By Joe Henricksen
(This blog has been updated from the original blog since the IHSA did actually release sectional assignments late Friday afternoon)
Although the who and when has yet to be determined for the IHSA state tournament in March, the where has been decided. And the regional and sectional sites the IHSA put out this week indicate several changes this March.
First, many of the state-ranked teams are feeding into one sectional complex in Class 4A. Simeon, Whitney Young, Curie and Hyde Park -- the top four teams in the Chicago Public League -- will be feeding into the same sectional.
And to make matters worse, Marist, De La Salle and St. Rita are also in the same sectional, so forget about quality sectional matchups, we're talking regional title tilts with the outrageous thought of some of these highly-ranked teams mentioned being No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 seeds in a sectional. The aforementioned seven -- Simeon, Young, Curie, Hyde Park, Marist, St. Rita and De La Salle -- are all currently among the top dozen teams in the Hoops Report rankings. And all seven will be battling it out for a sectional title.
After talking with a few Chicago Public League coaches, this could be the first time since the CPS had its one qualifier advance to the Elite Eight by winning a city championship, that every city team is funneled into one sectional. The days of both Simeon and Whitney Young advancing to Peoria, which was the case a couple of years ago, are over. They won't even meet in a supersectional.
The biggest winner in the recently released regional and sectional sites? Proviso East. Coach Donnie Boyce stepped into a great situation with a loaded roster. Now he has the benefit of the Pirates being shipped out of the state's most rugged sectional.
Proviso East will be hosting a regional that will now feed into the Schaumburg Sectional. When was the last time Proviso East was sent west? The Schaumburg Sectional winner, where Proviso East will be an overwhelming favorite no matter who is playing in it, faces the East Aurora Sectional winner in the Hinsdale Central Supersectional. This could set up a potential rematch of West Suburban Gold powers Proviso East and Downers Grove South in the supersectional.
Oak Park, Morton and York are other schools who probably feel a bit of a sense of relief. Those three programs, like Proviso East, will welcome the sectional change as they are headed west as well to the Schaumburg Sectional. For the last several years, those three near-west suburban programs have had to battle the likes of Whitney Young and Company.
Based on just the sites given by the IHSA, here is an early look at some supersectional matchups that could materialize in Class 4A:
• Proviso East vs. Downers Grove South
• Warren vs. Rockford Auburn
• Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Belleville East
• Simeon vs. New Trier
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