Now that we're getting closer to the state playoffs, the latest edition of the @CSNPreps Power Rankings has a lot of familiar faces. This week's action the Public League Playoffs and the Catholic League Tournament will give us plenty of chances to see ranked teams face very good competition as it gives us a taste of what the state playoffs are going to look like in a little under a month.
While the city has a lot of the spotlight during these tournaments, there are still plenty of great conference races to be decided in the next few weeks as well.
1. Morgan Park (1) (19-2, 9-1) - The Mustangs are still the top dog in the area and had impressive wins last week over No. 19 Orr and a Missouri power in Hazelwood Central. Morgan Park gets an intriguing second-round game against No. 21 Hyde Park in the Public League Playoffs.
2. Fenwick (2) (20-2, 9-0) - The favorites in the Catholic League Tournament, senior point guard Mike Smith is playing great ball and was named the conference's Player of the Year.
3. Simeon (3) (19-3, 9-1) - One of the favorites in the Public League Playoffs, the Wolverines rolled past Collins and have a matchup against Dunbar in the second round in which they should be heavily favored.
4. Evanston (4) (20-2, 8-0) - The Wildkits have won 12 straight games and could be the hottest team in the area. Junior guard Nojel Eastern is starting to hit his stride as a go-to player, but he has plenty of talented support.
5. Thornton (5) (18-1, 9-0) - Thornton is still unbeaten in the area after two solid wins over good team in Lincoln-Way West and Bradley-Bourbonnais. Although Tai Streets' ballclub is clearly among the area's best, they still need a signature win over a marquee opponent.
6. Curie (6) (18-4, 8-2) - Curie will face No. 7 Bogan in the second round of the Public League Playoffs and that's a ridiculous game this early in the tournament when you consider how good both teams have played this season.
7. Bogan (8) (17-6, 6-4) - The Bengals rolled past Urban-Prep West in their Public League Playoff opener and get another crack at a top-10 team in No. 6 Curie. Can Bogan get over the hump and make a run in the tournament?
8. Kenwood (7) (16-3, 9-1) - Kenwood is safely in the second round of the Public League Playoffs after beating Mather, but an ugly loss to Belleville Althoff leaves questions as to whether the Broncos are truly an elite team.
9. St. Joseph (9) (16-7, 8-1) - The Chargers are the No. 2 seed in the Catholic League Tournament and the semifinals are in their gym, so they're the favorites to potentially reach the finals on that side of the bracket.
10. Benet (10) (21-3, 5-1) - Benet doesn't play flashy and they win a lot of close games, but there's something to be said when you have 21 wins and are tied atop the deepest league in the area. The Redwings have a legitimate shot at winning the very difficult ESCC.
11. Riverside-Brookfield (13) (16-4, 8-0) - The Bulldogs haven't made a lot of headlines recently, but they still have the talent to make a major move in the Class 4A state playoffs.
12. North Lawndale (15) (19-6, 8-2) - North Lawndale knocked off Carver in its Public League Playoff opener and get one of the second rounds more favorable matchups in DuSable. That could lead to a potential home game against No. 1 Morgan Park this weekend.
13. Whitney Young (16) (16-7, 8-2) - The Dolphins also have a favorable draw heading into the second round as they get a home game against King. A win and a Simeon win means the two storied rivals will meet in the quarterfinals of the Public League Playoffs this weekend.
14. Marian Catholic (11) (17-5, 4-1) - Clinging to a one-game lead in the loaded ESCC, Marian Catholic laid an egg in an ugly loss to No. 24 Notre Dame. The Spartans still have a ton of talent but that loss is concerning.
15. Homewood-Flossmoor (17) (16-5, 8-1) - The Vikings picked up two double-digits wins last week over Lincoln-Way East and Joliet Central. Some tough tests loom this week as Homewood-Flossmoor battles Bolingbrook and Joliet West.
16. Proviso East (18) (13-5, 7-1) - The red-hot Pirates have won eight straight games as they try to hold onto the lead in the West Suburban Gold. After beating rival Proviso West by two, the Pirates face Hinsdale South and Addison Trail this week.
17. Vocational (19) (18-7, 4-6) - Vocational needed a buzzer-beater to knock off Marshall in the first round of the Public League Playoffs, but they get a great opportunity to make some noise with a second round game against No. 8 Kenwood.
18. Naperville North (17-4, 10-1) - The Huskies had an eight-game winning streak snapped this weekend in a close loss to Bloomington but they're still beating everyone in the area that comes their way. Naperville North is another team that seems to do well in close games.
19. Orr (14) (16-3, 10-0) - Orr was bounced from the Public League Playoffs by No. 1 Morgan Park but they have an intriguing matchup with St. Charles North at Kaneland this weekend.
20. Deerfield (20) (21-3, 7-1) - Deerfield won a tight game over Highland Park and will be tested this week against Carmel and Niles North. That Niles North game is especially important for the Central Suburban North race.
21. Hyde Park (21) (18-6, 7-3) - Hyde Park continues to overcome injury as they blew out Foreman in the opening round of the Public League Playoffs. The Thunderbirds get a major test against No. 1 Morgan Park in the second round.
22. Hillcrest (22) (16-5, 10-0) - The Hawks are trying to close out the South Suburban Blue and they have a huge game with T.F. North on Wednesday to decide the league's top dog.
23. St. Viator (24) (16-4, 4-1) - Here's a wild stat for you: St. Viator is 9-1 in games decided by five points or less. The only loss in those close games was a one-point loss to No. 10 Benet. The Lions haven't beaten many teams of substance, but they win close games and are tied atop the standings in the deepest league in the area.
24. Notre Dame (NR) (17-6, 3-3) - Re-entering the CSN Preps Power Rankings is Notre Dame, who earned an impressive win against No. 14 Marian Catholic. The Dons have some puzzling losses, but there is no doubting how talented they are when they're focused.
25. Glenbard West (NR) (19-2, 7-1) - Also re-entering the CSN Preps Power Rankings are the Hilltoppers, who picked up solid wins over Downers North and York last week. Alex Passi is starting to emerge as a very credible second option to Justin Pierce, making Glenbard West that much stronger.