Given that New Jersey's inclusion in the ESPN RISE Great State Debate for boys' basketball was a surprise to many, it's also perhaps a surprise that the Garden State was very close to California in this week's vote.
The voting for the No. 3 vs. No. 6 matchup concluded Wednesday night, and California was the winner. The Golden State's margin of victory, though, was just 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent, so there was a strong showing of Jersey pride.
With the victory, California and its lineup of basketball standouts advances to the semifinals, where it will go up against No. 2 seed Illinois. Based on how Illinois dominated Kentucky last week and what happened this week, Californians might need to crank up their finger-tapping on the keyboard to come close to Illinois.
New Jersey now joins No. 7 seed Kentucky, No. 8 seed Indiana and four other states that didn't advance into the eight-state bracket in the first place: Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Next week's Great State Debate should be close like this week's, matching up No. 4 seed Pennsylvania against No. 5 seed Michigan.
Best of the Great State Debate
"Goodness sakes! California is a who's who of basketball."
"California shouldnt even be the 3 seed
too many superstars to be rated that low."
"Ya, too bad the article doesn't mention more Jersey players because California could go on and on with current NBA players. Brent & John Barry, Drew Gooden, Matt Barnes, Amir Johnson, Chuck Hayes, Aaron Afflalo, Bruce Bowen, Jason & Jarren Collins, Austin Croshiere, Jared Dudley, Jordan Farmar, Josh Childress, Deshawn Stevenson, Jason Kapono, Eddie House, Craig Smith, Nick Young, Dorel Wright, Brian Scalabrine
should I continue? There are more guys currently in the NBA or we can bring up former players too. "