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

Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo extensions give Blackhawks flexibility at expansion draft

Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo extensions give Blackhawks flexibility at expansion draft

The Blackhawks agreed to one-year contract extensions with defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo, the team announced Tuesday.

Rozsival's deal is worth $650,000 while Tootoo's deal carries a $700,000 cap hit, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

The move gives the Blackhawks two players eligible to be exposed during this summer's expansion draft.

NHL teams must expose two forwards and one defenseman that have played at least 40 games in 2015-16 or more than 70 in 2016-17, and they must be under contract in 2017-18.

[MORE: The Blackhawks' 9-1 February by the numbers]

Rozsival and Tootoo meet those requirements, which means the Blackhawks can now protect Ryan Hartman, who is also eligible.

They are allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters (regardless of position) and one goaltender. 

Rozsival, 38, has one goal and one assist in 16 games this season, often serving as the team's extra defenseman. Tootoo, 34, has no points in 36 games.

NFL Scouting Combine represents opportunities — good and bad — for Bears

NFL Scouting Combine represents opportunities — good and bad — for Bears

The NFL Scouting Combine convening this week in Indianapolis isn't really the high point of pre-draft assessing being done by NFL teams. Those evaluations have been going on for many, many months — on college campuses, at bowl games — and will go on with Pro Days and selected visits to team headquarters.
 
But what it does represent is two things: a chance for teams to probe for detailed medical information on some 300 potential draftees, and a case study in savvy brand marketing by the NFL that has become its own hot-stove league on steroids (hopefully not literally for any of the participants).
 
Covering the event 25 years ago, representatives of the three Chicago-area newspapers comprised one of the two largest media contingents (the other being New York's) going about the business of football reporting after the sport had largely moved off the sports-front with the wrap-up of the Super Bowl. No TV, no internet, and the Combine operators really didn't want media around for what was set up as a purely team-centric.
 
Now the NFL has created a media event that keeps it in news prominence at what had always been a dormant calendar nadir for pro football, with not only some 1,000 media members and outlets welcome, but also with fans able to attend events like the 225-pound bench press and 40-yard dashes, whose results were once something that reporters dug around for as news scoops.
 
But beyond the observed events, including group media interviews for the majority of athletes, individual draft stocks will be affected by vertical jumps, cone drills and such. And by interviews with individual teams, which are still private. (For now. Somehow, it's not beyond imagination that someday even those will be televised, in an NFL guise of "transparency" or something, but that's for another time.)
 
Strengths, weaknesses and the QB conundrum
 
One annual refrain are the assessments of the overall draft class, what positions are its deepest, its weakest, an evaluation that carries some weight because invitees to the Combine include underclassmen, which the Senior Bowl does not.
 
But a danger within the process is exactly that — the "weight" assigned to results, particularly the on-field ones. On-field evaluations are the best indicators, but the right on-field ones were there on playing fields and now tape, not inside Lucas Oil Stadium this week.

[RELATED - Which direction will Bears go at pick No. 3?]
 
Combine performance has affected drafts rightly and wrongly over the years.
 
ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio has made an excellent case for players declining that test for reasons of confidentiality. And frankly, if teams have a problem with a player declining the test, then teams and the NFL need to do a better job of keeping the results in-house, particularly given that correlations between the Wonderlic and NFL success are questionable at best.
 
But some player or players will move up or slip down on draft boards because of drill work. That may be unfortunate for the player, and for the teams.
 
QB or not QB
 
It is at this point that the Combine becomes increasingly relevant to the Bears, or at least to those trying to discern what realistic chances exist for the Bears to address their well-documented areas of need (quarterback, tight end, cornerback, safety).
 
An inherent problem at this stage is the difficulty in arriving at a right decision, particularly at the paramount position. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock did some checking that illustrates the issue.
 
Between 2007-14, teams selected 21 quarterbacks in the first round. Nine of them are no longer even in the league, and only a handful have achieved something close to the coveted "franchise" distinction: Matt Ryan in Atlanta, Matthew Stafford in Detroit, Carolina's Cam Newton, Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Joe Flacco in Baltimore. Only Flacco has won a Super Bowl.
 
"It gives a pretty good feel for the 'hit' rate of franchise quarterbacks in the first round," Mayock said on Monday.
 
"My message to NFL teams is, 'you've got to keep trying, keep on swinging.'"
 
Whether the Bears take a swing at a franchise quarterback at No. 3 is still many weeks off. But Mayock didn't endorse making that swing at that point.
 
"I don't have any quarterbacks anywhere near the Top 10," Mayock said. "That doesn't mean I think there's no talent there, because I think there are four quarterbacks that have first-round talent. In my order I had for my initial Top 5, it was [DeShone] Kizer, [Deshaun] Watson, [Mitch] Trubisky, [Patrick] Mahomes. All four of them have holes in their games.
 
"I don't think any of them are ready to start Week 1."
 
More to come over the next week. Make that "weeks."