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Updated Tuesday night: Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament weather talk + my new columnPosted Wednesday, December 26, 2012, at 6:35 AM
I just spoke with Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament director Mitch Wood.
As expected, he said he and other officials are at a "wait and see" point with the weather right now and what it could mean for the tournament schedule.
Wood did not rule out making a decision about postponing tomorrow's Day 1 tonight. If he does wait until the morning to make a decision, it will be made no later than 6:30 a.m.
That's pretty much all of the relevant information for now. Wood ran through some of the scenarios for if the tournament gets pushed back a day with me, but nothing is settled 100 percent at this point. The biggest thing to note is that the Southeast men have a game at noon on Saturday at the Show Me Center that cannot be moved, so if that does in fact become Day 3 (which starts at noon) instead of Day 4 (which starts at 4 p.m.), changes will be necessary.
Wood also said that if the tournament is pushed back a day, his preference would be to play the finals on Sunday if he gets necessary approval from MSHSAA. The tournament is not typically played on Sunday.
Here is my column from this week: Waiting on Cinderella
I remember where I was when it happened.
It was that kind of night.
I was sitting in section 111 at the Show Me Center the night the No. 7 seed Kelly Hawks almost won the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.
I can still hear tournament announcer Frank Ellis saying the name of Jackson standout Jack Puisis' name with his signature flare every time he drained yet another 3-pointer that year.
I was just a high school kid sitting in the stands watching the game with my friends in December of 2004 as the Hawks took top-seeded Jackson to overtime before falling 63-61.
To this day I've never spoken a word to Kent or Kendal Deason, the twins who led Kelly to the title game, but I was among thousands of their biggest fans that night as most of the 6,091 people at the Show Me Center cheered wildly for the underdogs.
I also happened to be pulling for Kelly coach Cory Johnson, whom I had supported throughout his playing career at Southeast Missouri State.
After Kelly upset No. 3 seed Scott City in the semifinal round, Johnson was quoted in the Missourian saying, "Every tournament's got to have a Cinderella. Why can't it be us?"
That may be true during the NCAA's March Madness, but it is not really the case at the Christmas Tournament.
We often have to wait a couple years for Cinderella to make an appearance, but it seems like she's got a better chance to make it to the ball this year than most.
The top-seeded and defending tournament champion Charleston Bluejays are overwhelming favorites to repeat this season, but there are plenty of teams down the seeding list that could upset the traditional order.
No. 2 Central, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 4 Scott County Central and No. 5 Jackson are all teams with a history of success at the tournament but without starts to their seasons expected from the tournament's top seeds.
Central is 3-3 this season. Notre Dame is 3-5 but coming off a lopsided win over Kennett on Friday. Scott County Central already has lost to No. 7 Advance and No. 11 Oak Ridge since the seeding meeting, and No. 5 Jackson is 4-4.
Of course the level of competition most of those teams play is much higher than the mostly smaller lower-seeded schools. It always is.
That's why even anticipated matchups between bigger schools and smaller schools most often end with the bigger school winning -- most of the time by a wide margin.
That may be the case again this year, but the competition is more formidable than an average season.
No. 6 Leopold is 9-0 and playing like you'd expect a roster full of seniors with multiple years of varsity experience to play.
No. 7 Advance already has wins over SCC and No. 8 Oran, a team that returns most of the production from last season's state quarterfinal run and that typically gets better as each season progresses under coach Joe Shoemaker's watch.
No. 9 Scott City and No. 10 Chaffee are good enough to pull off first-round upsets, and No. 11 Oak Ridge already picked up its signature win by beating SCC last week.
Every other team can use the fact that I didn't mention them as motivation.
So, unlike some years, I think this tournament's got a chance to have a Cinderella. I can't wait to see if some team is willing to ask, "Why can't it be us?"
I already know where I'll be sitting.
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Rachel Crader is the editor of semoball.com. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2009 before spending the summer covering the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Highlights from Rachel's days in college include having a class down the hall from Chase Daniel and having NCAA wrestling champion Ben Askren hold the door open for her at Brady Commons, Mizzou's student center. She spent time covering Mizzou basketball, softball and baseball while working for the Columbia Missourian and is excited to return home to Southeast Missouri to cover local sports for semoball.com.
Rachel has covered three Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournaments for the Southeast Missourian and semoball.com, and she'll see you courtside again this year.
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