Preps Talk

CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Week 7


CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Week 7

After an important weekend of basketball that included some tournaments and shootouts, it's time for a new edition of the @CSNPreps Power Rankings. Not much has changed this week as four new teams enter the picture, but Fenwick made a power play by beating Simeon while some familiar faces re-entered the Power Rankings at the back.

1. Morgan Park (13-1, 6-0) (1) - The Mustangs didn't play Simeon but they did win against Julian. Charlie Moore might be the Player of the Year leader, but Jamal Burton and Jarrin Randall are both playing great this season.

2. Kenwood (13-1, 8-0) (3) - Impressive week for the Broncos as they won two Red-Central games by at least 17 points each, including a rematch against a talented Hyde Park team.

3. Curie (14-3, 7-1) (4) - Curie forfeited a game against a team from Indiana but easily won two Red-Central games last week. They're just waiting for the chance to play Kenwood with a fully healthy team.

4. Fenwick (15-2, 5-0) (11) - Huge win over Simeon for the Friars as they beat an elite area team and senior point guard Mike Smith had a huge night. That 38-point performance from Smith is a signature performance for him that should get Division I schools interested.

5. Bogan (15-4, 6-2) (5) - Bogan had a three-win week as they easily defeated No. 24 Vocational and Harlan before defeating an opponent from Michigan. Senior guard James Jones continues to make an underrated case for Player of the Year.

[MORE: Week 7 High School Lites roundup]

6. Simeon (14-3, 6-1) (2) - Tough loss for the Wolverines to No. 4 Fenwick as they need to figure out how to stop talented point guards like Mike Smith. Simeon also beat No. 24 Vocational in overtime this week.

7. Evanston (14-2, 5-0) (7) - Solid win for Evanston at home over Maine South as junior guard Nojel Eastern continues to look good this season. The Wildkits have a balanced attack around the selfless Eastern that makes them tough to defend.

8. Thornton (13-1, 5-0) (9) - Tremendous week for Thornton as they beat Joliet West, Thornwood and Whitney Young as they now look like a potential state title contender.

9. Glenbard West (15-0, 3-0) (8) - Senior Justin Pierce continues his potential Player of the Year run with a ridiculous game-winning buzzer beater to knock off Downers North. With multiple buzzer-beaters on the season, Glenbard West has been great in clutch spots.

10. St. Joseph (12-4, 5-0) (6) - The Chargers lost at the Hoop Hall Classic in Massachusetts but they have plenty of tests coming up with Morgan Park, Fenwick and Riverside-Brookfield all ahead.

11. Benet (16-3, 2-1) (10) - The Redwings split a pair of games with No. 12 Notre Dame (winning the more important ESCC game) and also defeated No. 23 Stevenson.

12. Notre Dame (15-4, 1-2) (12) - It was a positive sign for Notre Dame that they came back to beat No. 11 Benet in the Wheaton South title game on Monday while also beating Hinsdale South and York.

13. Marian Catholic (14-4, 2-0) (13) - Nice week for the Spartans as they won at the prestigious Flyin' to the Hoop event in Dayton while also beating a tough Mount Carmel team.

14. Naperville North (12-3, 3-1) (14) - Naperville North continues to win close games as they were able to outlast rival Naperville Central. They continue to look like a favorite in the DuPage Valley.

15. Riverside-Brookfield (13-2, 6-0) (15) - The Bulldogs picked up an easy win over St. Edward and they have some tough games coming up, including Fenwick.

16. Whitney Young (12-5, 6-1) (16) - Whitney Young lost to Thornton but easily beat Farragut and Urban Prep-West.

17. De La Salle (12-4, 3-2) (18) - De La Salle earned a close win over Marmion and need to keep winning Catholic League games to keep up with Fenwick and St. Joseph.

18. Orr (12-2, 7-0) (19) - Orr toppled Pespectives-MSA and Collins in conference play during the week.

19. North Lawndale (14-6, 5-2) (20) - North Lawndale lost to a talented team from Maryland but they won two Red-West games over Marshall and Westinghouse and also beat a team from Missouri.

20. Homewood-Flossmoor (11-4, 4-1) (22) - Two solid wins for the Vikings this week as they beat Stagg and Hales.

21. Proviso East (8-5, 3-1) (NR) - Proviso East enters the Power Rankings after knocking off Hinsdale South last week. This has been a different team since senior Antonio Williams entered the lineup.

22. T.F. North (12-1, 8-0) (NR) - T.F. North makes their season debut in the Power Rankings and they still haven't lost to an area opponent. They're one of the favorites along with Hillcrest in the South Suburban Blue.

23. Stevenson (13-5, 4-1) (NR) - Nice week for the Patriots as they placed third at Wheaton South with a win over Hinsdale South. Stevenson also beat Libertyville and Downers South as junior Justin Smith is starting to come into his own.

24. Vocational (12-6, 2-5) (24) - Vocational continues to have a tough time beating the Red-South's elite, but they took Simeon to overtime this week and pick up wins over everyone else they play.

25. Deerfield (16-3, 4-1) (NR) - Deerfield has quietly reached 16 wins after two more on Monday. They've been winning a lot of games by double digits lately as they battle for the Central Suburban North title.

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

Beware of the Attack of the Lower Seeds

With the upcoming IHSA football playoff pairings announcement on Saturday night, here are some teams with modest win-loss records who opponents probably wouldn’t want to see in the early rounds of the postseason.

Loyola Academy (5-3): The Ramblers have struggled this season. But head coach John Holocek has, once again, led his team to the state playoff field. So what gives? Loyola has been inconsistent on offense and has turned the football over way too often. The team has also been dealing with various injuries. But the defense (minus a 35-3 loss to Brother Rice) has generally played well this season. If the Ramblers can clean up the turnovers and find a way to get their offense back in a rhythm, this team can undoubtedly surprise some teams along the way in Class 8A. 

Neuqua Valley (5-3): The Wildcats and head coach Bill Ellinghaus have dropped three tight games this season including a last possession, 21-14 decision to DuPage Valley Conference champion Naperville Central two weeks ago. If the Wildcats can continue to get steady production from a balanced offense, led by RB Will Cheviliar and QB John Gronowski, the defense is capable of keeping Neuqua Valley in every game this postseason.

Aurora Christian (5-3): Coach Dave Beebe’s Eagles have lost to three playoff-bound teams this season with a combined 21-3 record (IC Prep, St. Francis and Bishop McNamara). They have a potent spread-passing attack led by sophomore QB Ethan Hampton. Aurora Christian is also slated to wind up in the Class 1A bracket on pairings night. Their dynamic offense and passing game in general could be a tough matchup for opponents in, what usually is, Class 1A North bracket with teams that generally run the ball.

Barrington (5-3): The Broncos, under head coach Joe Sanchez, have also been dealing with a rash of mid-season injuries; that said, it looks like Barrington is getting healthy at the right time. Junior QB Tommy Fitzpatrick is back from injury and is a key catalyst for any Barrington postseason run. Fitzpatrick has weapons in junior WR EJ Darlington and senior RB Michael Curran. 

Lake Zurich (5-3): The Bears made a starting quarterback change last week as Jack Moses took the reins. He promptly led the Bears to a 42-0 win over Mundelein. If the Bears can limit turnovers and continue to get strong production from their offense, the L-Z defense is more than capable of making life very difficult for any higher seeds that they could draw in the 7A state playoff field. 

Edwardsville (5-3): The Tigers hit a rough patch starting the season with a 1-3 record. But they currently boast a four-game winnings streak heading into Friday night’s tilt at Collinsville. Edwardsville is led by senior QB Kendall Abdur Rahman (Notre Dame) and is a gamebreaker every time he touches the football. Sophomore RB Justin Johnson (and the team in general) possesses a ton of speed. There are athletes and playmakers on both sides of the football. 

Here are some more lower seeds who could wreak havoc:

Providence Catholic (5-3): If the Celtics can get their running game going, beware. 

Raby (5-3): The Raiders could be a handful in 4A.

St. Charles East (4-4): The Saints’ power-option game is always tough to defend. 

Joliet Catholic (4-4): IF the Hilltoppers can beat Notre Dame on Friday, they could be a very tough out in 5A.

Crystal Lake South (5-3): A huge offensive line leads the way for the Gators. 

Zion-Benton (4-4): The Zee-Bees can put as much talent on the field than most of their opponents. 

Lemont (4-4): Needs a win Friday over rival Oak Forest. If the offense can keep the chains moving, the Indians’ defense can do the rest. 

Crete-Monee (5-3): They are the Southland conference champs. Their first two losses in 2018? Lincoln-Way East (8-0) and Brother Rice (8-0).

Thornton (4-4): The Wildcats will need to upset Lincoln Way Central Friday. Thornton always has talent.

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to air "IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show" on October 20

Bloomington, IL/Chicago, IL (October 17, 2018) -- The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football Playoff Pairing Show returns to NBC Sports Chicago for its eighth season in 2018. NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #AuthenticFan – will air the show live on NBC Sports Chicago+ on Saturday, October 20 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM CT. Viewers are urged to visit NBC Sports Chicago’s “Channel Finder” page ( for exact NBC Sports Chicago+ channel locations in their area.

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show, which will reveal the brackets and first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes, can also be viewed via Live stream beginning at 8:00 PM on Saturday at, on Facebook Live (, and will also be accessible for viewing to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers via the brand new MyTeams by NBC Sports app (NOTE: MyTeams is available on iOS and Android devices, at no cost, to fans anywhere in the U.S. and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

"The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show' continues to be one of the most highly-anticipated events in the state of Illinois and we couldn't be prouder to once again showcase two-straight hours of live, interactive coverage across all platforms on Saturday night," said Kevin Cross, Vice President of Content for NBC Sports Chicago.  

NBC Sports Chicago anchor Leila Rahimi hosts the show and will be joined by a panel of experts on-set, including long-time IHSA TV announcer Dave Bernhard and Illinois high school football bracketologist Steve Soucie. IHSA TV veteran Camron Smith will breakdown each class with media members from around the state, including NBC Sports Chicago prep football expert “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the show and ask questions to be answered during the program by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #IHSAbrackets

The program will once again feature highlights, coaches interviews and media analysis from all over the state. In addition, NBC Sports Chicago will be gathering teams & fan reaction moments throughout the “Land of Lincoln” on Saturday from numerous school playoff pairing parties taking place that evening.

“This is one of the most anticipated nights of the year on the IHSA calendar,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Student-athletes, coaches and communities around the state have put their hearts into the last nine weeks, and for 256 teams, it’s an amazing chance to celebrate their accomplishments, while looking ahead to the path to the IHSA Football State Finals. We appreciate the time and effort that our partners at NBC Sports Chicago put into making this night so special.”

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show kicks off NBC Sports Chicago’s playoff coverage of IHSA Football, which culminates with all eight state title games being televised and streamed by NBC Sports Chicago on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23-24), live from Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign.