What will 2019 bring? Find out here
It's that time again.
Time to make my annual predictions (some would say sure to go wrong) for 2019.
Before I make my fearless prognostications for the New Year, let's see how some of the 2018 predictions fared.
The good: I accurately said that Geneva and Wheaton Warrenville South would meet in the Class 4A girls basketball sectional finals (the Vikings won 48-31 on the way to their second consecutive state title).
I had Harvest Christian facing powerhouse Marshall in the 2A supersectional; correctly picked West Aurora's Dajour Miles to repeat as the Class 3A 400-meter dash state champion; and predicted that St. Charles North's girls golf team would return home with a top-3 Class 2A state trophy -- the North Stars captured their first-ever state title.
I was also on the mark when I said Loyola would be Illinois' lone representative to reach the NCAA men's basketball tournament (no, I didn't have them in the Final Four).
So-so: I picked 6 of the 8 Class 4A girls basketball state quarterfinalists, including Geneva, and had 8 of the 10 local football state playoff qualifiers (missing Jacobs and Marmion).
I split my picks of Geneva and St. Charles North claiming Class 4A softball sectional titles -- the North Stars edged Fremd 1-0 while Geneva lost in the regional finals.
Not even close: I only picked two of the Class 3A basketball state quarterfinalists and tabbed South Elgin and St. Charles North to meet in the 4A sectional baseball championship (St. Charles East, eliminated South Elgin in the regional semifinals, while the North Stars lost in the regional finals).
Here are my picks for 2019:
AFC Championship: Kansas City 38, New England 34.
NFC Championship: New Orleans 34, L.A. Rams 31.
Super Bowl LIII: New Orleans 37, Kansas City 30.
NBA: Golden State wins its third straight title, beating Milwaukee in 6 games.
NHL: Tampa Bay defeats Winnipeg in 6 games.
NCAA Basketball: My Final Four includes Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan State and Nevada.
National champions: Duke.
NCAA women's basketball: UConn, Louisville, Notre Dame and Oregon comprise the Final Four.
National champions: Notre Dame.
MLB: The Yankees knock off Atlanta in the World Series.
PGA: Matt Kuchar wins 2 of the 4 majors, including the Masters.
Next month, Geneva's boys basketball team will clinch the DuKane Conference title and avenge an earlier loss to Lake Park with a 66-60 Senior Night win behind guard Jack McDonald's 22 points and 7 assists.
Class 4A Elite Eight (girls basketball): Mother McAuley vs. Rock Island; Maine West vs. Fremd; Benet Academy vs. Minooka; Geneva vs. Rockford Boylan.
Class 4A champion: Maine West.
Class 3A Elite Eight: Kankakee vs. Morton; St. Viator vs. Burlington Central; Lindblom vs. Nazareth; Highland vs. Springfield Sacred-Heart Griffin.
Class 3A champion: Nazareth.
Class 4A Elite Eight (boys basketball): Evanston vs. Waukegan; Geneva vs. Rockford East; West Aurora vs. Belleville West; Bloom vs. Curie.
Class 4A champion: Curie.
Class 3A Elite Eight: Farragut vs. DePaul College Prep; Bogan vs. Hillcrest; East St. Louis vs. Springfield Southeast; Burlington Central vs. Rock Falls.
Class 3A champion: DePaul College Prep.
In 2A, Aurora Christian will host Orr for the sectional basketball crown.
Next month, St. Charles North's William Myhre caps off his senior season with three top-2 event finishes at the boys state swim meet.
Led by state individual champions Diego Sotelo (106) and Trevor Chumbley (145), Marmion advances to the Class 3A dual-team wrestling quarterfinals.
Marmion's Peter Ferraro and Huntley's David Ferrante square off in the 170-pound state wrestling title match.
In 2A, Burlington Central senior Nick Termini repeats as a 145-pound state champion.
St. Charles East edges Glenbard North by 2 points for the regional wrestling team crown.
In 1A, Aurora Christian defends its state dual-team wrestling championship.
Here we go again -- West Aurora's Dajour Miles pulls off a rare "three-peat," winning the 400-meter dash at the Class 3A girls state track meet.
In 2A girls track, Aurora Central Catholic's Ella Englehardt lands a top-3 state high jump showing while teammate Lesley Viveros contends for the 800 title.
Harvest Christian's Carsen Forte captures the 1A state title in the 800.
In boys track, Huntley cracks the top 3 in the 4x100 relay while St. Charles East's Bob Liking lands a top-10 finish in the 3,200.
In 2A, IMSA's Daniel Chen wins the 1,600 state title and Burlington Central captures the 4x400 relay while Marmion and Burlington Central crack the top 3 in the 4x800 relay.
St. Charles East's softball team claims a 4A sectional title, while the DuKane Conference baseball race will be a 4-team battle between St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Lake Park and Wheaton North.
The 4A girls volleyball sectional championship will pit St. Charles East vs. St. Charles North.
St. Charles North's Megan Armstrong and Rosary's Jessica Geriane finish 1-2 in the 100 backstroke at the girls state swim meet.
The list of local football playoff qualifiers includes Aurora Christian, Batavia, Cary-Grove, Huntley, Kaneland, St. Charles East, St. Charles North and West Aurora.
Tape a copy of these picks to your refrigerator and see if any of them actually come true.
You can reach Craig Brueske at firstname.lastname@example.org