Salem splashes into Top 25 boys hoop poll

We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 boys basketball poll this afternoon. To view it, CLICK HERE.

The next poll update will be on Monday, Jan. 27.

A few notes and observations about this week's poll:

Salem makes its debut: One of the hottest teams in Division 2 right now is Salem, winners of four straight, including wins over ranked Northeastern Conference opponents Danvers and Lynn English on back to back nights. For their efforts, the Witches leap-frog half of the field to make a crash-landing entrance at No. 13. It's the second time this season a team from the North district debuts in the Top 15 or greater after beginning the season unranked; Cambridge debuted at No. 13 last month after taking down Springfield Central and Dorchester in succession.

Also making debuts this week are Fitchburg (20), Barnstable (23) and St. Bernard's (24).

New Mission in vintage form: The last time New Mission got to as high as No. 3 in our poll was during the 2011-12 preseason, when they were coming off a second straight MIAA state championship. The Titans returned to the third spot this week, leap-frogging Everett, after coming away with a nice 58-50 win over Central Catholic to nightcap Monday's BABC Winter Classic. The Titans have dominated the Boston City League thus far, with an average margin of victory of 27.1 points in league contests; their only in-state loss so far has been to No. 1 Springfield Putnam.

CMC, NEC represent well: With St. Bernard's coming in at No. 24, this week marks the first time in two seasons we have three teams from the four-team Central Mass. Conference represented in the poll, joining St. John's of Shrewsbury (7) and St. Peter-Marian (18). At one point during the 2011-12 season, Holy Name, St. Peter-Marian and St. John's were all represented in the Top 10, which goes to show the league's staying power over the years in spite of limited membership.

The Northeastern Conference also has three teams representing this week, with Salem joined by Lynn English (14) and Danvers (19). And as it has all season, the Catholic Conference is represented by its three powers in Catholic Memorial (6), Boston College High (10) and St. John's Prep (16).

As always, here's how the poll breaks down this week by league affiliation:

Catholic Conference - 3

Central Mass. Conference - 3

Northeastern - 3

Bay State - 2

Boston City - 2

Eastern Athletic - 2

Greater Boston - 2

Merrimack Valley - 2

Mid-Wach A - 2

Hockomock - 1

Old Colony - 1

Patriot - 1

Valley League - 1