Reviewing week three...
1. Simeon: Looked even better than anticipated. Right now, it's very difficult to imagine anyone in the state giving the Wolverines much of a challenge. With a few months under their belt, Marshall may be able to compete. Proviso East has the size and athletes, if Jacob Pullen were sensationally hot, maybe they could manage it. Other than that, I'm not sure any team I've seen has much of a chance.
2. Marshall: Saturday night against Thornwood, the Commandos looked like the team I expected to see at the beginning of the year. They demolished the Thunderbirds, forcing them to play the up-tempo style Marshall prefers. However, the Commandos are still vulnerable in a half-court set.
3. St. Joseph: Evan Turner is surpassing all expecations this season, he's just playing fabulous basketball. However, it doesn't look like the Chargers have the complementary players to be a serious stat-title contender. When Turner went out against Milwaukee Vincent, everything was placed on Demetri McCamey's shoulders. St. Joe's has a terrific one-two punch, but after that, things are shaky.
4. Loyola: Very impressive against Hales. They are a very, very good team right now. When Marcus Jordan works his way into the starting rotation and becomes more comfortable with the varsity game, the Ramblers could become a great team.
5. Proviso East: I've never seen a team exploit Hillcrests 1-3-1 defense for points as effectively as the Pirates did Tuesday night. Yes, they only play seven guys. But those seven are better than any seven in the state, besides Simeon, Marshall and Lincoln Park. Also, most teams this season seem to lack a dominant scorer. East has Pullen.
6. Lincoln Park: The Lions had a terrific second half against Leo. If Henley continues to play well and the Montgomery brothers stay active, the sky is the limit. They are the clear favorite at the Big Dipper Tournament. Sophomore Courtney Bell looks like he could be the real deal.
7. T.F. North: Yes, the game against Washington was ugly. But the Meteors won, and they did it without Demond Watt playing well. This team has a ton of talent and they play very hard.
8. Crane: The Cougars are probably overrated. Brandon McGee is the best big man in the state, but everything else is a work in progress. The thing is, they keep winning. They are just managing squeakers over unranked teams, but a win is a win.
9. Hillcrest: It's tough for me to judge the Hawks right now. I saw their worst game of the season (Tuesday against Proviso East). But wins against Bloom and H-F give them a nice resume.
10. Young: Better than I thought they would be. H-F doesn't have a ton of talent, but they play hard and are very well-coached, so that was a nice win on Saturday. The Dolphins have a ton of athletic guys, a true point guard and a quality big man. They may be better than a few of the teams ranked above them right now. Time will tell.
11. Von Steuben: The Panthers can get to a whole new level if Darius Fields plays as well as he did on Saturday.
12. Bloom: Unfortunately, I haven't seen them yet, so I won't blather on about them.
13. Thornwood: The Thunderbirds are nowhere near as bad as they looked on Saturday. The matchup with Marshall is just a disaster for them.
14. Washington: The Minutemen lack a consistent scorer.
15. Batavia: I haven't seen them yet, but I love Fruendt's game.
16. Warren: I also plead ignorance on the Blue Devils, but I did see Hoffman Estates. The Hawks lost to Schaumburg Wednesday, but looked like a pretty good team. Warren destroyed them by 30 points on Friday. That is impressive.
17. Curie: 10-deep, fast, with shooter and a solid game plan. The Condors earned the four seed at Pontiac.
18. Leo: Out of all the teams that lost this weekend at Chicago State, I thought the Lions played the best game. They are much better than I thought they were at the beginning of the season. Tony Topps has been cold lately. When he heats up, so will the Lions.
19. West Aurora: Haven't seen the Blackhawks yet. They didn't get a top four seed at Pontiac.
20. Fenwick: I'll check out the Friars on Tuesday at Hales.
21. Proviso West: I've heard very good things. The Proviso East players say West is loaded.
22. Morgan Park: New coach, newly focused Isiah Martin, sky is the limit.
23. Lake Park: They just keep beating everyone. Imagine if Mike Di Nunno had stayed.
24. Thornton: Sure, they got steamrolled by Simeon, but there is plenty of talent for Troy Jackson to work with.
25. Hinsdale Central: It's been a while, but apparently the talent level is back up.