Updated: February 3, 2014 4:11PM
1. The Southland Conference is up for grabs. Until proved otherwise, defending champion Bloom, with the big three of James Coleman, Jared Johnson and Zerell Jackson, is the team to beat. However, the Blazing Trojans, at 7-5, are far from invincible. Rich East, behind Don Henderson and Quinton Moore, boasts a dangerous inside-outside threat. Rich South has lightning-quick guards Myles McCoy, Darius Juzang and Denzel Kimbrough and a relentless boards-crasher in Jeremy Ruffin, and Crete-Monee can put up major points behind Tyler Williams.
2. Marian Catholic is the essence of a “team.” While much of the spotlight shines on star point guard Tyler Ulis, a Kentucky recruit, what’s fascinating about Marian is its unselfishness and work ethic. The Spartans defense, led by Ki-Jana Crawford and John Oliver, gets after it arguably like no other team in the area. The Spartans’ energy level remains on overdrive much of the game. Some players could frown upon all the attention Ulis receives. Not at Marian. The players genuinely appreciate the honor of calling one of the area’s greatest players, Ulis, their teammate.
3. Keep an eye on Providence. The Celtics felt the sting of the injury bug during much of December and dropped a few games they likely would have won with a full lineup. With the return of Miles Boykin, Providence should begin taking flight.