For those of you who somehow missed the memo, playoff brackets have officially been released, and it is indeed playoff time.
Hinsdale South Sectional
Downers Grove North
#1 Montini over #8 Downers Grove North
#While it’s certainly not even a given that the Trojans will get past Proviso East to get to this game, you have to like their home court advantage (this will end up being a common theme.
The Trojans could actually give Montini a ton of problems with their particular style of play, but the talent of the freshman should be enough for Montini to advance to the sectional round.
#4 St. Ignatius over #7 Argo
Another case where playing at home will certainly help Argo, but probably wont be enough to beat St. Ignatius.
Yes, Argo has a pretty spectacular record, but their strength of schedule is nowhere near that of Ignatius, and lest we forget the Wolfpack had both Montini and Nazareth dead to rights before letting it slip away late.
#2 Whitney Young over #6 Kenwood
The funny thing about this matchup is the two teams will more than likely play each other in the semifinals of the Public League semifinals just a week before the regional matchups.
Playing the same team in two different playoff scenarios in such a short time span can certainly change how a game is played and absolutely increases the likely hood of a close game, but there’s so much talent on Whitney Young it’s difficult to see them losing this one.
#3 Benet over #5 Simeon
Honestly, this game is pretty much a coin flip. Both teams can match each others size and athleticism, Benet is a little bit deeper but with shortened playoff rotations that probably wont matter much.
I’m basing this pick off of Benet playing at home. If the scenario was flipped I would have Simeon coming out with the win.
#1 Mother McAuley over #10 Sandburg
Sandburg has played a much more difficult schedule than Richards, and that combined with the fact they are playing at home should give them an edge to advance to the regional title game.
That’s where there run will most likely end however as they run into one of the best team in the state in McAuley. Can’t see many issues here for the top seed.
#5 Lincoln-Way West over #4 Stagg
Probably one of the better regional matchups in the entire state. Earlier this season Stagg got the best of LWW in a tightly contested 69-66 contest, but the Warriors have been on a roll lately, which included an impressive win at Evanston.
#2 Thornwood over #7 Lincoln-Way East
Thornwood will look to complete the Lincoln-Way sweep this season, as they already boast wins over Lincoln-Way West and Lincoln-Way Central.
This matchup really depends on what Lincoln-Way East team shows up, the on that beat Bolingbrook by 17, or the one that lost to Lockport by nine. Going with the much more consistent Thornwood in this one.
#3 Marist over #6 Homewood-Flossmoor
Marist has been very good this year at beating the teams they were supposed to while also keeping pace with some very good teams in their losses.
Home game against a good, but inconsistent HF team should see Marist through to sectionals.
#1 Maine West over #8 Taft
Maine West probably should win this one going away, but lets not forget what happened in last year’s regional final. Glenbrook South were neck and neck with the Warriors for three quarters before they finally pulled away.
Now, I fully expect Maine West to win, but Taft will certainly give them their best game, and there are a lot of variables when playing in the city, especially if you’re not used to it.
#4 New Trier over #5 Glenbrook South
There’s certainly an argument to be made that New Trier is under-seeded with how well they have been playing as of late.
Glenbrook South is very tough, and on their day can compete with a lot of teams in the top-20, but it’s hard to see them beating a finally healthy New Trier.
#2 Loyola over #7 Niles West
Niles West’s and Loyola University commit Sam Galanopoulos is an excellent player, but Loyola Academy tend to do an excellent job against opposing teams best players. Don’t think there quite enough firepower on Niles West for the upset.
#3 Evanston over #6 Maine South
This game is going to be close. Maine South did this exact same thing last year, flying under the radar before showing up in a big way in the playoffs.
Now, this team is still without Stephanie Albano which hurts a ton, and I do think Evanston still gets through but if their last game is any indication, it will be a tight one.
#1 Fremd over #8 Prospect
Fremd has absolutely rolled through the MSL for the entire season, I don’t see that changing at anytime during the playoffs.
#5 Stevenson over #4 Hersey
Both teams have been playing much better since the start of they new year and this should be another even 4 vs. 5 matchup.
Stevenson has shown they can beat the likes of the top seeds in their sectional with wins over Libertyville and Lake Forest, so their upside gives them the edge here.
#2 Lake Forest over #7 Buffalo Grove
Halle Douglass is the type of player that wins you playoff games. She may not put up gaudy scoring numbers like some other players in the state, but she is such a consistent presence with her rebounding, ball handling, distribution, and defense. Mind you, Lake Forest has a pretty decent, young supporting cast as well.
#6 Zion Benton over #3 Libertyville
I’m going against everything I usually believe in considering Zion Benton is trending in the wrong direction at this time of year, but consider it a gut feeling.
Libertyville is talented, and they were ranked for a couple of weeks this year. But they are just so young and the intensity that surrounds the playoffs can be overwhelming.
#1 Rolling Meadows over #7 Lake Park
Let’s get one thing straight, seeds do not matter in this sectional one iota. Lake Park has the ability to shoot themselves in or out of any game which makes them extremely dangerous.
Rolling Meadows has excellent pressure defense and if they stay out of foul trouble, can give even the best offensive teams a struggle. Lake Park won this matchup on a neutral site earlier this year, giving this one to Meadows on their home floor.
#8 York over #4 Wheaton-Warrenville South
Continuing our theme with home court advantages, York can be a very difficult place to play. Like Downers Grove North, WWS style can keep them in a lot of games.
Again, probably a coin flip (especially since it’s playoffs) so giving the edge to the home team here.
#2 Geneva over #10 St. Charles North
This isn’t you Geneva team of years past, but theres something to be said about being a team who just knows how to win the games that matter. Even if it’s a whole new crop of players, being around two state title runs makes a huge difference.
On the other side, I think St. Charles North gets the “upset” over Glenbard West. The North Stars have some impressive wins on the docket, beating Lake Park twice and Geneva in recent weeks.
#3 Bartlett over #5 Wheaton North
Outside of a one point loss to Glenbard South, Bartlett has been very consistent over the entirety of their season. They may not have played the schedule that Wheaton North has, but when they have played top end teams, they’ve held their own, see their game against Benet as an example.
Bartlett beat Wheaton North earlier this season in overtime at Wheaton North, so I imagine they’ll do the same at home.