Preps Talk

Seven new teams enter the latest Preps Power Rankings

Seven new teams enter the latest Preps Power Rankings

The boys basketball season is winding down as many of the area's teams have been eliminated for the year. With Class 3A and 4A reaching sectional play and Class 1A and 2A heading to supersectionals and state, only the best of the best are playing at this point in the season.

It also means a lot of ranked teams are facing each other as seven new teams enter the latest Power Rankings. 

1. Simeon (27-3, 9-0) (1) -- The Wolverines had a test against Crete-Monee for a regional title but they were able to get by. Simeon will face Brother Rice for a sectional semifinal in Class 4A at Thornton on Tuesday. 

2. Orr (27-4, 9-0) (2) -- Orr ran past IC Catholic to capture another sectional title in Class 2A. Still the big favorites to win a state title, the Spartans will play Hope Academy on Tuesday night for a supersectional. 

3. Curie (25-4, 8-1) (3) -- The Condors earned a tough Class 4A regional title win over Riverside-Brookfield to advance to the sectional semifinals. Now playing at R-B this week, Curie has to face Proviso East on Tuesday night. 

4. Whitney Young (24-7, 7-2) (4) -- The defending Class 4A champions pulled away from St. Joseph's for another regional title. The Dolphins have a tough one in the sectional semifinals at Riverside-Brookfield when they play Lincoln Park, a team that beat them in conference play earlier this season. 

5. Morgan Park (20-9, 7-2) (5) -- Morgan Park took down Vocational to claim a Class 3A regional title. The defending champion Mustangs have a sectional semifinal on Tuesday on the road at St. Laurence. They could face Bogan or St. Rita for a sectional title next week.

6. Evanston (23-5, 8-2) (8) -- Evanston claimed another Class 4A regional title with a win over Notre Dame as they advance to the brutally tough Maine East Sectional. The Wildkits have a rematch with Loyola in the sectional semifinals on Tuesday as Evanston won the first matchup. 

7. Benet (25-4, 8-1) (10) -- The Redwings took down a tough Naperville Central team in Class 4A as they are on to the Glenbard East Sectional. Benet will face an upset-minded Bartlett on Tuesday in the sectional semifinals. 

8. West Aurora (23-4, 10-0) (11) -- The Blackhawks stayed hot by knocking out Andrew with a double-digit win in Class 4A. West Aurora is heading into the Romeoville Sectional as they play Lincoln-Way East on Tuesday night. 

9. Marist (26-4, 7-2) (12) -- Marist held on to beat a feisty Bloom squad for a Class 4A regional title. The RedHawks will head to Thornton for a sectional semifinal game against Homewood-Flossmoor on Wednesday. 

10. Niles North (26-4, 6-4) (13) -- The Vikings had to earn their Class 4A regional title with a tough win over ESCC champion St. Viator. Now Niles North gets a rubber match with New Trier in the Maine East Sectional semifinals as the two teams split the regular-season series. 

11. New Trier (24-5, 8-2) (7) -- New Trier picked up an impressive double-digit win over Mid-Suburban Champion Prospect as they moved on to the Maine East Sectional. The Trevians will see a familiar face when they play Niles North in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday. 

12. Naperville North (26-2, 15-1) (15) -- Naperville North continued its winning ways by running past Geneva for a Class 4A regional title. The Huskies are the top seed in the Glenbard East Sectional as they take on Willowbrook in semifinal play on Tuesday. 

13. DePaul Prep (23-6, 5-3) (16) -- The Rams claimed a Class 3A regional title by bouncing Foreman for a big win. DePaul Prep will face No. 12 seed Antioch in the sectional semifinals on Tuesday as they are the top seed in the North Chicago Sectional. 

14. Loyola (24-6, 5-3) (17) -- Give Loyola a ton of credit for knocking off Maine South on the road to claim a Class 4A regional title as it was one of the toughest wins of any team. The Ramblers get another crack at Evanston in the Maine East Sectional semifinals on Tuesday as they lost the first matchup. 

15. Marian Catholic (22-5, 5-4) (14) -- Marian Catholic cruised into the sectionals with a Class 3A regional title win over Thornridge. The Spartans are the favorites for the sectional at Pontiac as they play the host Indians on Tuesday. 

16. Homewood-Flossmoor (21-6, 9-1) (20) -- The Vikings had to hold off Thornton in the Class 4A regional title game to advance to the sectional semifinals. Homewood-Flossmoor gets a shot at Marist on Wednesday night at Thornton. 

17. Bolingbrook (21-6, 7-3) (23) -- Bolingbrook beat Lemont to earn another regional title in Class 4A. The top seed in the Romeoville Sectional, the Raiders will face Joliet Central, a team they beat in January, in a rematch on Tuesday. 

18. Willowbrook (25-5, 9-3) (25) -- Big win for Willowbrook in taking down Hinsdale South in the rubber match of their recent rivalry. The Warriors move on to the Glenbard East Sectional where they'll play DuPage Valley champion Naperville North. 

19. Proviso East (20-8, 8-4) (NR) -- Great upset for the Pirates in beating Fenwick in Class 4A as Proviso East is suddenly a dangerous team. The Pirates face Curie in the sectional semifinals at Riverside-Brookfield on Tuesday 

20. Lincoln Park (19-9, 6-3) (NR) -- We knew Lincoln Park was dangerous after some of the upsets they pulled earlier this season. The Lions did it again in beating OPRF for a Class 4A regional title. Lincoln Park now gets another shot at Whitney Young, a team they beat in conference play, in the sectional semifinals at Riverside-Brookfield.

21. Joliet Central (23-5, 13-1) (NR) -- Tough win for Joliet Central as they took down a surging Oswego East team to claim a Class 4A regional title. The Steelmen are still a big factor in the Romeoville Sectional as they play Bolingbrook in the semifinals on Tuesday night. 

22. Lincoln-Way East (23-5) (NR) -- Lincoln-Way East claimed the first boys basketball regional title in school history with a win over Romeoville to move on to the Romeoville Sectional. The Griffins will have to play a red-hot West Aurora team in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday. 

23. St. Rita (18-11, 5-3) (NR) -- The Mustangs are back in the rankings as they look like a dangerous team in Class 3A. St. Rita outlasted Lindblom to win the regional title as they face Bogan in sectional semifinal play this week at St. Laurence.

24. Brother Rice (19-10, 4-4) (NR) -- Big win for the Crusaders in running past Kenwood in Class 4A. Brother Rice gets a huge test in the Thornton Sectional semifinals when they get to battle No. 1 Simeon on Tuesday. 

25. Larkin (21-8, 11-1) NR) -- Larkin won another Class 4A regional title by taking the rubber match against St. Charles North. The Royals are dangerous as they move on to the Jacobs Sectional to face Rockford Auburn in the sectional semifinals on Tuesday. 

39 Days to Kickoff - Downers Grove South

39 Days to Kickoff - Downers Grove South

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Downers Grove South

Head coach: Mark Molinari 

Assistant coaches: Mark Molinari - Head Coach / Offensive Coordinator, Dan Bielawski - Defensive Coordinator, Troy Michalek - Defensive Line, Matt Quatman - Linebackers, Jon Orech - Offensive Line, Chris Wild - Offensive Line, Paul Maggiore - Running Backs, Tony Nevrly - Wide Receivers

How they fared in 2017: 4-5 (4-2 West Suburban Gold Conference). Downers Grove South failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Bolingbrook

Sept. 1 vs Oak Park-River Forest

Sept 8 @ Proviso East

Sept. 14 @ Hinsdale South

Sept. 21 vs Addison Trail

Sept. 28 @ Morton

Oct. 5 vs Leyden

Oct. 12 @ Downers Grove North

Oct. 19 vs Willowbrook

[MORE: 59 Days to Kickoff - Mount Carmel]

Biggest storyline: Can the Mustangs contend for the West Suburban Gold title and get back to the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: WR/DB Jaelynn Blecke, OL/DL Shawn Lee and ATH Jayden Lambert

Biggest holes to fill: The Mustangs will have some graduation holes to fill-- especially at the quarterback position. Multi-year starter Matt Greenwald leaves big shoes to fill under center.

EDGY's Early Take: Downers Grove South just missed making the 2017 IHSA state playoff field. While the Mustangs will be a bit younger in 2018, it could work to their advantage. They have some very talented underclassmen names to watch this fall. The Mustangs' overall depth will be tested in a few spots this season; however, if South can stay relatively healthy, this team has a chance to challenge for a conference title and a state playoff spot. 

40 Days to Kickoff: Chicago Ag Science

40 Days to Kickoff: Chicago Ag Science

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Chicago Ag Science

Head coach: Shawn Finnin

Assistant coaches: Craig Dovich, Vince Patterson, KJ Jones and Richard Price

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-1 CPL Chicago Great Lakes Conference). Chicago Ag made the Class 4A state playoff field and lost to Rochelle in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Lindblom

Aug. 31 vs Hubbard

Sept 7 vs King

Sept. 14 @ Harlan

Sept. 21 @ Julian

Sept. 28 vs Marshall

Oct. 4 vs Goode

Oct. 13 @ Urban Prep Englewood

Oct. 19 vs Orr

[MORE: 41 Days to Kickoff - Bogan]

Biggest storyline: Can the Cyclones keep winning in a new conference (CPL Illini Windy City) starting this year?

Names to watch this season: TE Tony Stafford and OL Kam Williams

Biggest holes to fill: The Cyclones will need to replace 8 starters on defense lost to graduation.

EDGY's Early Take: The Cyclones had a historic season in 2017 making the IHSA state playoff field for the first time in school history. With the recent success comes a "move up" to the Illini division this fall. Look for Ag Science to rely on an experienced offense (seven starters) including four returning starters on the Cyclones offensive line from a year ago.