It's been a quiet couple of weeks in the Xcellent 25 but, with playoffs beginning in some states next week, don't expect the stability to last. Postseason pressure and the huge expectations for any ranked team combine to create the perfect conditions for the stunning upset — and there will be several in the coming weeks.
Injuries, too, are critical — for example, if No. 1 Mater Dei star Lou Samuelson's knee injury is serious, then the Monarchs will be very vulnerable in the long and difficult California playoffs. Of course, those don't start until mid-February and don't end until March 23, so Samuelson could have time to heal.
But the scoreboard doesn't care about injuries, and it never lies. So every team in the Xcellent 25 is just a twisted ankle away from slipping back into the pack.MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Girls Basketball Rankings Presented by the Army National Guard1. (Last week 1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 21-0
Sometimes a big early win over a team over helps the second time around — and sometimes it hurts. The Monarchs beat JSerra by 33 the first time, but had to come from behind in the fourth quarter Saturday to win 61-54. Oaks Christian and St. Anthony will also be challenges this weekend, especially if Samuelson is out.2. (2) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 21-0
Two easy games this week (Riverdale outscored their two opponents 137-60 the first time around) but No. 21 Blackman and always competitive Mt. Juliet are on tap before playoffs begin.3. (4) Duncanville (Texas) 32-0
Duncanville can relax before the regular season ends against tough DeSoto. The Panthers then must navigate the brutal Texas postseason — they have to win seven straight to claim another state title.4. (7) Windward (Los Angeles) 21-0
Windward's unbeaten season was in serious jeopardy Saturday, as the Wildcats trailed Long Beach Poly by eight in the fourth quarter. But Jordin Canada
hit a free throw with 4.5 left to send it into overtime, and then she and Kristen Simon made free throws in the last nine seconds for a 59-57 win.5. (6) Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.) 22-0
Marion County more than doubled up Hathaway Brown, which owns a win over Whitney Young, and then held off No. 13 Science Hill, 61-58. From this point forward, the Knights should be heavy favorites in every game.