Earlier this week the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s Power 25 –– the midseason power rankings –– was released.
How fluid are rankings in sports? It would be easy to update those exact rankings 24 hours later after Tuesday night’s developments –– Simeon crushes Bogan on the road; St. Joseph falls to DePaul College Prep. Heck, why not. Lets go ahead and tweak it right now. Here is that mildly updated midseason power rankings.
While the likes of Stevenson, Simeon, St. Joseph and a few others will never drop out of the Top 25 , you better believe there are several that will fall –– and probably soon. It’s the nature of the beast in the unpredictable landscape of high school basketball.
But here are eight teams who weren’t in the midseason power rankings who will or have a great chance to improve their stock.
■ St. Ignatius
Why they’re not: Yes, a big win over Fenwick Tuesday night. But on the verge of staying in the Power 25, Ignatius dropped back-to-back games over the holidays to Riverside-Brookfield and Providence to head into the new year on a sour note.
Forecast: The big win over Fenwick Tuesday could be the start of something, with winnable games to follow in the Catholic League. But in reality, even with Ignatius a likely top 25 team in the future, it may be relegated to playing role of spoiler in the second half.
■ Highland Park
Why they’re not: That early-December loss to Deerfield was a stinger, particularly in Highland Park’s quest for a conference title. And among the nine wins on the year, there isn’t one that gives the Giants a lot of juice.
Future forecast: This isn’t a team that’s going to win any style points, nor does it really care to. But it has enough ingredients –– seniors, terrific point guard and quality coaching –– to put together a run in the second half. But enough firepower for the likes of Stevenson and Lake Forest in the Waukegan Sectional in March? Uhhhh, no.
Why they’re not: With a chance to take off over the holidays at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, losses to both New Trier and Maine South were a little deflating.
Future forecast: Maybe Uplift. currently sitting at 10-3, wasn’t ready to be included with the top programs in the Chicago area just yet. But it’s still the best team in the Public League’s Red-North and it’s easy to forget this is a Class 2A team with big-time potential and aspirations this March.
Why they’re not: At 12-4 with one of the top players in the state, 6-8 junior Rapolas Ivanauskas, the Broncos are on the cusp of being ranked. But the biggest win on the résumé is Zion-Benton.
Future forecast: When you have realistic hopes of being a conference champ and sectional champ, the forecast is balmy. In the Mid-Suburban League and Barrington Sectional, where today Lake Zurich and Lake Park would be the top two seeds, the Broncos are just that with Ivanauskas and 6-6 Chris Lester.
Why they’re not: In two measuring-stick games thus far against St. Charles East and Neuqua Valley, the Vikings dropped both. The Vikings are also missing the backcourt presence they had during last year’s record-breaking season.
Future forecast: There is talent in place and enormous, unmatched size on this roster. Most importantly, Geneva has a go-to player in star Nate Navigato, a 25-point-a-night player who has played everywhere on the floor for coach Phil Ralston. That’s enough to win at a pretty high level. The return this week of guard Pace Temple, who has been out all year due to an injury he suffered in football, will help.
Why they’re not: The Wildcats have just two losses –– by a total of six points. But falling to Rich South in the semis at the McDipper prevented them from getting a shot at Hales in the final. There are some quality wins but there isn’t a convincing, head-turner among the nine victories thus far.
Future forecast: Coach Troy Jackson’s team has talent and senior experience, enough to battle and win a tough Southwest Suburban Red and pop into the Top 25 at some point. But with an ultra-tough sectional in March, where Simeon and St. Rita are at the top, the forecast is partly cloudy.
Why they’re not: Dropping the final two games at the Pekin Tournament and falling to 9-5 did it. At this time the Wildkits just aren’t ready to beat the cream of the crop on their schedule, falling to Niles Notre Dame, Maine South and Plainfield East.
Future forecast: Remember, this is still a young team with its best player, Nojel Eastern, just a sophomore and finding his way in becoming the catalyst. But the concern is Evanston needs some consistent, offensive support of Eastern and senior Elijah Henry. There wasn’t a single player who scored in double figures in any of the four games at Pekin other than Eastern and Henry.
Why they’re not: The slate includes mostly out-of-state opponents –– and good ones –– but the Dolphins are just 1-5 in those tussles.
Future forecast: Like Evanston, this is a young group with talent who, in theory, should get better and better. While playing tough out-of-state competition can raise the level of a team and help it grow, it can also be a confidence hit to a team full of youngsters. By March, expect the Dolphins to be a dangerous team in their sectional.
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