It's the Super Six.
In its latest realignment, based on recent success instead of enrollment or geography, the Public League has formed an elite division.
The six Division A members are Constitution, Frankford, Imhotep Charter, Martin Luther King (a Division C member last season), Math, Civics & Sciences, and Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter.
Teams will play each other twice. Expect multiple knock-down, drag-out contests.
"I pushed for it," Constitution coach Rob Moore said. "I think we'll get some really competitive games. I don't think any team will go through the league undefeated. It will all come down to who's playing the best at the end of the season."
Last season, Division A had 12 teams, with many blowouts. The likes of Boys' Latin, Del-Val Charter, and Prep Charter had trouble even staying close with the top dogs, as did since-closed University City.
"It gives you a false sense of security when you're playing those teams," said Moore, whose Generals return most of last season's key contributors.
Math, Civics & Sciences went 11-0 en route to winning the Division A crown last year.
"I think the new alignment allows for good competition and we're still able to schedule a decent number of nonleague games," Mighty Elephants coach Danny Jackson said.
Math, Civics & Sciences and Imhotep, the defending PIAA Class AAA state titlist, are the preseason favorites. They are scheduled to meet Jan. 14 at Imhotep and Jan. 25 at the Berean Institute.
The downside to the new division, Imhotep boss Andre Noble said, is the possibility of playing a same-classification division rival four times during the season.
For example, Imhotep, in addition to its two division games against Philadelphia Electrical, also could see the Chargers in the Public League Class AAA playoffs and the state tournament.
"I know [Public League basketball chairman] Ben Dubin is doing his best to make our league competitive, but that's the part I don't like about it," Noble said.
Rebuilding. Lower Merion, which went 30-3 and claimed Class AAAA gold last season, has to find its identity after losing what coach Gregg Downer says are "three of the top 10 players ever" to compete for the Aces.
Gone are 6-foot-7 swingman B.J. Johnson (now at Syracuse), 6-8 forward Yohanny Dalembert (James Madison), and combo guard Raheem Hall (Phelps School).
Downer said the squad's lack of inside height is "going to be an issue. We lost a lot of length. We lost 75 percent of our rebounding."
Lower Merion will be paced by 6-foot-4 wing Justin McFadden, a Binghamton recruit; point guard JaQuan Johnson; 6-5 forward Jule Brown; and long-range sniper Corey Sherman. Nick Jones, a combo guard, transferred in from Archbishop Carroll.
"Last year, we could play sloppily and still win," Downer said. "This year, our margin of error is real slim."
All-freshman squad. Quade Green, Neumann-Goretti, 5-10 guard; David Beatty, Carroll, 6-2 guard; Nick Alikakos, Episcopal Academy, 6-5 forward; D'Andre Vilmar, Roman Catholic, 6-3 guard; and Daron Russell, Imhotep, 5-9 guard.
Top three-point threats. Jared Nickens, Westtown, 6-6 swingman; Pat Smith, Archbishop Wood, 6-5 swingman; Cameron Jones, Pennsbury, 6-2 guard; Andrew Riviello, Lansdale Catholic, 5-10 guard; Joe Mostardi, Carroll, 6-1 guard; and Chris Rowland, Council Rock North, 6-1 guard.
Quotable. John Mosco, longtime right-hand man to Carl Arrigale at Neumann-Goretti, is now in charge at Catholic League rival Wood.
"We still talk a lot," Arrigale said. "I'm rooting for him. Well, in every game except one."
Arrigale's Saints, who are bidding for their sixth straight Catholic League title, are slated to visit Mosco's Vikings on Feb. 7.