The opening shot for the basketball polls in 2010 was not an easy one -- particularly in the small schools.
Every week 10 voters participate in The News' large and small school polls for boys basketball. The poll is published Tuesday in the Sidelines of the Scholastic Spotlight.
And here's this week's ...
1. Nichols [7-2] [last week: 1] - If a Monsignor Martin football team got blown out by an out-of-state power, people on this blog would say they deserved to be knocked down in the poll. Ahh, the reasonable-ness of basketball season.
2. Niagara Falls (6-1)  - I've been burned once this season with my I'll-believe-the-Wolverines-will-lose-when-I-see-it stance, so I'm keeping them here ...
3. Jamestown (9-0)  - ... although the Red Raiders certainly have a claim on No. 2 after what many are calling an Instant Classic win over Newark Saturday night.
4. Canisius (10-2)  - Nice nonleague win Saturday over Cathedral Prep of Erie, Pa., heading into showdown at Timon tonight.
5. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (10-2)  - This may sound familiar: Nice nonleague win Saturday at Section V's Charlotte heading into showdown vs. Canisius tonight.
6. St. Joe's (6-5)  - Early-bird special on Thursday as they host Timon at 4:30 p.m.
7. East (4-2)  - I still think these are some very potent Panthers. Perhaps we'll see that when they play Canisius during Saturday's MLK Challenge at ECC-City.
8. Sweet Home (7-2)  - Game with Middle College Saturday at MLK might be as much fun to watch as last year's game with McKinley at MLK.
9. Williamsville South (6-3)  - If you're wondering, like I was wondering: We have to wait until Jan. 29 for Sweet Home at South and Feb. 5 for South at Sweet Home. Nothing imposing on the schedule until then.
10. Orchard Park (6-1)  - If you're wondering, like I was wondering: Orchard Park at Clarence, Jan. 22. Nothing imposing on the schedule until then.
1. Olean (8-2)  - No reason to move them down, especially with their schedule. Two losses to two of top three large schools (Nichols by a lot, Jamestown by one)
2. Middle College (6-0)  - They are getting first-place votes, and they have a good schedule, but Olean's is a bit better.
3. Lackawanna (7-1)  - From here on down, we're almost in toss-up territory.
4. Depew (7-1)  - Last poll I wrote that "Tough part of schedule rings in new year (Depew Tournament, Maryvale, East Aurora" -- they've rung it and brung it with wins over St. Mary's and the aformentioned pair. My vote was in prior to Monday night's win over EA, just FYI (as were all votes).
5. Wilson (6-1)  - Not your N-O favorite entering the year, but they've earned that spot now. Will they remain so after tonight's trip to Newfane and Friday's trip to Medina?
6. Grover Cleveland (4-1)  - We know there may be howling. But we liked what we saw in our visit Friday. Again, this poll is in serious toss-up territory.
7. St. Mary's (9-5)  - They've almost played three times as many games as Grover. Definitely deserve a top 10 spot. The loss to Nichols you might as well throw out; Nichols blew out Olean as well.
8. Maple Grove (6-4)  - I know they beat Grover, but that was a Chris Holland-less Grover, and the Red Dragons' loss to McKinley is part of why this is a headache-inducing poll. Loss at St. Mary's keeps them behind the Lancers. I just think Grover gets the edge over both right now; I guess I'm not the only one, though (Grover fifth in poll, St. Mary's seventh, Grove eighth).
9. Allegany-Limestone (6-3)  - Lost big to Jamestown and Olean and by one to Bradford (Pa.). Definitely still a top 10 team.
10. East Aurora (5-3) [NR] - No losses to small schools and from the league that sent four teams to Buffalo State last year.
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