1. Some SAC Separation. With six teams at 1-1 in the SAC entering this weekend, there is not much clarity in the conference race up to now. Two things are a given, Concordia Lutheran (at 2-0) is in the driver's seat and South Side (0-2) is unofficially out of the league race, but still capable of beating anybody (ask Northrop, who survived by five against the Archers in the SAC Holiday Tournament. Coaches who wake up Saturday morning with their teams at 2-1 will feel a lot better than those climbing out of bed 1-2. It just so happens that three of the four league games on Friday are between 1-1 teams. Clarity is good, and we will have some come late Friday night.
2. Can Bishop Luers step up the defense? Lost in the excitement of James Blackmon Jr's nightly scoring eruptions is the lack of defense being played by Bishop Luers through five games. The Knights have not been known as a defensive stalwart in recent years, surrendering 69 or more points each of the past three seasons. But this year, that number has jumped to 76.4 points per game. While it is unlikely that number will remain so high for the entire year, it has to be a cause for concern for Bishop Luers. Consider that in the last three years with the Knights giving up so many points, their postseason record is just 4-3.
3. Will DeKalb pull off another upset? Some Norwell fans are still stinging from that 74-63 loss to the Barons in mid-December. Could DeKalb do it again? New Haven may not have the high ranking or the undefeated record, but the Bulldogs are still one of the elite teams in the area with its lone loss to a team in the area being a five-point defeat at Northrop. DeKalb will try to find the magic again on Friday on the road and also attempt to end a three-game losing skid. But one of those losses was a one-point defeat to Homestead at the Carroll Shootout, proving once again the Barons can play with anyone.
4. Will the ACAC leaders survive the road? Three teams remain undefeated in ACAC play – Leo, Adams Central and Bluffton – and all three hit the road this weekend. The toughest matchup could be for the Tigers, who travel to Woodlan with the Warriors looking to end a nine-game losing streak against Bluffton. Leo heads to the Stardome to take on South Adams and Adams Central is at Garrett as well on Saturday. For the three at the top of the league, it is a matter of going in, taking care of business and getting out.
5. Is there any rust? Some teams had a very quiet holiday, while others played in tournaments and other events. Either way, teams will get back to work and attempt to refocus with the New Year. A letdown in the first weekend of 2013 would not be a good start, especially for the contenders in the area.