For the first two months of the high school basketball season, defending champ Dixie seemed like the clear front runner to repeat as it marched to an 18-0 record. In the past two weeks though it lost twice, and now this year's tournament seems pretty wide open with four or five teams in position to perhaps claim the state title.

The last three rounds of this year's state tournament take place at Utah State, a unique opportunity for the Northern Utah teams to enjoy less travel unlike some of the more recent state tournaments that have been in Southern Utah.

In alphabetical order, these are the 16 teams that have qualified for the 3A boys state basketball tournament, and predictions on how the tournament will unfold.

Scores and schedule can be found here.

Bear River Bears (13-9)

Coach: Scott Hunt (2nd year)

How qualified: Fourth in Region 11 with a 4-6 record

Playoff opener: at Desert Hills, Friday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 53-43 win vs. Box Elder on Dec. 22

Most important region victory: A 69-54 win vs. Logan on Jan. 13

Top contributors

#23 Mike Litchford, Sr., Forward (15.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 apg)

#3 Jake Dahle, Jr., Guard (8.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.7 spg)

#15 Gunner Sorensen, Sr., Forward (8.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.8 spg)

#12 Mark Huber, Fr., Guard (7.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.6 apg)

#2 Gavin Fronk, Sr., Guard (4.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg)

Scoring offense: 60.2 ppg (5th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 52.6 ppg (11th in 3A)

Last state championship: 2009

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Desert Hills in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: Bear River is definitely the most dangerous No. 4 seed in the state tournament this year. Even though it finished fourth in the very difficult Region 11, Bear River had close losses to both Juan Diego and Ridgeline, and has the talent to compete with anyone in 3A. Winning at red-hot Desert Hills will be very difficult, and the Bears will need to have a great shooting night to have a chance.

Canyon View Falcons (13-10)

Coach: Rob Potter (6th year)

How qualified: First in Region 12 with a 6-2 record

Playoff opener: vs. Union, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 58-44 win at Cedar on Dec. 16

Most important region victory: A 63-52 win vs. Carbon on Feb. 3

Top contributors

#30 Brantzen Blackner, Jr. (18.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 3.1 spg)

#42 Porter Miller, Jr. (9.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg)

#32 Joey Lambeth, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.6 spg)

#4 Abe Huxford, Sr. (7.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.4 spg)

#33 Cash Christensen, Sr. (3.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

Scoring offense: 56.1 ppg (10th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 53.6 ppg (12th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1999

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Dixie in 3A quarterfinals

Edward’s Evaluation: Both of Canyon View’s region losses this year were on the road to Juab and Carbon by five points. Fortunately for the Falcons their opener will be at home against Union, a team they should beat comfortably if they don’t get caught looking ahead. Defending champ Dixie likely awaits in the quarterfinals, and Canyon View would definitely be a sizable underdog in that potential game in Logan.

Carbon Dinos (11-11)

Coach: Kyle Willson (1st year)

How qualified: Part of a three-way tie for second in Region 12 with a 4-4 record, and earned No. 3 seed after tiebreakers.

Playoff opener: at Tooele, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 60-51 win at Grantsville on Dec. 10.

Most important region victory: A 70-65 win vs. Canyon View on Jan. 13.

Top contributors

#42 Kyle Quinton, Sr., Forward (16.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.2 apg)

#13 Jamin Jensen, Sr., G/F (10.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg)

#5 Chase Morgan, Sr., G/F (7.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg)

#24 Gage Daugherty, Sr., Guard (6.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)

#1 Ty Moynier, Jr., Guard (5.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg)

Scoring offense: 54.8 ppg (11th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 53.8 ppg (13th in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Ridgeline in 3A quarterfinals

Edward’s Evaluation: Despite being the No. 3 seed, Carbon is a slight favorite in the opening round as it travels to Tooele. The Dinos will rely heavily on Kyle Quinton and Jamin Jensen to advance past the first round, but any wins after that would be considered a pretty big upset.

Desert Hills Thunder (19-4)

Coach: Wade Turley (5th year)

How qualified: First in Region 9 with a 9-1 record

Playoff opener: vs. Bear River, Friday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 49-48 win vs. West Jordan on Dec. 29

Most important region victory: A 51-48 win vs. Dixie on Feb. 1

Top contributors

#23 Logan Hokanson, Sr., Guard (13.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.5 spg)

#22 Jacob Mathews, Sr., Guard (10.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.7 spg)

#33 Tanner Turley, Sr., Guard (9.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.4 spg)

#11 Cameron Clayton, Sr., Forward (8.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg)

#20 Braxton Porter, Sr., Forward (6.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 spg)

Scoring offense: 59.8 ppg (6th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 49.2 ppg (3rd in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Dixie in 3A championship

Edward’s Evaluation: Desert Hills heads into the playoffs riding a big wave of confidence after an eight-game winning streak helped it claim the Region 9 championship. Its top five scorers are all seniors, led by Logan Hokanson and Jacob Mathews, experience that could play a big factor once this team gets in some tight fourth quarter situations. Assuming the Thunder win their opener and advance to the college site for the quarterfinals, it will be a long way from home, but they're definitely still one of the favorites.

Dixie Flyers (20-2)

Coach: Ryan Cuff (9th year)

How qualified: Second in Region 9 with 8-2 record

Playoff opener: vs. Logan, Friday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 61-59 win vs. Viewmont on Dec. 15

Most important region victory: A 44-39 win vs. Desert Hills on Jan. 13

Top contributors

#4 Kaden Elzy, Sr., Guard (11.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 spg)

#11 Richard Guymon, Sr., F/C (11.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.0 apg)

#24 Sam Stewart, Sr., G/F (9.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg)

#0 Ty Curtis, Sr., Guard (7.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.8 spg)

#23 Camden Flinders, Sr., Guard (5.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg)

Scoring offense: 60.3 ppg (4th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 47.8 ppg (1st in 3A)

Last state championship: 2016

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Win over Desert Hills in 3A championship

Edward’s Evaluation: After starting the season 18-0, the Flyers stumbled a bit in the last a couple weeks with a 2-2 record, dropping them to the No. 2 seed from Region 9. Those losses are likely minor blips. There’s a reason this team went 18-0 to start the season, and a big reason is defense. Dixie’s scoring defense was tops in 3A at 47.8 ppg, and with a formidable offense as well, it will be a tough out in the playoffs again.

Grantsville Cowboys (16-7)

Coach: Brian Detweiler (3rd year)

How qualified: First in Region 10 with 8-0 record

Playoff opener: vs. Richfield, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 61-45 win vs. Murray on Dec. 31

Most important region victory: A 59-48 win vs. Stansbury on Jan. 20

Top contributors

#10 Trevor Colson, Sr., Forward (12.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.4 apg)

#22 Jared Roberts, Sr., Forward (10.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.7 spg)

#21 Kevin Roberts, Jr., Guard (8.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg)

#5 Brady Arbon, Jr., Forward (7.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 spg)

#2 Saxon Stringham, Sr., Guard (5.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.2 apg)

Scoring offense: 57.4 ppg (8th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 51.1 ppg (8th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1998 (2A)

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Juan Diego in 3A quarterfinals

Edward’s Evaluation: Grantsville did well to sweep its region schedule, but much bigger fish await deeper in the playoffs. Coach Brian Detweiler’s team is no stranger to the tougher competition though. In the preseason Grantsville played Desert Hills, Carbon and Juan Diego, losing all three. Juan Diego likely awaits again in the quarterfinals, and Grantsville would love a rematch to find out just how far it’s progressed since losing to Juan Diego by 16 in early January.

Hurricane Tigers (13-11)

Coach: Todd Langston (4th year)

How qualified: Fourth in Region 9 with 3-7 record

Playoff opener: at Ridgeline, Friday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 60-57 win at Canyon View on Nov. 23

Most important region victory: A 65-37 win at Cedar on Jan. 20

Top contributors

#21 Josh Parker, Sr. (16.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.0 apg)

#3 Jackson Last, Jr. (15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.4 spg)

#15 Regan Marshall, Jr. (6.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg)

#32 Graden Cahoon, Sr. (6.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.6 apg)

#5 Nate Ben, Sr. (5.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg)

Scoring offense: 54.3 ppg (12th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 55.5 ppg (15th in 3A)

Last state championship: 2012

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Ridgeline in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: Hurricane’s defense ranked near the bottom of 3A this season, which isn’t a good sign with a first-round matchup against the top-scoring team in 3A. To have any chance of pulling off the upset five hours from home, Hurricane must find a way to get consistent stops defensively.

Juan Diego Soaring Eagle (19-3)

Coach: Drew Trost (4th year)

How qualified: Tied for first in Region 11 with a 9-1 record, but lost a coin flip for the No. 2 seed.

Playoff opener: vs. Pine View, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 62-47 win vs. Maple Mountain on Dec. 13

Most important region victory: A 62-54 win vs. Ridgeline on Jan. 13

Top contributors

#20 Steven Price, Sr., G/F (10.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg)

#4 JD Ahlstrom, Sr., Guard (10.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.3 spg)

#23 Jason Ricketts, Jr., G/F (9.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg)

#2 Eslliey Tan, Sr., Guard (8.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.6 apg)

#3 Matt Kitzman, Jr., Guard (7.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.5 spg)

Scoring offense: 64.1 ppg (2nd in 3A)

Scoring defense: 50.0 ppg (5th in 3A)

Last state championship: 2005 (2A)

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Dixie in 3A semifinals

Edward’s Evaluation: Juan Diego’s balance makes it one of the teams to beat in this year’s state tournament. All five of its top scorers average 7.7 points, but none average more than 10.8. Basically, on any given night any of the five can go off, and have throughout the season. Juan Diego has a very tough opener against Pine View this Friday. The game will be at home, where Juan Diego’s No. 2 scoring offense should be comfortable.

Logan Grizzlies (12-11)

Coach: Logan Brown (7th year)

How qualified: Third in Region 11 with 5-5 record

Playoff opener: at Dixie, Friday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 67-65 win vs. Sky View on Dec. 20

Most important region victory: A 53-46 win vs. Bear River on Feb. 1

Top contributors

#3 Jared Bagley, Jr. (16.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.0 spg)

#2 Cody Brimhall, Sr. (11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.1 apg)

#1 Anthony McDade, So. (9.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.0 spg)

#32 Brayden Roberts, Jr. (8.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 apg)

#23 Josh Jensen, So. (5.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg)

Scoring offense: 59.0 ppg (7th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 60.7 ppg (21st in 3A)

Last state championship: 1921

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Dixie in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: With the last three rounds of this year’s state tournament taking place at Utah State, Logan is in prime position to benefit from the location — if it can get there. Logan finished third in the difficult Region 11 and must travel to defending state champ Dixie in the 3A first round. It will be a big underdog in the opener, and must have a near-perfect game to keep its season alive long enough to play at the Smith Spectrum.

North Sanpete Hawks (6-15)

Coach: Chris Hoopes (6th year)

How qualified: Part of a three-way tie for second in Region 12 with a 4-4 record, and earned No. 2 seed after tiebreakers.

Playoff opener: vs. Stansbury, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 63-60 win at North Sevier on Dec. 10

Most important region victory: A 61-46 win at Carbon on Jan. 27

Top contributors

#4 Spencer Steadman, Jr. (12.0 ppg)

#1 Shawn Taylor, Jr. (11.0 ppg)

#44 Kaleb Bailey, Sr. (6.0 ppg)

#20 Brock Bailey, Jr. (4.7 ppg)

#0 Jalen Sorenson, Jr. (4.2 ppg)

Scoring offense: 51.3 ppg (14th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 58.9 ppg (19th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1969 (Class B)

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Stansbury in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: Tied for second in Region 12, and benefitted from the tiebreaker process by earning a home game. The Hawks will still be an underdog in the opener as it ranks in the bottom half in 3A scoring offense and near in the bottom in scoring defense.

Pine View Panthers (17-5)

Coach: Ryan Eves (1st year)

How qualified: Third in Region 9 with 7-3 record

Playoff opener: at Juan Diego, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 71-66 win vs. Spanish Fork on Dec. 28

Most important region victory: A 60-49 win vs. Dixie on Feb. 8

Top contributors

#5 Trey Farrer, Sr., Center (18.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.4 apg)

#24 Dylan Hendrickson, Sr., Forward (13.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg)

#32 Mckay Lambert, Sr., Guard (9.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.1 spg)

#13 Kade Moore, Sr., Guard (8.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.8 apg)

#1 Kyler Vaka, Sr., Guard (3.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.5 apg)

Scoring offense: 61.7 ppg (3rd in 3A)

Scoring defense: 49.0 ppg (2nd in 3A)

Last state championship: 2015

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Juan Diego in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: Pine View ranks in the top three in both 3A scoring offense and scoring defense, and definitely has the talent to make a run at a state championship. The term "on any given night..." applies to Pine View. In the last two games of the regular season it beat Dixie by 11 and lost to Desert Hills by 10. The bracket didn’t do Pine View any favors as the No. 3 seed must open the first round at Juan Diego. It will need a performance like it had against Dixie last week to have a chance in the fourth quarter.

Richfield Wildcats (8-11)

Coach: Rand Janes (11th year)

How qualified: Part of a three-way tie for second in Region 12 with a 4-4 record, and earned No. 4 seed after tiebreakers.

Playoff opener: at Grantsville, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 47-36 win at Snow Canyon on Dec. 7

Most important region victory: A 52-44 win vs. North Sanpete on Feb. 3

Top contributors

#32 Jeron Stewart, Sr., G/F (12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 spg)

#11 Reggie Hinck, Sr., Guard (9.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.6 spg)

#1 Stetson Southwick, Sr., G/F (7.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg)

#23 Emmitt Hafen, So., G/F (6.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 apg)

#22 Wyatt Jensen, Sr., Guard (4.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 3.1 apg)

Scoring offense: 46.3 ppg (19th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 49.4 ppg (4th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1988 (2A)

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Grantsville in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: Even though Richfield won only eight games, and is a No. 4 seed in the playoffs, it hangs its hat on defense each night and that gives it a chance at Grantsville in the first round. With games already this preseason against 3A contenders Dixie and Desert Hills, the Wildcats have been exposed to the type of basketball that needs to be played to earn playoff wins. The question is: Do they have those type of performances in them?

Ridgeline Riverhawks (17-4)

Coach: Graydon Buchmiller (1st year)

How qualified: Tied for first in Region 11 with a 9-1 record, and won a coin flip for No. 1 seed.

Playoff opener: vs. Hurricane, Friday, 6 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 64-52 win vs. Desert Hills on Dec. 15

Most important region victory: A 52-48 win vs. Juan Diego on Feb. 1

Top contributors

#23 Jaxon Brenchley, Sr. (19.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.7 ppg)

#24 Theron Wallentine, Sr. (11.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)

#0 Dallan Larsen, Sr. (11.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.5 spg)

#35 Landon Jenson, Sr. (10.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.7 spg)

#22 Landon Brenchley, So. (8.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.5 spg)

Scoring offense: 68.9 ppg (1st in 3A)

Scoring defense: 56.8 ppg (18th in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Desert Hills in 3A semifinal

Edward’s Evaluation: There are four or five teams with a legitimate shot at winning the state championship, and Ridgeline might be at the top of the heap. In addition to being led by future Ute Jaxon Brenchley, who averages 19.8 points and 7.6 rebounds, the Riverhawks don’t have to leave Cache County for the rest of the season. It opens the playoffs at home against Hurricane, and then the next three rounds are played just six miles away at Utah State. Ridgeline will definitely have a home-crowd advantage whenever it takes the floor in the playoffs, which the highest-scoring team in 3A hopes to ride to a state title.

Stansbury Stallions (7-13)

Coach: Joseph White (1st year)

How qualified: Tied for second in Region 10 with a 4-4 record, but lost a coin flip for No. 3 seed.

Playoff opener: at North Sanpete, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 57-51 win vs. Star Valley, Idaho on Dec. 17

Most important region victory: A 52-35 win at Union on Feb. 10

Top contributors

#21 Jase Wanlass, Sr. (12.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.6 spg)

#23 Josh Jenkins, Jr. (11.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.5 spg)

#20 Drake Schlappi, Jr. (7.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 apg)

#22 Casey Roberts, Sr. (4.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.7 apg)

#31 Tavika Gagnier, Jr. (4.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.3 spg)

Scoring offense: 46.0 ppg (20th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 50.8 ppg (7th in 3A)

Last state championship: None

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Desert Hills in 3A quarterfinals

Edward’s Evaluation: The Stallions went 4-4 in region play, but two of those four losses were by a combined four points. A win in either of those two games and they’d be hosting a first-round game instead of traveling. Stansbury is still in good shape, though, as it faces a sub-.500 team similar to itself in the first round. Stansbury is one of the lowest-scoring teams in 3A, and will need to increase that efficiency in the first round if it hopes to advance to the quarterfinals at Utah State.

Tooele Buffaloes (9-13)

Coach: Josh Johnson (2nd year)

How qualified: Tied for second in Region 10 with a 4-4 record, and won a coin flip for No. 2 seed.

Playoff opener: vs. Carbon, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 51-46 win vs. Taylorsville on Dec. 9

Most important region victory: A 42-33 win vs. Stansbury on Jan. 27

Top contributors

#12 Kyler Hymas, Jr. (11.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg,, 1.3 spg)

#0 Dawson Banks, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg)

#34 Jeno Bins, Jr. (5.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg)

#2 Mckay Pollmann, Sr. (5.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 2.0 spg)

#21 Mitchell Bunn, Jr. (4.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.1 apg)

Scoring offense: 46.4 ppg (18th in 3A)

Scoring defense: 54.4 ppg (14th in 3A)

Last state championship: 2005

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Carbon in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: After dropping its first three Region 11 games, Tooele went 4-1 over its next five games and benefitted from a tiebreaker to earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round home game. Four of Tooele’s top five scorers are all juniors, which means this team might be a year away from competing for wins in the playoffs.

Union Cougars (5-15)

Coach: Gordon Garrett (2nd year)

How qualified: Fourth in Region 10 with 2-6 record

Playoff opener: at Canyon View, Friday, 7 p.m.

Best preseason victory: A 56-41 win at North Sanpete on Dec. 7

Most important region victory: A 50-45 win vs. Park City on Jan. 27

Top contributors

#3 Brevan Nielsen, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.0 apg)

#30 Austin Jaramillo, Sr. (8.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.6 spg)

#23 Chase Birchell, So. (5.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.5 spg)

#31 Ty Gillman, Jr. (4.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg)

#32 Jath Mansfield, Sr. (4.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg)

Scoring offense: 45.0 ppg (21st in 3A)

Scoring defense: 55.5 ppg (16th in 3A)

Last state championship: 1953 (Class B)

Deseret News prep editor James Edward’s bracket: Loss to Canyon View in 3A first round

Edward’s Evaluation: Union won only five games this season, the fewest of any of the 16 3A playoff teams. It ranks 21st in 3A in scoring offense. One upset victory in the first round would erase a season of frustrations, but it would take a near-perfect game to pull off a win against Region 12 champion Canyon View.