Team to beat: Magruder. The Colonels have not won a region title since claiming three straight from 2001 to '03, but senior forward Donald Robinson is the kind of player who can help carry a team to the top. He needs some support, however, or the Colonels could be vulnerable.
What to watch for: Quince Orchard caught Magruder at the end of a three-game slump and beat the Colonels, 51-42, behind 25 points from Kevin Kennedy. The Cougars are the region's only team to beat Magruder. . . . Whitman might have the region's lowest seed, but the defending Maryland 4A champion has won five in a row heading into this week.
Team to beat: Springbrook. The Blue Devils have been Montgomery County's most consistent team all season, and junior guard C.J. Garner is as capable scoring from the perimeter as he is driving the lane.
What to watch for: Top seed Parkville has not won a region title in 20 years. The Knights played only Baltimore area opponents, and lost to Loyola and split two meetings with Woodlawn, a potential semifinal opponent. . . . Sherwood was the county's hottest team the past month, but in the Warriors' 47-38 loss to Whitman they struggled handling a slow pace.
Team to beat: Bethesda-Chevy Chase. With balanced scoring (five players have scored at least 20 in a game) and plenty of height (five players at least 6 feet 4), the Barons are a complete team.
What to watch for: Even with center Chris McGrew injured last month, Paint Branch lost to B-CC by one in overtime. With McGrew back and several good outside shooters, keep an eye on the Panthers. . . . Urbana, which defeated Magruder in a holiday tournament, has never won a region title.
Team to beat: Winters Mill. Led by 6-5 senior Brett Burrier, Winters Mill is the defending region champion. The Falcons, however, split their two meetings with Walkersville, which claimed the region in 2005.
What to watch for: Northwood won three straight heading into last night's game against Sherwood. . . . Clarksburg, which is winless, hosts 1-20 South Carroll.
Team to beat: Dunbar (Baltimore). The state's most dominant program has won four straight state titles, and 11 overall since 1993. It's been a rough season, though, for the Poets, who changed coaches in early January.
What to watch for: Poolesville will have its hands full in its first-round game with Forestville. Senior forward Devonte Campbell, a University of Maryland recruit at linebacker, averages 24.2 points per game, seventh in the area.
Team to beat: DeMatha. The Stags entered the week with just one loss in conference play this season, a 62-61 loss to Gonzaga. All-Met guard Austin Freeman and senior guard Jeff Peterson form the area's top back court.
What to watch for: Just about everyone else. St. John's emerged as the league's second-best team, but there is plenty of balance and almost no team is out of the mix. Standouts such as Bishop McNamara guard Jay Gavin, Carroll forward Kris Joseph, St. Mary's Ryken forward John Flowers and O'Connell guard Jason Clark make their teams legitimate threats.
-- ALAN GOLDENBACH and JOSH BARR