Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Feb. 8, 2016

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There is an interesting group of teams just outside the Super 25 that are as worthy of a ranking as the bottom 10 ranked teams.

St. Viator is one of them. The Lions (16-4) have won seven of their last eight games. The loss was a close 39-38 game against Benet.

“We’re on a good run right now,” St. Viator coach Quin Hayes said. “We have the real gauntlet of the East Suburban Catholic coming up with Marian Catholic and Notre Dame back-to-back. We are prepping for those games already and we’re excited about it.”

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Some other teams to keep an eye on over the final month of the regular season:

Bloom: The Blazing Trojans have found themselves the last couple week, largely thanks to several breakout performances from senior Jamal Parks. They beat Homewood-Flossmoor two weeks ago and are now 13-9.

Crete-Monee: Senior Jeremiah Matthews is super dependable and junior Dwayne Rose Jr. has started to emerge as a consistent scoring threat. The Warriors (17-5) have won 11 of their last 12 games and are deep and athletic.

Conant: The Cougars (16-5) have flown under the radar all season. They lost a close one to Deerfield at the end of January but ripped off three wins last week. They play great defense and have Jimmy Sotos, an underrated point guard that can also score in bunches.

De La Salle: George Willborn missed a couple games with an injury, but he’s back now and it likely won’t be long until the Meteors (18-5) find their way back into the Super 25. They are a prime candidate to make a deep run in the Catholic League Tournament that starts this week.

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NEW TO THE SUPER 25

Glenbard West: The Hilltoppers won their first 15 games before losing to Wheaton North late last month. They’ve recovered nicely with wins over Hinsdale Central, Downers Grove North and York.

Notre Dame: This season’s puzzling team. The Dons pass the look test. They have talent and size. They lost to Loyola and Joliet Catholic, but then beat Marian Catholic on Friday. The get the No. 25 spot based on sheer entertainment value. No one knows what they will do next.

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GAMES OF THE WEEK

Bogan at Curie, Wednesday: Probably the best matchup in the second round of the Public League playoffs. Both teams have spent the entire season ranked in the top ten. The Condors looked like state title contenders in wins over Simeon and Kenwood this season. Bogan hasn’t quite shown that amount of promise, but if James Jones is hot the Bengals can beat any team in the state.

Vocational at Kenwood, Wednesday: Cavaliers coach Chris Pickett knows how to upset top-ranked teams. The Broncos played in O’Fallon on Saturday, where they lost badly to Belleville Althoff, the best team in the state. It’ll be fascinating to see how they rebound from that game.

Perspectives-MSA at Solorio, Thursday: An unconventional pick, but there haven’t been too many opportunities this season to catch Sun Warriors’ freshman phenom Kahlil Whitney against decent competition. Perspectives-MSA is a respectable White-South squad and features well-regarded sophomore Marquan Williams.

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