Here are the possible scenarios being studied this week by the FAB 50 compilers as the NHSI gets underway:
1. If top-seeded Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) convincingly wins three games and possibly avenges its only season loss to No. 6 seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), the Pilots might have an argument to jump idle FAB 50 No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) for the top ranking spot.
Findlay Prep enters the NHSI with a 29-1 record and is No. 2 in the FAB 50. The lone loss was by 67-66 on Dec. 29 at the Mike Miller Classic in Sioux Falls, S. D. Findlay Prep and La Lumiere are in opposite brackets starting Thursday at the NHSI and two wins each would place them in the title game.
La Lumiere is matched with No. 3 seed Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and Findlay takes on No. 8 seed Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) in the quarterfinals.
Findlay won the first two NHSI titles in 2009 and 2010 before Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) captured the 2011 title.
2. If Montrose repeats as the NHSI champion, the Mustangs could move up from No. 9 to No. 6. They wouldn’t be able to jump past No. 5 Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) due to a head-to-head loss, but No. 6 Simeon (Chicago) suffered its only loss to NHSI participant Findlay Prep.
3. La Lumiere enters the NHSI ranked No. 23 in the FAB 50 but could fall out of the top 25 with a first-round loss to Montverde. The reason? The Lakers' schedule isn't favorable for ranking purposes outside of the win over Findlay. The Lakers not only lost to Oak Hill by 77-59 but also to a four-loss Elgin (Elgin, Ill.) team ranked 16th in the Chicago metro area. The Lakers don't own any other wins over nationally or regionally ranked teams outside of the Findlay upset.
4. Another NHSI team that could drop out of the top 25 with a sub-par showing this week could be No. 4 seed St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.), which faces No. 5 seed Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) in the quarterfinals.
St. Benedict's enters the event ranked No. 15 in the FAB 50 and has only one season win over a FAB 50 team, No. 46 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), who they beat 64-61 in the consolation game at the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg, Md. The Gray Bees lost to two other FAB 50 powers -- No. 3 St. Anthony 51-50 and No. 14 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 64-49. St. Benedict's did defeat East Region No. 12 Plainfield (Plainfield, N.J.) 67-65.
5. Ely, ranked No. 16 in the FAB 50, might not drop as much with a loss to St. Benedict's since it owns a win over No. 21 Salesian (Richmond, Calif.).
6. Another team that probably would not drop far with an NHSI loss is FAB 50 No. 12 Montverde, which owns five victories over FAB 50-ranked teams. The Florida private school defeated No. 38 Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.) twice plus single wins over No. 16 Ely, No. 21 Salesian and No. 29 Lake Wales (Lake Wales, Fla.).
7. Of course, the FAB 50 could have some major reshuffling if unranked Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) or Coolidge win at the NHSI. Both are ranked No. 19 in their own regions -- Ravenscroft in the Southeast and Coolidge in the East, but not in the national listings. They’d be pulling off major upsets if they win on Thursday since Coolidge is facing No. 2 Findlay Prep while Ravenscroft is taking on No. 9 Montrose Christian.
FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week
Aaron Gordon, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
It might be safe to say that the 6-foot-8 junior point forward is the best player from Northern California since Jason Kidd went to St. Joseph of Alameda in the early 1990s.
Gordon put on a show in the CIF Division II state championship last Friday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. In leading the FAB 50 No. 35 Monarchs past La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) 78-57, Gordon poured in 33 points (one of the top 10 best ever in a CIF state final) and grabbed 20 rebounds. He fell one rebound short of the Division II title game record that he himself set with 21 last year when Mitty won its first CIF state crown.
Gordon is the younger brother of University of New Mexico standout Drew Gordon and averaged nearly 24 points per game for the season.
Doors to FAB 50 for the season probably closed
Unless there are major upsets at the NHSI, which would be either No. 2 Findlay Prep or No. 9 Montrose Christian losing in their first games, all 50 teams for this year’s final rankings of the FAB 50 seem settled.
Longtime football powerhouse John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.) assured itself of its first final national basketball ranking when Boys & Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) won the New York Federation title game Sunday over previous No. 48 Mount Vernon. The Patriots happen to own a win over Boys & Girls and also beat Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) twice, including once in the Class 2A state final.
Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) grabbed the No. 49 slot this week. Despite nine losses, the Wolverines won their fourth straight Class AAAAA state crown. They played a brutal national schedule and possibly could be even higher in the FAB 50, but one loss was to Riverside Academy and that puts John Curtis Christian higher.
Getting a New York team into the 50th spot also is always a good thing. Boys & Girls ended up with wins over every one of the four New York teams that beat the Kangaroos during the season -- 3-1 vs. Lincoln, 2-2 vs. Thomas Jefferson, 1-1 vs. St. Raymond’s and 1-1 vs. South Shore.