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CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

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CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

By Joe Collins and Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com
1 Simeon (3-0)

Results: Defeated Farragut 50-43 (Fri.)

This Week: Wednesday vs. Carver, Saturday @ Clash Of Cameron Showcase (NC) vs. Word Of God HS

Hoops Talk: Fridays victory marked the 200th win for Simeon head coach Robert Smith.

2 Whitney Young (1-0)

Results: No games played

This Week: Wednesday vs. Orr, Friday vs. Crane

Hoops Talk: Sophomores Jahlil Okafor and Paul White must grow up quickly while Thomas Hamilton Jr. recovers from an injury (torn patella tendon).

3 Proviso East (7-0)

Results: Defeated Addison Trail 88-64 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday @ Hinsdale South

Hoops Talk: The Pirates continue to cruise through the early portion of their schedule. Will they be the team to beat at the Proviso West tourney?

4 Warren (7-1)

Results: Lost to Stevenson 44-43 (Tue.), defeated Mundelein 61-45 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday vs. Lake Forest

Hoops Talk: Tuesdays loss prompted a team meeting. The Blue Devils responded on Friday behind 19 points from 6-9 center Nathan Boothe.

5 Curie (4-0)

Results: Defeated Uplift 73-58 (Thu.), Champaign Centennial 78-54 (Sat.), Decatur McArthur 69-41 (Sun.)

This Week: Tuesday @ Hyde Park, Thursday vs. Hope

Hoops Talk: Busy stretch for the Condors, who are getting excellent production from 6-8 forward Cliff Alexander.

6 Downers Grove South (6-1)

Results: Defeated Morton 62-57 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday vs. Willowbrook

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Jerron Wilbut (20 points) guided Downers South from a 13-point deficit to a key West Suburban Gold victory in Cicero.

7 Bogan (6-0)

Results: Defeated Du Sable 66-42 (Wed.), Rockford Guilford 82-39 (Sat.)

This Week: Wednesday vs. Vocational

Hoops Talk: DeVaughn Johnson, Devonta Smith and Kendall Wesley are all contributing for this Bengals squad.

8 De La Salle (6-1)

Results: Defeated Farragut 62-50 (Tue.), St. Joseph 62-52 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday vs. Hales

Hoops Talk: Two wins against solid opponents. They could do damage at York High Schools Jack Tosh Classic later this month.

9 New Trier (7-1)

Results: Defeated Niles West 58-47 (Tue.), Glenbrook South 71-47 (Thu.)

This Week: Friday @ Waukegan, Saturday vs. Prosser

Hoops Talk: Guards Austin Angel, Reid Berman and David Braigel and Dartmouth-bound forward Connor Boehm are on a roll.

10 Andrew (5-0)

Results: Defeated Stagg 81-51 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday at Bradley-Bourbonnais

Hoops Talk: Thunderbolts look like the real deal as Mike Bobek, Tyler Hook and the Adekoya brothers have people talking outside Tinley Park.

11 Bloom (7-0)

Results: Defeated Thornwood 49-38 (Tue.), Rich Central 52-39 (Fri.)

This Week: Saturday vs. Leo

Hoops Talk: Guard Donald Moore and the Blazing Trojans add to their list of an already-impressive resume of wins so far this season.

12 Plainfield East (6-0)

Results: Defeated Plainfield Central 58-39

This Week: Friday @ Minooka

Hoops Talk: Keep an eye on senior guard Dee Brown for the Bengals. He continues to make noise in the Southwest Prairie conference.

13 Seton (10-0)

Results: Defeated Crane 73-66 (Tue.), Mount Carmel 79-64 (Fri.), Hamilton (WI) 62-59 OT (Sat.)

This Week: Friday vs. St. Francis de Sales

Hoops Talk: Defenses take notethe Sting are averaging 78.8 points per game this season.

14 Crane (2-2)

Results: Lost to Seton 73-66 (Tue.), lost to Peoria 55-43 (Sat.), defeated Homewood-Flossmoor 61-57 (Sun.)

This Week: Wednesday vs. North Lawndale, Friday at Whitney Young

Hoops Talk: Veteran head coach Chris Head has the Cougars back on the prowl after a nice win over H-F at the Team Rose Classic.
15 Homewood-Flossmoor (6-2)

Results: Defeated Lockport 49-43 OT (Fri.), lost to Crane 61-57 (Sun.)

This Week: Friday vs. Lincoln-Way East

Hoops Talk: Devlon Rencher came up big to save the Vikings Friday. He had a game-high 26 points, including the tying three-pointer in regulation.

16 West Aurora (5-1)

Results: Defeated Naperville Central

This Week: Friday @ Glenbard North, Saturday vs. East Aurora (at NIU)

Hoops Talk: The Blackhawks shot 65 from the field Friday night against Central. Juwan Starks and guard Jontrel Walker each had 18 points.

17 Elgin (6-1)

Results: Defeated South Elgin 47-25 (Tue.), St. Charles North 53-41 (Sat.)

This Week: Tuesday at Burlington Central, Friday at St. Charles East

Hoops Talk: Arie Williams, Kory Brown, Cortez Scott and Dennis Moore have paced the Maroons so far this season.

18 Notre Dame (8-2)

Results: Defeated Marist 75-59 (Fri.), Crete-Monee 67-50 (Sat.)

This Week: Tuesday @ Niles West

Hoops Talk: The Dons raise some eyebrows with a 17-point thumping of previously ranked Crete-Monee and another blowout over a solid Marist squad.

19 North Chicago (5-1)

Results: Defeated Antioch 96-36 (Tue.), Vernon Hills 77-65 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday @ Lakes

Hoops Talk: Illinois State-bound Aaron Simpson had 33 points in the victory over Vernon Hills, 27 more in Tuesdays rout against Antioch.

20 Metea Valley (8-0)

Results: Defeated Bartlett 68-58 (Fri.), South Elgin 55-43 (Sat.)

This Week: Friday @ Neuqua Valley

Hoops Talk: The new kid on the block (school opened in 2009) has game, especially on the defensive end.
Looming and Lurking: St. Rita, Morton, Morgan Park, T.F. South, Farragut, Crete-Monee, St. Joseph, Glenbrook North

Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

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Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

On this edition of Nerds in Sports, we talk with io9.com senior editor Rob Bricken.

Rob explains how he juggles being a fan with being a ‘professional’ nerd, how he came to run io9.com, plus his theory on why Rey’s parents are in Star Wars may shock you.

Kevin Anderson and Michael Piff co-host. We are Nerds. In sports.

Listen to the Nerds in Sports Podcast here.

Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape

One week down, roughly one week to go.

Some things have fallen into place during the Blackhawks’ first seven days of training camp but this week is when it really gets interesting. The roster will continue to take shape and the competition for the few vacancies will intensify. Here’s a look at what we’ve already seen in Week 1 and questions for Week 2.

Stock Rising

Jordan Oesterle. We could put a few of the young forwards here, but we’ve talked about them quite a bit and will continue to do so. So right now let’s look at Oesterle, who coach Joel Quenneville liked “a lot” in Thursday’s game against the Red Wings. A puck moving defenseman, Oesterle said he played on the right side with the Edmonton Oilers but could also play on the left. If Oesterle has another good week of camp, that and his versatility might get him a chance on a Blackhawks defense still looking for the right pieces.  

Stock Falling

Tomas Jurco. Please realize where we’re coming from with this assessment: where does he fit in this lineup? He didn’t get a lot of opportunities last season but when he did play there wasn’t anything that made him stand out. Stan Bowman likes him and much like with David Rundblad, the Blackhawks want to give the Jurco a chance to justify the draft pick they gave up for him (a third-round selection from the 2017 draft). Several young guys are pushing hard for roster spots. Can Jurco be an every-day player or do the Blackhawks have a decision to make in favor of some of those up-and-coming players? Just very interested to see how this turns out.

Biggest surprise

Nick Schmaltz’s second-line center opportunity. Maybe we should’ve been more open minded to this happening but considering how little that line changed last year you figured Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane would stay together even after the Artemi Panarin trade. But given the strides Schmaltz has made in his own game and the skating work he and Kane did together this offseason, Quenneville wants to see what Schmaltz can do in the middle. There’s always tinkering with this team; we really should have seen the possibility coming but we didn’t.

Some Remaining Questions

- If there’s one forward spot vacant out of training camp, which young player wins it? John Hayden. Here’s why: even if Alex DeBrincat doesn’t make this team out of camp, the Blackhawks’ top six is looking pretty good. Meanwhile the bottom six, especially that fourth line, has some holes. Getting a young player with some size, speed, skill and sandpaper that Quenneville likes and trusts (and he likes and trusts Hayden) would be a great addition to the bottom six.

- Will there be any surprises on defense? Maybe. Part of it depends on what the Blackhawks do about the Michal Rozsival situation. Rozsival didn’t pass his physical (upper body injury) and is not participating in camp. You hate to see someone go out like this, but it may be the end for the veteran. If so, the seventh defensive spot opens up and so do the Blackhawks options. After Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Connor Murphy you have Cody Franson (if the Blackhawks sign him), Oesterle and Jan Rutta who have made good preseason impacts. Michal Kempny’s in the mix, too. Gustav Forsling is on the bubble. He had a great camp last fall but didn’t improve off it; that has to change this season.

- Will the top line combination work? There’s no doubt the Blackhawks missed Brandon Saad. He may not have been facing the sturdiest Red Wings team on Thursday but Saad’s powerful game was nevertheless impressive and a reminder of how much the Blackhawks missed that element the last two seasons. But the Saad-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik combo hasn’t gotten a great look yet — Toews missed Thursday’s game due to illness. Saturday should be the first chance to see if these three can really click.