Sunday, November 2, 2014

I think the biggest surprise...

...of Round One was the lack of any really big surprises.

In 8A, only two lower-seed teams beat a higher seed: No. 10 Palatine defeated No. 7 Huntley and No. 5 Bolingbrook downed No. 4 Bloom. Neither would be considered earth-shattering.

In 7A, a number of "underdogs" took down higher seeds, but only one, No. 13 Wheaton Warrenville South (5-4), which upset No. 4 Lincoln-Way North (8-1), knocked off a marquee team. And, come on, despite barely making the playoffs, the Tigers are always a formidable opponent in November.

No. 15 Fenwick over No. 2 (and previously unbeaten) Highland Park? No. 14 Mount Carmel over No. 3 Batavia? Everybody knew those were possible.

(In my "surprise" picks yesterday, I went 7-for-12, or .583 -- not bad. And, yes, I consider No. 9 Warren leading No.8 Loyola at the half to count as a "scare.")

In 6A, I note five "upsets," but none really worth talking about. Probably the two biggest surprises were No. 9 King, a Chicago public school, over No. 8 Antioch (both were 7-2), and No. 2 DeKalb edging No. 15 Marmion by only one point. But I'll bet neither one kept you up last night.

Finally, in 5A, you have probably the biggest upset of the weekend, No. 8 Morris (5-4) over No. 1 Normal University (9-0), 21-14. I guess it's nearly always a big deal when an undefeated team gets eliminated in the first round (unless it's Highland Park), so that's one marquee team that went down.

But, all in all, it was a pretty mild first round.

Round Two may not be as tranquil. For starters, you have No. 8 Loyola at No. 1 Stevenson in a rematch from last year's classic one-point semifinal in Lincolnshire. (At least it won't be as cold this time. Please tell me it won't be as cold.) And No. 6 Barrington will travel to No. 3 Maine South to try and hand the Park Ridge squad their first loss of the season. (Are the Broncos for real? Are the Hawks?) Depending on scheduling, those will be my two games for 8A next week.*

(Two other tilts to monitor on Twitter will be No. 1 Oswego at No. 5 Bolingbrook, and No. 3 Homewood-Flossmoor at No. 2 Edwardsville.)

In 7A, I could see attending a rematch of No. 1 Providence at No. 9 St. Rita. (Although I expect the same result.)

In 6A, I'm intrigued by No. 6 St. Francis (a sleeper team) at No. 3 Lakes (8-1), and No. 3 Richards at No. 2 Lincoln-Way West.

In 5A, you can't go wrong with No. 6 Montini at No. 3 Joliet Catholic. Can the Hilltoppers avenge last year's heartbreaking one-point loss in Round Three?

And -- what the heck? -- in 4A you'll have No. 5 Phillips at No. 4 Johnsburg. It's another chance to see the Wildcats' high-octane offense, led by Illinois State-bound Dewayne Collins, this time against a bunch of country boys. (And, according to Mapquest, Johnsburg is only a twenty minute drive from Lakes High School in Lake Villa. So if the scheduling works out I may get to see both.)

The dates and times should be out sometime tomorrow afternoon. Check back later for my Games of the Week.

* I just found out that both of those 8A games will be next Saturday at 1:00.

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