After a wild, busy and high-stakes week of basketball –– and the roughest Hoops Report weekend of forecasting in years –– a tame weekend is ahead of us.
Big games this weekend? They are a lacking. But here’s this weekend’s forecast.
Last week’s picks: 4-6
Overall picks: 22-12
■ St. Patrick at Marian Catholic
Big weekend for St. Patrick as the Shamrocks, led by athletic senior Alton Thompson and the backcourt of senior Laurence Merritt and junior Xavier Pinson, look to keep pace with Marist and St. Viator in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. But Marian junior point guard Chase Adams and seniors Warren Allen, TeeAaron Powell and Sean Taylor won’t make it easy.
Hoops Report pick: St. Patrick 68, Marian Catholic 60
■ Notre Dame at St. Viator
Yes, St. Viator is just 7-11 on the year overall. But you know what? With wins over both Benet and Marian Catholic, the Lions are 4-0 and in first place in the East Suburban Catholic. Notre Dame, led by guard Matt Stritzel and versatile 6-6 Jeameril WIlson, has the odd double duty of being the favorite and playing the role of spoiler.
Hoops Report pick: Notre Dame 61, St. Viator 51
■ Joliet West at Romeoville
Although it sports a 17-3 record, Joliet West has suffered two of those three losses in the past week. There is no shame in losing to a pair of top five teams. But Joliet West needs to bounce back and show a little mental toughness against a young but hot Romeoville.
After a 5-7 start to the season, Romeoville has won seven straight, but it could use an upset win here as a big-time confidence builder and the perfect way to kickstart a strong stretch run.
Hoops Report pick: Joliet West 66, Romeoville 57
War on the Shore at Evanston
■ New Trier vs. Jacobs • 3:30 p.m.
Jacobs big man Cameron Krutwig put on a show in last weekend’s win over Hillcrest at the When Sides Collide Shootout. After picking on a smaller Hillcrest team, Krutwig and Company face a New Trier team with a ton of size, highlighted by 6-8 sophomore Spencer Boehm and 6-9 sophomore Ciaran Brayboy.
Hoops Report pick: Jacobs 59, New Trier 50
■ Loyola vs. St. Patrick • 5:15 p.m.
A couple of hot teams meet with decidedly different approaches. St. Patrick has scored 65 or more points in 15 different games. Loyola has held 12 different opponents to fewer than 45 points a game. Something has to give.
St. Patrick is a diverse team in that it can do a lot of different things with their combination of experience, size, depth, balance and just enough athleticism. The arrow continues to point up for St. Patrick junior point guard Xavier Pinson.
Loyola has rattled off eight straight wins –– and four of its five losses have come by a combined seven points –– behind Ramar Evans, a senior guard who’s averaging 15 points a game and is closing in on 1,000 career points.
Hoops Report pick: St. Patrick 60, Loyola 53
■ Evanston vs. Homewood-Flossmoor • 7:00 p.m.
Evanston was grounded by Naperville North last week. You better believe the Wildkits have responded to coach Mike Ellis in practice this week. The status of H-F’s healthy bodies remains to be seen as the Vikings have been decimated by injuries over the past couple of weeks.
Hoops Report pick: Evanston 65, H-F 54
■ Batavia Night of Hoops
This annual event brings together eight teams in four games, with York playing Benet at 3 p.m., followed by DeKalb-Lake Zurich at 4:30 p.m., St. Joseph-Riverside-Brookfield at 6:15 p.m. and West Aurora-Batavia at 7:45 p.m.
Players to watch include Benet’s Jack Nolan, Lake Zurich junior Ryan Kutsor, St. Joseph sophomore Marquise Walker, Riverside-Brookfield’s Jalen Clanton and West Aurora’s Camron Donatlan.