By Joe Henricksen

Super Tuesday loaded with 'Dogs

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By Joe Henricksen

Sure, powerhouses such as Whitney Young, Waukegan, Simeon and Champaign Centennial are rich with stunning individual talent and recent success, but that doesn't mean they are the only story in the state. They have their blemishes. The best teams will be forced to conquer their own issues--along with some upstart, unheralded, new-to-the-March-limelight teams in their paths.

Perhaps never before in the history of state tournament play has there ever been eight supersectional games on the final Tuesday of the year with such a collective mix of underdogs, with the possible exception of Benet Academy, although Simeon remains the favorite in that matchup.

The City/Suburban Hoops Report takes a look at several programs who, with a win on Super Tuesday, will stun basketball fans statewide with an arrival in Peoria this weekend. These are the underdogs heading into Super Tuesday

Class 4A
Bartlett
This program is not exactly new to surprise March runs. It was just two years ago when Bartlett surprised many with an appearance in a sectional title game, falling to Neuqua Valley. This run, however, is more Cinderella-like as the Hawks entered March with a pedestrian 13-11 record after just a 6-4 mark in the Upstate Eight. Now they are in a supersectional and facing the No. 1 player and No. 1 ranked team in the state. Bartlett obviously peaked and came together at the right time, but a win over Waukegan Tuesday would be monumental and a state tournament shocker. These two teams met way back in November, with Waukegan winning by a whopping 78-36. Bartlett is a much better team than in November; Waukegan is too.

Maine South
This much we know: Big, bad, talented Whitney Young will not faze Maine South. Nothing fazes this team or this group of players. Not in this 28-win season. At this time of the year the Hawks know they won't have the most talented players on the floor. They don't care. They go out and compete, play tough halfcourt defense, show patience and execution on the offensive end and ooze with confidence and poise. And they know how to play down the stretch of close games, beating Notre Dame in overtime to win the regional, edging New Trier 42-40 and knocking off Glenbrook North in 43-41 in the sectional final.

Benet Academy
The Hoops Report has glamorized the return of Benet basketball throughout this 2009-2010 season. Coach Gene Heidkamp has pushed all the right buttons. The only problem with Benet is if Simeon can control or contain star point guard David Sobolewski, who has to play at such an extremely high level for this team to play with and beat the best. But Sobolewski has done just that throughout state tournament play. Simeon seems to have waited until March to turn up the gas. While many have been surprised by Simeon's turn of events in March after nine regular-season losses, this team was ranked No. 3 in the Hoops Report's preseason rankings. Simeon has been a different team since switching up its defense, going from primarily a zone defensive look to man-to-man in the state playoffs. Will Simeon's quickness, athleticism and depth prove to be too much for Benet?

Joliet
Everyone penciled in O'Fallon in the 4A bracket. While O'Fallon remains the favorite, Joliet is riding high. JT, under the direction of coach of the year candidate Luke Yaklich, has persevered and been flying under the radar most of the season. The Steelmen aren't flashy. They play defense, they rebound, they have different players step up at different times and they have won on the road and taken care of their rivals. How will Joliet respond to some unfamiliarity of playing in a college setting at Redbird Arena and against a team from the southern part of the state?

Class 3A
Oswego
Peoria Richwoods is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A. Oswego is riding a momentous two-year run of postseason success never seen before in the program. But the previous four playoff teams Oswego faced and has beaten really isn't in the same league as Peoria Richwoods. With that being said, however, Oswego poses a physical threat to Richwoods with their big, strong inside threats and a confidence level that could make things interesting in the supersectional. Will Oswego's guards be able to handle the quickness and defensive pressure Richwoods applies?

St. Viator
The City/Suburban Hoops Report picked St. Viator to win regional and sectional titles in the state tournament preview issue, but there is no doubt they enter this supersectional matchup as a big underdog. St. Viator, led by talented point guard Alan Aboona, was able to handle North Chicago's speed and quickness in a double-digit sectional win. The difference, though, is North Chicago applies its speed and quickness on the offensive end; Marshall applies its speed and quickness on the defensive end. Plus, Marshall has a pair of athletic 6-5 and 6-6 players in Vincent Garrett and Alfonzo McKinnie.

Robeson
A lot was made of the tournament road Robeson had in getting to the supersectional, with Tilden (out of the CPS Blue) and under-.500 teams King and Harper as the opponents. LaShane Purdy has been huge. And he will have to be again Tuesday in a matchup with Hillcrest, a team aching for a trip to Peoria that would bring back the school's first-ever basketball trophy.

Cahokia
The Hoops Report is not going to pretend to know anything about Cahokia. Many believe, however, that Champaign Centennial, Cahokia's supersectional opponent, is primed for a repeat in Class 3A. They are big and boast player of the year candidate Rayvonte Rice. The two met way back in November, with Centennial winning 70-58.

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10 Comments

the only reason there are so many dogs is the IHSA. There is no doubt that DeLaSalle, Mount Carmel, Foreman, Bogan and LT are far superior teams to Maine South and Bartlett. In fact those two teams would be double digit dogs against any one of the good teams. Thanks again to the IHSA for not putting the best teams forward- just like golf, soccer, baseball, etc.

THIS COULD BE A BAD NIGHT FOR THE PUBLIC LEAGUE OF CHICAGO, I HOPE NOT, BUT SIMEON AND BENET, BENET IS PLAYING LIKE A TEAM POSSESSED, SIMEON MUST COME WITH FULL FOCUS TO GET THIS VICTORY!
MARSHALL AND ST.VIATOR, MARSHALL MUST PRESS THEM OUT OF THE GYM TO GET THIS VICTORY OR THE SEASON IS OVER!
ROBESON MUST HANDLE THE PRESSURE OF HILLCREST, IF NOT THEY CAN PACK THE UNIFORMS UP IN MOTHBALLS!
WHITNEY YOUNG AND MAINE SOUTH, THE MORE ATHLETIC DOLPHINS MUST MAKE SHOTS, AND THEY ALSO MUST NOT TAKE ANY PRISONERS, BECAUSE IF THE HAWKS GET A WHIFF OF CONFIDENCE THAT THEY CAN PLAY WITH THE STATE CHAMPS, CAN YOU SAY UPSET!

Question for Joe ... I know you think there are a lot of favorites and not many toss up games in tonight's supersectional games but do you give any of the underdogs a chance? Thanks in advance.

These teams are in 4A Supersectional only because IHSA put Foreman,DeLaSalle, and Young in the same sectional, and Morgan Park,Bogan,Mt Carmel, and Simeon in the same sectional. It's ridiculous this 4 Class system. doesn't put the best team into the best matchups. I would say Morgan Park beats both Benet and Maine South by at least 15 points. Tonights winners will be Waukegan,Whitney Young, and Simeon rather easily and O'Fallon-Joliet game will be best of the night. That one could be close. And the Sectional Robeson came out of was ridiculous. I do think they have a chance against Hillcrest if they hit their free throws.

These are the weirdest supersectional matchups especially in 4A. I agree that there are heavy favorites but I think the styles of play that Benet and Maine South play will keep them in their games with the big boys. They play slow. Are physical defensively. Games may be closer than you think and maybe an upset. It is not like Young blows people out.

ROBESON BIT THE DUST BY 10 TO HILLCREST, SO BOTH THE LADY HAWKS AND THE MEN WILL HAVE TROPHIES SETTING SIDE BY SIDE, WHEN SCHOOL RESUMES ON MONDAY!
SO MUCH FOR THE FREE THROW THEORY, HEY TIM!

THE PUBLIC LEAGUE PROVES ME WRONG, SIMEON PULLS OUT A DOUBLE OVERTIME VICTORY, AND IS HEADED BACK DOWNSTATE, HALES TRANSFER BRANDON SPEARMAN HITS THE SHOT TO SEND THE GAME INTO OVERTIME, AND AFTER TWO OVERTIMES THE WOLVERINES ARE HEADED BACK TO PEORIA!
MARSHALL SOUNDLY DEFEATS ST.VIATOR, AND WHITNEY YOUNG DESTROYS MAINE SOUTH!
ROBESON LOST TO HILLCREST, SO THE PUBLIC LEAGUE FINISHED WITH A 75 PERCENT RATING IN THEIR SUPER-SECTIONAL GAMES LAST NIGHT, AND YOU WILL HAVE TO EXCUSE ME NOW, I HAVE A BIG PIECE OF HUMBLE PIE TO FINISH!
CONGRATS TO THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LEAGUE, AND THE WORD IS ROBESON FOUGHT HILLCREST TOOTH AND NAIL LAST NIGHT!
THE HAWKS HAVEN'T BEEN DOWNSTATE SINCE 1998!

WELL I GUESS YOUNG FELT LIKE THEY NEEDED TO GET A BLOWOUT, BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID TO MAINE SOUTH, NEXT UP IS WAUKEGAN, WITH A FUTURE NBA PLAYER JEREME RICHMOND, AND A GREAT TEAM, THIS GAME WILL BE THE BEST ONE DOWNSTATE, TO BAD IT IS A SEMIFINAL GAME!
THIS GAME WILL BE A SELLOUT, THE SCALPERS WILL MAKE MONEY OFF OF THIS ONE!
STARKS AND JOHNSON AND THE REST OF THE DOLPHINS AGAINST THE DOGPOUND, SOUNDS LIKE A MONSTER MOVIE OR APOLLO CREED AGAINST ROCKY BALBOA, THIS IS A GOOD ONE, THIS GAME WILL BE TALKED ABOUT FOR DECADES, JEREME RICHMOND IS VERY FOCUSED AND WHITNEY YOUNG WASN'T EVEN EXPECTED TO MAKE IT THIS FAR, AND HOW ABOUT SIMEON, ROBERT SMITH AND HIS STAFF PULLED THE RABBIT OUT OF THE HAT AGAINST BENET!
HOW MANY TEAMS WITH AN 8 AND 5 RECORD AT CHRISTMAS MAKE IT DOWNSTATE, WELL INCLUDE MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL, THEY HAVE DONE IT, THEY DEFEATED ST.VIATOR LAST NIGHT, COULD IT BE MARSHALL AGAINST HILLCREST FOR THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP ON THE 3A SIDE, STAY TUNED!

I have a question....Why is there NEVER a supersectional game at Loyola's Gentile Center? That is the perfect size for an Elite Eight game and it is a beautiful gym. I really wish the IHSA would change it back to 2 classes. Actually, they can keep 1A and 2A, and combine 3A and 4A to make 3 classes.
Waukegan may be the best team in the state, but there road to Peoria was a joke. It's laughable. Then you look at Whitney Young, who always has a very tough challenge. The PE sectional was down this year, but still loaded. What other sectional comes close to boasting Foreman, DLS, and WY in a down year?

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on March 15, 2010 9:55 PM.

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