If you've followed San Diego hoops over the first two months of the season, you've noticed a prevailing theme and question.
And it's not "Who is the No. 1 team in San Diego?" No, the question has been "who wants to be No. 1 this week?"
The 2018-19 season has a game of hot potato with the top ranking. Every week, one team appears to be poised to hold onto the spot. And thus far, every week that team has taken a loss the following week. Or two. Or three.
This makes the latest rankings update arguably one of the toughest since I've been following San Diego Hoops.
In my Top 10 ballot to the U-T this week, I placed Mission Bay - the preseason No. 1 - back at the top spot, but it's a precarious No. 1 at best, given the Bucs could have gone 0-2 in the week that was. Boogie Ellis' 43-point effort wasn't enough in an 81-69 loss to Long Beach Poly at the Take Flight Challenge, and the Bucs needed 4 extra minutes to secure a 61-58 OT win at home against Cathedral Catholic.
Mission Bay has a one-point win over Torrey Pines, which lost in the final seconds against both of the top-3 teams, but avenged an earlier loss to St. Augustine in the final game of The Holiday Classic.
Torrey Pines is back at No. 2, above a Foothills Christian team that beat them in double OT just two weeks earlier. But Foothills (No. 3) lost its Coastal League opener on the road to an underrated Santa Fe Christian team, which checks in at No. 8 in the rankings.
St. Augustine is my No. 4, but could easily return to the top spot if it defeats Mission Bay on Tuesday.
La Jolla Country Day is at No. 5 in my rankings, but their grip is tenuous at best due to injuries and a red-hot Francis Parker squad right behind them at No. 6.
Parker is just ahead of San Marcos, which it beat in the finale of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic to take third place in the tournament's second division.
Finally, I have a 7-loss Vista team and Poway at No. 9 and 10, respectively. Why do I have Vista in the Top 10 with seven losses, some might ask? The answer is easy: strength of schedule. I reward teams that go out of their way to face tough opponents. Plus, they beat Poway in a head-to-head matchup just two weeks earlier.
But Vista has a looming date with 16-2 Rancho Buena Vista on Jan. 18, a game that could set the tone in the new look Avocado East League.
Here are some other highlights in my new top 30:
Cathedral Catholic has regained its footing after an uneven start to the season that can be largely predicated on the health of star post Obinna Anyanwu. As his knee has healed, the Dons have racked up nice wins over Trabuco Hills and Westview and good performances in losses to Mission Bay and OC powerhouse Mater Dei.
RBV has a gaudy record at 16-2, highlighted by three straight championship finals appearances (two wins), but sit just outside of the Top 10 due to strength of schedule.
Sweetwater, Valhalla, San Ysidro and Del Norte are the top ranked Division 3 teams in my rankings. While Del Norte sits atop the Maxpreps rankings, Sweetwater has played the toughest schedule and has the best nonconference win, a 58-56 win over Las Vegas Desert Pines.
San Diego Southwest looks like a solid bet to at the very least appear in the D4 title game. The Raiders are the lone D4 team represented in the rankings and challenged themselves by sparring with Open, D1 and D2 teams in the North County Classic.
Here's my Top 30 this week:
1. Mission Bay - Showdown looms with Saints this week
2. Torrey Pines - Torrey Pines has not lost a league game since 2013. Not a misprint
3. Foothills Christian - Knights can rebound with homestand vs Country Day and Bishop's
4. St. Augustine - Saints look to avenge last year's home loss to Bucs
5. La Jolla Country Day - Torreys treading water until two starters return from injury
6. Francis Parker - Kick off league against red-hot Santa Fe Christian
7. San Marcos - Played TP tough in tournament. Can they give them a game again in league?
8. Santa Fe Christian - Salpointe Catholic throttling was big. Foothills win was bigger.
9. Vista - Dropped game against Torrey Pines.
10. Poway - Rebounded from Temecula Valley loss with big win over LCC
11. Montgomery - Dropped a one-off game against LCC.
12. Rancho Buena Vista - See above.
13. Cathedral Catholic - Ditto
14. Westview - Nice win over Carlsbad to start the year.
15. Carlsbad- Working Jailen Nelson back into the fold
16. La Costa Canyon - Cooled off since solid start
16. Sweetwater - Gave RBV all it could handle in Mayor's title game.
17. Bishop's- Only two losses since Dec. 1 - Montgomery and RBV
18. Mater Dei Catholic - Took a loss to Taft in LA this weekend
19. Valhalla - Norsemen enter league play on 8-game winning streak
20. Christian - Patriots pick up league win over Patrick Henry
21. San Ysidro - Showdowns vs Sweetwater and Southwest this week
22. El Camino- Solid runner up performance in Holiday Classic Mayor's Division
23. Rancho Bernardo - Leveling off after surprise start
24. Olympian - Starts league against Bonita Vista
25. Del Norte - Key D3 wins last week against Valley Center, Tri City and Ramona
26. San Diego Southwest - Steamrolled D5 standout Holtville
27. Helix - Maurice Holmes playing the best basketball of his career
28. Scripps Ranch - Grind-it-out style has led to surprise start
29. La Jolla- Up and down season entering league play
30. Point Loma - Nice road wins against Morse and Lincoln
30. Mira Mesa - Two losses have come without star guard Noah Tumblin