Ho-hum, just another night in the Chicago Public League.
The Chicago Public League and high school basketball fans couldn't have asked for anything bigger or better than the semifinal matchups that will take place Wednesday night at Chicago State. The top four teams in the city -- and the top four ranked teams in both the Chicago Sun-Times and the City/Suburban Hoops Report Top 25 polls -- square off.
But the key word here that makes it even more enticing? Rematch.
It's going to be a lot of fun watching how Simeon-Morgan Park and Whitney Young-Orr go at it in Round 2 of what will be a couple of hotly contested rematches.
Orr stunned Whitney Young just 10 days ago on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Jamal McDowell in a game that decided the Red-West title.
The Simeon-Morgan Park battle went down to the wire as well back in mid-January. Simeon edged Morgan Park 53-51 in a game that, unfortunately, is remembered for all that happened after 32 minutes of basketball were played.
Here is a little Hoops Report primer for Wednesday's city semifinals.
Simeon (22-2) vs. Morgan Park (25-2) • Wednesday, 5:00 p.m.
You're going to have a hard time finding a pair of backcourts better than Morgan Park's Billy Garrett, Jr. and Kyle Davis and Simeon's Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate. These are talented seniors who all compete, get after it and play with pride. Morgan Park's perimeter talent MUST get the better of Simeon's if it wants to reverse the outcome.
Look for Simeon to try and go inside early and often. Star Jabari Parker may benefit being on the block more than floating around the perimeter in this matchup. The 6-8 Parker and the 6-8 Russell Woods provides coach Robert Smith and the Wolverines an advantage along the frontline. It's been 24 months since Simeon lost a truly meaningful in-state game. Simeon fell to Whitney Young (in the city playoffs) and to Benet Academy in a big-time late season showdown in February of 2011. No reason to pick against them now.
Hoops Report Pick: Simeon 58, Morgan Park 53
Whitney Young (21-3) vs. Orr (23-2) • Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.
Does everyone forget Orr is the No. 1 seed in this city tournament? No one ever talks about coach Lou Adams' club in the same breath as Simeon, Whitney Young and Morgan Park. And the Spartans have noticed. While the win over Young 10 days ago grabbed plenty of attention, a second win over the Dolphins and a trip to the city championship would put one heck of a scare into all those Class 3A foes that Orr will face in a couple of weeks.
As far as Young is concerned, it truly does -- and should -- play an inside-out game with 6-11 Jahlil Okafor wreaking havoc in the paint. But that idea has been thwarted in losses to Simeon and Orr, who both played a compact zone. The answer is simple: try to score a little more in transition and KNOCK DOWN OPEN JUMPERS. Plus, versatile 6-9 Paul White will be in action after missing the first Young-Orr showdown.
Hoops Report Pick: Whitney Young 55, Orr 47
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