IHSA

Curie #1, but major changes throughout NBC Sports Chicago Power Rankings

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NBC Sports Chicago

Curie #1, but major changes throughout NBC Sports Chicago Power Rankings

Some major shakeups in the latest NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings.

A busy Martin Luther King holiday weekend saw tournaments and shootouts all over the area that included many losses to top-25 teams. It means a lot of reshuffling in the rankings this week, along with three new teams entering the picture.

Conference play and another strong shootout at Glenbard East on Saturday highlights another busy week of basketball as we hit the home stretch of the regular season.

1. Curie (17-1, 7-0) (1) -- The Condors earned three double-digit wins as they made easy work of local competition. Curie will have some enticing matchups to follow this week when they travel to Corliss and also battle Missouri power Hazelwood Central. 

2. Evanston (18-0, 5-0) (2) -- Evanston won a test against Hillcrest as they're still undefeated on the season. This week will be the Wildkits' biggest test though as they play No. 3 Bloom at Glenbard East in a major top-three showdown.

3. Bloom (18-4, 7-1) (3) -- Two double-digit wins for Bloom in conference play as the Blazing Trojans remain in the Southland mix. This week sees the Blazing Trojans face No. 2 Evanston at Glenbard East. 

4. Whitney Young (12-6, 7-0) (4) -- Whitney Young is starting to round into form with multiple wins during the week. The win at HoopHall also opened the eyes of national scouts as D.J. Steward and Tyler Beard played well in a major showcase win.

5. Bogan (18-2, 7-1) (5) -- Surviving a scare from Kenwood, Bogan went through the week without a loss. The Bengals close out the Public League schedule with a road matchup at Hyde Park this week.

6. Notre Dame (20-2, 4-0) (7) -- The Dons made a strong impression once again with a takedown of Morgan Park at Fenwick. Notre Dame gets another big Public League test this week when they play Simeon at Glenbard East. 

7. Thornton (18-0, 7-0) (8) -- Monster home win for the Wildcats as they get past Homewood-Flossmoor for another signature win. Playing its biggest road game of the season to date this week at Kankakee, this Southland showdown will have major conference title implications. 

8. Lincoln Park (16-3, 6-1) (10) -- Impressive win over Joliet West for the Lions as they are quietly remaining in the top-10 picture. The Lions have three matchups this week as they make a push towards 20 wins.

9. Homewood-Flossmoor (15-2, 1-0) (9) -- A busy week for Homewood-Flossmoor as they lost on the road to unbeaten Thornton but also gave Loyola its first Illinois loss of the season. A key conference matchup on the road at Lincoln-Way East this week as Southwest Suburban Blue action continues. 

10. DePaul Prep (17-2, 8-0) (11) -- The Rams took down two conference opponents this week-- St. Francis de Sales and Montini. They remain in the chase for the Catholic League Blue title. The Rams have a conference matchup at St. Laurence on Friday.

11. Loyola (19-2, 8-0) (6) -- Loyola finally lost to an Illinois opponent with a tight loss to No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor. The Ramblers are still in the midst of a crowded Catholic League Blue race as they travel to St. Joe's this week. 

12. Stevenson (15-3, 6-0) (15) -- The Patriots are rolling since the holidays as they picked up wins over Libertyville, Waukegan and West Aurora. Stevenson still is trying to hold off Mundelein in the North Suburban as the Patriots play Warren this week.

13. Marian Catholic (14-5, 3-1) (12) -- Marian Catholic suffered a setback against Bolingbrook as their brutal schedule continues. The difficult schedule continues with two games at Quincy this week against out-of-state competition.

14. Morgan Park (12-7, 5-1) (13) -- Falling to Notre Dame at Fenwick, the Mustangs continue their up-and-down season. Morgan Park still has the talent to beat anyone in the state but they lack a cohesiveness that other elite teams have at this point in the season.

15. Bolingbrook (15-4, 1-0) (NR) -- Bolingbrook rockets back into the Power Rankings behind three massive wins (Marian Catholic, Romeoville and Lincoln-Way East). Over the past month, Bolingbrook has played one of the toughest schedules in the area. 

16. York (20-2, 5-0) (17) -- Since falling to Bolingbrook in the Jack Tosh title game, York has run off eight straight wins. Winning the WW South MLK event was notable as the Dukes have been very strong in tournament play this season.

17. Kankakee (14-1, 5-1) (18) -- The Kays haven't lost since Dec. 3 but that could be tested when they host undefeated Thornton during the week. Kankakee has some major tests coming up with additional games against Bloom and the Wildcats later in the season.

18. Cary-Grove (18-2, 8-0) (NR) -- Returning to the Power Rankings for the first time since the preseason is Cary-Grove. The Trojans won the event at Lake Zurich, including a notable title-game win over No. 23 Glenbrook South. Their only losses this season have come to ranked teams (York and Waubonsie Valley).

19. Glenbrook South (17-3, 5-0) (19) -- The Titans dropped the title game at Lake Zurich to Cary-Grove. A win over Mundelein, however, was very impressive as Dom Martinelli and company continue to pile up quality wins.

20. Mundelein (16-3, 4-1) (16) -- Up and down week for the Mustangs. They stayed with Stevenson in the North Suburban race with a solid win over Libertyville. But Mundelein fell short of expectations at Lake Zurich by falling to Glenbrook South in the semifinals. 

21. Niles North (17-3, 5-0) (21) -- The Vikings cruised to some easy wins hosting their own event during the weekend. Niles North has two more winnable home games before playing Clark at the Orr Shootout this weekend. 

22. Oak Forest (17-1, 8-0) (23) -- Oak Forest continues to quietly pile up wins. The leaders of the South Suburban Blue head to the road for two winnable games during the week (Bremen, Southland). 

23. Waubonsie Valley (19-2, 3-1) (14) -- The Warriors drop after a surprising upset loss to Lyons in the Burlington Central MLK event. Waubonsie Valley has a chance to climb back up the Power Rankings with a winnable schedule until mid-February.

24. Joliet West (17-3, 10-0) (20) -- Losing a close game to Lincoln Park, the Tigers drop a few spots. The Southwest Prairie's best team goes on the road for two games this week as they should be able to beat Lockport and West Aurora.  

25. Hinsdale South (17-2, 6-0) (NR) -- Perhaps no team in the area had a better week than Hinsdale South. With six wins over the past week -- including two that included a buzzer-beater to either win or force overtime -- and the Hornets had a memorable week. Hinsdale South capped it off by winning the MLK event at Sterling with four double-digit wins. 

High School Lites Preview: Week 7 features plenty of star power

High School Lites Preview: Week 7 features plenty of star power

High School Lites has a fun lineup with games from all over the Chicagoland area this week. We'll see highlights from the Red, White and Blue Divisions of the Public League.

The suburbs also have plenty of intriguing matchups, including our main game in the MSL East featuring Buffalo Grove and Rolling Meadows. High School Lites airs on Friday night at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago.

Clark at Crane, 5:00 p.m. -- We head to the Public League White-West for a matchup of two strong teams. Clark (13-5, 5-1) is battle-tested after losses to top-ten teams like Bogan and Thornton during the season. But they'll need to bounce back following a conference loss to Perspectives-MSA. Crane (16-2, 7-0) has also opened eyes this season by knocking off Orr and also making the title game of the Maine East Holiday Tournament. Both of the Cougars' losses this season have come to ranked teams (St. Charles North, Oak Forest).

North Shore at Northridge Prep, 6:00 p.m. -- The Independent School League's top team tries to stay unbeaten in this one. Northridge Prep (14-3, 5-0) earned a blowout conference win over Morgan Park Academy on Wednesday night to stay undefeated. North Shore (5-7, 2-4) won by a point in its Wednesday matchup against Ida Crown as they try to finish the week 2-0.

Sandburg at Stagg, 6:15 p.m. -- We catch up with the SouthWest Suburban with this crossover. Sandburg (8-8, 0-0) won four straight before a 10-point loss to a top-25 team in Oak Forest on Tuesday. Stagg (4-11, 0-0) has struggled following a 3-1 start. The Chargers dropped an up-and-down game against Evergreen Park earlier this week.

North Lawndale at No. 4 Whitney Young, 6:30 p.m. -- The Dolphins try to hold on to the Red North/West lead in this game. North Lawndale (12-5, 6-1) recently lost an overtime thriller to Lincoln Park but bounced back with a win over Orr. Daequon Davis and Larry Johnson lead a balanced Phoenix roster. Whitney Young (10-6, 6-0) is getting strong play from senior D.J. Steward (Duke). If the Dolphins get strong play from senior guard Tyler Beard then they are tough to stop.

Rich Central at (18) Kankakee, 6:30 p.m. -- High School Lites gets a look at Kankakee in this Southland battle. The Kays (14-1, 5-1) have only dropped a game to Bloom this season as they're one of the most underrated programs in the area. Rich Central (6-12, 3-4) completes a difficult week in conference play after losing to Bloom earlier this week.

Lincoln-Way East at Bolingbrook, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the best teams in the Southwest Suburban Blue kick off conference play in this game. Lincoln-Way East (12-2, 0-0) has flown a bit under the radar as they haven't lost since Dec. 6. Winners of the Effingham Holiday Tournament, the Griffins have some notable recent wins over Oak Lawn and Corliss. Bolingbrook (14-4, 0-0) is coming off of a monster win over Marian Catholic after falling to Neuqua Valley last week. Point guard Darius Burford is coming off of a blistering 38-point effort against the Spartans.

Sycamore at Kaneland, 7:00 p.m. -- The Interstate Eight has a solid game featuring two of the three conference leaders. Sycamore (11-5, 4-1) has won four of five as they try to stay tied atop the league. Kaneland (8-6, 4-1) is led by two double-figure scorers in Brett David and Jamari Meeks. These two teams also play on Feb. 21 with a return game at Sycamore.

Buffalo Grove at Rolling Meadows, 7:30 p.m. -- This should be a fun Mid-Suburban East showdown. Buffalo Grove (14-4, 4-0) lost to a tough Cary-Grove team on Monday as they were riding a six-game winning streak. The Bison have a strong group of perimeter shooters. Rolling Meadows (11-4, 4-0) is led by junior Max Christie, a five-star prospect and Player of the Year candidate. The Mustangs have started to emerge around Christie with solid recent wins over Fremd and Hersey.

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week  

Senn at Amundsen, 5:00 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week goes to the Blue-North Division of the Public League. Senn (8-4, 7-0) is the undefeated leader in the conference with recent blowout wins in conference play. Amundsen (6-6, 6-1) is riding a recent three-game winning streak where they won each game by at least 19 points.

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Defensive Tackles

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Edgy Tim’s Team of the Decade: Defensive Tackles

We are chronicling the best players in IHSA football over the past decade (2010-19), position by position. Let's take a look at several names to consider when assembling what would be the “Best of the Best” at the defensive tackle spot.

This list includes several three- and four-year varsity starters. Others had major critical acclaim before stepping foot on a college field. As mentioned in previous articles the last week or so, with a list like this, do you factor in just strictly high school production and program winning/success, or does a particular player's post-high school success also become a factor? Let the debate begin:

Tommy Schutt, Glenbard West Class of 2012 (Ohio State): Schutt was a five star-ranked player in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com and was also one of the top 100 players nationally. He was a four-year varsity starter for the Hilltoppers and posted 33 career sacks, 45 tackles for loss, 21 pass deflections and seven forced fumbles while also being an All-State player in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Schutt originally committed to Penn State but then decommitted from the Nittany Lions. He then signed with Ohio State. 

Steven Richardson, Mount Carmel Class of 2014  (Minnesota): Richardson was vital in a Caravan defense that won back-to-back IHSA state titles in 2012 (Class 8A) and 2013 (Class 7A). Richardson was a three-year varsity starter for Mount Carmel and also a two-time All-State selection. Richardson was a three star-ranked recruit in the Class of 2014 and signed with Minnesota after drawing limited amount of scholarship attention. He had an impressive college career at Minnesota, playing in 47 games and was a starter in most of those contests. 

Terry Beckner Jr., East St. Louis Class of 2015 (Missouri): Beckner Jr. was a rare four-year varsity starter at East St. Louis for head coach Darren Sunkett. He was also a two-time All-State player in his junior and senior seasons. Beckner Jr. had a terrific combination of size, speed and power and was an incredible athlete, checking in at 6-foot-4, 298 pounds. Beckner Jr. ended up signing with Missouri after drawing FBS-level scholarship offers on a nationwide basis. Beckner Jr. was a seventh-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Willis Singleton Jr., Warren Township Class of 2020 (Iowa State): Singleton Jr. was simply the best player on one of the states most dominant defenses. The 2018 and 2019 seasons for Warren Township and head coach Bryan McNulty were defensive showcases every Friday night. Singleton Jr. was a two-time All-State player by Rivals.com and was also a consensus All-State player in Illinois in 2019. He made 45 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 14 sacks this past season as the Blue Devils made it to the Class 8A state title game. Singleton Jr. signed with Iowa State after considering Illinois, Louisville and Michigan State. 

Jaleel Johnson, Montini Catholic Class of 2012 (Iowa): Johnson began his high school career at St. Joseph and then transferred to Montini for his senior season. As a senior in 2011, Johnson was an All-State, All-Area and All-Conference selection for the Broncos and head coach Chris Andriano. He was a major contributor who helped catapult his team to a Class 5A state title.  Johnson signed with Iowa and ended up having a very impressive career for the Hawkeyes. Johnson was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and has played in 37 games for the Vikings. 

Next in? 

Vincent Valentine, Edwardsville Class of 2012 (Nebraska)

Michael Rouse III, Homewood-Flossmoor Class of 2011 (Purdue)

Mike Panasiuk, Lake Park Class of 2016 (Michigan State)

Josh Augusta, Peoria Class of 2013 (Missouri)

Amir Watts, Phillips Class of 2016 (Pitt)