For Common Good Classic organizer Brad Swope, it's all about location, location, location.
Putting together the matchups far in advance of Saturday's high school basketball showcase, the seventh annual fundraiser for emancipated foster youth, can be a crapshoot.
Teams that may look good on paper before the season can fail to live up to expectations. Others can get hit by key injuries. Some don't draw well on the road.
So Swope figured he couldn't go wrong by loading the tournament with teams from host Antelope and neighboring Center and Foothill high schools for the six-game event.
"It helps having the neighborhood identity," Swope said. "It gives us a chance of having good, enthusiastic crowds, especially for our late games."
So the day will be capped with three boys games featuring Foothill, Center and Antelope, with the No. 5 Titans playing No. 6 Bella Vista in the event's marquee 7:30 p.m. matchup.
The Kings' dance team and Slamson are expected to make spirit-boosting appearances.
Still, Swope always keeps his fingers crossed because the event is such an important fundraiser. The six previous two-day events have raised more than $60,000, most of which has gone to help teens with college tuition, housing and other expenses as they age out of the foster care system.
Swope said some 300 Sacramento area youths leave the foster care system every year.
"That's why every ticket sale, every dollar we make is so critical," he said.
This year, the True North Project, a Sacramento group that connects former foster youth with community support groups, is hosting the event.
Swope said the Sacramento-based organization has a transitional youth center that assists with employment training, housing options, education, transportation, health care and legal issues.
Because the Common Good is a showcase, losses don't affect a team's power rating, which decides playoff qualification and seeding.
That's why the No. 13 Davis boys, from the largest school in the Sac-Joaquin Section with 3,181 students, are playing Roseville's Valley Christian, one of the smallest at 254, in perhaps the day's most intriguing matchup.
Both teams play the System the Grinnell College-inspired up-tempo, full-court pressure format that sometimes results in combined scores of more than 200 points per game.
While some teams have used the Common Good as a glorified exhibition, a new section rule that allows teams with 15 wins to qualify for the postseason, regardless of power rating, may change that.
So the 4 p.m. matchup between perennial playoff teams Franklin (9-10) and Foothill (8-10), last year's Division III section champion, could turn into an even grittier battle. Both need wins after early-season struggles.
The Bella Vista-Antelope boys game will be a rematch of two schools that met in the D-II playoffs the past two years.
The Titans beat the Broncos in the quarterfinals two years ago and in the semifinals last season. They won't meet again this postseason because Bella Vista is now in D-I.
Antelope has two of Northern California's top players not committed to colleges, 6-foot-6 Isaiah Ellis and 6-5 Gabe Bealer. Bealer is fourth in area scoring at 21.8 points per game.