By Joe Henricksen

Looking at the seeds -- and the process

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By Joe Henricksen

Any subscriber to the City/Suburban Hoops Report publication has heard the rant on the current set up of sectional seeding. A year ago the IHSA went away from an actual "seeding meeting" and did the seeding electronically. It's a shame -- and, for lack of a better word -- stupid.

The explanation is one less night out for coaches and eliminating travel. Everything you do as a coach, when it comes to wins and losses, is geared toward earning that seed, putting your team in the best position possible. Coaches put the time in during the summer via camps, shootouts and tournaments, they align their schedule in preparation for sectional seeding, watch hours of film and go out and scout opponents all season long. They can't spend an hour or two at a meeting to try and get the seeds as correct as possible? It's inexplainable. And I have heard only a couple of coaches (who should be embarrassed) out of dozens I have spoken with over the last year that truly think it's better this way.

Most importantly you want to get the seeds right. Those coaches at the end of the season, those that are scuffling through a five and six-win season and are bound for a 13-19 seed, do you really think all of them care and take the time to do a little research before punching in numbers on a computer? If those coaches are in a meeting they at least can be held accountable in front of their peers when showing the seeds they gave. Get back in the room, discuss, listen and then seed.

Who decided this was the best way to go? A clueless, overbearing wife of a high school coach who every February asked her husband with a straight face, "Do you really have to go to this seeding thingy tonight? I have the last two weeks of American Idol taped that we still have to watch!" -- or the IHSA, the organization that railroaded the four-classes through the system, took away the top four seeds hosting regionals, and ... oh, forget it. I'll lay off the IHSA decision-makers.

Here is a look at how the City/Suburban Hoops Report sees various sectional seeds throughout the Chicago area (through Sunday, Feb. 7) as high school coaches get ready to move and click that mouse and enter their seeds this week. The Hoops Report breaks down the top eight seeds in the Chicago area's Class 4A and 3A sectionals.

Lyons Township
1. Lyons Township
2. Mount Carmel
3. Bogan
4. Simeon
5. Hyde Park
6. Morgan Park
7. Julian
8. Vocational

Breakdown: Sorry, pro-Chicago schools (which make up the majority of the schools in this sectional), you're going to have to go with the boys from LaGrange with the top seed. THEY ARE UNBEATEN.... THEY HAVE NOT LOST.... YOU CAN'T IGNORE THIS FACT. ... Mount Carmel has played the tougher schedule, yes, but the Caravan settle in at No. 2, followed by surprising Bogan at No. 3. Then it gets tricky. Simeon, though, has beaten Hyde Park and Morgan Park, while playing one of the tougher schedules in the state. Despite Simeon's struggles at times, they should be No. 4. Morgan Park has never gained the consistency due to youth and the injury to Wayne Blackshear, while Vocational really struggled down the stretch.

Neuqua Valley Sectional
1. Glenbard East
2. Neuqua Valley
3. Benet Academy
4. Naperville North
5. Oswego East
6. East Aurora
7. Downers Grove South
8. Bolingbrook

Breakdown: The top three seeds and their order are pretty clear, with Glenbard East getting the top seed over Neuqua Valley as a result of its 18-point win back in December. Naperville North has put together a solid season and has beaten sectional foes Oswego East (without Jay Harris), Wheaton South and West Aurora, while losing to Benet at the buzzer. The 16-win Huskies get the No. 4 seed.

Oswego East has lost just once with its top player in the lineup -- to state-ranked Peoria Central -- and has beaten East Aurora. Bolingbrook has won four straight, including seed-boosting wins over state-ranked Hillcrest and a solid Joliet team in the last couple of weeks. Downers Grove South is one to watch. The young parts are coming together and the Mustangs head into seeding week having won six straight. However, while competitive, DGS has not played quite the schedule East Aurora has, which gives the Tomcats the No. 6 seed. Wheaton-Warrenville South and Naperville Central, two teams with winning records, show the depth in this sectional and would check in at No. 9 and No. 10, respectively, followed by West Aurora.

Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional
1. Thornton
2. Joliet
3. Lockport
4. Homewood-Flossmoor
5. Sandburg
6. Plainfield Central
7. Bloom
8. Thornwood

Breakdown: Thornton has beaten H-F and has played a very competitive schedule. Joliet beat H-F twice but has lost to both Lockport and Bolingbrook in January. Nonetheless, JT's body of work against the schedule it has played gets the edge over Lockport.

The toughest -- and most important decision -- is where to put H-F, Lockport and Sandburg? The coveted No. 3 seed will avoid having to play a conference rival in a regional final for the third time. H-F beat Sandburg, Sandburg beat Lockport twice and Lockport beat H-F. We'll give Lockport the edge over H-F due to the head-to-head win, while Sandburg drops to No. 5 due to its schedule not being as strong as H-F's schedule. Bloom gets the No. 7 seed over Thornwood as a result of its 58-57 win over the Thunderbirds back in December.

Proviso East Sectional
1. Whitney Young
2. Foreman
3. De La Salle
4. Curie
5. St. Patrick
6. Proviso East
7. Oak Park
8. Lincoln Park

Breakdown: Toughest call here is the 4-7 seeds. In reality you could put Curie, St. Pat's, Proviso East and Oak Park in a hat and pick any of them to fill the four spots. However, nabbing the fourth and fifth seeds is imperative in that it would avoid having to face any of the top three teams (Young, Foreman and De La Salle).

And where do you put Curie? It's hard to overlook what has happened with the transfers of a couple of players and having as many losses as they do. But of all the teams vying for the No. 4 seed, none has played as tough of a schedule as Curie. Plus, Curie handed Glenbard East its only loss of the season, beat Bogan, Hyde Park and East Aurora and has won nine of its last 11 games. Proviso East, which lost to St. Patrick in December, had a chance to move up if they could have handed Lyons a loss last Saturday.

Niles West Sectional
1. Glenbrook North
2. Von Steuben
3. New Trier
4. Maine South
5. Prospect
6. Niles Notre Dame
7. Evanston
8. Lake Park

Breakdown: The debate will be whether Von Steuben, with a regular-season win over Glenbrook North, deserves the No. 1 seed with six losses? The 23-point loss to Brooks in late January was a stinger for the Panthers. For the Hoops Report, it came down to who we thought would win a Von Steuben-Glenbrook North matchup right now. GBN gets the edge.

Maine South has 22 wins but lost to New Trier in early January. Plus, of New Trier's four losses, three have come to state-ranked Waukegan (twice) and St. Joseph. Prospect gets the nod over Niles Notre Dame for No. 5 due to having beaten St. Patrick (Notre Dame lost to St. Pat's) and finishing higher at the Wheeling Holiday Tournament than Notre Dame. Don't get too caught up in Mather's 20 wins (they lost to Lincoln Park by 25 and to Niles North). Lake Park sneaks into the No. 8 spot with wins over sectional foes Glenbrook South (44-28), Elk Grove, Loyola Academy and Niles North.

Waukegan Sectional
1. Waukegan
2. Deerfield
3. Fremd
4. Lake Forest
5. Stevenson
6. Warren
7. Zion-Benton
8. Mundelein

Breakdown: The top three seeds have been solidified. Lake Forest sits in first place in the North Suburban Lake and gets the No. 4 seed and can square off with Stevenson for a third time to decide the regional final.

The big news here is where Zion-Benton and Mundelein fall to. The Zee-Bees have struggled, while Mundelein currently sits in sixth place in the North Suburban Lake but is still better than the Mid-Suburban League teams that are in this sectional who are outside the top eight. Warren is playing its best basketball of the year, with wins over Mundelein and Zion-Benton in the last two weeks, making a push into the top eight.

Riverside-Brookfield Sectional
1. St. Joseph
2. Marshall
3. Orr
4. North Lawndale
5. Wheaton Academy
6. Riverside-Brookfield
7. Crane
8. Glenbard South

Breakdown: St. Joseph and Marshall are clearly the top two seeds, though an argument can be made for both being the top seed. Both have played impressive schedules and fared well, but St. Joseph has lost just twice since Thanksgiving -- and both losses came to top-ranked Whitney Young by a total of eight points. Orr is fresh off a win over North Lawndale to secure the No. 3 seed.

Wheaton Academy (20-1) hasn't lost to a team from Illinois yet, losing to Charlotte Christian out of North Carolina, but the schedule is not up to par with the other teams in the field. That schedule strength could hurt Wheaton Academy in trying to get into the top four. Riverside-Brookfield has just three losses, with two of R-B's three losses coming to unbeaten Lyons Township. However, one common opponent for Wheaton Academy and Riverside-Brookfield will have to separate the two, despite R-B playing the better schedule. R-B lost to Timothy Christian in late January, while Wheaton Academy beat Timothy Christian by 20 points in December. Trying to figure out the No. 8 seed in this sectional? Impossible.

King Sectional
1. Robeson
2. Harper
.... Oh, forget it. Let the coaches and IHSA sort out this mess, which is the weakest sectional in the Chicago area.

Lincoln-Way West Sectional
1. Hillcrest
2. Crete-Monee
3. Rich South
4. Brooks
5. T.F. North
6. Richards
7. Harlan
8. Rich Central

Breakdown: Hillcrest has just three losses, with wins over the likes of sectional foes Crete-Monee and T.F. North. Crete-Monee has played a competitive schedule and has handed Rich South two of its three losses. Both T.F. North and Brooks have been inconsistent, though T.F. North does have a win over Crete-Monee. But the Meteors also have losses to .500-and-below teams Eisenhower, Harlan and T.F. South. Brooks has played a few games without star guard George Marshall, while Richards has missed senior leader Brandon Snowden, who just recently returned from injury. But the Meteors also have losses to Eisenhower, Harlan and T.F. South.

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Great breakdown! Thanks for the insight. Ahead of the curve again.


the meetings became worthless when the IHSA went to pre-set regionals. You leave a meeting thinking you are going to play team X and you end up playing Y. If you are number 1 you should be playing at home vs. the winner of a 16/22 play in game. Now you could be playing the winner of a 10/15 game on 10's home floor. The whole thing is a joke.

What about Bogan in the Lyons sectional?

I realize the King sectional is the weakest, but in objective reporting I feel you should still try and rank the teams. As a coach for one of the teams in this field, let me break down the sectional for you.

1. Robeson - Good record out of the Red conf.
2. Harper - far and away the second best team
3. DuSable - Have taken down Hope and King, close loss to Harper
4. University - Not sure what to expect from a freelance team.
5. King - Lost to a good Uplift team in the Playoffs
6. Ellison - Saw them play at the Rita tournament in November, and these kids can play.
7. Hope - Only good win was vs Kenwood
8. Tilden -Doesn't take much to have a good record in the blue, but are teams are getting thin at this point.
9. Phillips - The loss to Ag Science does not help, as this team should be dropped back down to blue next year.
10. Kenwood - Don't know what your going to get night in and night out with this team.
11-22. A bunch of blue/green teams with not much to offer.

ACE Tech might be the best team in the remaining lot, as long as they can stay healthy and eligible.

Of course a CPS school didn't get the #1 seed in the Lyons Bracket.I think Lyons and Mount Carmel deserved those spots, but the bracket is going to be a fistfight especially with teams from the red south that have played each other and teams that are very good but just don't get as much recognition.

Looking at all these sectionals and seeds it makes me sick once again there are four classes. Why? why? Why? The way this season has gone I don't see many top seeds getting through to the supersectional. I feel a lot of upsets coming

Derek and Joe: Is that King Sectional for real? Those are really the teams in the sectional? How does that happen? I have never seen a sectional with so many bad teams AND SCHOOLS I'VE NEVER HEARD OF!!!!!

Riverside Brookfield did beat Timothy by 38 points in early december as well.

YO Hoops! Who cares what you did back whenever, most recently you LOST to Timothy! Saying you beat them by 38 earlier in the year is almost making it look worse. You have digressed that much? How do you beat a team by 38 and then lose????????????

Reynolds, you are probably use to 4A teams in Chicago. Most of these schools in the King Sectional are Southside schools. Venture down past Bronzeville if you want to see some games. It is a very weak sectional, but the beauty of Illinois basketball is that everyone has a shot.

Nice job. I agree with your seedings. Why do the seedings come out this early. St. Patrick plays ND and Mt. Carmel still. That could move them up to 4 or bring them down to 7. That's just 1 example. They should wait another 2 weeks before seedings come out. There are many decisive games waiting to be played.

Big Boy,

I would like to answer your question ("Why? Why? Why?") but I can't. It is unanswerable.

Only Marty Hickman knows why there are now four classes in the IHSA basketball tournament and he has yet to provide a convincing explanation for the change.

I wonder if the BCS would be interested in hiring Mr. Hickman away from us.


Actually the seedings don't technically take place until Feb 12, which is this Friday. The teams are already selected in their particular sectionals, but no real seedings are taking place yet.

This is all just speculation, and I must say the seedings look good so far. Coaches will submit online seedings friday, although sometimes coaches just plug in numbers

As someone who's been in the room these are my observations on the matter.

For many sectionals the seedings are already too late if they have CPS teams involved. The CPS tourney has started and some teams are eliminated, good luck getting a live scout with a team that has no remaining games or plays in the double secret elimination bracket that don't even tell the papers when they play.

One of your first replies hit the nail on the head. The meetings are pointless now with the pre-established regionals,it's a crap shoot anyway as to who you're going to play. 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5 games are not guaranteed now because of who's hosting, etc. In the old days you went to the meeting and walked out knowing who you're playing and when and where. You could get on the phone or talk to someone in the room and start lining up game tape on your opponent that night. Since the predetermined regional hosts sites came into existence you go to the meeting, you vote, and then you wait until Friday after the IHSA offices are closed so they don't have to listen to anyone complain, and then the games are posted. At least doing it online saves gas money. And being in the same room does not guarantee a coach will be accountable. Many a ballot have been thrown out because of coaches playing games or holding grudges. Obvious #1 seeds being voted #10, etc.

And the poster who said the 4 classes are a joke is correct. You have games that are sectional quality games being played as regional games in class 4A and 2A (Ignatius-Pats as a first round game? Leo/Hales possibly this year) while 1A and 3A struggle to get winning teams to sectionals. But the downstate schools saw to that. Too many Hales and Leo 1A Championships helped facilitate an end to the 2 class system.

Bring back 2 classes and forget geographic representation at the state finals. The best teams deserve to play on the biggest stage. Not in a regional. The best 4A basketball will be played @ the Lyons Sectional, the Proviso East Sectional, and maybe the H-F sectional.

A lot of research in this breakdown. Much appreciated Hoops Report.

What about Stagg in the HF sectional? They are 15-5 and you have a 10-10 Bloom, 9-10 Thornwood?

Yeah thats what I figured about early seeds. I guess it does give coaches a chance to scout. The whole 4A system is BS. Everybody on this website should write protest letters to Hickman. That's what I'm doing. It won't do any good though. All he wants is for Downstate schools to win.


I wouldn't discard 1A and 3A basketball this year. I can tell you live in Chicago, and disregard the rest of Illinois, but the same thing is happening in 3A as you have 3 of the top three teams in the state facing off in the same regional (peoria, Richwoods, Notre Dame)

I don't see it as that big of deal though, you have to play the toughest teams at some point, you still have to win all of your games to win the championship!!!!

So what if Hales has to face Leo early, Leo should be back up in 3A where they were last year anyway.

Manual out of peoria is the best 2A school anyway, so Hales/Leo doesn't stand a chance once they make it all the way.

And 3A has the best team in the state in Centennial, so don't write off 3A...

I love the 4 class system, everyone gets a chance. You have kids that don't have the oppurtunity to go to bigger schools, that can get in the spotlight if they work hard enough, with 2A basketball you might as well give it up if you went to a school with an enrollment under 700.

How do you think Evanston beating Prospect by 30 tonight effects the seedings for those teams at Niles West?

Joe - How come you have LT as the #1 seed in their sectional but rank Mt. Carmel above them in your rankings? LT has won almost all their games by double digits. Why does it seem they get no respect?

To Hooper:

Seriously your going to say that having 4A schools means that they want downstate teams to win. This hurts the city of Peoria more than it does Chicago, as arguably 3 of the top teams in the state play in the same regional, and they'd have to face centennial in the same sectional.

Regional sites are the best thing for the state. There is more to the state of illinois than Chicago. If you want your team to go down to the state games, they should win their games.

May I remind you that only 4 teams in each division play in the state games, and I doubt Chicago will make much of a splash down there in 1-3A...


Giving the "Everyone" a chance arguement based on enrollment is complete non-sense. When the IHSA had two classes 2A had twice as many schools partipating in that division than 1A did. That was the problem....the inequity of enrollment numbers not the 2 class system. The current format is very unfair to the Big school class. 2A for instance ranges from schools with 300 to 700 students. 4A ranges from schools with 700 to 4500 students (and if want to get really technical Morton's combined campuses have 8000 students). How is that fair?? If I am a school in Class 4A I may have to play a school 5 times my size while in 2A it may be a diffence of a couple hundred students. No the whole thing is flawed. Two classes were fine but all the little schools in this state complained because they wanted to win their little regional so every kid got a medal. It is just plain dumb and the IHSA killed their Golden Goose in the process

Thanks for the explanation Joe. I agree, beating LT in a Sectional game in the Lions Den full of 4,500 "Cameron Crazies" will not be an easy task as Oak Park and Proviso East discovered.

Outside the lines

While you do make some valid points, your information is a little wrong. There are many 800 enrollment schools in the 3A tournament this year. To get in 4A i think the cut off is around 800-900. Also Class 1A basketball has 235 schools represented, Class 2A has 152, Class 3A has 150, and class 4a has 152.

So technically it is still more of a longshot for a 1A school to make it down to the tournament. I would also like to point out that this is only the 3rd year for the system and we're already starting to see changes, for example you can send in an application next year to get rid of the multiplier put on your school.

This would benefit charter schools who let's say have a lottery enrollment and cannot technically recruit, but still have the multiplier put on them. In looking at a random charter school this year out of the King Sectional, they have an enrollment of 450, but with the multiplier it is up to 760 something putting them in 3A when they should be on the edge of 1A/2A basketball.

I am a big Evanston fan and them beating Prospect by 30 is probably an aberration. I don't see them getting out of Regional. It's a bad team with only one decent three point shooter. Prospect should not be a Top 4 seed is what the result says. But Evanston is definitely not a Top 4 seed so the result doesn't matter really for Evanston.

To Outside the Lines.

Let me give you a specific example of a 3A school with a high enrollment.

Robeson -- 1625 enrollment in 3A tourny.

Name me a 4A school with a smaller enrollment and we can complain to IHSA for their mistake.

Tim from Evanston: Thanks for being honest about the Wildkits. Too many times people take too much stock into one game, especially one that is right before tournament seeds. Prospect is No. 5 on this Hoops Report seed and based on the info provided here probably should be. Because there isn't much after the top four. So keep Prospect at five, I guess. I don't know how anyone can lose to Evanston by 30, though. I watched that Evanston team and they are very average at best.

Involved in coaching in Illinois for years. You hit it pretty much right on the head. This is a joke, and majority of coaches think it's a joke.


"May I remind you that only 4 teams in each division play in the state games, and I doubt Chicago will make much of a splash down there in 1-3A..."

Thank you for eloquently stating the result of the 4 class system and proving one of my points. The downstate membership found a way to trivialize Chicago. Hales and Leo winning the A title and a Chicago area team winning the AA facilitated the demise of the 2 class system.

Also I apologize, I did neglect the downstate schools. There are some terrific conferences and teams throughout the state. That being said, other than Centennial and maybe Richwoods, no one else in the state would get out of the Lyons or Proviso East sectional. Last Year's Morton (Berwyn) sectional had 11 teams with 20+ wins and not one of them was in a weak conference. No other sectional in the state can stake that claim. In many years the south suburban sectional with the Thornton's and Bloom's have been loaded. It's not an apple to apple comparison looking at the rest of the state compared to Chicago. So you'll have to pardon a Chicago area message board for its myopic focus on Chicago teams.

I agree with your statement if you want to be a champion win your games but you cannot tell me that watching a blow out the final weekend of state is something anyone wants to see. Best argument against geographic representation Johnsburg earlier this decade. The best teams should be showcased on the final weekend.

Also 50% of the winners from 1A-3A the past two years have been from Chicago, I would call that a splash. I would venture a guess that before all is said and done Lawndale (3A) and Hales or Leo (2A) will make a splash.


I understand that this is a Chicago message board, "duh" it's a chicago paper. I actually live on the southside (woodlawn) neighborhood, but grew up in Central Illinois. You have to realize that Chicago has the same shot as everyone else in the state and that's the way it should be. Let me name a few teams that could make it out of your sectional from downstate if I may.

Centennial - you mentioned
Richwoods - you mentioned
Ofallon - #1 team in state if you ask me.
Lincoln - you'd be suprised the talent in the sticks down there by Carbondale
Notre Dame - Tough Tough schedule
Manual - You want to talk 2 class basketball, this SMALL enrollment school use to dawg the rest of 2A!!!!!
Altoff Catholic- run with the big boys downstate.
Peoria - Tough schedule

I hate to venture and say a 1A school could compete, but I would like to see Brimfield and their shooters compete in it as well. (would probably lose)

As a current LT student and one of a few student section leaders, I can tell you: all LT has to do is win it's regional, and they're clear. They will not lose in our gym, with our group of fans. And, after sectionals, supers are at Hinsdale Central ... a de facto home game.

LT may or may end up with the one seed in the sectional, but they certainly have to be considered the favorites. Watch a game in our gym and you'll know why.

Joe - Young now has 4 losses. How much longer can you keep them ranked #1?

Other than the Tilden incident, Wednesday was a good day for the King sectional to start to make a name for itself.

Robeson downed Lincoln Park
Hope took out Senn
DuSable finished ahead of AL Raby

The only team in the sectional that lost last night, was ACE Tech.

Looks like St. Pats plays St. Ignatius in the 1st round like last year. Winner plays Foreman. This regional is at Saint Ignatius. St. Ignatius is a pretty small gym to hold St. Iggy's giant student section and you know Pats will bring a huge student section there. That should be a good one and a fantastic environment like last year at Pats.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on February 7, 2010 2:45 PM.

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