If the Anne Arundel County boys basketball race is an indication of what the 4A East Region playoffs are going to be like, we are in a for real treat.
There is a chance for a three-way tie in the South division and a two-way deadlock in the North is possible.
The county's tiebreaker criteria would determine who plays in the first county championship game Feb. 20 at Old Mill.
All eight county 4A teams will be in the regional and for the first time, not one of them is a pushover. Chesapeake (7-13, 4-10) of the North division and Severna Park (6-15, 2-13) in the South both have improved and been competitive.
Those two teams have no shot at being in the first county championship game but each has a chance to be a spoiler and ride a wave into the playoffs.
Class 3A Broadneck (14-6, 12-3) can win the South outright with a victory at home tonight against neighborhood rival Severna Park.
The No. 10 Bruins hammered the Falcons, 74-48, at Severna Park last month, but the Falcons have steadily improved and took No. 19 Southern (13-7, 10-5 South) to the wire Tuesday before bowing, 62-59.
If the Falcons upset the Bruins, and No. 20 Arundel (14-6, 11-4) wins at South River tonight, Annapolis, Arundel and Broadneck would be deadlocked at 12-4.
Broadneck would be out per step two of the tiebreaker with four losses (Annapolis twice, Arundel and Severna Park) within the South division. Arundel (lost to Broadneck and Southern) and Annapolis (lost to Arundel twice) would have two division losses.
Under step three of the tiebreaker and the best overall percentage without holiday tournament games would give Annapolis the berth. Annapolis will have played one more game than Arundel, which had Severn cancel its meeting.
Broadneck with its 74-43 victory over Chesapeake Wednesday would have wrapped up the division title had the Bruins not dropped a 54-51 decision at Arundel Tuesday.
In the North, No. 14 Glen Burnie (16-4, 11-3) needs to win one of its final two at home -- Meade (11-10, 8-7) tonight and Chesapeake Monday -- to take the title.
No. 17 North County (13-8, 11-4) moved into a first-place tie with the Gophers with a 74-67 win in double overtime Tuesday, but lost the next night, 80-78, in overtime at Meade.
North County plays its final game at home tonight against Old Mill (8-12, 6-8) and the Knights have to hope that the Gophers lose their final two. If the teams tie at 12-4, Glen Burnie would be in by virtue of best overall winning percentage.
No. 2 Arundel (19-2, 15-0) has run away with the girls South division, but Old Mill (11-7) and Meade (14-7) are tied at 10-5 in the North with one game to go.
Old Mill visits North County (7-12, 6-9) tonight while Meade travels to Glen Burnie (7-13, 5-9). The tiebreaker may have to decide the division.
* One of the biggest factors in this year's county boys basketball race has been the "back-to-back syndrome."
After Tuesday's emotional double-overtime loss to North County, Glen Burnie's veteran coach Terry Bogle lamented the "back-to-back" syndrome.
"People don't realize how tough it is playing two or three nights in a row," said Bogle whose Gophers had upset Annapolis, 65-63, Monday.
"We didn't have a letdown, the kids just wore down at the end. You need that day in between."
This season Annapolis takes Broadneck in overtime, but loses to Arundel the next night; the night after the Annapolis victory, Arundel lost to Broadneck.
Arundel beats Annapolis again, only to lose the next night to Southern; North County wins the double-overtime thriller over Glen Burnie, but the Knights lose the next night at Meade in overtime.
The balance figures to make the 4A regional, which also includes very good Calvert County teams in Northern and Calvert, pretty exciting.
* Meade's upset of North County Wednesday was career win No. 398 for coach Butch Young (398-266) and Young could get No. 399 at Glen Burnie tonight.