Preps Talk

Previewing the 2017 Public League Playoffs

Previewing the 2017 Public League Playoffs

The bracket for the 2017 Public League Playoffs was released on Thursday as it is time to take a look at the most unpredictable event in Illinois high school basketball.

After Derrick Rose and his Simeon teammates won back-to-back city titles in 2006 and 2007 this event saw eight different schools win the Public League Playoffs until the Wolverines recaptured the crown last season.

This event is so tough to win that we've seen multiple Class 4A state champions fail to win this event -- including Curie last season. 

It doesn't look like things will be much different in 2017. Five of the top seven teams and seven of the top 15 teams in the CSN Preps Power Rankings are in the field.

So expect quite a bit of chaos and some great basketball over the next few weeks as we take a look at some storylines to watch. The first round tips on Monday, Feb. 6.

Team With the Most the Prove
Curie won the Class 4A state title last season but this current group still doesn't have a city championship. The Curie seniors were freshmen when the Condors beat Whitney Young for the Public League Playoff title in 2014, only to see that title stripped away after a grade scandal rocked the CPS. Head coach Mike Oliver has a special tie with this class of seniors since those players could have transferred to play elsewhere when Curie was relegated to the White Division in the Public League after the grade scandal. Instead, those players stuck around and won a state title and now they can add to their legacy with a city championship run here.

Best First-Round Game
Westinghouse at Hyde Park -- This one should be a lot of fun as Westinghouse (8-13, 1-9) is much better than its Red-West conference record would indicate. Senior Coreyoun Rushin is one of the city's better players as the Warriors will be dangerous. Hyde Park (13-8, 6-4) has respectable wins over Bloom and Maine South during the season as new head coach Jevon Mamon has the Thunderbirds playing good ball. 

Best (Potential) Second-Round Game
Bogan at Kenwood -- This could be a ridiculous second-round matchup that would see two teams that were ranked in the preseason CSN Preps Power Rankings. The Bengals (15-6, 7-3) have flown a bit under the radar but they've played significantly better since guard Jerome Bynum entered the lineup. Bogan is a sleeper in the this tournament and the Simeon win gave them a lot of confidence. Kenwood (15-6, 8-2) is still one of the better teams in the Public League and they'll rely on senior Manny Patterson on the inside to be a big factor in this one.

Best (Potential) Quarterfinal Game
Simeon at Uplift -- We have the potential to have four ridiculous quarterfinal games, but I'm going to pick this potential matchup for a few reasons. For one, since the higher seed hosts the quarterfinals, it mean that Simeon would be taking a rare trip to the North side to play a Public League road game. It would also give No. 5 Uplift its toughest test of the season since the Morgan Park loss at Proviso West as they hope to make a state title run in Class 2A. No. 4 Simeon has dropped a few Red-South games lately, so they'll be motivated to make a run in this one. It would be a lot of fun if this matchup came to be.

Best (Potential) Semifinal Game
Curie vs. Morgan Park -- No disrespect to the potential matchups on the other side of the bracket but we've already seen Whitney Young face Simeon earlier this season so a potential Curie and Morgan Park clash could be the game to hope for. The guard matchups would be a ton of fun in this one as the Condors have talented seniors like Elijah Joiner, Allante Pickens and Terry Smith while the Mustangs counter with Ayo Dosunmu and Cam Irvin. 

First Round (bracket order)
Monday, Feb. 6 at higher seed
Robeson at No. 7 Whitney Young
Vocational at Prosser
Lane at Bogan
Collins at No. 22 Kenwood
Clemente at No. 2 Curie
Taft at Brooks
Harlan at Von Steuben
Phillips at No. 14 Orr
UP-Englewood at No. 5 Uplift
Lindblom at Farragut
Westinghouse at Hyde Park
Schurz at No. 4 Simeon
Mather at No. 3 Morgan Park
Marshall at Dunbar
DuSable at No. 15 North Lawndale
Perspectives-Calumet at Lincoln Park

Second Round: Wednesday, Feb. 8 at higher seed

Quarterfinals: Friday, Feb. 10 at higher seed

Semifinals: Friday, Feb. 17 at Chicago State

Championship: Sunday, Feb. 19 at Chicago State
 

Hersey ATH Jordan Hansen pledges to NIU

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Hersey ATH Jordan Hansen pledges to NIU

Hersey senior QB/S Jordan Hansen (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) has decided to give NIU his verbal commitment. 

"I'm really excited about it (commitment to NIU)," Hansen said. "NIU started really recruiting me harder around the beginning of the season. The NIU coaches saw me earlier in the summer at one of the North Central College one day camps and we've been in regular contact ever since then."

Hansen, who was drawing fall recruiting attention from Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota State, Eastern Illinois, and Illinois State felt that NIU was the best overall fit for him.

"NIU has a lot to offer. They recruited me as a safety and I'm more of an athlete recruit for them. I really like all of the coaches at NIU. They are just great guys and they have a plan in place to keep the football program on top. NIU also has nice facilities and really everything at NIU is impressive. NIU is also close to home which is a plus. Distance from home was not a huge factor for me but it definitely works out great for my family."

Hansen is also happy and relieved to have made his college choice.

"It's a big relief for sure. I can just stay focused on my team and on my season without having to worry about recruiting."

Jordan Hansen is the 17th known verbal commitment to the NIU Huskies Class of 2020 and the 3rd known in-state pledge. Hansen joins Oswego OL Jack Hugunin and West Aurora DE Matt Johnson in the NIU 2020 in-state class.

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

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NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?

NBC Sports Chicago and Wintrust present our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of passionate high school sports followers. Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Thursday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on Friday night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00 p.m. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive and appears in the MyTeams app.  High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago. 

This week, for the first time ever, our Wintrust “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week” will be a boys soccer match—and we have some pretty nice local rivalries on deck. Which game is the most worthy of coverage?

Plainfield Central at Plainfield North, 4:30 p.m.

Fenwick at Oak Park-River Forest, 5:30 p.m.

Mundelein at Carmel, 6:30 p.m.

To participate, our fans are encouraged to do the following:

**Follow our NBC Sports Chicago preps Twitter page: @NBCSPreps.

**Note the pinned tweet that is atop the feed.

**Vote for the game you want NBC Sports Chicago to cover Thursday night.

**Spread the word!

The poll will start promptly at 12:00 p.m. Monday. We will make an announcement with the official results on @NBCSPreps just after 3 p.m. Thursday. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights, all season long.