Sunday, November 30, 2014

A friend texted me...

...this weekend, "Where would you rank Nazareth among the teams you've seen?"

To which I replied, "So hard to say. Still behind Stevenson, Loyola, Providence and Glenbard West. So many good teams..." (In case you haven't noticed, I like ellipses...) (And parentheses!)

But it really is hard to rank teams, isn't it? Is Stevenson, for example, really the best team in the state of Illinois? The three news services below think so. But is that just because they won the big school (8A) title? Or are the Patriots objectively the best? Could they beat the 7A champ, Providence? How about the 6A winner, Nazareth? Could they beat Loyola again? Glenbard West? Could they beat them two out of three times?

If you look at the rankings, MaxPreps and the Tribune have the top three teams the champions from 8A, 7A and 6A in that order. The Sun-Times, however, ranks the two undefeated teams, Stevenson and Nazareth, above Providence. After that it's a bit of a jumble, with the usual suspects (plus Sacred Heart-Griffin in MaxPreps) rounding out each service's top ten. 


1. Stevenson (14-0)
2. Providence (13-1)
3. Nazareth (14-0)
4. Glenbard West (12-1)
5. Sacred Heart-Griffin (14-0)
6. Loyola (11-3)
7. Cary-Grove (13-1)
8. Homewood-Flossmoor (11-3)
9. Barrington (10-2)
10. Simeon (11-2)

Chicago Tribune

1. Stevenson (14-0)
2. Providence (13-1)
3. Nazareth (14-0)
4. Cary-Grove (13-1)
5. Homewood-Flossmoor (11-3)
6. Lemont (13-1)
7. Glenbard West (12-1)
8. Simeon (11-2)
9. Loyola (11-3)
10. Montini (10-4)


1. Stevenson (14-0)
2. Nazareth (14-0)
3. Providence (13-1)
4. Glenbard West (12-1)
5. Homewood-Flossmoor (11-3)
6. Cary-Grove (13-1)
7. Simeon (11-2)
8. Lincoln-Way East (10-2)
9. Mount Carmel (8-5)
10. Naperville Central (9-3)

So who's right? Who knows? Read this for more of my thoughts on the matter -- and how futile it is to rank teams.

In the meantime, here are the 23 teams I saw this year (plus St. Joseph's Prep of Philadelphia) in alphabetical order:

Brother Rice
Coal City
Glenbard West
Lincoln-Way East (twice)
Loyola (three times)
Mount Carmel (five times)
Naperville North
Oak Park and River Forest
Phillips (five times)
Rockford Lutheran
St. Patrick
St. Rita (twice)
Wheaton Warrenville South

I saw a total of eighteen games in person in 13 weeks and five or six more online or on TV, including the finals this weekend. As you can see, I saw both Mount Carmel and Phillips a remarkable five times (and saw the Caravan lose three times -- how many people have seen Mount Carmel lose three times in their entire lives?). The best games included St. Joe's - Mount Carmel, Loyola - Mount Carmel, Loyola - Stevenson, and Oswego - Bolingbrook, which went into overtime.

But the very best game of the year, in my opinion, had to be one I watched online: Stevenson - Glenbard West. I mean, come on, five turnovers in the fourth quarter? 3-0 score until the very last minute? A fourth-and-the season pass intercepted in the end zone to end the game (and Glenbard West's hopes)? It was also, in my opinion, for the 8A championship. What a game!

So what do we have to look forward to next year, besides a ton of returning starters on Homewood-Flossmoor? I can't think that far in advance. Let's just bask in the 2014 season and start scouring the papers for some good basketball games.

See you in the gym!

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