A few years back, NFL coach Bill Parcells uttered a phrase to sum up his team.
You are what your record says you are.
That may hold true in many circumstances, but not when it comes to Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball. Non-conference records could be misleading.
Two teams that have proved it are GAR and Hazleton Area. The two traditional WVC powers started out slowly, but have steamrolled through their conference schedules.
Hazleton Area's non-conference schedule included four teams that were a combined 33-7 at mid-week. The result was a 4-3 record. The Cougars, though, have defeated all three of their WVC opponents by double digits and are on a six-game winning streak.
GAR had five opponents that were 43-8 combined also at mid-week. The Grenadiers were 0-7 before winning two games in the Allentown Allen tournament. They've won four in a row, including a 26-point victory at Lake-Lehman on Tuesday despite missing two starters.
Both teams had issues to resolve entering the season, and they did. Hazleton Area found the right combination to work with Sal Biasi, the only returning starter. GAR sorted out a battle for the two vacant backcourt positions. The competition resulted in solid depth.
The best way to do both was to play the best competition available, like the Cougars and Grenadiers did. It cost victories then, but it might not come playoff time.
Meyers (9-1) took over the top spot in the Class 2A rankings by the Harrisburg Patriot-News. The Mohawks jumped up from third, while Holy Cross (7-3) dropped from first to fifth.
Meyers' only loss was 55-46 to Philadelphia's Math, Civics & Science on Dec. 27. MCS (11-0) is ranked first in the state in Class A.
The Mohawks' key this season will be staying healthy. There are question marks beyond the starting five that includes standouts Ryan Krawczeniuk and Rasheed Moore. They can ill afford losing either come playoff time.
No other WVC teams were ranked. Don't expect any to be in the future, either.
Based on what's transpired thus far, the winners of the four District 2 tournament will be Williamsport (4A), Abington Heights (3A), Meyers (2A) and Old Forge (A).
Class 4A looks solid from top to bottom, especially when District 4's Williamsport is tossed in the mix. Like in football, the Millionaires qualify for the state tournament through District 2.
Abington will be very tough if its big guys continue to improve. The defending champion's biggest challengers from the WVC will be GAR, Crestwood and Pittston Area in that order. The Lackawanna Conference's Honesdale (8-1) has an impressive record, but has defeated only one team with a winning mark. It's yet to be seen if the Hornets are a legitimate final-four team.
Meyers has already defeated defending champion Holy Cross, 59-41 on Dec. 18. Holy Cross, though, had some injury and illness issues entering the game. The Crusaders, though, did demonstrate in that game they have more depth than Meyers. That could be the difference if they meet again in the championship game.
Of course, teams like Dunmore and always-tough Riverside could ruin a future rematch.
Old Forge is the easiest prediction since the other teams in the four-team bracket shouldn't offer much competition. Susquehanna (7-4) has a nice record, but it was built against opponents that are a combined 11-54. MMI Prep has just two wins, while Forest City is winless.