Covington Holy Cross, Glasgow, Bardstown and Bishop Brossart are rated the top teams in the boys' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic that tips off Thursday at the Frankfort Civic Center.
Being one of the favorites doesn't win you any games, however. Last year Betsy Layne was rated 10th out of 16 teams, but the Bobcats clawed their way to the small-school state title.
Glasgow Coach Jeff Hall said that's why games are decided on the court, not by the ratings. "If it was all done on paper, we're all just wasting our time."
Covington Holy Cross Coach Erik Goetz likes his team's chances. The Indians are No. 17 in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State. "I'm not saying we're the best, but I think we can compete with anyone in the field," Goetz said.
Holy Cross, which is in the All "A" state for the first time since 1999, is led by senior guard Jake Burger and 6-foot-8 junior Tony Campbell, both averaging 19 points.
Christian McClendon averages 12 points for the Indians, who play an up-tempo, pressing style and use their depth to wear down opponents.
The Holy Cross bench includes Kyle Fuller and Burt Pouncy, who were key players on the Indians' football team that beat Glasgow in the Class 2A championship game.
Glasgow's basketball lineup is stocked with football stars, including Parker Cash, Hunter Bowles, Lajuan Smith and Jalen Sublett. They're part of a strong senior class that gives the No. 23 Scotties a shot at making the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1977.
"We're playing pretty good basketball, but we probably have at least another 25 percent to grow," Hall said. "That makes me feel good."
Glasgow won the 2001 All "A" title behind future Mr. Basketball Brandon Stockton.
Bardstown, which is in the upper bracket with Glasgow, won the small-school title in 2006. The Tigers are led by guards Anthony Myrks and Jordan Brewer, son of Coach James "Boo" Brewer.
Bishop Brossart, All "A" champ in 2007, is in the lower bracket with Holy Cross. The Mustangs are powered by 6-9, 250-pound Joe Jennings.
Lexington Christian, making its ninth appearance in the All "A" state, is without its top scorer, senior guard Taylor Barnette. The Central Florida signee has missed the last three weeks with an ankle injury, and will miss at least two more weeks.
The Eagles have also been bitten by the flu bug.
"We're lucky to be here. We had to survive some tough games in the region," LCA Coach Tommy Huston said.
"We have to play a special way to win right now, with different people stepping up. But I think we'll play well this week."
Noticeably absent from the All "A" is University Heights Academy, which has won eight titles in 17 appearances. The Blazers lost to Webster County in double overtime in the 2nd Region finals last week.