Region competition for the 1990-91 prep boys basketball season hasn't started yet and the state tournaments are still several months away, but four teams have earned preseason-favorite distinction in a straw poll among Utah's prep coaches.

Cottonwood, Ogden, North Sanpete and Panguitch received top-team honors among the 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A coaches, respectively, who returned preseason questionnaires to the Deseret News.Of the foursome, only Panguitch is a defending champion - and the Bobcats will go into the title defense with a first-year head coach.

Besides requesting information on a school's returning and incoming players, the Deseret News questionnaires asked coaches to rank their top five preseason favorites. Coaches were also able to list five individuals from their own classification as this season's players to watch.

The top six teams from each classification in the preseason straw poll are listed in the accompanying graphic. Also listed are the top 10-plus 4A and 3A players to watch, with some half-dozen 2A and 1A individuals earning similar distinction from their respective coaches.

The players' listings include name, school, height, position and year in school.

START-UP DATES: Regions 3 and 6 get a head start on the rest of the 4A and 3A ranks, with the two regions starting league play Friday and following up with region games next Tuesday as well. Region 1 starts competition on Dec. 21 and Region 5 on Jan. 2, with the rest of the 4A and 3A leagues underway no later than Jan. 4.

Most of the 2A and 1A regions will have a couple of league games under their belt before the first of the year.

PREP PREVIEWS: Coinciding with the beginning of league play, prep basketball previews are planned for the next several weeks. Each league will be reviewed on a team-by-team basis.

COACHES POLL: The aforementioned preseason poll is a merely a straw poll among responding coaches. The regular Deseret News Coaches Poll, using five coaches from each of the four classifications to weekly rank the top five 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A teams, will begin later this week.

GAME STATS: Also coinciding with the beginning of league play, as many box scores (scoring summaries) as possible from weekday and weekend region games will be published in the Scoreboard section of the Deseret News.