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How The News voted: Playoffs?!!?!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially arrived in the postseason -- also referred to as the playoffs.

Many of the questions inherent in these polls (and your comments) will be answered over the next two weeks.

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.

Here are our previous looks at the basket: Preseason, Poll No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7 and last week's.

And here's this week's ...

Large schools

1. Nichols [16-6] [last week: 1] - Last week's post: "We've come full circle. Nichols deserved the top spot even before Canestro's return."

This week: An even fuller circle? Vikings crushed Canisius like they crushed teams early in the year.

2. Canisius (19-4) [2] - And since Nichols appears to have returned to an equal-opportunity crusher, these guys stay at No. 2.

3. Williamsville South (14-3) [3] - Canisius' schedule still edges South for second spot. Of course, it must be nice to have six extra games to schedule -- are you listening, NYSPHSAA?

4. North Tonawanda (14-3) [5] - If the Falls wins and the Maryvale win weren't enough, the Jacks were extremely impressive against Maple Grove on Thursday. Talented, smart (most of the time), they play their butts off, and more than a few of them know a thing winning championships (that's the football guys).

5. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (17-6) [4] - Loss at home to St. Mary's had me wondering if they'd make a quick exit on Sunday. Nope, thanks to a certain buzzer-beater. Lethal when they go inside-outside effectively.

6. Niagara Falls (13-4) [9] - Why the three-spot bump up? Wolverines took care of Grand Island while OP lost at home, but perhaps most importantly -- the more impressed I am with NT, the less I penalize Falls for losing to them.

7. Sweet Home (13-4) [8] - If these Panthers win Wednesday, I'll see them at NT Friday night.

8. Orchard Park (14-2) [6] - Two wins over Jamestown have to get you ranked ahead of them, even if you lose two spots after losing at home to Lackawanna.

9. Jamestown (14-3) [7] - There might not be a team hungrier to show the world how good it is in the playoffs. Poll-wise, they can't be too much higher than this right now. In two weeks they could wind move by most of these teams. Maybe even all of these teams?

10. East (11-11) [NR] - Found their footing with a home win against Grover and were decent against an extremely good Middle College team to just box out Maryvale.

Small schools

1. Olean (15-2) [1] - Yes, the B-1 bracket is deep. Some people seem to be perhaps forgetting that there is an extremely clear favorite in the Huskies.

2. Middle College (15-1) [2] - The Kats are going to have to earn a title. The bigger the bracket, the more chances there are for pitfalls -- not to mention two games in Jamestown against -- very likely -- good, fundamental basketball teams whose fans love to fill JCC.

3. Depew (14-2) [3] - Two weeks, two losses, two weeks where I haven't moved them in the poll. Losing on the road in a rivalry game in the final minutes at an AA school isn't enough reason to move anyone past them. But I definitely thought about it.  

4. St. Mary's (15-8) [6] - Nice job by the Lancers to come up big at the end against St. Francis, led by Barnhardt. Win at Timon is worth a lot. Considered them strongly for the next spot.

5. Wilson (15-2) [5] - Nos 3-4-5-6 here are very close.

6. Lackawanna (14-3) [9] - High quality win Friday night at Orchard Park.

7. Allegany-Limestone (14-4) [8] - Looking forward to seeing them in action next week.

8. Maple Grove (9-7) [7] - Secky was spectacular at times at NT. It was a big loss, but NT is ranked high in this large school ballot for a reason.

Note to self (and Prep Talk Nation): Remember the NT-MG hoops game when fans automatically say that smaller schools can compete with larger schools (in any sport) and that school size can easily be dismisssed. Maple Grove is very likely the Class D champion and is a very good team. NT is also a very good team -- which just had more horses than Maple Grove. And that is usually the case when the best large schools play the best small schools.

9. Medina (12-5) [10] - Mustangs might be looking at ... 

10. Grover Cleveland (12-3) [4] - ... the struggling Presidents on Friday night. Cassadaga Valley and its excellent record -- albeit against not the strongest schedule in the world -- is our 11th man. 

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below.

We'll also return with our live chat on Wednesday at 10 p.m. -- right on time to discuss the results of 23 prequarterfinals, how they affect the brackets and what games to watch on Friday.

Speaking of Friday, PrepTalkTV will have an episode summing up that action. We'll also have a episode wrapping up tonight's Manhattan Cup semifinals and Sunday's championship game.

---Keith McShea


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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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