Blackhawks

CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

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CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

By Joe Collins & Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com

1 Simeon (12-0)

Results: Defeated Bloomington 70-31, United Twp. 71-33, Peoria Manual 48-47 and Curie 44-27.

This Week: Saturday vs. Miller Grove HS (GA) at Cancer Research Classic, Wheeling (WV)

Hoops Talk: Three days, four wins, and another title at Pontiac. Impressive. Jabari Parker won his second consecutive A.C. Williamson trophy (tournament MVP).

2 Proviso East (11-0)

Results: Defeated Brooks 93-76, Benet 49-41, Rockford Auburn 75-56 and New Trier 68-55.

This Week: Friday at Morton, Saturday vs. Batavia

Hoops Talk: The Pirates, behind tournament MVP Keith Carter, win their first Proviso West Holiday Tournament title since 1991.

3 Curie (11-1)

Results: Defeated Niles West 57-41, West Aurora 60-52 and Warren 77-68 (2 OT); Lost to Simeon 44-27

This Week: Saturday at Muskegon Heights (MI)

Hoops Talk: The Condors excelled in their double-overtime in over Warren. Devin Foster was solid in the victory, going for 27 points and 12 rebounds.

4 Warren (10-2)
Results: Defeated Plainfield North 71-42, Joliet West 60-29 and Peoria Manual 63-54; Lost to Curie 77-68.

This Week: Friday at Zion-Benton

Hoops Talk: Solid 3rd place finish in Pontiac. Darius Paul and Nathan Boothe will be a force down the stretch.

5 Bloom (13-0)

Results: Defeated Corliss 70-47, Marian Catholic 56-47, Rich South 69-51 and Crete-Monee 52-45.

This Week: Friday vs. Rich South, Saturday vs. Bogan (at TF NorthBob Hambric Shootout)

Hoops Talk: First tournament championship at Rich South since 1995, thanks in large part to MVP point guard Donald Moore.

6 Andrew (9-0)

Results: Defeated Carver 56-42, Kankakee 56-37 and Milwaukee South 45-44

This Week: Friday at Lincoln-Way North

Hoops Talk: The Thunderbolts continue to turn heads this season. Jubril Adekoya named tournament MVP in Kankakee.

7 Plainfield East (11-0)

Results: Defeated Thornridge 62-34, Peoria Richwoods 66-57, Morton (IL) 62-56 and Washington 54-50

This Week: Friday at Plainfield North

Hoops Talk: Look out for the Bengals. Austin Robinson, Jawan Straughter and Brian Bennett help guide East to a first place trophy in Pekin.

8 Elgin (12-1)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Thursday at Batavia

Hoops Talk: The Maroons return to Upstate Eight conference play after stellar play in their home holiday tournament.

9 St. Ignatius (11-1)

Results: Defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 56-41, Riverside-Brookfield 62-52, Downers Grove South 52-50 and De La Salle 47-44 (OT).

This Week: Friday at St. Rita

Hoops Talk: They dont have center Nnanna Egwu this year (Illinois), but they do have a talented guard in Brian Howard (tournament MVP at Jack Tosh).

10 Whitney Young (6-4)

Results: Defeated Lexington (SC) 78-62, Prestonwood (TX) 46-44; Lost to Lone Peak (UT) 46-44 and Bishop Gorman (LA) 84-51

This Week: Saturday at Gonzaga (WV)

Hoops Talk: The Dolphins split their four games in Myrtle Beach. Sophomore Jahlil Okafor will need to carry a team thats dealing with injuries.
11 Downers Grove South (10-2)

Results: Defeated Palatine 59-26, Maine South 69-52 and Naperville North 53-46; Lost to St. Ignatius 52-50

This Week: No games scheduled

Hoops Talk: Jamall Millison and Jerron Wilbut lead the Mustangs to a third place finish at the Tosh. Next game will be Monday January 9th vs. Fremd.
12 Bogan (11-1)
Results: Defeated St. Laurence 70-44, Alton 73-58 and Champaign Central 57-44; Lost to Belleville West 60-53

This Week: Saturday vs. Bloom (at TF NorthBob Hambric Shootout)Hoops Talk: Decent showing in Centralia, but could not hold 8-point lead with 1:49 to go against Belleville West. Team shot 70.5 vs. St. Laurence.

13 De La Salle (10-2)

Results: Defeated Perspectives 58-48, St. Francis 59-39, Naperville North 54-28; Lost to St. Ignatius 47-44 (OT)

This Week: Friday vs. Fenwick

Hoops Talk: Alvin Ellis, Alex Foster and Gavin Schilling had good games, but could not figure out fellow Cathlolic North foe St. Ignatius. Rematch January 20th.

14 Metea Valley (13-0)

Results: Defeated Eisenhower 100-79, Rolling Meadows 69-64, Sandburg 66-62 and Schaumburg 64-52

This Week: Saturday vs. Lake Park

Hoops Talk: Fun times at the Hinsdale South tourney: a 100-point game, two thrilling comebacks and then a 24-point effort from MVP Kenny Obendorf in the final.
15 New Trier (12-2)

Results: Defeated Fenwick 62-47, Homewood-Flossmoor 61-58, Morgan Park 50-41; Lost to Proviso East 68-55

This Week: Friday vs. Evanston

Hoops Talk: David Bragiel, Austin Angel, Connor Boehm and Jordan Thomas all contributed for the Trevians at the Proviso West tourney.

16 West Aurora (11-2)

Results: Defeated Danville 71-51, Joliet West 50-46, United Twp. 50-35; Lost to Curie 60-52

This Week: Saturday at Naperville North

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Juwan Starks paced the Blackhawks to a fifth place finish in Pontiac.

17 Huntley (10-1)

Results: No games played this week

This Week: Wednesday vs. Crystal Lake Central, Saturday vs. McHenry

Hoops Talk: 6-6 sophomore Amanze Egekeze is attracting attention from several Big Ten schools.

18 Crane (8-3)

Results: Defeated Harper (forfeit), Ridgewood 67-62, Lemont 58-54 and Plainfield Central 51-35.

This Week: TBA

Hoops Talk: The Cougars sweep through the Romeoville Christmas Classic behind tournament MVP Willie Connor.

19 Glenbard West (10-0)

Results: Defeated West Chicago 60-48, Fenton 48-30, Leyden 56-35 and Wheaton Academy 67-48.

This Week: Wednesday at Bolingbrook, Friday at York

Hoops Talk: The Hilltoppers, winners of their own holiday tournament last week, are off to their best start in school history.
20 Crystal Lake Central (11-1)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Wednesday at Huntley, Saturday at Hampshire

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Chase Cane and the Tigers are on the prowl and will fight to defend their Fox Valley Fox title.

Looming & Lurking: Benet, Marshall, Harlan, Farragut, Stevenson, Naperville Central, Herscher, Libertyville, Foreman, Seton, Notre Dame, North Chicago, St. Viator, Homewood-Flossmoor, Farragut, Hillcrest.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.