Sunday, February 12, 2012

Boys Basketball Statewide Power Rankings - 2/13/12

Last week I revealed my latest girls basketball power rankings, and now this week we once again update the list of top boys teams in the state.

Once again, this is not a predicted order of finish. This isn't who I'm picking to win divisional championships. It's a ranking of how each of these teams are playing RIGHT NOW, taking into account injuries, strength of schedule and putting more emphasis on a team's recent performances as opposed to games from back in December or early January. Teams evolve over the course of the season. Some get better, some get worse. This is how the teams are playing RIGHT NOW, so if 2 teams that are ranked played each other on a neutral court the one ranked higher would be the favorite.

So without any further ado, here are the latest and greatest statewide boys basketball power rankings.

1) Trinity (10-2 in D-I)
They are by no means a lock to win the title, but it is hard to not pick these guys for the current #1 spot. They still have yet to play Salem or Spaulding, and they lost to Central. Although they did win in blowouts over both North and BG.

2) Spaulding (9-4 in D-I)
Ok, this pick might surprise some people. But the fact is these guys beat Merrimack and Central last week, so how can either of those teams be ranked ahead of Spaulding? I thought about putting Salem in the #2 spot, but Spaulding beat Salem head to head and Salem also lost to Merrimack just a couple weeks ago whereas Spaulding beat Merrimack. Clearly the Red Raiders a different team now than the one that lost to Concord and Londonderry early in the season. In addition to their wins over Merrimack, Central and Salem, they have also beaten Pinkerton, BG and South.

3) Merrimack (10-2 in D-I)
A solid top 3 team, no question about it. If Dimitri Floras was healthy they would be at least top 2 and maybe #1. But even without him they were able to beat both Salem and Memorial by double digits.

4) Salem (10-3 in D-I)
This is a very good team, and they have proven they can play with anybody. They're on a 4 game win streak, and included in there is wins over Central, Alvirne and West. They've also beaten Memorial, Pinkerton and North. However they haven't played Trinity yet and they lost to both Spaulding and Merrimack so while they're too good to be any lower than the #4 spot I also can't justify ranking them higher than this.

5) Manchester Central (8-4 in D-I)
The return of point guard Dylan Lafond is enough to give Central the slight edge over North. Lafond is a very good defender and ball handler vs. defensive pressure.

6) Nashua North (9-3 in D-I)
They still have a tough road ahead. With Winnacunnet, BG, Alvirne, Merrimack, Central and West they don't have an easy game the rest of the way. That being said if they didn't foul Oumaru Kante shooting a three in the final seconds of the Memorial game this could easily be a 10-2 team right now, which is pretty impressive since 2 of their best players (Gauthier and Farmer) missed 5 games with a suspension.

7) Hanover (12-0 in D-II)
Anyone who doesn't have these guys as the current favorite in D-II just hasn't been paying attention. The one thing that could hurt them come tournament time is the strength of schedule. There's 6 teams from D-II that are ranked on here, but Hanover only plays 1 of them all year. However to Hanover's credit in that one game they beat Pembroke 66-49 in a game that wasn't even that close. This is a Marauders team that might not have any superstars but what they have is a solid 8 to 9 player rotation made up of blue collar kids who play hard, play tough defense, they're physical, well coached and fundamentally sound.

8) Portsmouth (11-2 in D-II)
They're finally at full strength now that DiCesare is back and Lane and Tsougranis are also back to 100%. That gives them a slight not over Pembroke.

9) Pembroke (11-2 in D-II)
The new 2-1-1 zone these guys played on Friday night vs. Pelham is VERY tough to score on. How bad do you think Coach Alosa and company want another shot at Hanover in the playoffs?

10) Bishop Guertin (7-5 in D-I)
They're starting to right the ship. After losing 4 in a row earlier in the year they have now won 5 of their last 6, including wins over Pinkerton and Memorial.

11) Manchester Memorial (6-5 in D-I)
They have 2 very impressive wins, over North and Spaulding. But only scoring 28 points on Friday night is definitely reason for concern. Big week this week for the Crusaders with games vs. Alvirne on Tuesday and Central on Friday should tell us more about where they're at.

12) Nashua South (6-7 in D-I)
Hard team to figure out. They had lost 7 of their last 8 games, but then beat Alvirne 65-34 on Friday night. Because they did lose 7 of their last 8 going into that game I can't rank them any higher than this. But at the same time I can't justify ranking Alvirne ahead of South since South just crushed them the other night head to head. Look at South's schedule the rest of the way - I expect them to win 4 of their last 5, with the only loss being to Trinity which would put the Purple Panthers at 10-8.

13) Alvirne (8-4 in D-I)
These rankings are all about how the teams are playing RIGHT NOW. And in their last 3 games Alvirne lost by 18 to Salem, they just barely beat a 1-11 Londonderry team and they lost by 29 to a South team that had lost 7 of their last 8 games. Usually the Broncos start off slow and then get better as the season goes on - looks like this year it might be the other ay around.

14) Pinkerton (8-4 in D-I)
The Patrikis injury worries me. They need him, Light and Colbert all in the lineup in order to compete with the D-I big boys. Tough week this week for the Astros, as they have Central on Tuesday and Merrimack on Friday. Then after this week they still have to play Alvirne, West and Trinity. Their record looks better than it is because they've played a softer schedule so far than most teams in D-I, and also they wouldn't have beaten South if Muccioli was in there.

15) Manchester West (8-4 in D-I)
Earlier in the season I was definitely on the Blue Knights bandwagon. But Joc'arl Bureau is now off the team, and that will hurt them on the court and also distract them off of it so I see them slipping. These guys still have to play Spaulding, South, Memorial, Pinkerton and North. So yeah, I see them slipping.

16) Souhegan (12-1 in D-II)
It's a tossup here between Souhegan and Bedford. I looked at some common opponents who they have both played recently, like Goffstown, Windham and Milford. They both beat these teams by very similar margins, and they also both lost to Portsmouth by similar margins. Looking at non-common opponents, Souhegan has a nice win over Lebanon while Bedford has an impressive win over Pelham. On Friday night we'll find out who's really better but right now it's a tossup.

17) Bedford (10-3 in D-II)
See Souhegan.

18) Conant (14-1 in D-III)
They're 14-1, and the only loss they had wasn't even to a team from NH! It was to Brattleboro High in Vermont, who would be one of the biggest schools in D-II if they were in the NHIAA. Next Wednesday night is a BIG one for these guys when they play against 13-2 Hopkinton.

19) Pelham (9-5 in D-II)
Which team are they? The one that crushed Bedford or the one that got crushed by Bedford? The one that beat Portsmouth or the one that lost to St. Thomas? The Pythons are very good, and even though they are the 6th team I have listed here form D-II I would not at all be surprised if they made it to the Final Four in UNH. That being said, they need to be get more consistent.

20) Somersworth (12-3 in D-III)
RIGHT NOW they are the second best team in D-III. They graduated all 5 starters from last year, so in the beginning of the year they needed time to gel together. During that time they started off 2-3, although 1 of those losses was by just 2 points, one of them came in overtime and the other one was to Prospect Mountain and since then Somersworth has avenged that loss by beating Prospect Mountain last week in the rematch. The Hilltoppers have won 10 games in a row, and in addition to beating Prospect Mt. they have also beaten Berlin and Raymond in that stretch.

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