CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings


CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

By Joe Collins and Taylor Bell

1 Simeon (26-1)

Results: Defeated Orr 61-51, Curie 53-49 and De La Salle 59-51

This Week: No games scheduled.

Hoops Talk: Public League championship? Check. High-profile win at the City-Suburban Showdown? Check. IHSA championship?
2 Proviso East (24-0)

Results: Defeated Leyden 93-48, Downers Grove South 65-62 and Warren 73-66

This Week: Wednesday vs. Oak Park-River Forest, Saturday at Marquette University HS

Hoops Talk: Simeon might be the number one team, but the Pirates might as well be 1A. East jumped out to an 11-2 run over No. 4 Warren and never looked back.

3 Curie (24-2)

Results: Defeated Bogan 50-47; Lost to Simeon 53-49

This Week: No games scheduled

Hoops Talk: Devin Foster scored 19 points against Simeon but Cliff Alexander was very quiet, scoring only four points. Curie will still be a force in the IHSA.

4 Warren (21-3)

Results: Defeated Lake Zurich 60-38, Libertyville 81-42; Lost to Proviso East 73-66

This Week: Wednesday at North Chicago

Hoops Talk: The Blue Devils need to bounce back for Wednesdays North Suburban Championship against Illinois State-bound Aaron Simpson and North Chicago.

5 Plainfield East (24-1)

Results: Defeated St. Charles East 79-69 and Plainfield South 64-45

This Week: Thursday at Oswego East

Hoops Talk: The Bengals, behind Dee Brown, Brian Bennett and Jawan Straughter, help bring East their first conference championship in any sport.

6 Andrew (21-1)

Results: Defeated Sandburg 53-43 and Thornridge 58-31

This Week: Tuesday vs. Thornwood, Thursday vs. Lincoln-Way West

Hoops Talk: 21 wins, most in school history, is nice. But Tuesdays game, which will decide the Southwest Suburban-Red, would be the biggest win of the year.
7 Bogan (23-3)

Results: Lost to Curie 50-47

This Week: No games scheduled

Hoops Talk: The Bengals will be one of the toughest outs in the IHSA playoffs. Devonte Smith and Devaughn Johnson are two of the top players in the city.

8 Huntley (24-2)

Results: Defeated Jacobs 57-45, Cary-Grove 50-30 and Barrington 38-31

This Week: Friday vs. Grayslake Central

Hoops Talk: The Red Raiders, Fox Valley-Valley champs, have a star in Amanze Egekeze, but theyre also one of the best defending teams in the area.

9 Downers Grove South (19-5)

Results: Lost to Proviso East 65-62

This Week: No games scheduled

Hoops Talk: Jamall Millison and Jerron Wilbut had great games, but Proviso Easts starting five proved to be too much on Friday night.

10 Elgin (21-3)

Results: Defeated Immaculate Conception 41-40 and Streamwood 67-28

This Week: Tuesday vs. Geneva

Hoops Talk: Kory Brown hit the game-winning free throw with two seconds left against I-C. Saturdays win over Streamwood marked five straight wins for Elgin.

11 Hillcrest (21-4)

Results: Defeated Tinley Park 67-55 and T.F. South 68-46

This Week: Friday at Lemont

Hoops Talk: Jalen Loving blocked six shots against T.F. South. A win Friday would give the Hawks the South Suburban-Blue conference title.

12 St. Ignatius (20-4)

Results: Defeated Loyola; Lost to Notre Dame 45-44

This Week: Wednesday at De La Salle, Friday vs. Mount Carmel

Hoops Talk: The mid-week battle at 35th & Michigan will go a long way in determining the Catholic North champ. Iggy would be in great shape with a win.

13 Bloom (23-3)
Results: Defeated Crete-Monee 57-49 and Thornton 58-47

This Week: Friday vs. Kankakee

Hoops Talk: Lejavius Johnson and Donald Moore led the Blazing Trojans this week. Bloom can claim the Southland title with a win Friday.

14 Orr (19-4)

Results: Lost to Simeon 61-51

This Week: No games scheduled

Hoops Talk: The Spartans put together some nice runs against Simeon. Marquise Pryor, Deshawn King and company are looking forward to the state playoffs.

15 Marshall (20-7)

Results: No games played

This Week: No games scheduled

Hoops Talk: The Commandos made it downstate four of the last five seasons. A late-season surge could help make that five out of six.

16 New Trier (20-5)

Results: Defeated Maine South 63-58 and St. Rita 59-41

This Week: Tuesday at Niles North

Hoops Talk: Connor Boehm was a force this week, racking up 23 points against Maine South and 16 more (along with 11 rebounds) against St. Rita.

17 West Aurora (21-4)

Results: Defeated Naperville North 64-53 and West Chicago 57-42

This Week: Wednesday at Glenbard East

Hoops Talk: Juwan Starks lit up Naperville North early and often Friday,and his efforts put the Blackhawks in a position to claim a share of the DVC title.

18 De La Salle (15-6)

Results: Defeated Hales 57-38; Lost to Simeon 59-51

This Week: Wednesday vs. St. Ignatius

Hoops Talk: The Meteors could not recover from a 22-6 opening run by Simeon. On a positive note, Alvin Ellis returned this week after an ankle sprain.

19 Seton (22-4)

Results: Defeated Hope Academy 97-75 and St. Francis de Sales 89-66

This Week: IHSA Class 2A Regionals

Hoops Talk: The Sting rang up six threes in a 35-point third quarter against Hope Academy.

20 Lemont (22-2)

Results: Defeated T.F. South 59-55 and Reavis 63-41

This Week: Tuesday vs. Glenbard South, Friday vs. Hillcrest

Hoops Talk: Can Juozas Balciunas and the Indians give the Hawks a run? A win would give them a share of the South Suburban-Blue.

Looming & Lurking: St. Rita, Hope Academy, Whitney Young, Metea Valley, Farragut, Mundelein, North Chicago, Riverside-Brookfield, St Viator, Oak Park-River Forest, Herscher, Immaculate Conception, York, Marist, St. Joseph

Bears Talk Podcast: What's next for Bears at QB after Brian Hoyer suffers broken arm?


Bears Talk Podcast: What's next for Bears at QB after Brian Hoyer suffers broken arm?

Lance Briggs, Alex Brown and Jim Miller break down where the Bears go at QB following Brian Hoyer’s injury and evaluate the defense’s gutsy performance on Thursday night against the Packers despite numerous injuries. Plus, a look at the big picture and who can help the Bears down the road.

Check out the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast here:

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

LOS ANGELES – Within minutes of the last out on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, ESPN’s @SportsCenter account sent out a photo of Moises Alou at the Wrigley Field wall to more than 30 million Twitter followers: “The last time the Cubs were up 3-2 in an NLCS was Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS vs. the Marlins. Most remember it as ‘the Bartman Game.’”

As Kerry Wood once said: “Irrelevant, dude.”
Look, the Cubs still need to find a way to beat either Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill this weekend, with Kenley Jansen resting and waiting for the multiple-inning saves. The obligatory description for Kershaw is “the best pitcher on the planet.” Hill’s lefty curveball – and “the perceptual velocity” of his fastball – freezes hitters. Jansen has a mystical cutter reminiscent of the great Mariano Rivera. The top-heavy part of this Los Angeles playoff pitching staff has held the Cubs to zero runs in 16.1 innings.

But until proven otherwise, forget about this idea of a Cubs team weighed down by the history of a franchise that hasn’t played in the World Series since 1945.

Just look at Javier Baez getting in Anthony Rizzo’s airspace during Game 5, the human-highlight-film second baseman standing right next to the All-Star first baseman as he caught a Kike Hernandez pop-up for the second out of the third inning.

It didn’t matter that this was a 1-0 game and MVP-ballot players Justin Turner and Corey Seager were coming up. This is what the 2016 Cubs do. Rizzo caught the ball, quickly flipped it underhand and it bounced off Baez’s chest – in front of a sellout crowd of 54,449 and a national Fox Sports 1 audience.

“We always mess around,” Rizzo said at his locker inside a tight clubhouse jammed with media after an 8-4 win. “So I’m screaming: ‘Javy! Javy! I got it! I got it, Javy, I got it!’

“And usually he’ll yell at me: ‘Don’t miss it!’ Or I’ll yell at him: ‘Don’t miss it!’

“We do that a lot. If it’s a pop-up to him, I’ll go right behind him. It’s just little ways of slowing the game down and having fun, too.”

Rizzo is a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman for a team that led the majors in defensive efficiency this year. As a super-utility guy, Baez got credit for 11 defensive runs saved in 383 innings at second base, or one less than co-leaders Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler, who each did it in almost 1,300 innings.

“Sometimes when I call (Rizzo) off to get a fly ball, he starts talking to me,” Baez said. “I tell him: ‘Hey, you can do whatever you want. Just don’t move my head. You can touch me if you want. Just don’t move my head.’

“And I told him to be ready for it, because I was going to do the same thing. You just got to be focused on the fly ball. No matter what’s happening around you, you just got to catch it.”

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

This isn’t about Bartman. It’s about a group of young, confident players who are growing up together and absolutely expect to be in this position. It’s manager Joe Maddon designing “Embrace The Target” T-shirts and telling them to show up to the ballpark whenever they want and then blow off batting practice.

“For sure, we’re relaxed,” said Baez, who’s gone viral during these playoffs, the rest of the country witnessing his amazing instincts and flashy personality. “I’m relaxed when I play defense.”

The thing is, Rizzo and Baez could be playing next to each other for the next five years, the same way Kris Bryant and Addison Russell will be anchoring the left side of the infield.

This is how Rizzo introduced Russell to The Show when a natural shortstop tried to learn second base on the fly last year and track pop-ups in front of 40,000 people: “Hey, watch out for that skateboard behind you! Don’t trip!”

“Oh yeah, we yell at each other all the time,” Rizzo said. “It’s just one of those things where you got to stay loose.”