Some changes in latest NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

Some changes in latest NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

The NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings saw some changes this week with many teams closing out conference play.

The final week of the regular season for Class 3A and 4A will see some top-25 matchups in conference title games as we'll still have plenty of shifts during the week before the IHSA state playoffs.

1. Bloom (25-5, 14-1) (1) -- Two more double-digit wins for the Blazing Trojans in takedowns of Rich East and Rich Central. Bloom closes Southland play against Rich South before the Class 4A playoffs. 

2. Thornton (27-1, 14-1) (2) -- The Wildcats won by double digits over Thornridge in Southland play. Two road games for Thornton during the week against St. Laurence and Thornwood. 

3. Simeon (22-8, 8-2) (3) -- The city champions are off until the Class 4A state playoffs. The No. 2 seed in the Lyons Sectional, the Wolverines open Tuesday, March 3 at Lane against Juarez. 

4. Curie (25-2, 8-0) (4) -- The Condors earned another strong win over Oak Forest. The win gets Curie some confidence heading into another tough non-conference road test at Notre Dame later this week.

5. Morgan Park (19-9, 6-2) (5) -- Off this week and next, the Mustangs are the No. 1 seed in the Thornridge Sectional in Class 3A. Morgan Park opens the IHSA state playoffs on Tuesday, March 3. 

6. Bogan (25-3, 8-1) (6) -- The Bengals stayed sharp with big wins over Longwood and Bowman (IN). Bogan has the week off as they prepare for the Class 3A playoffs. 

7. Evanston (25-4, 9-1) (7) -- The Wildkits fell to Kenwood but rallied with a strong home win over No. 14 Glenbrook South. Evanston faces Maine East in CSL crossover play this week. 

8. Homewood-Flossmoor (23-3, 7-0) (8) -- The Vikings held off Sandburg to maintain a lead in the SouthWest Suburban Blue. Huge week ahead for H-F as they try to sweep Bolingbrook with a road win that would win them the conference outright. 

9. Whitney Young (18-9, 8-1) (9) -- Off until the Class 4A playoffs, the Dolphins are the No. 3 seed in the Lyons Sectional. The Dolphins open on Tuesday March 3 on the road against Proviso West. 

10. Notre Dame (26-4, 8-1) (10) -- The Dons closed out ESCC play with a win over Carmel to stay tied atop the league lead. Notre Dame had an interesting week with a home game against No. 4 Curie and a game against Senn. 

11. Marian Catholic (22-7, 8-1) (11) -- A win over Joliet Catholic kept the Spartans tied with Notre Dame at 8-1 in the ESCC. The Spartans face Richards in a solid non-conference test before the playoffs begin.

12. Stevenson (24-4, 12-1) (12) -- Three wins for the Patriots during a solid week that included wins over Warren, Waukegan and Benet. Stevenson will host Lake Forest this week, a team they lost to before in the regular season.

13. Loyola (26-4, 14-1) (20) -- Winning the Catholic League by two full games after wins over DePaul Prep and Fenwick, the Ramblers had the best week of any team in the area. Loyola has a final home tuneup against Bulls before the state playoffs begin.

14. Glenbrook South (26-4, 9-1) (13) -- The Titans fell in heartbreaking fashion on the road at Evanston to share the CSL South title with them. Glenbrook South takes on Niles North in the CSL title game on Wednesday night. 

15. Bolingbrook (25-5, 6-1) (15) -- Getting past Lockport and Sandburg, the Raiders put themselves in position to stay with Homewood-Flossmoor in the SouthWest Suburban Blue. The two play again in Bolingbrook this week. 

16. Joliet West (24-4, 15-0) (17) -- The Tigers are close to perfection in the Southwest Prairie after a win over Plainfield South. Joliet West plays two more games against Plainfield Central and Lincoln-Way West. 

17. Mundelein (26-4, 11-2) (18) -- Three wins for Mundelein this week in taking down Libertyville, Lake Zurich and Moline. The Mustangs finish out North Suburban play against Warren this week.

18. DePaul Prep (22-5, 12-3) (14) -- After a two-game stretch with losses to Fenwick and Loyola, the Rams responded with an impressive blowout win over St. Ignatius to close out the Catholic League. The Rams face Mather this week in a final game before the playoffs.  

19. Fenwick (23-7, 12-3) (19) -- The Friars fell to Loyola as they fell short of the Catholic League title. Fenwick will go on the road to face Taft during the final week of the season.

20. Oak Forest (25-2, 12-0) (16) -- Falling to Curie for only their second loss of the season, the Bengals schedule is ramping up before the playoffs. This week finds the Bengals facing Andrew and Hillcrest in another major test.

21.Orr (17-7, 7-2) (21) -- The three-time defending Class 2A champions were off this week. The No. 1 seed in the Marshall Sectional, the Spartans will be favorites to win another title this March.

22. York (27-3, 11-1) (22) -- The Dukes claimed two more wins along with the West Suburban Silver title by a full three games. York plays in the West Suburban title game on Wednesday against Hinsdale South at Addison Trail. 

23. Niles North (25-4, 10-0) (23) -- The Vikings ran past Maine East to go undefeated in the Central Suburban North. Niles North gets a strong test this week when they face No. 14 Glenbrook South in the CSL title game. 

24. Cary-Grove (27-3, 16-1) (24) -- Strong week for Cary-Grove with a double-digit win over Schaumburg and another solid win over Jacobs. The Fox Valley champions play Prairie Ridge in their final conference game before the Class 4A state playoffs. 

25. Hillcrest (20-8, 11-1) (NR) -- Back in the Power Rankings, the Hawks won against Romeoville and a buzzer-beating win over T.F. North. The Hawks have a huge road test at Oak Forest on Friday night for the top of the South Suburban Blue.

New No. 1 in NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

New No. 1 in NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

The NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings have some massive changes this week. The Public League Playoffs and plenty of conference drama saw a lot of shakeups thanks to clashes between top-25 teams.

In the end, Bloom is back in the No. 1 spot while Public League Playoff champion Simeon climbs to the No. 3 spot after winning another city title under Rob Smith.

With the Class 3A and 4A IHSA State Playoffs closing in, we should start to get a feel for the postseason soon. 

1. Bloom (23-5, 12-1) (4) -- The Blazing Trojans ran past Crete-Monee for a big Southland win. Two games for Bloom this week in conference play when they play Rich East and Rich Central. With a deep starting rotation, Bloom has the most balance and consistent firepower of any team in the state.
2. Thornton (26-1, 13-1) (5) -- A light week for the Wildcats with a win over Rich East to keep pace with Bloom. Thornton faces Thornridge during the week in Southland play. Thornton has still only lost to No. 1 Bloom this season. 
3. Simeon (22-8, 7-2) (9) -- Impressive climb for the Wolverines who claim a city championship with wins over Kenwood, Curie and Morgan Park. Jeremiah Williams is staking a serious All-Area claim while junior Ahamad Bynum is a lethal scorer capable of taking over a game. Suddenly, Simeon is peaking at the right time entering the Class 4A playoffs.
4. Curie (24-2, 8-0) (1) -- The Condors lost to Simeon in the semifinals in their quest to repeat as city champions. It was Curie's first loss to an Illinois opponent this season. The Condors have an intriguing matchup against a ranked Oak Forest team on the schedule for next week. 
5. Morgan Park (19-9, 6-2) (12) -- Falling to rival Simeon in the Public League Playoff finals, the Mustangs ended a strong run that included a road win at Whitney Young and a win over Bogan this week. Adam Miller, Marcus Watson and Brandon Weston are a dangerous trio to contend with as they're starting to gel over the past few weeks.
6. Bogan (23-3, 8-1) (2) -- The Bengals lost to old Red-South rival Morgan Park in the Public League Playoff semifinals as they don't have a game on the schedule for this week. Bogan will still be a very tough out in Class 3A in a few weeks.
7. Evanston (24-3, 8-1) (7) -- Keeping pace with Glenbrook South with a win over Niles West, the Wildkits get their rematch hosting the Titans this week. Evanston's rematch with Glenbrook South will have major CSL South implications. The Wildkits will also play Kenwood during the week. 
8. Homewood-Flossmoor (22-3, 6-0) (8) -- Two Southwest Suburban Blue wins for the Vikings as they held off Lockport and Lincoln-Way East. It's a light week for Homewood-Flossmoor when they play at Sandburg in conference play.
9. Whitney Young (18-9, 8-1) (3) -- Losing to Morgan Park for the second time this season, Whitney Young fell in the Public League Playoff quarterfinals. But the Dolphins have won state titles in the past after losing in the city playoffs as the focus turns to Class 4A. Whitney Young has this week off from games.
10. Notre Dame (25-4, 7-1) (6) -- The Dons fell to Benet in ESCC play with a surprising road loss. Notre Dame will attempt to close out conference play with a win when they host Carmel next week. 
11. Marian Catholic (21-7, 7-1) (11) -- Marian Catholic stayed in the ESCC race with a quality win over St. Viator. The Spartans have a final conference game against Joliet Catholic this week. 
12. Stevenson (21-4, 10-1) (14) -- Stevenson claimed a season sweep with another tight win over Mundelein as they have control of the North Suburban. The Patriots also defeated Prospect and Lake Zurich during the week. Stevenson stays active this week with matchups against Waukegan, Warren and Benet. 
13. Glenbrook South (25-3, 9-0) (13) -- The Titans claimed two more wins thanks to a CSL South win over Maine South and a win over Highland Park. The conference is up for grabs when Glenbrook South travels to Evanston next week in a huge rematch. 
14. DePaul Prep (21-4, 11-2) (10) -- The Rams dropped a Catholic League Blue home game to Fenwick as they fall a few spots. DePaul Prep has another big week of conference play with Loyola and St. Ignatius on the schedule. 
15. Bolingbrook (23-5, 4-1) (17) -- Picking up two wins over Lincoln-Way East and Leo, the Raiders kept pace with H-F in conference play. Bolingbrook faces Lockport and Sandburg this week.
16.  Oak Forest (24-1, 12-0) (18) -- The Bengals had a close call on the road during the week with an overtime win at Lemont. Oak Forest has home games against Manteno and a major test against Curie next weekend. The game against the Condors will be Oak Forest's first game against a ranked team all season.  
17. Joliet West (23-4, 14-0) (20) -- Earning a double-digit win over rival Joliet Central, the Tigers are still undefeated in Southwest Prairie league play. Joliet West takes the road to face Plainfield South during the week.
18. Mundelein (23-4, 9-2) (15) -- Losing a close North Suburban game to Stevenson, the Mustangs got swept by the Patriots in the season series. Mundelein bounced back with a blowout win over Elgin and also beat Zion-Benton during the week. Mundelein will host Libertyville and Lake Zurich this week.
19. Fenwick (22-6, 11-2) (19) -- The Friars dropped a Catholic League Blue game to St. Ignatius but bounced back with a strong road win at DePaul Prep and win over Yorkville Christian. Fenwick is more balanced than given credit for and is much-improved defensively since the start of the season. The Friars battle St. Joseph and Loyola during a busy week.
20. Loyola (24-4, 12-1) (16) -- Dropping a Catholic League game for the first time this season against Brother Rice, the Ramblers fall a few spots. Loyola shut down Providence the next game to stay atop the league standings. Huge week ahead for the Ramblers with games against DePaul Prep and Fenwick.
21. Orr (17-7, 7-2) (NR) -- The Spartans lost by a point to Curie in the Public League Playoff quarterfinals. Orr has this week off from games as they remain a Class 2A favorite when the IHSA Playoffs tip.
22. York (25-3, 9-1) (23) -- Solid week for the Dukes with West Suburban Silver wins over Downers North and OPRF. York plays two more conference games this week when they face Proviso West and Hinsdale Central. 
23. Niles North (24-4, 9-0) (24) -- Three double-digit wins for the Vikings as they stayed undefeated in the CSL North with a good win over Highland Park. Niles North heads to Maine East for a game this week.
24. Cary-Grove (25-3, 15-1) (25) -- The Trojans won two in the Fox Valley with a blowout win over McHenry and solid win over Hampshire. This will prove to be an interesting week for Cary-Grove when they face Schaumburg. 
25. Benet (20-8, 6-2) (NR) -- Back in the Power Rankings for the first time since December, Benet is back in following a win over Notre Dame and strong loss to nationally-ranked La Lumiere. Senior Colin Crothers is one of the area's most productive centers and the high-IQ perimeter of the Redwings gives them a chance against anybody.

High School Lites prepares for the postseason this week

High School Lites prepares for the postseason this week

It's beginning to feel like the postseason on an all-new High School Lites. We check in with highlights of all four Public League Playoff quarterfinals while also getting an update on the semifinals on Friday night.

And girls basketball begins the IHSA state playoffs at the Class 2A level with our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week. We'll also feature some good conference matchups in the Catholic League Blue, Metro Suburban Blue and DuPage Valley. 

High School Lites airs on Friday night at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago with replays on Saturday morning at 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.

No. 12 Morgan Park vs. No. 2 Bogan, 5:00 p.m. -- Conference rivals play in the first Public League Playoff semifinal. These two teams played on Nov. 3 with the Bengals taking a 71-68 decision over the Mustangs. Morgan Park (18-8, 6-2) is coming off of a massive road win in the quarterfinals over Whitney Young as Adam Miller stepped up with his play. Junior Brandon Weston and senior guard Marcus Watson (Wake Forest) are two more key players to watch for the Mustangs. Bogan (23-2, 8-1) counters with red-hot senior guard Antoine Bloxton as he had 41 in the quarterfinals. Guard Kyndall Davis is another major threat on the wing as the Bengals have options all over the floor.

No. 1 Curie vs. No. 9 Simeon, 7:00 p.m. -- The second matchup in the Public League Playoff semifinals is another conference rematch. The Condors (24-1, 8-0) escaped with a 67-66 in on Dec. 19. Senior Ramean Hinton is the most talented offensive player on a balanced group. But can Curie overcome the rematch without head coach Mike Oliver on the sidelines? The defending city champions have been strong so far. Simeon (20-8, 7-2) has an eight-game winning streak as they've turned things around after a sluggish start. Senior Jeremiah Williams is taking over games and junior Ahmad Bynum is a major scoring threat. The Wolverines also have numerous role players who have stepped up lately. 

Oswego at Oswego East, 6:30 p.m. -- A rivalry showdown in the SouthWest Prairie West. Oswego East (17-9, 10-3) is led by senior Sam Schultz and guard Will Wolfe as they dropped a tough one to York last week. Oswego (18-6, 8-4) is trying to stop a two-game losing streak while also avenging a loss at home to Oswego East on Dec. 10. 

DeKalb at Waubonsie Valley, 7:00 p.m. --  Two of the DuPage Valley's best teams battle in this one. DeKalb (21-6, 7-0) has quietly put together an unbeaten start in a tough league as they won the first matchup at home on Dec. 20. Waubonsie Valley (22-4, 4-3) recently fell out of the Power Rankings by losing two out of three, including a buzzer-beating loss to Neuqua Valley. Marcus Skeete and Ben Schwieger are a strong duo for the Warriors. 

No. 19 Fenwick at No. 10 DePaul Prep, 7:00 p.m. -- The Catholic League Blue is a tight race as we see two of the league's three best teams here. Fenwick (20-6, 10-2) is powered by junior forward Bryce Hopkins. The Louisville commit is a high-level scorer who can take over a game. DePaul Prep (21-3, 11-1) counters with junior guard TY Johnson as they try to stay tied with Loyola atop the conference standings. 

Chicago Christian at Aurora Christian, 7:30 p.m. -- Metro Suburban Blue action gives us one to watch here. Chicago Christian (19-7, 7-3) has won five straight games to stay in the conference race. Aurora Christian (18-5, 7-2) has won three straight games by double digits as senior guard Taaj Davis is putting up some big numbers. The last time these two teams played on Jan. 11, Davis had 54 points in a double OT win for Aurora Christian. 

 VIEWERS' CHOICE GAME OF THE WEEK

DePaul Prep vs. Orr, 7:00 p.m. -- We take in some IHSA girls basketball state playoff action here. DePaul Prep is the No. 2 seed in the Orr Sectional with a blowout win over Josephinum in the regional semifinals. Orr won by double digits over Disney as the No. 3 seed Spartans hope to return home in sectional play with a win.