Bears

CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

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CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

By Joe Collins and Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com

1 Simeon (30-1)

Results: Defeated Whitney Young 52-42 and Marist 65-44

This Week: Tuesday vs. Evanston (4A Chicago State Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: Kendrick Nunn ignited a 19-1 second quarter against Cinderella Marist. The Wolverines are three wins away from a three-peat.

More Simeon: Check out webisode 14 of DRIVE: Simeon Hoops

2 Proviso East (30-0)

Results: Defeated Lake Park 73-52 and Schaumburg 78-39

This Week: Tuesday vs. West Aurora (4A Hinsdale Central Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: The Pirates have defeated their playoff opponents by an average margin of 22 points. Sterling Brown scored 18 against Schaumburg.

3 Warren (26-3)

Results: Defeated Lake Forest 51-35 and Mundelein 87-52

This Week: Tuesday vs. Rockford-Auburn (4A NIU Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: Two sectional games, two victories against fellow North Suburban-Lake foes. Now, a date with standout guard Fred Van Vleet and Auburn.

4 Bloom (28-3)

Results: Defeated Thornton 44-24 and Homewood-Flossmoor 43-32

This Week: Tuesday vs. Edwardsville (4A ISU Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: It pays to hit free throws. Donald Moore scored 18 of his 20 points from the charity stripe in the win against Homewood-Flossmoor.

5 Hillcrest (25-5)

Results: Defeated Providence 66-46 and Morgan Park 59-48

This Week: Tuesday vs. DuSable (3A Joliet Central Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: The Hawks, looking for their second state title in three years, had four players in double-figures against Morgan Park.

6 Marshall (24-7)

Results: Defeated St. Joseph 58-52 and St. Francis 45-41

This Week: Tuesday vs. North Chicago (3A Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: Milton Doyle and Korbin McClain both contributed with big games against St. Francis as the Commandos survived the upset scare.

7 North Chicago (23-6)

Results: Defeated Grayslake Central 77-62 and Lakes 69-59

This Week: Tuesday vs. Marshall (3A Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: ISU recruit Aaron Simpson tallied 27 points against Lakes; North Chicago won their fourth sectional title in five years.

8 West Aurora (25-5)

Results: Defeated Plainfield East 58-53 OT and Metea Valley 69-61

This Week: Tuesday vs. Proviso East (4A Hinsdale Central Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: The Blackhawks, backed by Jontrell Walkers 22 points and 18 more from Juwan Starks, shot 55 from the field against Metea Valley.

9 Plainfield East (27-2)

Results: Lost to West Aurora 58-53 OT

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: The Bengals could not hold a 12-point lead against the Blackhawks. Still, 27 wins for a new kid (school) on the block is more than impressive.
10 Marist (26-6)

Results: Defeated Bogan 67-63; Lost to Simeon 65-44

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: Kudos to Maristtwo upsets over ranked foes (Curie & Bogan); the Curie win -- thanks to a spirited play-by-play guy -- vaulted them into the national spotlight.

11 Bogan (26-4)

Results: Lost to Marist 67-63

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: DeVaughn Johnson had 25 points against Marist, but the Bengals could not hold a 15 point lead with three minutes to go.

12 Elgin (26-4)

Results: Defeated McHenry 43-34; Lost to Rockford-Auburn 67-56

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: Kory Brown was stellar against Auburn (20 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks). But Fred Van Vleet (32 points) was too much.
13 Evanston (21-10)

Results: Defeated New Trier 65-49 and Niles North 62-42

This Week: Tuesday vs. Simeon (4A Chicago State Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: No team has enjoyed a better late season surge like the Wildkits. But can they play giant-killers against Jabari Parker and company?

14 Downers Grove South (23-6)

Results: Lost to Metea Valley 60-51

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: A nice season for the Mustangs, but replacing Jerron Wilbut, Jamall Millison, Kevin Honn and Greg Garro will be a challenge.
15 Huntley (26-4)

Results: Lost to Rockford-Auburn 62-48

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: The Red Raiders lose to Auburn in the sectional championship for the second straight year.

16 Curie (25-3)

Results: No games played

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: Malcolm Hill-Bey and Devin Foster will not be there, but watch Cliff Alexander and Marcellus Davis next season.
17 Andrew (24-3)

Results: Lost to Homewood-Flossmoor 36-22

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: The T-Bolts did not score for the first 10 minutes of the game against H-F. Andrew will reload with forward Jubril Adekoya in 2012-13.

18 Seton (27-5)

Results: Lost to Breese Central 57-47 and Rockford Lutheran 55-51

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: The Sting pick up fourth place honors at state. Guards Mark Weems, Jr. and Kamal Shasi will be some of the key contributors next season.

19 Whitney Young (16-10)

Results: Lost To Simeon 52-42

This Week: Season Over

Hoops Talk: Sophomore Miles Leonard scored a team-high 13 points against Simeon. Hell be part of a dominant lineup in Chicago hoops next year.

20 Du Sable (16-9)

Results: Defeated St. Ignatius 51-44 and Dunbar 57-55

This Week: Tuesday vs. Hillcrest (3A Joliet Central Super-Sectional)

Hoops Talk: The Panthers won their first sectional championship in school history. Chris Galbreath and Evance Gayles reached double-figures against Dunbar.
Looming & Lurking: St. Ignatius, Metea Valley, New Trier, St. Joseph, Wheaton St. Francis, Mundelein, St. Viator, Oak Park, Homewood-Flossmoor, Niles North, De La Salle, North Shore Country Day, Dunbar, Aurora Central Catholic, Providence-St. Mel, Lakes, Grayslake Central, Ridgewood, Orr, De La Salle, Farragut, Yorkville.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: How much will Trubisky improve in his 2nd preseason game?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: How much will Trubisky improve in his 2nd preseason game?

Mark Carman, Scott Merkin and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel. Jon Lester looks to get back on track against the Pirates? Should he still be the Cubs Game 1 starter in the playoffs?  Len Kasper joins Kap to discuss.

 

How much will Mitch Trubisky improve in his 2nd preseason game? And will Carlos Rodon end up being the White Sox’ best starter?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

A stellar Jon Lester outing gives the Cubs more than just a win

A stellar Jon Lester outing gives the Cubs more than just a win

It's been a tale of two halves for the Cubs veteran Jon Lester, who after a sparkling first half of baseball that saw him win 12 games with a 2.58 ERA, has looked nothing like a 2018 All-Star. Prior to Thursday's start, Lester had posted a 10.32 ERA, allowed 4 or more runs in 4 of his 5 most recent starts, and had yet to win a game in the second of the season. 

The 34-year-old veteran flipped the script Thursday night, throwing 6-shutout innings while striking out 8 Pirate batters in the Cubs 1-0 win in Pittsburgh. Lester surrendered only 5 hits and baffled the Pirates all-night, finally busting out of his slump and giving the Cubs his 2nd quality start since the All-Star break. 

Lester attacked the bottom portion of the strike zone all night with his fastball, which topped out at 93 mph, generating 4 whiffs with his heater. Over the last month, Lester has said he's felt he can't quite execute his "out" pitches, explaining that when he has a hitter set up for a strikeout he hasn't been able to throw the ball effectively in those moments. 

And while Lester walked off the mound after the 6th inning amassing 8 punch outs, the veteran starter never looked like he was trying to strike out batters. He just continued to dot the corners, occasionally raise the eye-level of the batter with an elevated heater, and threw his secondary pitches just enough to keep the Pittsburgh batters uncomfortable at the plate. 

The Cubs offense once again struggled, facing Ivan Nova who has won four his last five starts against the Cubs, but Ian Happ's solo shot in the 4th inning was enough run support for Lester to push the Cubs to 20 games over .500. But the biggest takeaway from Thursday night's win isn't that the Cubs came out on top, it's that Jon Lester returning to form gives this Chicago rotation something they've lacked seemingly this entire season. 

Stability at the front of the rotation. 

With Cole Hamels impressive three starts in a Cub uniform and Kyle Hendricks finally figuring out his issues on the mound, if Jon Lester can replicate Thursday's performance throughout the rest of the season, the Cubs rotation may finally turn into the strength many thought it could be before the season started. At the very least, Lester showed that whatever he's been working through over the last month of baseball is fixable. 

It's only one start in a string of poor outings for Lester, and while The Athletic's Sahadev Sharma did find some positives in his starts prior to Thursday's big win, Lester will have to show he can maintain this level of pitching through the remainder of this season. But I think our own Tony Andracki put it best tonight on Twitter. 

With the Cubs pitchers finally starting to perform to their expected level, and the return of Yu Darvish looking closer each day, it could be the Cubs starting pitching that carries through the rest of the season.