By Joe Henricksen
The IHSA released the Class 4A and 3A sectional seeds Thursday afternoon. There weren't a whole lot of surprises or many injustices, though there were a couple of questionable seeds.
Here are just a few quick thoughts and reactions to the seeds. This is based on the reasoning that the matchups will be according to seeds, with 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc., which typically the IHSA has stuck to for the most part in recent years. However, that is an "if" at this point as the matchups and sites won't be announced until late Friday.
The City/Suburban Hoops Report's complete state tournament preview issue will be due out in late February.
How would you like to be unbeaten on the season, ranked in everyone's top 10 and have to play Simeon or Bogan in the sectional semis and Mount Carmel in the sectional final? That is what could be staring at the host school, Lyons Township, if it can take care of either Julian or Brother Rice in a regional final.
A couple of Red-South rematches should be highly entertaining, with Simeon likely facing Vocational in a regional championship, with Bogan and Morgan Park featured in another regional title game.
Neuqua Valley Sectional
The Upstate Eight title is up for grabs Friday night when East Aurora travels to Neuqua Valley. A rematch will very likely take place in a regional championship between No. 2 seed Neuqua and No. 7 seed East Aurora.
Proviso East Sectional
Foreman is looking to get over the hump, win big games in March and, hopefully, reach Peoria. It won't be easy. The Hornets could face St. Patrick in a regional final (Foreman lost to York last year in the regional final) and then face De La Salle in the sectional semis, before a date with top-seed Whitney Young. That's a tough road ahead for the No. 2 ranked team in the Hoops Report.
While the Hoops Report had Thornton as the No. 1 seed, the coaches went with Joliet. Thornton beat H-F by 13 points; Joliet beat H-F twice, by a combined 10 points. Thornton has played a tough schedule, with five losses coming to teams that were ranked at some point this season and all five currently have at least 15 wins. What this does is create a potential rematch between Thornton and H-F in the sectional semis. Thornton won the first battle 80-67 back in December.
Niles West Sectional
Von Steuben slipped a little more than the Hoops Report anticipated. Nonetheless, a Von Steuben-Glenbrook North rematch (Von won the first time in December) could materialize in the sectional semis as 1 vs. 4 matchup. New Trier and Maine South, who are very familiar with one another in the Central Suburban League South, could meet again in a sectional semifinal.
There weren't a whole lot of surprises here, though coaches apparently didn't take much stock into Warren's recent solid play. The Blue Devils dropped all the way to a No. 12 seed, even after having won their last five straight. Stevenson, the No. 5 seed, will now have to face Warren, a team they edged 55-53 in the middle of January, in a regional opening game.
Fremd, with just one loss on the season, will have its hands full in trying to win a regional championship. The Vikings will get Lenzelle Smith and Zion-Benton in the regional title game if teams are bracketed by seeds.
Securing the No. 1 seed in this sectional was big. The reason? After the top seven teams there is a considerable drop, which means the top seed will have a much more favorable regional title game matchup then the No. 2 seed. St. Joseph, who the Hoops Report had as the No. 1 seed but ended up with the No. 2 seed, will have its hands full in a potential regional title matchup with young and talented Orr. Meanwhile, top-seeded Marshall should have its way in a regional championship game with either Glenbard South or Al Raby. And a Red-West rematch between North Lawndale and Crane in the regional title game should materialize.
Lincoln-Way West Sectional
As expected, Hillcrest secured the top seed. Crete-Monee beat Rich South twice during the regular season and has played a tougher schedule, yet Rich South is the No. 2 seed and Crete-Monee is No. 5. That sets up what could be a rugged regional final between Brooks and Crete-Monee -- a rematch of last year's sectional matchup.