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Henricksen: Dangerous double-digit seeds

Henricksen: Dangerous double-digit seeds


 


Joe Henricksen


For Sun-Times Media | @joehoopsreport


Feb. 25 5:36 p.m.


 


There are always upsets. Always. So the term sleeper gets thrown around a lot at this time of year.


But who are they?


The batch of the following sleepers –– all double-digit seeds –– will not be playing in Peoria. They won’t be winning a sectional, either. They likely won’t even win a regional.


Last year there were just four double-digit seeds that even reached a regional title game in Class 4A. You know how many of those double-seeded Cinderellas won a regional championship? Zero.


But in this season of parity and uncertainty, who knows? At the very least, they are going to be dangerous for plenty of teams who have dreams of capturing a sectional championship.


The City/Suburban Hoops Report has identified eight teams with a double-digit seed next to their name who could make an early regional game scary for a much higher-seeded team.


 


Hinsdale Central 


By the numbers: The Red Devils are 16-10 and a No. 10 seed in the East Aurora Sectional.


Why they’re scary: What high seed wants to play a hot team? Coach Nick Latorre’s team heads into the postseason riding a seven-game win streak. From a confidence building standpoint, the Red Devils have beaten two of the top four seeds –– Glenbard West and Hinsdale South –– during that stretch. Throw in a big man with difference-making capabilities in 6-7 Peter Blust, along with the fact it will be playing on its home floor during the regional, and Hinsdale Central is an ultra-dangerous double-digit seed.


Who it may be bad news for: The Red Devils will face Wheaton North, a quietly dangerous No. 7 seed, in the regional semis and then likely get No. 2 seed, Glenbard West, in the final. The Red Devils spilt with their conference foe this season, beating Glenbard West in its most recent matchup, 46-36, two weeks ago.


 


 


 


Zion-Benton


By the numbers: Here is a 10-seed in the Glenbrook South Sectional with 18 wins on the year.


Why they’re scary: It’s Zion-Benton. As a No. 10 seed. And there’s always talent at Zion-Benton. That’s enough information right there to make any coach of a high-seeded team facing the Zee-Bees squirm.


Zion-Benton, which has played a very competitive schedule, played No. 3 seed Stevenson very tough earlier this month and boasts an underrated talent in Kienan Baltimore and disruptive guards in Demarquis Henry, DeShawn Wilson and Jaalen Ray.


Who it may be bad news for: Something will have to give from a style standpoint when Zion-Benton faces No. 6 Maine South. With an upset win over Maine South, the Zee-Bees would get another crack at North Suburban Lake rival Stevenson.


 


St. Ignatius


By the numbers: The Wolfpack are hovering around the .500 mark at 14-14 on the year and were awarded the No. 10 seed in the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional.


Why they’re scary: Remember, this team was considered to be a Top 25 type team by nearly everyone when the season began. Ignatius has size, a quality coach in Rich Kehoe, will be at home for the regional and has played the role of spoiler plenty of times in the past.


Who it may be bad news for: Proviso East, the No. 6 seed, has hit a road bump the past couple of weeks. The Pirates could have their hands full on the road in a regional semifinal. Riverside-Brookfield would be awaiting the winner in the regional championship.


 


Loyola Academy 


By the numbers: The No. 12 seed in the Glenbrook South Sectional heads into regional play with a 13-14 record.


Why they’re scary: You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get from this year’s Loyola Academy team. The Ramblers, though, will be playing on its home floor. Also, the mere fact it has some quality guards and has some impressive wins on the résumé –– Loyola has beaten both the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in this sectional –– should grab any higher seed’s attention.


Who it may be bad news for: Loyola has already beaten both of the higher seeds in its regional –– New Trier and Notre Dame. Sure, New Trier can play the revenge card when it faces Loyola in the regional semis. But the Trevians also have the memory of losing to the No. 12 sectional seed back in November. Loyola and New Trier would meet in the regional semis, while Notre Dame would be the likely regional championship game foe.


 


Metea Valley


By the numbers: The numbers –– a No. 13 seed with a 13-15 record –– may not put a lot of fear into an opponent.


Why they’re scary: The Mustangs have shown the ability to pop up and play talented teams tough, especially when it gets out in transition and generates easy baskets. Plus, talented sophomore Malik Hall is more impactful now than he was two months ago.


Who it may be bad news for: Hinsdale South and star Barret Benson are the No. 4 seed and would get Metea Valley in the regional semifinal –– if Metea can take care of Glenbard North in the regional opener Monday. The two met back in December, with Hinsdale South winning 63-50. Expect this one to be closer.


 


Glenbard East


By the numbers: The Rams, who shared a piece of the Upstate Eight Valley title, are 16-12 overall and a No. 12 seed in the East Aurora Sectional.


Why they’re scary: If a double-digit seed pulls off an upset, it’s typically going to be of the tight, down-to-the-wire variety. And if Glenbard East, which will host the regional, finds itself in that position, it will be well prepared. The Rams have played an unheard of 14 games that were decided in the final possession, living a charmed life going 11-3 in those games.


Who it may be bad news for: Glenbard East has to first get by East Aurora, a team it has beaten twice by a combined six points. Then it will face a talented No. 5 seed in Downers Grove South that should be on high alert.


 


 Argo


By the numbers: With one winnable game still remaining on the schedule, Argo sits 15-10 and was awarded the No. 11 seed in the Bloom Sectional.


Why they’re scary: The Argonauts are in the midst of a solid season. Actually, quite spectacular in Argo basketball circles.


With a win Friday over Evergreen Park, coach Pat Maietta’s team will have grabbed at least a share of first place in the South Suburban Red and head to the postseason with 16 wins. It’s the most victories for the Argo basketball program since going 14-11 in the 2002-2003 season. This is a veteran, senior-dominated group led by a very capable guard in Marcus Fry.


Who it may be bad news for: Crete-Monee, a No. 6 seed, appears to be susceptible to an upset after dropping three straight games, including losses to T.F. South and Rich Central. While no one will be comparing this Argo team to the Argo teams of the 1980s, getting to 17 or 18 wins would be pretty special in Summit.


 


Downers Grove North


By the numbers: The Trojans are 12-13 and are the lowest seeded team on this “dangerous” list at No. 14.


Why they’re scary: Last season, as a No. 12 seed, Downers North upset No. 5 seed Willowbrook. (OK, so it was an Alonzo Verge-less Willowbrook team.) But there is talent on this Trojans team, including a veteran, productive presence in senior Devin Blake.


Who it may be bad news for: Before DGN can do any damage to higher seeded teams like No. 3 Naperville North, the Trojans must first take care of business against Lyons Twp. –– and that will be at LT on Monday night.


Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport


 

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