ESPN Boston boys' hoops Top 25
Below is our top 25 MIAA basketball poll, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 2/22/15)
1. Putnam (17-3): Beavers fell to St. John's Prep on Monday for their first loss to an in-state opponent in over two years. Two-time defending D1 state champs are still favorites in the suddenly-crowded West tournament.
2. Catholic Memorial (18-2): Knights get bump over Prep for No. 2 spot based on two wins over the Eagles in Catholic Conference play. They're one of the hottest teams coming into the D1 South tournament, winners of 14 of their last 15 since New Years, the lone blip an 86-82 upset by Brockton on Feb. 13.
3. St. John's Prep (16-4): Eagles riding momentum heading into D1 North, punctuating their five-game winning streak with an upset of two-time defending state champion Putnam.
4. Newton North (20-2): After taking surprise loss to Franklin in the Comcast Tournament final, Tigers lost out on the No. 1 seed in D1 South. They'll be one of several heavy favorites, but a potential first round battle with wild card Durfee is worrisome.
5. Cambridge (18-2): Falcons grabbed the No. 1 see in D1 North thanks to a huge rally over Brockton on Thursday night. Their reward? Drawing the winner of Central Catholic and Charlestown in a quarterfinal. This should be fun.
6. Danvers (21-0): Falcons captured No. 1 seed after undefeated run through their schedule, punctuated with a 79-78 thriller over Lynn English. They should be the favorite in the D2 North field, but boy is the path littered with mines.
7. Lynn English (17-3): Runnin' Bulldogs finished off Everett on Friday night to capture the No. 2 seed in D1 North. They could face the Crimson Tide for a third time in six days in a potential quarterfinal.8. Brighton (18-4): Bengals downed archrival New Mission to capture their second Boston City Championship in three seasons. They have a tough field to navigate early in D2 North, with potentially North Andover, Woburn and/or Salem on tap.
9. Mansfield (20-2): Great week for the Hornets, who captured the No. 1 seed in D1 South and saw forward Ryan Boulter get named Hockomock League MVP.
10. Franklin (17-5): As usual, Panthers looking poised in February, with wins over Andover and Newton North at the Comcast Tournament. A first-round rematch with Wachusett at home is on tap first in D1 Central.
11. Brockton (15-5): Boxers captured the No. 6 seed in D1 South, but have lost three of their last five headed into the tournament. Granted, two of those losses were to Newton North and Cambridge, and they also scored an upset of Catholic Memorial along the way.
12. Quincy (18-4): Favorable draw for the Presidents, who would have to go through a permutation of West Roxbury, Barnstable, Taunton and/or Needham to get to the D1 South semifinals.
13. Lawrence (15-5): Lancers, suddenly one of the hottest teams in the state, making their first appearance in the poll since December. With 6-foot-9 center Franziel Reyes finally in the lineup, they are as dangerous as any, having won eight straight - including wins over Andover (59-41) and North Andover (63-37).
14. Amherst Hurricanes have won 11 of 12 headed into the D1 West tournament, but a 30-point loss to Chicopee in between makes one wonder what kind of team we should expect.
15. Tewksbury (18-4): Great week for the Redmen, who got a great draw in D2 North and saw Alex DiRocco and Nate Tenaglia get named Co-MVP's of the Merrimack Valley Conference's second division.
16. Andover (15-5): Tough draw for the Golden Warriors. They get suddenly-surging Somerville in the first round of D1 North. And should they survive that, they potentially get a rematch with Lawrence, which beat them by 18 two weeks ago, in a quarterfinal.
17. Central Catholic (13-9): Raiders have come surging back to life in second half, making first appearance in the poll since preseason, winners of 11 of their last 13 after a 2-7 start. With Alex Santos finally back in the lineup, this is a different team than the one we saw in December.
18. East Boston (13-5): Another team with a tough draw in D1 North. Should they get past upset-minded Waltham, they'll have to take down a St. John's Prep team brimming with momentum.
19. Arlington (19-1): Spy Ponders earned the No. 2 seed in D2 North, but should be in for an interesting time if they get past the first round, where the winner of Malden Catholic vs. New Mission awaits.
20. Chicopee (17-3): Pacers one of the hottest teams west of I-495 headed into the D1 West tournament, having won eight straight since Jan. 25.
21. Leominster (16-4): Blue Devils make first appearance in poll since December, after finishing their slate winning 4 of 6 in February. They'll have a tough field to navigate in D1 West, between Amherst, Chicopee and Putnam.
22. Hamilton-Wenham (20-0): Generals make season debut after running flawlessly through the Cape Ann League and capturing the No. 1 seed in D4 North. With a nucleus led by Nolan Wilson, Jimmy Campbell, and promising sophomore twins Max and Marcus Zegarowski, they are one of several favorites to reach the DCU Center floor next month.
23. Taunton (16-5): Tigers grabbed the No. 5 seed in D1 South, but a potential quarterfinal with Quincy would be one of the most intriguing matchups of the early portion of the tournament.
24. Salem (15-7): Keep an eye on the surging Witches, who grabbed the No. 5 seed in D2 North after winning six of their last seven, punctuated with an upset of Everett.
25. Marlborough (17-3): Panthers return to poll after month-long hiatus after winning 5 of 6 headed into the tournament. They should be the odds-on favorite in D2 Central.
Last 10 out: Arlington Catholic (15-5), Durfee (11-9), Everett (14-6), Longmeadow (16-3), Malden Catholic (12-8), New Bedford (11-9), Old Rochester (17-3), Somerville (10-10), St. John's (Shrewsbury) (17-3), Westwood (20-2)