An early look at the postseason

  • East Aurora's gym will not host a boys basketball sectional or supersectional for the first time in years this season.

    East Aurora's gym will not host a boys basketball sectional or supersectional for the first time in years this season. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/18/2018 9:54 PM

The state playoffs are a long way away.

Except they're really not. The small-school girls classes tip off their regionals in less than three weeks. They have to do online seeding next Thursday.

 

The playoffs will be here before you know it, so let's dig in a little bit to see what to expect.

1. Super switch:

If one thing stands out regarding DuPage County's boys basketball playoff brackets, it's the looming matchup in the Class 4A Northern Illinois University supersectional.

There are numerous minor changes throughout the field -- York moving east into the Riverside-Brookfield sectional, Lake Park moving south into the Glenbard East sectional to compete with the bulk of its DuPage Valley Conference rivals.

The biggest change, however, awaits on the other side of the Glenbard East sectional field.

Instead of the sectional champion facing a southern suburban power like Bolingbrook, Joliet Central or Romeoville in the NIU supersectional, the champion will play a northwest suburban team from the Jacobs sectional.

Whether it's Batavia, Benet, Naperville North, Willowbrook or someone else emerging from Glenbard East, the supersectional opponent will be Larkin, St. Charles North, Jacobs, St. Charles East, or perhaps a team from the Rockford area.

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It's a sigh of relief not having to face a Bolingbrook team that might be better than the group that finished third in the state last year. But judging by the talent at Jacobs, it'll be far from easy at NIU.

2. Tradition takes a hit:

It's strange typing "Glenbard East sectional."

Not that the Lombard school can't handle hosting the Class 4A sectional. I'm sure the folks at Glenbard East will do a fine job.

It's a little disconcerting, however, not talking about an East Aurora or Hinsdale Central sectional ... or regional ... or supersectional. The two historic gyms have featured some of the greatest games and players in state playoff history, but both will be quiet this postseason.

I can't tell you how rare it is for neither school to host a playoff game. Literally, I don't know.

Online IHSA records are detailed when it comes to boys basketball, but they understandably become fuzzier the further back you go. Regional and sectional hosts during the days of the one-class system aren't listed at IHSA.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Here's what we do know. In 1971 -- the final year of the one-class system -- East Aurora and Hinsdale Central did not host a supersectional game. It's possible they held a sectional or early-round playoff game, but I can't find the records to confirm it.

That means East Aurora or Hinsdale Central -- and often both -- hosted a regional, sectional or supersectional game every season since 1972.

A streak of at least 45 years comes to an end this season.

Talk about March Madness.

3. Thinking small:

In Class 2A girls Lisle, Westmont and Timothy Christian are in the same subsectional of the Chicago Christian sectional. IC Catholic Prep was split up from its cross-town rival Timothy Christian, sent to a subsectional of the Christ the King sectional.

Both Timothy Christian and IC Catholic will host regionals.

It's hard to break down those subsectionals because information on some of those city schools can be hard to find.

There's also the question of how ICCP and Lisle will be seeded because both have had to deal with several injuries this season. Now that they're healthy, they could play better than their records when they meet unfamiliar competition in the postseason. Don't count them out.

Mia Lakstigala and her Naperville Central teammates will host a girls basketball regional this season.
Mia Lakstigala and her Naperville Central teammates will host a girls basketball regional this season. - Mark Black | Staff Photographer
4. Thinking big:

In years past Glenbard South would have been sent east into a Class 3A girls sectional with Chicago powerhouses Marshall and North Lawndale, a sectional that also would have included a very talented Nazareth team this year.

The Raiders have struggled against those teams over the years, so they have to be happy that this year the IHSA is sending them west.

That's not to say that the Raiders should start celebrating. Placed in a subsectional of the Genoa-Kingston sectional, the Raiders won't have it easy. Ranked fourth this week in Class 3A, Glenbard South (17-2) could run into No. 5 Kaneland, Burlington Central -- which just missed the state top 10 -- and regional hosts St. Francis, which features Arkansas-Little Rock recruit Antwainette Walker, and Sycamore.

This road might turn out to be easier for Glenbard South, but it definitely won't be easy.

In Class 4A the IHSA this year moved Benet, ranked No. 8, into a sectional with No. 3 Montini, which will be playing to win its 15th consecutive sectional championship. Also with the Broncos and Redwings at Proviso West will be Chicago powers Simeon, Whitney Young and St. Ignatius.

Whoever wins the Proviso West sectional will have to contend with the Neuqua Valley sectional winner at the Lewis University supersectional. Bolingbrook and regional host Naperville Central are the teams to watch there, along with Yorkville and Plainfield East.

The final Class 4A sectional that will include DuPage County teams will be hosted by Lake Park. Defending state champion Geneva, ranked No. 7 in the state this week, seems a lock for the top seed. Wheaton Warrenville South is making a strong push for the No. 2 seed. Glenbard West earned bragging rights Wednesday night with a win against possible sectional foe Rolling Meadows.

5. The stat:

You can get a lot done in two days.

On Saturday and Monday, there were 64 games played at the Wheaton Warrenville South MLK Tournament. Each of the competing 16 teams came away with four games under their belt as Benet emerged as the unbeaten champion.

It's unknown how many naps were taken after the exhausting weekend.

Follow Kevin and Orrin on Twitter

@kevin_schmit

@Orrin_Schwarz

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