Michael O’Brien’s Chicago-area Super 25 basketball rankings

DePaul Prep's Perry Cowan (11) stops inside the paint against Morgan Park, Saturday 01-12-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
DePaul Prep's Perry Cowan (11) stops inside the paint against Morgan Park, Saturday 01-12-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

All the reasons Loyola began the season ranked No. 18 were evident in Saturday’s win against Marian Catholic, one of the area’s best teams. The Ramblers have size and shooters and play excellent defense.

Loyola receded from the spotlight after losing to New Trier, Leo, St. Rita and Providence-St. Mel over the first month of the season but its annual holiday trip to Florida has once again worked some magic. Tom Livatino’s squad has now won nine consecutive games.

“We’ve been playing really well,” Livatino said. “When we came here we expected to win the game. Our guys have that confidence now. We did a pretty good job of playing team defense.”

Bennett Kwiecinski, a 6-8 junior, finished with 15 points and six rebounds in the 49-35 win against the Spartans. Senior Connor Barrett added 15 points and six rebounds.

“I was just playing as fast as I could, running the floor and attacking the rim whenever I had the chance to,” Kwiecinski said.

He scored 11 consecutive points for Loyola during a key stretch at the end of the second and start of the third quarter.

“Bennett has been coming on, no doubt about it,” Livatino said. He’s really been growing up in terms of how hard he plays, wanting the ball and being aggressive. That is fun to watch. I think his brother Jordan did the same thing, he just didn’t have the stats. He’s playing much better, tougher and stronger.”

Loyola rejoins the rankings at No. 20 this week and will be tested on Tuesday at Notre Dame.

Super 25 additions

Oak Park: The Huskies are back after a dominant win against York. It’s been another up and down season, but this team is talented enough to stick in the rankings for the rest of the season.

Stevenson: Matt Ambrose is back from injury and immediately made an impact, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight boards in a win against Waukegan on Friday.

St. Laurence: The Vikings beat Leo on the road and make a quick return to the rankings.

Aurora Christian: Junior Will Wolfe can play. The Eagles knocked off Riverside-Brookfield on the road on Friday. Wolfe scored 27.

Dropping out

St. Viator: Trey Calvin, a Wright State recruit, will be out for awhile with a broken hand. It’s a devastating blow for the Lions, who lost to Notre Dame and Waukegan without him.

Oswego East: The Wolves are 13-4 this season, but just haven’t quite lived up to some lofty preseason expectations. They lost to South Elgin on Saturday. They could be back in the rankings soon.

Uplift: Markese Jacobs has done everything humanly possible to keep the Titans ranked, but losses to Farragut and Orr this week means they are gone for now.

Fremd: The Mid-Suburban League is totally up for grabs. Schaumburg took down the Vikings 50-36 on Friday.

Kenwood: Tough call. The Broncos played pretty well, but lost to Curie, Simeon and Kankakee last week.

The week ahead

-Well-traveled Bolingbrook returned to the area last week to beat Sandburg and Stagg. Now come the major tests. The Raiders will face Joliet Central on Tuesday, Homewood-Flossmoor on Friday and Evanston on Saturday.

-Martin Luther King Jr. events are all over the area this weekend. There are games basically all day and night Saturday through Monday, including tournaments at Wheaton-Warrenville South, Burlington Central and Lake Zurich.

Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 basketball rankings
With record and last week’s ranking

1. Curie (18-1) 1
Beat Bogan, Kenwood

2. Bogan (17-2) 2
Handled Farragut

3. Bloom (17-1) 3
Back on track

4. Morgan Park (15-3) 5
Karl Jones stepping up

5. Young (14-6) 6
DJ Steward a consistent star

6. Evanston (17-3) 7
Jaheim Holden still underrated

7. Marian Catholic (16-2) 4
Lost to Loyola

8. Simeon (9-9) 9
Three-win week

9. Homewood-Flossmoor (12-4) 11
Damen Trice can score

10. DePaul Prep (13-4) 12
Lost to Morgan Park

11. Bolingbrook (11-3) 14
Huge week ahead

12. Benet (14-3) 16
Favorites at WW South

13. Lincoln Park (12-6) 20
Julio Montes can score

14. New Trier (15-3) 21
Fell short at Evanston

15. Providence-St. Mel (15-4) 22
Host Mount Carmel Friday

16. Orr (13-7) 25
Three big wins last week

17. Geneva (16-1) 8
Lost to Lake Park

18. York (15-2) 15
Lost to Oak Park

19. Leo (13-5) 13
Lost two games

20. Loyola (15-4) NR
Bennett Kwiecinski stepping up

21. Stevenson (13-3) NR
Matt Ambrose is back

22. Oak Park (11-6) NR
Isaiah Barnes can play

23. Waukegan (14-4) 23
Lost to Stevenson

24. St. Laurence (17-3) NR
Beat Leo

25. Aurora Christian (16-3) NR
Took down R-B

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45 comments

  • Don

    O’Brien said the eye test is just seeing a team and not actually watching a team.Wrong.Eye test is how good a team looks when watching them and not digging into schedule n facts.

  • Greg

    Hey Mike You are not reporting overall wins and losses for every team very biased I found Oh yeah Corliss beat Simeon is Corliss ranked yet Hyde Park beat Simeon and Kenwood fact.Quit choosing your favorites talent is all around CPS various conferences upsets coming in March.

  • John Elmore

    I don’t understand why St Laurence is rank lower then Leo and Providence st Mel and he beat both of them

  • Julian Kaye

    I think many of you guys’ lack of knowledge of basic grammatical standards make your messages difficult to understand. I mean are you serious, “Prevalent”? I think the person meant “relevant”.
    Wow??

  • 50 year alum

    It is what it is that’s the problem today I do remember when that occurred are you saying that because no one investigates any of these teams that it’s ok? It is what it is kind of comment is just what’s wrong. No one having any stones to do investigations or question makes it right? Very foolish comment that probably makes sense
    to only people who do not care He was the kind of person that cared about integrity of the game. So when you make a comment like it is what it is today obviously you don’t care about the real truth.

    • Leegs1

      Alum: I guess, for some reason, my comment to you about Taylor Bell was censored. When I said it is what it is, I was telling you to live with it. Many times I have complained on this site about transfers. This year I didn’t because life is too short to beat a dead horse into the ground. I agree about what you said, but the old days aren’t coming back. It’s like pro football. Why the rule that after five yards, you can’t touch the receiver. Because the fans wanted more offense. It’s the same with transfers. Most people have accepted the fact that it occurs and the IHSA has ignored it. In other words, it is what it is. Live with it. Leegs is 72 years old.

      • 50 year alum

        Can not understand why your comment would be censored you write the truth if your comments strike a nerve with people it’s too bad for them. Your comments make sense ( most of the time) I guess old school people who speak their minds some time want to be shut down. I enjoy reading what you write because you tell the truth and keep writing because you seem to have a reality to what you speak l am sure between the both of us we have seen thousands of BB games probably over a hundred years together and yes I am kind of new to his site hope our opinions make sense to the people who really care. Keep your comments coming you do know of what you speak of.PS I’m 66 years old,

  • John Chamless

    I understand Simeon being ranked, but have you seen the team or the out-of-state teams that have beaten it? How much does the eye test play in your rankings?

    • Michael O'Brien

      Have I seen Simeon? I’ve seen them play seven times. In my mind the eye test is when you just see what a team looks like, not when you actually watch them play. What I think of a team after watching them play is the second most important factor in the rankings after resume.

  • Leegs1

    Undefeated Belleville West plays in the Bass Pro tourney this week against the twelfth ranked team in the nation and, possibly, the number two ranked team in the nation. West is ranked ninth. They are ranked second in Illinois with Curie ranked first. Courtesy, max prep.

  • Leegs1

    Mikey: why did you censor my last comment? All in all, it was pretty favorable towards you. Just wondering and don’t expect a reply from you. Sometimes criticism brings about change. Specifically, your feelings toward the worthlessness of consolation games even when two good teams are competing,and your feelings towards maxprep to determine the quality of out of state teams that our in state schools play. Keep up the effort. It is appreciated.

  • Greg

    So I’m guessing it’s who u play when or lose that keeps u ranked wind and losses is clearly not a issue hey Mike that’s a fact
    Any 500 team can be ranked wow.

  • Bobby Wright

    Don’t say Curie, you can say MP and Simeon

    Curie just now getting the respect they deserve, they earned the #1 spot and everybody knows that

  • Will Bradford

    Arguing about these rankings is silly because there is simply not much talent on any of these teams. And that probably goes back to when Derrick Rose and Evan Turner played each other and both have had solid NBA careers. Since then, only Anthony Davis has panned out as a solid pro. Jabari Parker has been awful, Okafor even worse. Judging from this season’s crop it may be a while since a true NBA talent graces the area.

    I think Mikey should only rank 10 teams since the talent is so weak. I don’t blame the Illinois coach for not showing up since he would throw up.

  • Greg

    Let’s wait until March okay. Well c who chokeds

  • Black

    So the fact that Mr. Calvin from Viator, has a broken hand, means they drop completely out of the top 25? I assume you feel they aren’t worthy of a top 25 ranking, while he is unavailable. Just curious.

  • Will I am

    Simeon beat Hyde Park and Hilcrest but the facts are they haven’t been very good and shouldn’t be ranked period.This list is definitely bias just like all the others and hard to take seriously. You guys love who you love and thats totally fine. But this is the top 25, catch my drift “top 25”.

  • oldmanjenkins

    Michael, if rankings are based on who you play as well. Then how come there aren’t more ESCC teams in here? That conference has been deep and consistent since early 2000’s and you still show no love for that gauntlet. So Viator drops out after to losing to my team (notre dame) and they are dropped? One player makes the different in a top 10 team huh? You want people to take you seriously? Make your rankings seriously and stop trying to Cody Parkey the rankings every week. total joke.

    • jgm

      Rough crowd, Mike. ESCC,what? Pass ten years maybe 2/3 talented teams per year. Now the Catholic League, that’s a conference where six place can upset the apple cart. Take care( this coming from a ESCC grad).

  • Bob

    How is St. Rita not even mentioned in this. 13-6, beat Lincoln Park and Loyola and played 7 teams that were ranked at one point. NBC Sports Chicago has them at 17. Seems like you should give them a little respect.

  • Jim

    Wonder what is keeping West Aurora out of rankings? Losses only to Bloom, Oswego East and Oak Park.

    • Michael O'Brien

      West Aurora needs a big win. Oak Park has a handful of those and beat West Aurora, so that got them in first.

    • Leegs1

      Jim: West Aurora won the consolation championship at Pontiac tourney. They beat Danville, who presently have only two losses, in the championship. That win was in the consolation bracket which isn’t considered when ranking the top twenty five.

  • Greg

    Got a idea Mike how about just checking the teams records you’ll see Simeon has lost more than 9 games go to Max Preps And will lose more how about no. rankings period.

    • Michael O'Brien

      Simeon has not lost more than nine games. I could not care less what MaxPreps says about anything. The first step towards arguing about rankings is to get the actual facts correct.

  • Norm

    Despite weekly moves that don’t seem to make sense at times, an accurate picture of where teams should be is coming together. That includes Uplift finally being tossed out. Loyola looks good and Bolingbrook probably will be higher as time goes on

  • Ketoe

    Of the top 4 teams, all have played at least 2. Curie has played all 3 and won, clearly number 1. MP beat Bogan, but also lost to Bloom. Bloom should be ahead of MP, MP should be ahead of Bogan. I give you judgement calls, but head to head should mean something.

  • Truth

    Mike… Why is it Oswego east takes a bigger drop than all teams for each loss? It’s called a bad day! But you have teams that suffered 2 losses and teams that moved up on a loss or simply had no effect to their rank! I’m talking LEO, York, New Trier, DePaul Prep and the list goes on!

    • Michael O'Brien

      All of those schools have several quality wins. Oswego East’s best wins at this point are West Aurora, Romeoville and St. Rita. So that is why the loss to South Elgin has knocked the Wolves out. Yes, I know Oswego East beat DePaul Prep in OT in a consolation game.

  • Ball Coach

    – here comes the Simeon Judgement Train…

    – after watching Loyola against Marian Catholic, you should devote a No Shot clock segment to the state’s top defenders. Love #11 from Loyola and Bost from Evanston.

    – Morgan Park vs. DePaul Prep had a ton of Division 1 talent on the floor. Can see why you’re so high on Miller…flat out player.

  • Greg

    Didn’t they lose to Hyde Park last week and what about the Hillcrest game who won that one anyone’ know it just don’t look good this year for them.

  • Greg

    Can someone please tell me you Simeon is still ranked with 10-12 losses maybe more come on Mike stop it please let them drop their team left last year Talent Horton Tucker.

  • Paul Bayne

    Three 6 loss teams, a 7 loss team, and a 9 loss team at .500. Get real!

    • Michael O'Brien

      Playing good teams doesn’t get you dropped from the rankings. Especially if you beat a lot of them. These aren’t standings.

  • AHighSchoolPrepsFan

    Fenwick deserves being ranked. They beat Oak Park and has played Top ranked teams since Proviso West Holiday Tournament.

    • Cougar351

      Fenwick LOST to the ranked teams they played after the Proviso West Tournament.

      They are 10-8 and 4-4 in the Catholic league.

      They are are a mediocre team and don’t deserve a ranking.

  • Dick Vitale Scouting

    PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW SIMEON IS STILL IN THIS, THEY NOT GOOD AT ALL SINCE LOSING TALEN HORTON TUCKER…STOP BABYSITTING THEM AND MORGAN PARK, WHEN THESE NEW RULES HIT NEITHER ONE OF THESE SCHOOLS WILL BE PREVALENT.

    • Aquagod92

      I understand many fans have a problem with Simeon being ranked, but what is your issue with Morgan Park? They have played a quality schedule and have performed well. Not to mention they have the highest rated national prospect regardless of class in the state. And while you mention these “new rules”, remember that catholic/private schools have also benefited from transfers (coming from CPS….ask St. Rita and St. Laurence). New rules will not change what results from a well coached team.

    • jgm

      I would’nt want to catch them on a good day, I’m guessing.

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