middle and followed closely by North Central, Union (Dugger), Clay City and Bloomfield.

"Linton, they've got some experience because those kids played last year," Neill said. "But everyone else is about like us, they've got a lot of questions to answer."

Brett sums up the conference by noting that only the Thunderbirds have a large amount of experience.

"Linton will be in the hunt for sure, they'll be much improved over last year," he said. "WRV and ourselves and North Central all had some good seniors graduate."

But Brett doesn't believe that will leave a void in the conference talent pool. He says every squad will likely have just enough coming back to make things very interesting.

"North Central's got some kids back and WRV's got a kid or two back," Brett said. "We've got one or to back, Clay City's got some back from last year and I'm sure they'll be much better than they were last year, Vance (Edmondson) will do a good job with them."

When asked about whether it's a good or bad thing to have most teams in a conference as close as they seem, Neill responds by saying "that's high school basketball."

The tight race will shrink further when you consider the two apparent conference top dogs will both be in another sectional, leaving the class A tourney a coin toss as the season opens.

"I think the sectional is pretty wide open," Brett said. "Right now I don't think there's any clear cut favorite. It's early but it could change next week."

Rick is a sport writer with the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 or by E-mail at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.

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Do you know why Bosh and LeBron went to Miami? They weren't good enough to play at Eastern . . .

-- Posted by acutabove on Tue, Nov 23, 2010, at 7:42 AM

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