March toward madness is well under way
January 16, 2013 2:32PM
Troy Swindle of Lakes puts up a shot during a recent game against Zion-Benton. Lakes is a 3A power and Z-B is a strong team in 4A. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
4A MARCH MADNESS
ELITE 8 SUPER-SECTIONAL AT NIU
TOP TEAMS IN HONONEGAH SECTIONAL
Elgin Larkin 15-2
CL Central 14-2
Rockford Auburn 11-4
Rockford Boylan 11-5
Rockford East 10-5
Rkfd. Jefferson 10-6
St. Charles North 10-6
St. Charles East 10-7
TOP TEAMS IN WAUKEGAN SECTIONAL
Lake Forest 12-3
St. Viator 11-3
Grayslake North 10-5
Palatine Fremd 11-6
3A MARCH MADNESS
ELITE 8 SUPER-SECTIONAL AT HOFFMAN ESTATES
TOP TEAMS IN NAZARETH SECTIONAL
Chicago Orr 11-2
Chicago Farragut 8-3
St. Ignatius 12-5
Chi. Urban Prep 10-5
Chi. Westinghouse 10-5
Chicago Marshall 11-7
Nazareth Academy 8-6
St. Joseph 10-8
Chicago Clemente 7-6
TOP TEAMS IN ANTIOCH SECTIONAL
North Chicago 16-1
Chicago Uplift 10-5
Gordon Tech 10-6
Chi. Northside 11-7
Elmwood Park 6-8
Chicago Prosser 7-10
Vernon Hills 7-11
50/50 DEAL ON MARCH MADNESS FOR GIRLS
It’s a split decision in terms of the brackets for our area powerhouse prep girls basketball teams.
In Class 3A, the news is good for Vernon Hills, which finished second in last year’s state tournament.
In Class 3A, three-time defending state champ Montini is likely going to four-peat, but Vernon Hills wouldn’t have to play Montini until the Final Four state semifinals, which means the Cougars are well-positioned to earn another big trophy from state (either for third place or fourth).
Vernon Hills’ two losses this year are to big schools — Stevenson and Trinity.
In Class 4A (big schools), Zion-Benton and Grayslake North are not as fortunate.
They are both in the Libertyville Sectional, but so is Rolling Meadows.
Meadows’ only loss this year was by nine points to Montini, and Meadows owns a 78-65 victory over Zion-Benton.
Thus, Rolling Meadows will be a huge favorite to win the Libertyville Sectional and advance to the Round of 8 super-sectional at Niles West.
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:19AM
Five thoughts on March Madness as we head into the serious part of the high school boys basketball season:
■ 1) The Class 4A (big schools) Waukegan Sectional is wider than wide open.
Currently, a dozen teams that are assigneed to the sectional have won-loss records above .500.
And the team with the 12th-best record (Mundelein) already owns a dominating victory over the team with the very best record (Zion-Benton).
So, at this point, you have to figure any of a dozen teams could win the sectional and represent our area at the Round of 8 super-sectional at NIU in DeKalb.
■ 2) The Class 4A Hononegah Sectional — which sends its champion to NIU to face the Waukegan Sectional champ — is every bit as up-for-grabs as our tournament in Waukegan.
There is no dominating team in the Rockford area — Belvidere, the team that leads the league out there is a Class 3A team — and the teams we’re familiar with that have glossy records (Elgin Larkin, Crystal Lake Central, Dundee-Crown) are exactly the kind of teams you pray to be playing in the Round of 8, with a Final Four berth at state on the line.
■ 3) The top team in the Class 3A (smaller schools) Antioch Sectional is North Chicago, and the top team in the Nazareth Academy Sectional is Orr from the Chicago Public League.
If form holds, Orr and North Chicago will play in the Round of 8 super-sectional at Hoffman Estates.
Which explains why Orr reportedly backed out of playing North Chicago next Monday in the MLK Weekend shootout at Young High School in Chicago.
■ 4) Elgin Larkin’s two losses this year were to Morton from the Cicero area by a point and by 14 to Elgin.
Elgin lost to Stevenson in the season-opening tournament at Buffalo Grove.
■ 5) We want to classify St. Viator as a real danger team in the Waukegan Sectional.
The Lions play in the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference, and they own a 20-point win over a Carmel team that’s not bad.
But St. Viator did get drilled by Niles North 67-49 at the Wheeling holiday tourney which is one of those red-flag scores that makes you think that at least a half-dozen or our teams could beat the Lions on a given night.