Postseason has been kind to the Xcellent 25 — so far, at least. Only previous No. 16 Shades Valley was upset in the playoffs last week, but the setbacks should mount as we move into March.
California's experimental Open Division — which lifts the elite teams out of their enrollment-determined divisions after sectional play is over and puts them all in the same bracket — guarantees some carnage, while states like Washington and Illinois are going to sort out a confusing jumble at the top with what should be some fascinating head-to-head encounters.View the girls basketball state playoff bracketsMaxPreps Xcellent 25 Girls Basketball Rankings Presented by the Army National Guard1. (Last week 1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 28-0
Etiwanda, the winner over Long Beach Poly, is up next and then either Santiago of Corona or Troy. Of course, the Monarchs already beat Troy 61-25, so it's not hard to figure out who the favorite is.2. (2) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 30-0
How many times does Riverdale have to beat Blackman, which is just on the outside of the Xcellent 25? The Warriors handled the Blaze in the first three meetings, but have another one Wednesday — and could even play Blackman again.3. (3) Duncanville (Texas) 40-0
The Panthers are two games from the state title — first up is Clear Springs, which is 38-2. But Clear Springs lost first to Bellaire, which Duncanville beat by 24; and then to Plano West, in quintuple overtime, which Duncanville beat twice.
4. (4) Windward (Los Angeles) 29-0
Windward has only Serra left between it and a berth in the Southern California Open Division playoffs, which will match the Wildcats against the best teams in the region, regardless of enrollment. Of course, Windward already beat Serra by 15.5. (5) Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.) 32-0
Marion County beat Washington County 70-19 earlier this year — and now they play Washington County for the Regional championship. That's not a hard one to predict ...