Wednesday, November 25, 2015

In case you live in a cave...

...or don't have access to the Internet, here are the matchups in the top five classes this weekend:

No. 1-seed Phillips (13-0) vs. No. 1 Belleville Althoff Catholic (13-0)

No. 7 Nazareth (11-2) vs. No. 7 Lincoln-Way West (11-2)

No. 1 Montini (13-0) vs. No. 6 Crete-Monee (11-2)

No. 1 Glenbard West (13-0) vs. No. 3 Libertyville (13-0)

No. 1 Loyola (13-0) vs. No. 23 Marist (9-4)

As you can see, six of the ten teams above are undefeated. Five of them, or half, were seeded No. 1 before the playoffs. Interestingly, two No. 7s will face off in Class 5A. And one team, Marist, made it all the way to the finals despite a No. 23 seed.

Now let's look at where the three main news services, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and MaxPreps, had these guys ranked before the season.

First the Trib. Mike Helfgot, like his counterpart at the Sun-Times, Beth Long, had Homewood-Flossmoor in the No. 1 spot. (I seem to recall someone saying that was the "kiss of death," but I can't remember who it was right now.) Of the ten teams above, here is how he ranked them in his preseason Top 20:

3. Glenbard West
7. Loyola
11. Phillips
12. Libertyville
14. Montini
On the verge: Nazareth

No Althoff, Lincoln-Way West, Crete-Monee or Marist. (To be fair, the Chicago papers don't rank teams from downstate.) So give Mr. Helfgot credit for picking six of the ten finalists. (That's 60 percent for you folks keeping score at home.)

Ms. Long at the Sun-Times, besides also picking H-F No. 1, had her Top 25 this way:

2. Glenbard West
3. Nazareth
7. Libertyville
13. Montini
14. Loyola
19. Phillips

She also missed Althoff, Lincoln-Way West, Crete-Monee and Marist. (You don't suppose they talk to each other, do you?)

Finally, MaxPreps had Loyola at No. 1 for the entire season (and H-F at No. 5 in their preseason rankings). The website also had:

6. Glenbard West
9. Nazareth
21. Libertyville
23. Phillips

So, while MaxPreps gets (Max) props for recognizing Loyola so soon, they also missed Althoff, Lincoln-Way West, Crete-Monee, Marist and Montini. (How do you overlook Montini?) And, in fairness, MaxPreps ranks teams from outside the Chicago area so they could have included Althoff.

Is it fair to look back at the preseason rankings at this point? Probably not -- I wouldn't want anyone to do that to me! -- but I just thought it would be interesting. I'll leave it to you to decide who did the best job. As for me, I think 60 percent (and that number would be higher if you took out Althoff) is pretty darn good!

Enjoy the games!

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