There were a few minor upsets and a couple of big ones (R.I.P. - Hinsdale Central and Homewood-Flossmoor) in the first four days of regional action. The Hoops Report believes there will be plenty more Friday night. Here is a look -- and picks -- for every regional final that will be played in the Chicago area.
Oswego over Bolingbrook
Toughest matchup any No. 1 seed has in a regional final. A Bolingbrook team with SMU recruit Ben Moore, guard Prentiss Nixon, one of the top 10 sophomores in the state, and a 20-win team that has played a competitive schedule. THAT'S what the No. 1 seed gets to play in a regional final? But too much chemistry and unselfishness, along with too much Miles Simelton and Elliot McGaughey. Oswego pulls away in the fourth quarter.
Wheaton South Regional
West Aurora over Geneva
One of the Hoops Report's real sectional sleepers, red-hot No. 5 seed Hinsdale Central, was stunned by Geneva on Thursday night. Now West Aurora can't afford a letdown mentally playing the lower-seeded team. Coach Gordie Kerkman gets two wins away from a 12th sectional title in his career.
Benet Academy Regional
Benet Academy over Naperville Central
Let me count the disadvantages for Naperville Central: A tough, emotional game overtime game against city rival Naperville North the night before, playing back-to-back nights in regional play, and against a team that is better and playing on their home floor.
Oswego East Regional
Waubonsie Valley over Neuqua Valley
Neuqua Valley knocked off Waubonsie Valley back in the middle of January, but I like how hot coach Steve Weemer's Waubonsie team has been. This is the Hoops Report's first upset pick of the night. Waubonsie Valley's Jared Brownridge comes up big, beats conference and district rival in a down-to-the-wire finish.
Proviso West Regional
Proviso East over Proviso West
There is nothing more the Proviso West basketball team would love to do than upset its biggest rival and the top seed in the sectional. Just not going to happen.
Hoffman Estates Regional
Glenbard East over Conant
A couple of well coached teams with different styles go head-to-head. Glenbard East finished the season strong, winning seven straight and nine of its last 10 behind the DuPage Valley Conference POY Tahron Harvey.
York over Bartlett
With a little late-season funk behind him and his team, David Cohn, who dropped in 25 in the win over LT, leads the Dukes to a win over Bartlett and his Illinois Wolves teammate, Lance Whitaker.
Glenbard North Regional
Schaumburg over Oak Park-River Forest
You just don't want to play Schaumburg in March. Not against this particular group, no matter what seed they are. Two years ago the Saxons reached the sectional championship game -- as a No. 15 seed. Last year it again reached the sectional championship game, beating second-seeded Oak Park in the sectional semis. So, yes, there is some history here. Another upset as the No. 11 seed Saxons find a way to win their fourth straight regional title.
Maine South Regional
Maine South over Niles West
Niles West pulled off a minor upset, beating Glenbrook North in overtime in the regional semis. These two met twice during the season, with Maine South winning 43-33 and 50-29 in January. The home floor, tricky style and this team's will to win overcomes Niles West's adrenaline from knocking off GBN.
Loyola Academy Regional
Loyola Academy over Niles North
This is one of the best regional title games anywhere in Illinois. Loyola lost to Niles North, 64-49, back on Dec. 27 as Malachi Nix poured in 20. But this isn't the same Loyola team. The Ramblers haven't lost since that late December defeat. I like that momentum and Loyola playing in its own gym. Loyola in a mild upset.
Glenbrook South Regional
Niles Notre Dame over Foreman
While Red-North representative Foreman squeaked by Glenbrook South, Niles Notre Dame put a thumping on another Red-North team, Von Steuben, 67-42. This one will be closer, but the Dons have too many perimeter weapons.
St. Patrick Regional
St. Patrick over New Trier
The good news for New Trier? The Hoops Report has picked against the Trevians a couple of times this season and has been wrong. The bad news is St. Pat's is battle-tested having played in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, is on its home floor and has the guard play to get one of the upsets of the night done.
Mt. Carmel Regional
Simeon over Marist
Sorry, but there just isn't any Marist magic left in the tank this postseason after such a memorable run a year ago. As it did last weekend, Simeon rolls over Marist.
St. Rita Regional
St. Rita over DuSable
DuSable plays hard, upset Brother Rice in the regional semis and won't be intimidated. But it won't be enough against talented St. Rita on its home floor.
Whitney Young over De La Salle
I suspect De La Salle and Alvin Ellis will hang with the Dolphins a little longer than people expect, but won't come close to pulling off an upset in the end.
Curie over Bogan
Another dandy and a Public League dogfight with the season on the line. Bogan will need a big night from high-scoring sophomore Luwane Pipkins. And, oh, the Bengals will have to figure out a way to contain Cliff Alexander. That will prove to be impossible.
Marian Catholic Regional
Marian Catholic over Crete-Monee
Although Crete-Monee didn't exactly finish the regular season strong, it's still a team with quickness, athleticism and enough talent to pull off an upset. The Warriors are a dangerous No. 8 seed. But this dream season for Marian Catholic isn't ending this soon.
Joliet West over T.F. North
A potential physical, low-scoring, defensive brawl between these two. But I'll take the team with the best player on the floor -- Joliet West's Morris Dunnigan.
Bloom over Lincoln-Way North
Sure, the upstart 20-win team with a conference co-championship and no-name recognition might be the trendy pick in an upset, but Bloom's defense and rebounding, along with last year's state tournament experience, will get them into the sectional semis.
Sandburg over Stagg
So do we have our Cinderella? Another win from Sandburg (10-17), a No. 18 seed that stunned fourth-seeded Homewood-Flossmoor in the semis, and then we can start talking. Stagg may be spent coming off a double overtime victory over Andrew just 24 hours earlier. We'll ride the momentum, the home floor, Sandburg's fresh legs and the play of 6-7 junior Malek Harris to another upset victory.
South Elgin Regional
Larkin over St. Charles North
The key may be how well of a job Larkin coach Deryn Carter gets his team to forget about the previous two meetings with St. Charles North, which the Royals won easily -- Larkin beat St. Charles North 76-56 back in January. Yes, it's tough to beat a team a third time, but Larkin just has too much perimeter talent and was able to contain Quentin Payne in its last meeting.
Crystal Lake Central over Jacobs
Can Jacobs, which will be playing on its home floor, send out retiring coach Jim Hinkle with a bang? The favorite, Crystal Lake Central (24-3), prevails.
Stevenson over Waukegan
Grayslake North gave Stevenson and the young talented Patriots a test in the semis, while Waukegan snuck by Prospect. These two met in early February, with Stevenson winning 66-49, though Waukegan was without starting point guard Jordan Johnson. Jalen Brunson and the Patriots' crisp motion and well-executed sets will continue to give the Bulldogs issues.
Lake Zurich Regional
Lake Forest over Mundelein
A toss-up, really -- just as the regular-season games were, with the North Suburban Lake foes splitting two games. The Hoops Report will take Lake Forest's size, with 6-9 Sam Downey and 6-7 Evan Boudreaux, over Mundelein's perimeter talent.
Zion-Benton over Fremd
Too ... Much ... Milik ... Yarbrough.
St. Viator over Warren
Love this regional title matchup. Both coaches -- Warren's Ryan Webber and St. Viator's Mike Howland -- have done terrific jobs in their own way this season with their respective teams. But the backcourt of Mark Falotico and Ore Arogundade, who has raised his level of play, gives St. Viator the edge.
Woodstock North Regional
Woodstock over Woodstock North
The Silver Streaks have Jordan Turner and own a pair of wins (60-52 and 63-51) over Woodstock North. Make it three in a row and the program's first regional title since 2000.
Burlington Central Regional
Hampshire over Sycamore
One of the Hoops Report's real underrated players in the senior class, Hampshire's Tyler Crater, takes care of business and helps the Whip-Purs add to their 23-win total already compiled.
Aurora Central Catholic over Wheaton St. Francis
This will be a barnburner between two Suburban Christian Blue teams that split during the regular season and have had their share of postseason success in recent years.
Morgan Park over St. Laurence
Evergreen Park Regional
Fenger over Evergreen Park
Hold on, let me find my Fenger and Evergreen Park scouting reports ... Wait. Hold on ...
Harlan over Robeson
A couple of teams with ho-hum regular seasons go for some glory and a regional plaque.
Brooks over Perspectives Charter/Leadership
Could this be the fifth Red-South team to capture a regional title on this night?
Rich East over Rich South
The Rockets, led by the athletic Ronald Lawton, are in position to snatch just their second regional championship in the last 45 years.
Lincoln-Way West Regional
Providence over Plano
They can play a little basketball at Providence, you know. Kevin Kozan and the Celtics are poised to win back-to-back regional championships.
Hillcrest over Oak Forest
The heavily-favored Hawks handled them easily in the regular season and, with more on the line, will do so again.
North Chicago Regional
North Chicago over Northside Prep
This one could get ... (you fill in the adjective).
Gordon Tech over Uplift
It's good to be in 3A. This would be Gordon Tech's fourth regional championship in the last five years, with the win total for the Rams following the regional title game victories at 11, 10, 15 and 17 victories.
Vernon Hills Regional
Lakes over Wauconda
No one has paid much attention but Lakes has put together a nice little two-year run with back-to-back 20-win seasons and, soon to be, consecutive regional championships. Lakes handled Wauconda by 15 and 17 points in two regular-season wins.
Carmel over Ridgewood
Name the last time Ridgewood won three consecutive regional titles? Never. Coach Chris Mroz and his Rebels shoot for their third straight. But Carmel is ready to pull off an upset and make a little history of its own. The Corsairs (13-13), which played a very competitive schedule and some high-profile teams tough, will win their first regional title and record the most wins since 1992.
Glenbard South Regional
Orr over Montini
Football ... Wrestling ... Girls basketball ... Montini can't win in boys' basketball, too, can they? Orr CAN NOT AFFORD TO LOSE after last year's regional final stunning loss as the No. 1 seed.
Fenwick over Marshall
The Hoops Report liked Fenwick in the preseason. It waited for them during the season. It felt it could be a sleeper in 3A. Now it's time. Show us something, Friars!
St. Joseph Regional
St. Joseph over Westinghouse
Isiah Thomas and Mark Aguirre go at it one more time in this clash of .... Wait, three decades off.
St. Ignatius Regional
St. Ignatius over Farragut
One of the better 3A regional title games in the Chicago area. Catholic League. Public League. Ignatius completes one of the real surprising seasons of the year in the Chicago area in what will be a battle down to the wire.
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