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

LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan's record by becoming NBA's all-time leading playoff scorer

LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan's record by becoming NBA's all-time leading playoff scorer

The LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan debate tends to heat up around playoff time, and The King fueled the fire Thursday with his latest accomplishment.

After sinking a 3-pointer in the third quarter of Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, the four-time NBA MVP surpassed Jordan for most postseason points in league history with 5,989. Jordan scored 5,987 points in 179 games while it took James 212 to surpass that mark.

Before the game, James said that chasing Jordan has been a personal goal of his and left the debate to media members.

The SportsTalk Live panel talked about those comments, and joined in on the debate in the video above.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.