High school coaches from the city, suburbs and around the state will seed their respective sectionals this week, with seeds needing to be submitted by Thursday.
We’ll see what happens but this is how the City/Suburban Hoops Report believes the seeds should shake out –– based on wins, schedule strength, head-to-head matchups and how well teams are playing right now.
Throughout Monday and Tuesday the Hoops Report will break down each sectional, seeding them while providing the reasons behind the seed. (You can find the projected seeds for the East Aurora and Bolingbrook sectionals HERE).
Here are the projected seeds for the Waukegan and Morton sectionals, with these two winners facing one another in the Chicago State Super.
(Records through Sunday, Feb. 15)
1. Stevenson (20-2)
2. Lake Forest (23-1)
3. Niles Notre Dame (21-4)
4. Evanston (16-7)
5. Maine South (23-3)
6. Deerfield (16-10)
7. Highland Park (17-6)
8. Zion-Benton (15-7)
Breaking it down: Stevenson and Lake Forest are easy choices at the top. Notre Dame is unbeaten in the East Suburban Catholic and has a win over Evanston, while losing to Lake Forest by just three points (69-66) back in January.
There was the hiccup against Fremd last week but Evanston has won six of seven, including a win over Maine South in early February and a big non-conference win over 21-win Riverside-Brookfield in late January.
Deerfield may not have a glitzy record, but the Warriors have been a different team since the middle of January. With wins over Niles North and Highland Park, Deerfield has taken control of the Central Suburban League North.
Highland Park and Niles North split their two games this season, with Niles North winning a close one this past weekend. But Highland Park has gone 13-4 in its last 17 games and owns a résumé-building win over St. Joseph in late January.
You can then flip a coin between Zion-Benton and Niles North for the 8-9 seeds.
(Records through Sunday, Feb. 15)
1. Riverside-Brookfield (21-2)
2. Whitney Young (17-7)
3. Kenwood (18-6)
4. Fenwick (19-6)
5. St. Ignatius (19-5)
6. Curie (17-6)
7. De La Salle (14-9)
8. Oak Park (13-9)
Breaking it down: Maybe the most difficult sectional to seed at the top with three teams making a strong case for the No. 1 seed –– and the chance to avoid having to play both of the other two in one week in the semifinals and championship game.
Young has lost just one game to an in-state opponent (lost to Orr on the court), but that was overturned as a result of the Orr forfeits. The biggest in-state win came over West Aurora. While the Dolphins have played a rugged national schedule again this season, four of the losses have been by 20-plus points.
Kenwood has four in-state losses –– to four of the top teams in the state (Bogan, Stevenson, St. Joseph and St. Rita). A win over Bogan on Sunday would have done wonders for Kenwood’s seed heading into this week. Kenwood’s biggest in-state wins on the year? A victory over a 12-10 Morton team (in overtime without Morton star Weisner Perez playing) and two wins over a 16-win King team.
Riverside-Brookfield has just two losses, falling only to Lake Forest and Evanston, while beating three teams (Lyons Twp., St. Ignatius and DePaul Prep) who have all been ranked in the top 25 this season.
Fenwick and St. Ignatius both have 19 wins on the year and split this season, but the one fresh in everyone’s mind –– Fenwick’s win over Ignatius in the Catholic League Tournament on Sunday –– gives the Friars the No. 5 seed. If these seeds hold true these two would meet again for a regional championship under normal 4 vs. 5 circumstances. However, both will be hosting a regional, thus if the seeds ended up as they are here, you would see non-traditional seeding matchups throughout the regional.
Oak Park-River Forest, which has played a very strong schedule and played well since late January, edges Morton for the No. 8 seed with three straight wins, including a victory over 20-win Lyons Twp. The Huskies could make a claim for a No. 7 seed.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport