Preps Talk

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Week Seven

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Week Seven

Here are the latest @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings after seven weeks of football.

1. Lincoln-Way East 7-0 (1)
Last Week: Beat Lockport, 45-7
This Week: @ Sandburg
EDGY's Take: The Griffins continue to roll along. Will they face another serious challenges the remainder of the regular season?

2. Mount Carmel 7-0 (2)
Last Week: Beat De La Salle, 28-21
This Week: @ St. Viator
EDGY's Take: The last few wins for the Caravan haven't been pretty, but a win is a win. 

3. Nazareth Academy 6-1 (3)
Last Week: Beat Marist, 39-29
This Week: @ Notre Dame
EDGY's Take: The Roadrunners bounced back from a 14-0 deficit to beat Marist on Friday night. When the J.J. McCarthy to Tyler Morris connection is on, look out.

4. Loyola Academy 5-2 (4)
Last Week: Beat Benet Academy, 46-14
This Week: @ Marian Central Catholic
EDGY's Take: The Ramblers offense has started to make some noise while the defense remains a big strength. 
 
5. Warren Township 7-0 (5)
Last Week: Beat Lake Zurich, 24-3
This Week: @ Stevenson
EDGY's Take: The Blue Devils hold Lake Zurich to a field goal while RB Derrick McLaughlin carries the load on offense for The Township.

6. Homewood-Flossmoor 6-1 (6)
Last Week: Beat Lincoln-Way West,  35-0
This Week: vs Bolingbrook
EDGY's Take: The Vikings offensive line, running game and speed on defense should play well in 8A this postseason.

7. Glenbard West 7-0 (8)
Last Week: Beat Lyons, 42-0
This Week: vs Hinsdale Central
EDGY's Take: This Saturday's game against Hinsdale Central will be the most anticipated regular season game in quite a while on the shores of Lake Ellyn.

8. Notre Dame 7-0 (9)
Last Week: Beat Leo, 40-8
This Week: vs Nazareth Academy
EDGY's Take: The Dons' defense has been a strength all season. They get their biggest test on Friday as the Roadrunners come calling.

9. Hinsdale Central 7-0 (10)
Last Week: Beat Proviso West, 49-6
This Week: @ Glenbard West
EDGY's Take: Can the Red Devils win on the road on Saturday at Glenbard West? 

10. Bolingbrook 6-1 (11)
Last Week: Beat Sandburg, 34-13
This Week: @ Homewood-Flossmoor
EDGY's Take: The Raiders' triple-option run game and athletic defense could combine to make some big moments this postseason.
 
11. Neuqua Valley 6-1 (12)
Last Week: Beat Metea Valley, 43-21
This Week: @ Naperville North
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats are now aiming to win out the remainder of the regular season. Can they earn a high seed in Class 8A?
  
12. Hersey 7-0 (13)
Last Week: Beat Buffalo Grove, 42-14
This Week: vs Elk Grove
EDGY's Take: The Huskies will need to beat Elk Grove this week before locking in on a huge Week 9 showdown vs. Rolling Meadows.

13. Minooka 7-0 (14)
Last Week: Beat Yorkville, 19-10
This Week: vs West Aurora
EDGY's Take: The Indians' defense has been rock-solid all season long. They limited a tough Yorkville offense. 

14. Oswego 7-0 (15)
Last Week: Beat Oswego East, 14-3
This Week: @ Yorkville
EDGY's Take: The Panthers keep their winning streak alive (15-0) over district rival Oswego East. 

15. Maine South 5-2 (16)
Last Week: Beat Glenbrook South, 40-10
This Week: vs Glenbrook North
EDGY's Take: The Hawks are getting healthy at the right time of the year. 

16. St. Charles East 6-1 (22)
Last Week: Beat Batavia, 30-29
This Week: vs Wheaton North
EDGY's Take: The Saints post back-to-back wins over St. Charles North and Batavia. Impressive. 

17. Batavia 5-2 (7)
Last Week: Lost to St. Charles East, 30-29
This Week: @ St. Charles North
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs now need to get back on track. Another DuKane rival looms in St. Charles North.

18. Hillcrest 6-1 (18)
Last Week: Beat Tinley Park, 41-0
This Week: @ Lemont
EDGY's Take: The Hawks will get a huge test on the road this Friday at Lemont.

19. Willowbrook 6-1 (19)
Last Week: Beat York, 35-21
This Week: @ Morton
EDGY's Take: The Warriors got off to a quick 14-0 lead against York and never looked back. 

20. Huntley 6-1 (20)
Last Week: Beat Hampshire, 56-0
This Week: vs Burlington Central
EDGY's Take: The Red Raiders are also rolling and are playing for a high seed in Class 8A.

21. Montini Catholic 5-2 (21)
Last Week: Beat St. Joseph, 2-0 (forfeit)
This Week: vs De La Salle
EDGY's Take: Will the forfeit win last week be a blessing for the Broncos?

22. Fremd 5-2 (25)
Last Week: Beat Barrington, 14-0
This Week: @ Conant
EDGY's Take: The Vikings' defense has been a strength all season; the run game pounded out enough yards in the win over Barrington.

23. Crete-Monee 7-0 (24)
Last Week: Beat Thornwood, 44-12
This Week: vs Bloom 
EDGY's Take: The Warriors are also in line for a top seed in the postseason.

24. Andrew 6-1 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Lincoln-Way Central, 33-21
This Week: vs Lockport
EDGY's Take: The T-Bolts enter the Top 25 aiming for a high seed in the postseason; however, they shouldn't overlook the Porters.

25. Cary-Grove 6-1 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Jacobs, 16-6
This Week: vs Prairie Ridge
EDGY's Take: The annual grudge match against rival Prairie Ridge should be a good one Friday night.

Seven intriguing teams to watch outside the Preseason Power Rankings

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USA BASKETBALL

Seven intriguing teams to watch outside the Preseason Power Rankings

It's nearly impossible to pick the Chicagoland Preps Basketball preseason Power Rankings.

With over 300 programs eligible for inclusion, there are going to be plenty of teams outside of the preseason top 25 that end up making huge waves during the season. And this season, in particular, is strange because so much of the high school basketball talent in Illinois resides in the younger classes.

So when evaluating potential preseason top 25 teams, it becomes a subjective exercise in weighing the merits of talent and experience. It's a different formula for everyone. Many of these teams have Division I star power or already found some success from last season. So the expectation is that most of these teams will reach the top 25 at some point during this season.

Here's a look at seven intriguing teams that didn't make the first Power Rankings of the 2019-20.

Benet — Even though Benet lost a lot of talent from last season's top-25 team, the Redwings are kind of similar to Wisconsin basketball under Bo Ryan: it doesn't matter who is on the roster, the coaching and execution from the players will make them a top team regardless of preseason stature. This season, Benet can still count on senior big man Colin Crothers, an All-ESCC selection as a junior. Crothers has some size up front with him in junior wing Tyler Van Eekeren, a solid perimeter shooter. If Benet's guard play steps up then they should remain heavily in the ESCC mix. 

Oak Lawn — The Spartans had a bit of a breakthrough last season when they finished 16-16 and earned some notable wins. This season sees most of that core returning for a promising year. Senior guard Sami Osmani is one of the area’s more underappreciated players as he’s a big-time scorer not afraid of the big moment. And point guard Trey Ward and forward Kevin Swatek were also valuable contributors last season. Oak Lawn has its best team in many years as it could be a special season for them in the South burbs. 

OPRF — Although the Huskies lose a lot of important seniors from last year's top-25 team, there is still plenty to like about OPRF this season. The summer emergence of a few key players makes the Huskies a team to keep tabs on. Junior forward Isaiah Barnes and junior guard Josh Smith both earned multiple Division I scholarships this summer. The duo's length, athleticism and skill are a perfect fit for OPRF's trademark "Husky Havoc" defense. Also keep an eye on senior forward Justin Cross, as he went from promise to production during the June period. 

Oswego East — It will be next to impossible for Oswego East to replace departed guard Ray J Dennis (Boise State). Dennis was the catalyst for Oswego East's offense and a dynamic clutch player. The good news for the Wolves is the return of varsity veteran Sam Schultz, a 6-foot-7 forward, and Aurora Christian transfer and Division I prospect Will Wolfe. Oswego East will still need to figure out its ball handling responsibilities and who will run the offense. But the talent is there for the Wolves to be in the Southwest Prairie mix. 

Rolling Meadows — There might not be a more fascinating team in the area this season than the Mustangs. It’s hard to know what to expect from this group. Junior superstar Max Christie has become a local household name thanks to his top-ten national status in the Class of 2021. But the rest of Rolling Meadows remains uncertain. Young talent is coming in the form of the freshman class — including Max’s younger brother, Cameron. How much help will Max Christie have this season? That’s one of the biggest questions any area team will face all season. 

St. Viator — Replacing the Division I backcourt of Trey Calvin and Jeremiah Hernandez won’t be easy for the Lions. Thankfully, St. Viator can rely on William & Mary commit Connor Kochera to be the new go-to guy. The 6-foot-4 Kochera was exceptional during the June live period as he carried St. Viator to numerous wins despite missing players. Senior big man Mike Huene drew positive reviews with his play this fall as he should help Kochera with his 6-8 size on the interior. Don’t be surprised if St. Viator remains competitive in the ESCC despite some big losses. 

Thornton —Thornton had over 20 wins and went an impressive 11-1 in the Southwest Suburban last season as they transition to the Southland for 2019-20. The foundation is already in place to make big things happen. Senior guard Ari Brown is one of four returning starters for this team as he's joined by Derrick Williams, DeMarco Miner and junior Brandon Hall. Hall had some eye-opening moments this offseason as he could become a breakout player. Although Bloom will be the heavy favorite to win the Southland, Thornton should make it tough on the Blazing Trojans.

Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 11: Hillcrest

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 11: Hillcrest

School: Hillcrest

2018-19 record: 21-10 (13-0 South Suburban Blue)

Postseason results: Lost to Normal U-High in Class 3A sectional semifinals.

Players to watch: The junior class at Hillcrest has a chance to be special. The headliner is 6-foot-6 wing Julius Rollins, a standout from this summer who has become a big mid-major target the past several months. A pair of 6-foot-5 wings, Jakobi Heady and Hamahrie Bowers, both burst on the scene this summer with strong showings at June events with their length, athleticism and improving skill. And junior guards Kenton Wright and Mar'Keise Irving also played heavy minutes last season. 

Why they're in the power rankings: Hillcrest already started to make waves as a sophomore-based outfit last season. With an additional year of growth, the Hawks look like one of the most dangerous teams in the state -- regardless of class. Bowers, Heady and Rollins provide a lot of size and athleticism up front while the guards are also experienced.