By Joe Henricksen

Plenty of movement in IHSA sectional assignments

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By Joe Henricksen

The Illinois High School Association released its sectional assignments for boys basketball. Here are a few quick observations from the City/Suburban Hoops Report.

There were certainly some changes in Class 4A, with the biggest being breaking up many of the top teams in the western suburbs and within the city. The Proviso East Sectional, which boasts Whitney Young, Foreman, De La Salle, St. Ignatius, York, Oak Park, Proviso East and St. Patrick, will now face, according to the IHSA website, the winner from a north suburban sectional (Niles West Sectional) rather than another sectional boasting South Side powers.

The loser in all this is the north suburban sectional winner at Niles West. Thus, we could be looking at a Whitney Young-Glenbrook North supersectional matchup if coach David Weber's club can take care of the likes of Evanston, Von Steuben, Maine South and New Trier.

Another loser in the IHSA's changes is the far west suburban sectional winner. This year the sectional, which is typically at East Aurora, will be hosted by Neuqua Valley. This is the second year in a row one of the state's best and biggest gyms, East Aurora, will not be hosting a sectional. Last year Neuqua Valley won the sectional but fell in a stunner to Dundee-Crown in the DeKalb Super. The road to Peoria was always considered a bit of a softer road for the East Aurora Sectional winner. That's no longer the case. This year favored Neuqua Valley would play the winner of the Lyons Twp. Sectional, which could very well be Simeon, Mt. Carmel or Morgan Park.

Turning to Class 3A ...

The Hoops Report can not figure out where in the world the IHSA arrived at separating teams in the Chicago area. There are two predominantly Chicago area sectionals and two of them are loaded and one has Harper as an overwhelming favorite. While Harper is solid--even listed in the preseason issue of the Hoops Report as "one to watch"--there is really no one else in the sectional.

The Riverside-Brookfield Sectional features the talented host school, R-B, along with St. Joseph, Orr, North Lawndale, Marshall and Wheaton Academy. The Lincoln-Way West Sectional will be the toughest in the Chicago area, with Hillcrest, Brooks, Crete-Monee, Richards, T.F. North and Rich South. Meanwhile, the King Sectional, as previously mentioned, has Harper at the top. And then what? Absolutely no one.

Oswego, last year's state runner-up in Class 3A, should cruise to a regional championship and be one of the favorites to win the Hampshire Sectional.

And you can't help but feel for the Peoria schools. With all the weak regionals around the state in Class 3A, the talented Peoria schools--Notre Dame, Central and Richwoods--have to battle it out for a regional.

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9 Comments

Your article points up two facts about the IHSA basketball tournament:

1. The fallout from Marty Hickman's ill-considered switch from a two-class to four-class tourney continues. Having reduced the number of schools in a class by fifty percent, geography dictates that the regional and sectional assignments and seedings are less balanced now in a four-class system than they were in a two-class system. Better teams get knocked out early in a tough sectional while worse teams advance further in a weak sectional. The four-class system is less fair to good teams than the two-class system.

2. Your mention of the three Peoria schools being in one regional makes a second point about the IHSA. Many (perhaps most) Chicago-area fans think the IHSA pursues an agenda of obtaining advantage for downstate schools at the expense of Chicago schools. Try telling that to the players on those Peoria teams...

Its entirely geographical. You are making it sound like the IHSA looked at the strength of these teams before assigning sectionals. You should know that they haven't done that in the entire history of the IHSA tournament.

Yes the King sectional is pathetic. But its also every 3A team from about the downtown area to 95th street. It just so happens that Harper is the only decent team in that entire area. The Lincoln-Way sectional has every 3A city team south of 95th + the 3A south suburban team.

IHSA makes no bones about it...teams are placed REGIONALLY. Do you want all of the some-odd 120 teams seeded? Is it reasonable to have a city team have to travel to Centralia to play an opening round game. Come on guy...get real.

Here are my thoughts from a CPS perspective on the 3A Assignments:

Class 3A

Most of the class 2A CPS west side powers will be in the Riverside Brookfield Sectional. This includes state contender North Lawndale, emerging Crane, always dangerous Marshall, and a good Orr team. It is not a guarantee for the CPS to get out of this sectional alive. It also has St. Joseph.

Red-North teams Senn and Uplift seem to be the CPS best chances in a St. Viator Regional that includes a St. Viator team that is currently 5-1, North Chicago, an improving Vernon Hills team, and Johnsburg - a Fox Valley conference power.

The Chicago King sectional has all CPS teams except for University High. Many of them small charter schools and Blue conference teams. It looks like the early favorites in the Chicago King Sectional could be: Harper, Kenwood, Robeson, King and University High. It is still too early to tell for sure but Uhiversity High could emerge out of that jungle. This could be the weakest class 2A sectional of them all.

The most interesting sectional will be Lincoln Way-West. The junior laden Brooks should be the top ranked CPS team there. But do not overlook Harlan and Agriculture Science. But at the end a few south suburban powers may end up emerging out of this sectional. The list includes loaded teams from Hillcrest, Crete-Monee, and Richards. At the time of this writing all of those teams are undefeated.

http://neilski.typepad.com/wwwlanetechfancom_blog/2009/12/basketball-playoff-assignments-released.html

The 4 class system is a joke. There is really 4 semi fianl winners and then we can all go home. I went to the state finals for over 30 years but not since the 4 class system was started. I have no problem with a large school champ and a small school champ. I have no interest in two large school champs and two small school champs. You know the old saying....If it ain't broke ...don't fix it. The IHSA went PC on everyone so we can all feel better with more champs!

In response to Bill Krakke and with all due respect:

My contention is that sectional assignments in a four class tournament are less balanced than sectional assignments in a two class tournament. I would like to use your "downtown area to 95th street" example. You are correct in saying that there just aren't many good 3A teams in that area.

But a list of 4A schools within that same area might include Curie, DeLaSalle, Hyde Park, Mount Carmel, Saint Ignatius, Simeon and Vocational.

Under the previous two class system, these 3A and 4A schools would likely have been grouped together into two Class AA sectionals. And by seeding those sectionals, the better teams would have advanced further into their brackets.

Instead, the four class system gives us a 3A sectional that is probably irrelevant to determining the 3A state champion and while the south side 4A schools play in suburban sectionals that are loaded with good teams.

That is what I am referring to when I say that the four class tourney produces less balanced sectional assignments.

Yo Krakke.... The IHSA has had little to no reasoning for things for years, including where they send teams from year to year, who hosts regionals, sectionals, eliminating travel but in reality there is more than ever. It's an organization that does try its best but unfortunately get a lot of things wrong. And in a number of sports.

THE SYSTEM IS LIKE THE BCS BOWL SYSTEM IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, SOME WILL LIKE IT, AND SOME WILL DETEST IT, YOU HAVE TO BUILD YOUR PROGRAM, SO IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THEY SEND YOU TO TIMBUKTU TO PLAY, JUST GET YOUR TEAM READY FOR BATTLE, AND LACE EM UP!
LET THE PLAYERS, PLAY!
LET THE COACHES, COACH!
LET THE REFS, REF!
LET THE SPECTATORS, BE POLITE AT ALL TIMES!
THE SYSTEM ISN'T PERFECT, THE ELITE 8 IS REALLY A SUPERSECTIONAL, ONLY FOUR GET TO DANCE ON THE BIG FLOOR, WITH A 4 CLASS SYSTEM, THIS IS THE WAY IT IS, GET YOUR TEAM READY TO DANCE, OR PUT AWAY THE DANCING SHOES!

Capital Phil is back to his preaching! If you can tell me your take on it than I will listen to your inspiring pre-game speech, otherwise stating the obvious as to what programs have to do is a worthless comment towards this blog.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on December 10, 2009 11:34 AM.

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