Bears

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 (13-0)

Results: Defeated Miller Grove (GA) 59-56

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

Hoops Talk: The Wolverines dealt with business out of state. Now the scene shifts back to the Red-South where long-time rival Morgan Park awaits.
2 Proviso East (13-0)

Results: Defeated Morton 87-51 and Batavia 90-44

This Week: Friday vs. Willowbrook

Hoops Talk: The Pirates have a multitude of offensive weapons but take note of their defense. They forced 33 turnovers against Batavia Saturday night.

3 Curie (12-1)

Results: Defeated Muskegon Heights (MI) 70-58

This Week: Tuesday at King, Wednesday at Kenwood

Hoops Talk: Another dominant performance for Cliff Alexander (20 points, 16 rebounds). Devin Foster added 17 in Saturdays victory.

4 Warren (10-2)

Results: No games played this week (Fridays game vs. Zion-Benton was postponed)

This Week: Friday vs. Libertyville, Saturday vs. Lakes

Hoops Talk: Solid season thus far for the North Suburban Lake conferenceWarren, Mundelein, Stevenson, Libertyville and Lake Zurich all have at least 10 wins.

5 Andrew (10-0)

Results: Defeated Lincoln-Way North 42-35

This Week: Tuesday at Lincoln-Way East, Friday vs. Thornridge

Hoops Talk: Jubril Adekoya was huge down the stretch against the Phoenix, ending with a game-high 17. A 12-3 run in the second half proved to be the difference.

6 Plainfield East (12-0)

Results: Defeated Plainfield North 60-55

This Week: Friday vs. Romeoville

Hoops Talk: Dee Brown had 25 points for the Bengals, but they needed Brian Bennetts free throws in the final seconds to ice the game against North.
7 Elgin (13-1)
Results: Defeated Batavia 49-43

This Week: Wednesday vs. Larkin, Friday vs. Streamwood

Hoops Talk: Kory Brown needs two more points to reach a career total of 1,000.
8 Bogan (12-1)

Results: Defeated Bloom 76-64

This Week: Wednesday at Corliss, Friday vs. Brooks

Hoops Talk: Huge win for the Bogan program Saturday night against a ranked Bloom team, with Kendall Wesley scoring 18 of his 22 points in the fourth.
9 De La Salle (11-2)

Results: Defeated Fenwick 57-35

This Week: Tuesday at Brooks, Friday at Gordon Tech

Hoops Talk: The Meteors bounce back from the loss to St. Ignatius, as Alvin Ellis (19 points) and Gavin Schilling (14 points, 9 rebounds) lead the way.
10 Metea Valley (14-0)

Results: Defeated Lake Park 61-45

This Week: Wednesday at Waubonsie Valley, Saturday vs. St. Charles North

Hoops Talk: Sean Davis provided the spark in the third quarter against L-P, scoring six points with three steals. Statement game upcoming at Waubonsie?
11 Downers Grove South (10-2)

Results: No games played last week.

This Week: Monday vs. Fremd, Friday at Leyden, Saturday at Glenbard North

Hoops Talk: Busy week for the Mustangs, who need to keep pace with Proviso East in the West Suburban Gold.

12 New Trier (13-2)

Results: Defeated Evanston 58-48

This Week: Thursday vs. Maine South

Hoops Talk: Dartmouth-bound forward Connor Boehm was huge in a huge rivalry game. The 6-7 senior finished with 26 points and kept the Wildkits at bay.

13 Huntley (12-1)

Results: Defeated Crystal Lake Central 56-35 and McHenry 55-36.

This Week: Tuesday at Crystal Lake South, Friday vs. Prairie Ridge

Hoops Talk: The Red Raiders were impressive on the boards against C-L Central. They had a 32-14 advantage. Center Amanze Egekeze had a double-double.
14 Bloom (13-2)

Results: Lost to Rich South 47-46 and Bogan 76-64

This Week: Friday vs. Crete-Monee

Hoops Talk: Rough week for the Blazing Trojans, but Donald Moore continues to shine. He scored 19 points against Bogan.

15 Hillcrest (12-3)

Results: Defeated Evergreen Park 58-40 and Thornton 68-53

This Week: Wednesday vs. Eisenhower

Hoops Talk: Jovan Mooring ignited a 12-0 run in the second quarter against Thornton to hold off the Wildcats in Harvey. He finished with 25 points.

16 Whitney Young (6-5)

Results: Lost to Wheeling Jesuit University 55-44

This Week: Wednesday vs. Raby, Friday @ Farragut

Hoops Talk: Sophomore center Jahlil Okafor and company return to ChicagolandRed-West competition. Fridays battle against the Admirals will be intriguing.

17 St. Rita (7-5)

Results: Defeated St. Ignatius 50-42

This Week: Tournament of Champions, Springfield MO

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Tony Hicks put the Mustangs on his back in the second half against Ignatius, where he scored 15 of his 22 points.

18 St. Ignatius (11-2)

Results: Lost to St. Rita 50-42

This Week: Friday vs. St. Joseph, Sunday vs. Farragut (MLK Shootout)

Hoops Talk: Brian Howard scored 12 points Friday night against St. Rita, but could not contain Tony Hicks down the stretch.

19 Crane (8-3)

Results: No games played this week.

This Week: Wednesday vs. Westinghouse, Friday at Marshall

Hoops Talk: Marshall, Farragut, Young and the Willie Conner-led Cougars figure to all be in the running for the Red-West title chase.
20 Rich South (14-4)

Results: Defeated Bloom 47-46

This Week: Friday vs. Rich East

Hoops Talk: A dramatic victory over Bloom gives the Stars their first taste of the Top 20. Marquell Smalls buzzer-beating layup was the difference.

Looming & Lurking: Seton, Marshall, Dunbar, Harlan, Notre Dame, Waubonsie Valley, Naperville North, West Aurora, Glenbrook North, Farragut, Foreman, Herscher, St. Viator, Homewood-Flossmoor, Mundelein.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

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USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed. 

Shaquille Harrison could improve the efficiency of Bulls bottom five defense

Shaquille Harrison could improve the efficiency of Bulls bottom five defense

The Phoenix Suns released guard Shaquille Harrison last week, and although it is not a move that will send shockwaves through the league, the Bulls picking up Harrison could be the exact type of move to help solve what ails them.

At 6-foot, 4-inches and with a long wingspan, Harrison would step in and likely be at least the second-best perimeter defender on the team behind Kris Dunn. And he is the type of player, when combined with a talent like Wendell Carter Jr. and/or Dunn, could help form the type of lineup that could have a transformative effect on the overall team defense.

Last season Harrison had a defensive rating of 109, this despite the fact that the Sun—as a team—had a defensive rating of 113.51, over four points worse than when Harrison was on the floor.

His best skill is his ability to “get skinny” around a screener, meaning that on defense, Harrison is adept at angling his body to get around players trying to screen him off his man:


The Bulls need more players who show Harrison’s effort level when navigating screens on defense, not just because it will make life easier on their rim protectors, but because they also need to make sure they continue adding players who lead by example on that end of the floor. A team as young as the Bulls needs to collect young talent who pride themselves on defense, and Harrison fits the part.

When it comes to offense, Harrison doesn’t have the most impressive profile, but his play on that end of the floor is similar to former Bull David Nwaba. Harrison is not even an average 3-point shooter  (23.1 percent from 3-point range), but he makes up for it in other ways.

His rebounding is an area of strength, and fitting in with his preference to bring physicality to his matchup, he is adept at getting to the free throw line.

Last year Harrison’s 30.6 percent free throw attempt rate would’ve been a top-five mark on the Bulls. But his low usage rate (18 percent) will likely be lower in Chicago, so the free throw numbers may fall. But with so many score-first players on the roster, Harrison will still be able to crash the glass against the many guards who forget to box out their man.

Offensive rebounding will be less of a focus for a Bulls team that wants to preach getting back on transition defense, but Harrison gives Fred Hoiberg a special player that can do both. Harrison will run back on defense to help create the “shell” that the best teams create to cut off easy forays to the rim, and then when his team gets the ball back and is on the fastbreak, he brings value as the “trailer” (trailing man on a fastbreak) even without shooting ability:

This signing could end up being a big one for the Bulls, however small it may seem now.

Around the league, more and more teams are starting to invest resources in multiple ball-handler offenses that negate the differences between point guard and shooting guard, making versatile back court defenders a must.

This will be evident when the Bulls take on the Dallas Mavericks in game No. 3 of the regular season, as Rick Carlisle's Mavericks feature Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic in an explosive offense that doesn't have a defined "lead" guard.

The Bulls will continue to attempt to curtail offense with a high-scoring back court duo when they take on the Charlotte Hornets in a back-to-back on October 26 and 27. If Harrison is worked into the rotation by then, expect to see Harrison and Dunn on the floor together to match up with Doncic and Smith respectively, but have the flexibility to switch defensive assignments on the fly. If Chicago's perimeter defense starts to offer significantly more resistance, it will allow quicker improvement from Carter and the rest of the Bulls bigs on the interior.

With Zach LaVine currently in the top-five in the NBA in points per game, Dunn returning and Lauri Markkanen getting healthy, the Bulls front office is slowly approaching the point where their team has enough players who are considered possible focal points of an offense.

To become a championship contender, you need to have that one player who is unequivocally a superstar capable of a heavy workload, and only time will tell if the Bulls already have that player or need to acquire him. But the other important factor in building a championship roster is having the elite-level role players who do the little things that make life easier for their teammates in all phases of the game, and Shaq Harrison is excellent prospect who fits that exact mold.