An unaccustomed spell of tranquility fell over the Xcellent 25 this past week, but don't expect it to last -- most states are moving into postseason play and upsets are not only possible but likely.
In fact, No. 11 Desert Vista struggled in the first round in Arizona, winning by just six, and expect to see similar struggles, and some serious surprises, as teams get deeper into the brackets.
In some states, of course, the clash of titans is inevitable, as two or more juggernauts are on a collision course -- though in more than a few places, losses early in the playoffs do not necessarily result in elimination.
In the end, however, it will all get sorted out on the court, and the only certainty is that the Xcellent 25 you peruse this week will be considerably different than the one you examine when the final game is played.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 24-1
Bishop Gorman, one of Nevada's top teams, gave Mater Dei a test before falling 64-49. One more game and then Southern California's long playoffs begin.2. (2) Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia), 18-0
A great season on the court continues, but according to a story in PhillyVoice, an off-the-court drama has developed with the coach from a league rival, creating some distraction.3. (3) Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 23-2
Smyrna, a quality team, is Blackman's first-round opponent as the Tennessee playoffs begin -- and it won't get any easier in the 7AAA district. After that, barring an upset, it's on to the Regionals.4. (4) St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.), 23-1
St. Mary's finishes the regular season with two tough games: At league rival Lincoln Thursday and then perennial Oakland power Bishop O'Dowd on Valentine's Day. 5. (5) Whitney Young (Chicago), 25-1
Whitney Young rolled to the Chicago city title by handling Morgan Park 70-54, and now starts the Illinois playoffs with sectional competition.6. (6) Bedford North Lawrence, 23-0
Bedford North Lawrence began the playoffs with an easy win over North Albany Tuesday, and faces Seymour next -- a team it beat by 19 last week.7. (7) Cypress Woods (Cypress, Texas), 27-1
After rolling through the regular season, Cypress Woods will begin the arduous trek through the Texas 6A playoffs next week.8. (8) Elizabethtown (Ky.), 25-2
There's only one game this week, against a solid Franklin County team, but don't expect Elizabethtown to get too much of a workout until deep in the Kentucky postseason.9. (9) Long Beach Poly (Calif.), 23-2
Only Lakewood remains on the regular season schedule, and since Poly won the first go-around 70-23, the focus will clearly be on the California postseason.10. (10) Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.), 21-1
Like many in the Xcellent 25, Myers Park's last few games before the postseason aren't that challenging -- but it's been a long season, and a little respite heading into the playoffs is welcome.
11. (11) Desert Vista (Phoenix), 25-3
Last year, Desert Vista beat Westview in the state title game. This year, Westview is down, so it was a first-round matchup -- but it was almost the end of the trail for Desert Vista, which eked out a 47-41 win.12. (12) Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 25-1
After slipping past American Heritage 45-36 in the first round of the 5A playoffs, Dillard next faces 26-4 Rockledge on Friday.13. (13) Miami Country Day, 27-2
Miami Country Day only beat Oxbridge Academy by four back in December, and Oxbridge is Friday's opponent in the 3A playoffs.14. (14) Manasquan (N.J.), 18-1
Manasquan will go from one extreme to the other in just two days: First, the Big Blues play winless Raritan Thursday and then Saturday, it's unbeaten and No. 22 St. Rose -- at St. Rose.15. (15) Holy Innocents Episcopal (Atlanta), 25-0
The AA state playoffs begin next week for Holy Innocents, which will be a heavy favorite in the small schools bracket (the largest schools are in the AAAAAA division).16. (16) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 25-2
Bishop McNamara was in the Xcellent 25 earlier in the year, and had been playing well, but a 57-43 Paul VI win Tuesday night confirmed which team really belongs -- at least for now.17. (17) Ridgeway (Memphis, Tenn.), 20-0
Ridgeway heads into what should be a very competitive Tennessee postseason unbeaten, but still is considered to be the second-best team in Tennessee behind twice-beaten No. 2 Blackman.18. (18) Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.), 20-1
The sailing looks to be smooth for Hopkins the rest of this month, as Minnesota's postseason doesn't begin until March.19. (19) Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.), 18-0
Gonzaga Prep heads into the five-team District 8 tournament knowing that three teams will advance to the 4A regionals. And Central Valley, which Gonzaga Prep beat by only two on Jan. 15, could be Friday's opponent.20. (NR) Northside (Fort Smith, Ark.), 21-1
Northside was ranked all season until an upset loss at the hands of Fayetteville -- but the Grizzlies avenged that loss Feb. 10 (and in fact have beaten Fayetteville two out of three tries) and move back into the Xcellent 25.21. (21) Braintree (Mass.), 16-0
After one more league game, the Massachusetts playoffs begin Saturday -- and Braintree's first round opponent, barring a snow-out, is five-loss Lincoln-Sudbury.22. (22) St. Rose (Belmar, N.J.), 19-0
Local rankings don't have St. Rose in the top three in New Jersey, but the Purple Roses will have a chance to prove they belong when they host No. 14 Manasquan Saturday.23. (23) Konawaena (Kealakekua, Hawaii), 28-1
Either Lahainaluna or Maryknoll could give Konawaena a battle in the Hawaii Division I state title game Friday -- but don't bet the rent.24. (24) Lawrence North (Indianapolis), 22-1
Lawrence North has an easy ride to the sectional finals Saturday, but most likely the opponent there will be always-tough Roncalli, which Lawrence North beat by only three back in December.25. (NR) Eastview (Apple Valley, Minn.), 18-1
That only loss is to No. 18 Hopkins, a team that Eastview beat way back in December, and the chance for revenge will likely come in Minnesota's postseason.Dropped out:
No. 20 Princess Anne, No. 25 Stonewall Jackson