It’s time to seed.
Class 3A and 4A high school coaches from across the state will seed their respective sectionals this week, with a noon deadline on Thursday of this week for coaches to submit seeds online.
The outcomes this week may force a small change here or there in sectional seeding, but the City/Suburban Hoops Report has put in hours of time in doing the sectional seeding dirty work.
What follows is the annual Hoops Report’s pre-seeding week seeds, where the top eight seeds in each Chicago area Class 3A and 4A sectional are placed based on the past two-plus months of action.
As always a ton of research was done and a lot was taken into consideration –– from the overall won-loss record of a team to schedule strength to head-to-head results to how a team is currently playing. Seeding this many sectionals, along with all the research put in, is a mind-numbing experience.
I’m not sure if coaches put enough stock into the amount of quality wins a team has or the overall schedule a team plays. But they should.
With all that in mind, here is a look at how the City/Suburban Hoops Report seeds each sectional, along with an overview of how those seeds were determined.
Proviso East Sectional
4. St. Patrick
5. Oak Park
6. St. Joseph
7. Lincoln Park
8. Proviso East
Overview: This is a tough sectional to seed with legitimate debates throughout the top 10 seeds, and that debate begins at the very top.
It’s a flip of the coin for the top seed between two of the state’s best teams –– Curie and Young. But the fact Curie hasn’t lost since December, sports a 22-2 record and has beaten Kenwood twice, a team that beat Young way back in early December, gives the Condors the edge.
That top line could be switched by Thursday morning, however, if Young were to beat Kenwood and Curie were to fall to Orr in the city quarterfinals Wednesday night. That’s how close these two are to securing that top seed.
Kenwood (18-6), St. Patrick (19-6) and Oak Park (18-6) all have similar records but Kenwood has clearly played the tougher schedule of the three. Kenwood gets the No. 3 seed.
Then it’s a debate over Oak Park and St. Patrick. Despite St. Pat’s having lost four of its last five, the Shamrocks do have big-time wins over Benet and Orr. Oak Park’s biggest win of the year came against Brother Rice.
As up and down of a season as St. Joseph has had this year, the Chargers have rattled off five straight wins while playing a strong schedule.
Lincoln Park (14-10) has been a bit of an overlooked team, beating St. Charles East and playing North Lawndale (68-65) and Marian Catholic (51-49) tough in defeats.
Proviso East does have a win over St. Joseph in the consolation bracket at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, but the Pirates are just 11-11 and remain so wildly inconsistent. The Pirates just fell to Addison Trail last week and are 3-3 in their last six games.
After starting the season 7-0, De La Salle is just 6-9 since and as a result falls out of the top eight.
2. Notre Dame
8. Niles North
Overview: Evanston is the clear No. 1 seed in this sectional while Notre Dame and Stevenson have an argument to be on the next line.
Notre Dame (21-5), however, has faced a larger number of ranked teams on its schedule. The Dons also beat Hinsdale Central by double digits in December, a team Stevenson (18-4) lost to in December. Notre Dame lost to Benet by six points while Stevenson lost to Benet by 16 points. The edge goes to Notre Dame.
Loyola has been hot, winning 13 of its last 15 games and gets the No. 4 seed.
Then it gets very unpredictable with Deerfield, Niles North, Waukegan, Zion-Benton, Maine South and Warren all fluctuating between the fifth seed and 10th seed.
Waukegan and Zion-Benton will battle it out for the No. 5 seed. But Zion-Benton has gone 6-2 in its last eight games while Waukegan has gone just 2-4 in its last six. Plus, the Zee-Bees just went into Waukegan and picked up a win this past weekend. Advantage: Zion-Benton.
Then the sectional’s depth comes into play as Deerfield, Niles North, Maine South and upstart Warren all have credentials for the 7-10 seeds.
That No. 7 seed is important as it likely avoids top-seed Evanston for one extra round. Deerfield (16-10) beat Niles North (18-9) in December. Niles North doesn’t have the marquee wins among its 18 victories to offset that loss to Deerfield. But it does have two wins over Maine South to secure the No. 8 seed.
Robert Morris Sectional
4. Lake Zurich
6. Grayslake North
7. Buffalo Grove
Overview: With unbeaten Fremd locked in on the top line, there is a fight for the No. 2 seed. But in reality it doesn’t really mean a whole lot. This is a top heavy sectional where the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds will ultimately meet anyway in a sectional semifinal if the seeds hold up.
Both Conant and Prospect are hot. Prospect has won 12 straight and 17 of its last 18. Conant has won seven straight and 16 of its last 18. The two have split their games this season but Prospect won the most recent matchup.
Lake Zurich should be firmly entrenched in the No. 4 spot with 17 wins, a solid schedule and a win over Grayslake North.
A somewhat overlooked Grant is 17-8 on the year and beat Grayslake North last week.
Buffalo Grove owns two victories over Hersey and is awarded the No. 7 seed. Sneaking into the top eight is Hersey, which beat ranked Prospect this season.
2. Prairie Ridge
3. St. Charles East
4. St. Charles North
Overview: Prairie Ridge did hand Jacobs its only loss of the season, but the 22-1 mark of Jacobs, along with wins over Zion-Benton (18-8) and Hillcrest (16-7), secures the No. 1 seed.
And while Prairie Ridge hasn’t played the schedule either St. Charles team has played, it does own that significant win over Jacobs and has 17 wins on the season.
St. Charles East and St. Charles North have played comparable schedules and have similar win totals. The difference? St. Charles East has won two out of the three times the two rivals have faced each other this season.
1. Rockford Boylan
3. Rockford Lutheran
4. Rockford Auburn
Overview: This part of the sectional should be competitive but the NIC-10 has helped sort out the seeds. Boylan is 14-0 in league play, 23-4 overall and is the easy choice as the top seed.
Rockford Auburn has played the toughest schedule, including two losses to Boylan by a combined three points, but lost to Rockford Lutheran and Rockton-Hononegah.
Lincoln-Way East Sectional
2. Joliet West
3. Joliet Central
5. West Aurora
6. Lincoln-Way East
Overview: There is a pecking order that’s been established behind Bolingbrook with the two Joliets –– Joliet West (20-3) and Joliet Central (20-3) –– locked in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
Minooka does have 20 wins but only two wins of significance. But both of those wins came over Joliet Central. However, Joliet Central has shown it can beat Minooka with a 46-21 pasting back in December, has faced a more challenging schedule, played No. 1 Bolingbrook tough and beat a top 10 team in Wheaton South.
Lincoln-Way East (17-10) and West Aurora (17-8) have similar records and have played competitive schedules. Those No. 5 and No. 6 seeds truly are up for grabs. But West Aurora’s two recent losses came with star Cameron Donatlan (18 ppg) sidelined with an injury.
Romeoville has been streaky since the calendar turned to 2017. The Spartans have played a quality non-conference schedule and battled Joliet West two weeks ago in a 66-63 loss.
2. Wheaton South
4. Naperville North
5. Hinsdale Central
6. Hinsdale South
8. Downers Grove South
Overview: While it hasn’t played the schedule other teams in the sectional have, Geneva is unbeaten. As a result the Vikings certainly deserve the No. 1 seed.
Wheaton South holds off Benet for the second seed with its 25-1 record and a host of quality wins.
Anyone who believes Benet (18-6) is lower than a No. 3 seed in this sectional hasn’t looked at the quality wins and the brutally tough schedule the Redwings have played.
Naperville North is hot. The Huskies have won 13 straight and own an impressive win over highly-ranked Evanston.
The next five seeds in this sectional are tricky between Downers Grove South, Downers Grove North, Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South and Willowbrook. Here’s why.
Willowbrook’s 23-2 record is sparkling and the Warriors have been a terrific story this season, but it simply hasn’t played the schedule others in this sectional have faced. Plus, it lost twice –– by double digits –– to Hinsdale South.
Heading into last week, Hinsdale South had beaten Willowbrook twice and knocked off Downers Grove South. But then Downers South thrashed Hinsdale South 51-27.
Downers Grove South has been wildly inconsistent but has won six of its last seven, including a win over Kenwood.
Have fun sorting the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth seeds out in this sectional.
Maybe Hinsdale Central and its 14-9 record as the No. 5 seed won’t sit well with some in this sectional. This is a team that will be seeded by coaches anywhere from No. 5 to No. 9. But since an 0-3 start to the season the Red Devils are 14-6 while playing a very strong schedule. Hinsdale Central has beaten Downers Grove North, Oak Park, Hinsdale South and Stevenson while winning eight of its last 11 games.
If the sectional seeds play out this way it would leave Downers Grove South and Downers Grove North as No. 8 and No. 9 seeds, respectively. These two met in December with DGS winning 58-49.
3. Brother Rice
7. T.F. North
8. Marian Catholic
Overview: The fight is for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds to avoid favored Simeon in that sessional semifinal.
Thornton is 17-4 and has just one loss to a Chicago area team and that came to Curie, the No. 2 ranked team in the Chicago area. The Wildcats earn the No. 2 seed.
Brother Rice has won 15 of its last 16 games, including a win over Marist. H-F has played one of the toughest schedules in the state and, more importantly for the Vikings, have beaten Bloom twice this season. H-F also suffered through a three week stretch where it was missing several of its top players.
Then there is T.F. North, arguably the most difficult team to seed. The Meteors have 19 wins and can certainly make an argument for the No. 5 seed, but they haven’t played anywhere near the schedule Bloom or H-F has faced.
2. North Lawndale
Overview: This is Fenwick’s sectional to lose –– just like a year ago. But it will likely have to beat two or three teams from the Public League’s Red-West among North Lawndale, Farragut, Westinghouse and Marshall. The Friars could potentially play a Red-West team in the regional final, sectional semis and sectional championship.
North Lawndale is the most dangerous team on paper among the city teams and has beaten both Farragut and Westinghouse two times apiece.
Marshall plays a rugged Red-West schedule and has split with both Farragut and Westinghouse this season.
1. North Chicago
3. St. Viator
7. Elmwood Park
Overview: There may not be a sectional in the state with fewer winning teams. There also won’t be a 20-game winner in the entire field when regional play begins.
After North Chicago and Ridgewood, the biggest threat may be St. Viator (9-13), who has significant wins over Benet, Marian Catholic and Marist.
Payton has beaten Foreman twice while Foreman beat Elmwood Park.
St. Rita Sectional
1. Morgan Park
3. St. Rita
5. Urban Prep-Englewood
6. Hyde Park
Overview: Another Class 3A sectional without a whole lot of depth or pop after the top couple of teams.
St. Rita has some wins that enhances its résumé and helps the Mustangs nab the No. 3 seed, while Brooks has won 14 games while playing one of the better schedules in the sectional.
Urban Prep-Englewood sports a 15-9 record and has beaten Julian twice and Hyde Park in January while playing Uplift tough in a three-point loss last week.
Hyde Park and Vocational has played much tougher schedules than the likes of 19-win Julian and 15-win Evergreen Park.
2. Rich South
4. Joliet Catholic
Overview: Hillcrest (16-7) is clearly the favorite in this sectional. Rich South (13-9), however, has been tested, survived and will be a threat.
Oak Forest (13-11) is the only other team in the sectional with a winning record but both Providence and Joliet Catholic, a pair of 11-win teams, have faced tougher schedules and have better wins.
Overview: In what is a very soft sectional overall and arguably the weakest sub-sectional in the state, it’s Plano and Sandwich at the top. These two play one another after the seeds have been determined. But Plano is 18-6 and Sandwich is 14-9 on the year.
Streator beat Herscher twice this season to get the No. 3 seed, while the other teams in the sub-sectional –– Coal City, Manteno, Morris, Pontiac, Prairie Central and Kankakee –– all have losing records.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport