Preps Talk

NBA Power Rankings: Grizzlies soaring

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NBA Power Rankings: Grizzlies soaring

By Tony Andracki & Mark Strotman

Each Monday throughout the regular season, Mark Strotman and Tony Andracki will rank all 30 NBA teams. Below are Week 2 Power Rankings. Think we're way off? Agree with our picks? Hit us up on Twitter at@BullsTalkCSNwith comments or criticisms.
Past rankings: Preseason Week 1 Week 2

Tony
MarkComments1
Tony: Well-rounded team has best record in NBA.
Mark: They haven't lost since Opening Night.
2
Tony: Second only because Memphis has rattled off 8 straight.
Mark: Carmelo is your November MVP, hands down.
3
Tony: Will hold the best record when it's all said and done.
Mark: LeBron playing on another level.
4
Tony: KDTrey? More like KDTripleDouble.
Mark: Ginobili getting healthy is important in Leonard's absence.
5
Tony: Just solid. Boring, but solid.
Mark: Jamal Crawford: 20.7 points in 28.1 minutes.
6
Tony: Statement win over the Bulls Saturday.
Mark: Kevin Martin getting comfortable.7
Tony: See? Back to .500 already.
Mark: Successes have been overshadowed by Knicks.8
Tony: This team missed Brook Lopez last year.
Mark: The Central is theirs to take, it appears.
9
Tony: Yep, Jennings and Ellis can definitely co-exist.
Mark: Offense looks great under D'Antoni.
10
Tony: They need to get the shooting guard spot nailed down.
Mark: Depth on the wing is complementing Holiday.
11
Tony: Can Jrue Holiday carry this team now?
Mark: Just 2-4 on the road, but biding time before Dirk returns.
12
Tony: What is going on with the defense?
Mark: Injury-riddled, but no-namers keep stepping up.
13
Tony: Collison is having a resurgent season.
Mark: Rondo averaging 13.1 assists through 11 games.
14
Tony: Teague taking over the offense now.
Mark: Road trip travel starting to take its toll.
15
Tony: They could really use Bogut right now.
Mark: Lillard continues his ROY pace.
16
Tony: Fighting through the injuries, though Roy might be done.
Mark: Harrison Barnes looking more comfortable each night.
17
Tony: Asik making free throws? Huh.
Mark: Not giving up on this talented group.
18
Tony: Bold prediction: Batum -- not Aldridge -- leads POR in scoring this year.
Mark: Where was this Kyle Korver (10.9 ppg, 46.5 from 3) in Chicago?
19
Tony: Manimal is emerging as a bonafide stud.
Mark: MKG taking on the same role as he did at Kentucky.
20
Tony: Guess they need Granger more than we all thought, huh?
Mark: Millsap-Favors-Jefferson frontcourt is coming into form.
21
Tony: Will the big lineup (Al-Jeff, Favors, Milsap) lead to success?
Mark: Chandler Parsons a pleasant surprise for Houston.
22
Tony: Kemba Walker: All-Star?
Mark: Nash-to-Dragic transition has been essentially seamless.
23
Tony: Frontcourt play from GortatScola a big boost.
Mark: Even without Granger, early season's biggest disappointment.
24
Tony: Anthony Davis' offensive game looks polished already.
Mark: Al-Farouq Aminu quietly putting it all together.
25
Tony: Falling back to Earth after hot start.
Mark: Jameer Nelson finally back and healthy.
26
Tony: Need to make decision on Calderon: Trade or keep?
Mark: Young guns haven't made the jump. Yet.
27
Tony: Mired in a rough six-game losing streak.
Mark: Nothing going on in a crowded frontcourt.
28
Tony: Tyreke Evans has regressed big-time.
Mark: Isaiah Thomas benched for Aaron Brooks. Not a good sign.
29
Tony: Time to play Andre Drummond more?
Mark: Impressive 20-point win over Boston on Sunday.
30
Tony: Only winless team left in NBA.
Mark: Emeka Okafor having a resurgent year.

High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

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High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great action on Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago had highlights of many of the area's top matchups. Some playoff dreams came to fruition while others crashed and burned. 

Watch tomorrow as the IHSA playoff brackets are revealed tomorrow on NBC Sports Chicago+ at 8 p.m. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie Ridge: Episode 10

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Back of the Yards QB Jeremiah Harris

St. Xavier Team of the Week: De La Salle Meteors

Friday's Top 25 Games

No. 1 Lincoln-Way East 18, No. 19 Bolingbrook 14 

No. 2 Prairie Ridge 55, Dundee-Crown 14

No. 3 Maine South 56, Niles West 9

No. 4 Marist 42, Joliet Catholic 14

No. 5 Lake Zurich , Mundelein

No. 6 Phillips 53, Clark 0

No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor 50, Sandburg 14

No. 10 Barrington 40, Conant 19

No. 11 Huntley 45, McHenry 7

No. 12 Naperville Central 35, Lake Park 21

No. 13 Hinsdale Central 42, Hinsdale South 14

No. 24 St. Charles North 35, No. 14 Batavia 28

No. 16 Wheaton North 20, Waubonsie Valley 10

No. 17 Crete-Monee 52, Cahokia 8

No. 18 St. Rita 47, Marmion 14

No. 20 Lyons 31, Oak Park-River Forest 14

No. 21 Nazareth 48, Marian Catholic 7

No. 22 Oswego 30, Plainfield Central 0

Mount Carmel 35, No. 23 Providence 34

Other Highlights

Tinley Park 29, Evergreen Park 0

T.F. South 21, Oak Forest 14

Glenbard North 24, Neuqua Valley 14

St. Edward 29, Wheaton Academy 28

Marian Central Catholic 44, St. Patrick 21

Saturday's Top 25 Games

No. 7 Loyola vs. Brother Rice

No. 8 Glenbard West vs. Proviso West

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Theo Epstein answered questions from the Chicago media for more than an hour on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, but the most interesting part might have been what the Cubs president didn’t say, something along the lines of: These are our guys.

Or at least Epstein didn’t give the same full-throated endorsement of The Core that he delivered after engineering the Jose Quintana trade with the White Sox this summer, getting an All-Star pitcher without giving up anyone from the big-league roster.

Whether it’s the way the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs throughout the National League Championship Series that ended Thursday night, the inconsistencies and frustrations during a 43-45 first half of this season or the reality of losing 40 percent of the rotation, you walked out of that stadium club press conference thinking big changes could be coming.

“We’re going to pursue all avenues to get better,” Epstein said.

The Cubs already understood this would be a challenging time to dramatically reshape their pitching staff, with Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Big Boy John Lackey and All-Star closer Wade Davis about to become free agents.

The Cubs don’t really have many (any?) high-end, headliner prospects left to trade after borrowing heavily from their farm system to acquire Aroldis Chapman for last year’s World Series run and get Quintana to help solidify the rotation through 2020.

All of Major League Baseball is looking beyond this winter and preparing for the monster free-agent class that will hit the open market after the 2018 season.

Meaning it’s time for the Cubs to make some difficult decisions about all these young hitters they’ve collected.

“It may or may not be,” Epstein said. “Those choices, they’re not unilateral things. You can’t sit there and decide: ‘Hey, this guy, we’re moving him.’ Because you don’t know what the return might be. You don’t know how the different moving parts might fit together.

“I think going into the offseason prepared to make some tough choices and execute on them — and keeping an open mind to anything — is appropriate under the circumstances where we have some obvious deficits and we have some real surplus with talented players who are really desirable.”

Let’s assume All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, MVP third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras are essentially untouchable.

The Cubs used the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft on Ian Happ with the explicit idea that the college hitter should be on a fast track and could be flipped for pitching later: Is it time to sell high after the rookie just put up 24 homers and an .842 OPS?

During an exit meeting with Albert Almora Jr., Epstein said he couldn’t promise an everyday job in 2018, though the expectation would be more responsibilities: Think anyone else would be interested in a potential Gold Glove center fielder who’s already playoff-tested?

Do you want Addison Russell or Javier Baez as your everyday shortstop for the next four years? Is there an American League team willing to bet big that Kyle Schwarber will crush 40 homers a year as a designated hitter?

The Cubs have to ask themselves those types of questions, which could mean getting outside of their comfort zone and taking on some riskier pitching investments and sapping the strength that has turned them into the dominant force in the NL Central.

“We’ve really benefitted from having two or three extra — and ‘extra’ in quotes because they’re not really extra — starting-caliber players on the roster,” Epstein said. “That helped us win 97 games in ’15, 103 last year, 92 this year. That’s as big a part of the club as anything.

“Having an Addison Russell go down and being able to move Javy Baez to shortstop — that’s an obvious example of it. But those things show up every week for us. There’s a day where someone can’t make the lineup and someone else slides in and you’re still starting eight quality guys. That’s huge.

“Sooner or later, you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. There’s no sort of deadline to do that. But I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.”

Translation: The Cubs are open for business. Make your best offer.