Friday, January 25, 2008

Ranking the regions: #2 6-AAAA

2. 6-AAAA

Power teams: From top to bottom, there may not be a deeper and more talented team than Columbia. With a near all-senior starting lineup and players that have tasted the state championship celebration before, the Eagles know what it takes to claim the region and a state crown. Try this one for size – Columbia hasn't lost a region game in over three years. The team boasts major size inside with Darrius Morrow, Kenny Mitchell and Travis Leslie. Guards David Forrest and Jershon Cobb can go for 20 or more on any given night, too. The loss to McEachern at the start of the week could be the cautionary loss that keeps Columbia undefeated all the way to the state title.

Miller Grove isn't intimidated by Columbia or any team in the state for that matter. The Wolverines will play anyone, anywhere and compete until the final minute of every game. Miller Grove is dangerous no matter the location or time. Junior guard Mfon Udofia makes the team go and he's one of the toughest players to guard in the Peach State because of his explosive first step. The supporting cast of Justin Allen, Stephen Hill and Obi Edwards aren't too shabby either.

Don't forget that Tucker was the state champions last year. Funny how we soon forget. The Tigers are quietly laying low under the radar behind Columbia and Tucker but don't discount them at all. James Hartry has a team that can withstand pressure (see the Wesleyan game on Monday) and star power in junior Manny Atkins. All of the remaining games are certainly winnable and with guards Aric Miller and John Perez playing as well as they are playing, watch out.

Sleepers: Because of the depth in the region, it is easy to overlook teams like Stone Mountain and Marist. Stone Mountain has quietly laid low under the radar but certainly capable of beating anyone with the exception of Columbia on any given night. Marist is a well-executed team with a number of under-the-radar prospects, including juniors Dee Goins and J.J. Mann.

Playoff projection: Columbia, Miller Grove, Tucker, Marist

Counting down the regions

3. 6-AAAAA

4. 4-AAAAA

5. 2-AAAA

6. 2-AAAAA

7. 5-AAAA

8. 2-AAAA

9. 5-AAAAA

10. 6-AA