Cubs

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 (15-0)

Results: Defeated Brooks 95-61, Morgan Park 57-44

This Week: Monday vs. Findlay Prep NV (at Springfield, MA), Wednesday vs. Urban Prep, Friday vs. CVCA and Saturday vs. Southwind TN (at Memphis, TN)

Hoops Talk: The Wolverines can put a lock on their elite national status with a win against an equally distinguished Findlay Prep team with seven D-1 prospects.
2 Proviso East (14-0)

Results: Defeated Willowbrook 78-37

This Week: Thursday at Downers Grove South, Saturday at Leyden

Hoops Talk: The tilt against Downers South should go a long way in deciding the fate of the West Suburban Gold conference.

3 Curie (13-1)

Results: Defeated King 88-43

This Week: Monday vs. North Chicago (at MLK Shootout), Tuesday vs. Lindblom, Thursday at Dunbar

Hoops Talk: Look for a lot of offense in Mondays game against North Chicago, who features Illinois State-bound Aaron Simpson.

4 Warren (12-2)

Results: Defeated Libertyville 72-53 and Lakes 77-47

This Week: Friday at Lake Zurich, Saturday vs. Downers Grove South (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: Nathan Booth, Darius Paul and the Blue Devils dont miss a beat after a two-week stretch of without games.

5 Andrew (13-0)

Results: Defeated Lincoln-Way East 61-46, Thornridge 66-50 and Illiana Christian 59-34

This Week: Friday at Thornwood

Hoops Talk: Adekoya brothers get most of the headlines, but credit is also due for players like Glorind Lisha, Alex Zappavigna and Tyler Hook.

6 Plainfield East (13-0)

Results: Defeated Romeoville 75-41

This Week: Tuesday vs. Naperville Central, Friday at Plainfield South, Saturday vs. Larkin (at Railway Classic Shootout)

Hoops Talk: 6-9 Brian Bennett is a perfect complement to talented guards Jawan Straughter and Dee Brown.

7 Elgin (13-1)

Results: Defeated Larkin 59-52 (OT), Streamwood 64-37

This Week: Friday vs. Geneva, Saturday vs. Huntley (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: 11 straight wins and 1,000 career points for Kory Brown. Arie Williams came was clutch in the extra session against Larkin.

8 Bogan (17-1)

Results: Defeated Corliss 99-38, Brooks 101-60 and St. Francis 76-58

This Week: Wednesday at Morgan Park, Friday vs. Harlan

Hoops Talk: The Bengals are averaging over 93 points per game in their last four contests. Devonte Smith and DeVaughn Johnson continue to dominate.

9 De La Salle (13-2)

Results: Defeated Brooks 58-46 and Gordon Tech 68-40

This Week: Friday vs. St. Ignatius

Hoops Talk: Alex Foster, Alvin Ellis and Gavin Schilling continue their solid run. Fridays game should be a battle.

10 Downers Grove South (13-2)

Results: Defeated Fremd 66-55, Leyden 67-57 and Glenbard North 66-60

This Week: Thursday vs. Proviso East, Saturday vs. Warren (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: Jerron Wilbut hit five threes en route to a career-high 33 points against Glenbard North. The Mustangs now face a grueling week of competition.

11 New Trier (13-2)

Results: Defeated Maine South 41-39

This Week: Monday vs. Buffalo Grove, Friday at Niles West, Saturday vs. Taft

Hoops Talk: Connor Boehms clutch play down the stretch and Reid Bermans layup with 1.6 seconds to go saves the day for the Trevians against South.

12 Huntley (12-1)
Results: Defeated Crystal Lake South 43-33 and Prairie Ridge 63-29

This Week: Wednesday vs. Jacobs, Saturday vs. Elgin (at Sears Centre)

Hoops Talk: Saturdays performance against Elgin could vault the Red Raiders into special company in Chicagoland prep hoops. They cant overlook Jacobs, though.

13 Bloom (14-2)

Results: Defeated Crete-Monee 43-38

This Week: Monday vs. Sandburg (MLK Day of HoopsJoliet Central), Friday at Kankakee

Hoops Talk: An emphatic statement win on Friday night against C-M, as the Blazing Trojans have now regained their balance after two tough losses.
14 Hillcrest (13-3)

Results: Defeated Eisenhower 86-62

This Week: Wednesday at Richards, Friday at Bremen

Hoops Talk: The Hawks are away from the nest for their next four games. Their next home game is January 27th against T.F. South.

15 Whitney Young (8-5)

Results: Defeated Raby 78-60 and Farragut 47-43

This Week: Wednesday vs. Marshall, Friday at North Lawndale

Hoops Talk: Three straight 3s in the fourth (one by Gabe Snider and two by Scott Kingsley) helped jump-start the Dolphins at Farragut. Jahlil Okafor hits GW layup.
16 St. Ignatius (13-2)

Results: Defeated St. Joseph 57-53 and Farragut 54-37

This Week: Friday at De La Salle, Saturday vs. Brooks (CPS Shootout)

Hoops Talk: Brian Howard helped save the Wolfpack at St. Joseph. They trailed by 13 at halftime and took the lead for good with 1:42 to play.

17 Metea Valley (15-1)
Results: Lost to Waubonsie Valley 62-61 (OT); Defeated St. Charles North 70-54

This Week: Monday vs. Rich Central (MLK Day of HoopsJoliet Central), Friday at East Aurora

Hoops Talk: The Mustangs 28-2 run in the first quarter against North helped erase the sting of Wednesdays defeat.

18 Marshall (16-4)

Results: Defeated Crane 57-54 and Aurora Central 80-54

This Week: Wednesday at Whitney Young

Hoops Talk: Dont look now, but the Commandos are the only undefeated team in conference play in the mighty Red West.

19 Notre Dame (14-4)

Results: Defeated Brother Rice 63-44, Loyola 50-45 and Nazareth 65-54

This Week: Friday vs. St. Patrick

Hoops Talk: Here come the Donsthree straight wins going into Fridays rivalry tilt vs. the Shamrocks. Junior Matt Mooney has played well.
20 Mundelein (17-3)

Results: Defeated Stevenson 59-51 and Antioch 51-39

This Week: Friday at Lake Forest

Hoops Talk: Junior guard Robert Knar leads the Mustangs into the Top 20 for the first time. Circle January 28th on your calendar: Mundelein at 4 Warren.
Looming & Lurking: Dunbar, Harlan, Crane, Farragut, Waubonsie Valley, Naperville North, West Aurora, Glenbrook North, Foreman, Herscher, St. Viator, Lemont, Homewood-Flossmoor, Seton, St. Rita, Joliet West, Rich South, North Chicago, Hope Academy.

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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USA TODAY

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot.