High-SchoolIllinois: POWERADE FAB 50

If anyone predicted this final four before the start of the state tournament, we'd like to see the evidence. And ask for lottery numbers.

Favorite after favorite has fallen in the Class 4A tourney, leaving an unlikely foursome of Lyons, Minooka, Oak Park-River Forest and Grant to battle it out for the state championship. None of the four were in the top 10 of the POWERADE state rankings as of last week.

It's a similar situation in Class 3A, with Nazareth Academy, Marian Catholic, La Salle-Peru and Triad left standing in the semifinals. None were ranked last week, though Nazareth Academy has been in and out of the top 10 throughout the season.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lyons (26-12) — Last week: NR
  2. Oak Park-River Forest (29-9) — Last week: NR
  3. Nazareth Academy (30-9) — Last week: NR
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
The state playoffs are underway, and each team in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings has a legitimate chance to win a championship.

As always, the Class 4A bracket is brutal, with No. 1 Providence Catholic, No. 2 Mount Carmel, No. 3 Maine South, No. 4 Mundelein, No. 6 Plainfield North and No. 7 St. Laurence all still alive. In Class 3A, No. 5 Joliet Catholic is looking like the early favorite.

As we get deeper into the postseason and the Top 10 teams begin facing each other, expect some radical shifts in the rankings.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Providence Catholic (29-7) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Mount Carmel (31-5) — Last week: No. 3
  3. Maine South (31-5) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (MGrimalaESPN).
St. Laurence has fallen out of the No. 1 spot in this week's POWERADE state rankings, but that wasn't the biggest story to emerge last week.

St. Laurence and St. Rita brawled on the field during a game on Friday, with players and coaches from both sides involved in the fighting. Mandatory one-game suspensions have already been handed down for players who were ejected from the game, but the IHSA could take more disciplinary action once the incident is reviewed.

Obviously, any player suspensions could have a huge impact for both teams. St. Laurence is ranked No. 6 this week, while St. Rita is No. 9.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Providence Catholic (27-7) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Joliet Catholic (27-7) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Mount Carmel (29-5) — Last week: No. 5
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
For the second week in a row, St. Laurence lost a game but still remains in the No. 1 spot in the POWERADE state rankings. The Vikings were shocked by Brother Rice, but the have too many quality wins this season (including a 2-0 record against No. 2 Providence Catholic) to be bumped from the top spot just yet.

Providence Catholic remains at No. 2 this week, while Plainfield North climbs one spot up to No. 3.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. Laurence (28-4) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Providence Catholic (24-6) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Plainfield North (25-3) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
St. Laurence dropped a game last week, but it wasn't enough to knock the Vikings out of the top spot in the POWERADE state rankings.

That's partly because St. Laurence has been so good this year that the Vikings get the benefit of the doubt after slipping up. And it's also because the Nos. 2 and 3 teams from last week also lost, so neither was really pushing hard to be take over St. Laurence's spot.

Providence Catholic enjoyed a strong week and is now the No. 2 team in the state.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. Laurence (23-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Providence Catholic (20-6) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Mount Carmel (23-2) — Last week: No. 2
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
The top two teams in the POWERADE state rankings faced off last week, and though they split two games, there is a new No. 1 in Illinois.

Mount Carmel won the first meeting against St. Laurence, 16-2, but St. Laurence came back to take the second game, 1-0. Even though St. Laurence handed the Caravan its first loss of the season, that alone wouldn't have been enough to take over the top spot in the rankings. But the Vikings then got some help from Loyola, which beat Mount Carmel on Monday and opened the door for St. Laurence to assume the No. 1 position.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. Laurence (21-1) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Mount Carmel (23-2) — Last week: No. 1
  3. Plainfield North (22-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
The top half of the POWERADE state rankings remain unchanged from last week, as all five teams enjoyed perfect weeks and held on to their spots. The bottom half, however, is a different story.

There are two new teams in the rankings (No. 8 Mundelein and No. 9 Marist), while Simeon is on the verge of dropping out after a disappointing week. Joliet Catholic, which peaked at No. 4 earlier in the season, is the biggest climber of the week after jumping from No. 10 to No. 7.

For now, it looks like the top five teams are separating themselves from the rest of the state.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Mount Carmel (17-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. St. Laurence (18-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Plainfield North (14-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
There is some slight movement at the top of the POWERADE state rankings this week, with the No. 1 and No. 2 teams flip-flopping. Mount Carmel is the new No. 1 team after enjoying a 4-0 week, while St. Laurence drops to No. 2 after suffering its first loss of 2012.

The rest of the rankings remain mostly unchanged, with the exception of No. 5 Lyons dropping out of the top 10. The Lions were No. 1 after week one, but they've stumbled recently with three losses over the past two weeks.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Mount Carmel (14-0) — Last week: No. 2
  2. St. Laurence (14-1) — Last week: No. 1
  3. Plainfield North (9-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
The season is still very young, so there was (predictably) a lot of movement in this week's POWERADE state rankings. There's a new team at No. 1, and two new additions to the Top 10.

St. Laurence moves up to the top spot after winning three games last week to improve to 9-0. The former No. 1 squad, Lyons, has hit a rough patch, with a pair of losses causing the Lions to fall to No. 5.

The biggest jump in the rankings is Oak Park-River Forest, which slides in at No. 6 after starting the season unranked. New Trier also enters the rankings for the first time this week at No. 10.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. St. Laurence (9-0) — Last week: No. 3
  2. Mount Carmel (10-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Plainfield North (6-0) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

FAB 50 Offseason Primer: Warrenville South

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
9:38
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Dan VitaleScott Powers/ESPNChicago.comWheaton Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.) loses star running back Dan Vitale, but the Tigers return a number of other top performers to make some national rankings noise.
During the offseason, we’ll check out one team per week that looks like a sure bet to be among the best in the nation in the fall.

FAB 50 Offseason Primer Archive

This week’s team: Wheaton Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.)

2011 Season: 10-4, Class 7A state finalist

Projected 2012 Preseason Ranking: Top 35. The Tigers rebounded well after a 1-3 start, but their quest for a third consecutive state championship was thwarted by unbeaten Boylan (Rockford, Ill.) in last year’s 7A title game. With two state titles and a runner-up finish in the past three years, Wheaton Warrenville South is buoyed in the FAB 50 by that track record of success. In 2010, the Tigers finished No. 13 in the rankings after winning the second of their back-to-back championships.

Team Strengths: The 2010 title team was senior-dominated, which made last season's state runner-up finish an unexpected surprise. The Tigers will field a more experienced squad in 2012. Injuries forced the team to use three quarterbacks last season, and two of them will return in the fall: sophomores Ryan Graham (6-2, 180) and Jordan Davis (6-2, 185). Graham saw time on the varsity squad during the regular season, while Davis was an emergency starter in the playoffs after starting for the sophomore team all fall. Replacing senior running back Dan Vitale will be the No. 1 task on offense. The Northwestern recruit rushed for 1,340 yards and 17 scores in 2011. The good news is that Vitale was running behind an offensive line made up entirely of juniors, so whoever takes his place will be running behind an experienced unit. Junior Corey Davis (6-3, 195) will also be back at wide receiver. There are questions on the defensive side of the ball, but overall the Tigers appear poised once again to challenge for a state crown.

Another Illinois team to watch: Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Ill.) was 11-3 last season and finished as Class 5A state runner-up to Montini in a wild 70-45 finale, the highest scoring title game in state history. ESPNU 150 Watch List member Ty Isaac will be back after a junior season in which he rushed for 2,629 yards, including 515 in the title game defeat. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound bruiser will be joined in the backfield by junior quarterback Craig Slowik. The Hilltoppers will be seeking an unprecedented 14th state crown, including a seventh for coach Dan Sharp.

POWERADE hoops rankings: Final

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
5:07
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The question at the beginning of the season was simple. Everyone knew Simeon would start out at No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, but could the Wolverines hold off every challenger and finish the year on top? Against such a deep, talented field? With every team gunning for them?

The answer is yes. Simeon closed out a dominant season by beating Proviso East in the Class 4A state championship game to earn a third consecutive IHSA title. It wasn't the Wolverine's most dominant performance, as they had to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit, but there's no denying that this team was special. Simeon's only loss came to out-of-state Findlay Prep, the No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Proviso East suffered just one loss on the season, to Simeon in the finals, and so the Pirates slide in at No. 2. Peoria, which survived a loaded bracket to win the Class 3A title, ends the year at No. 3.

Looking forward to next year, you can go ahead and mark Simeon down for the top spot. With superstar forward Jabari Parker and guard Kendrick Nunn returning for their senior years, the Wolverines may even be stronger in 2012-13.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (33-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (32-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Peoria (25-3) — Last week: NR
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 14

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
4:24
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In the second-to-last edition of the POWERADE state rankings, Simeon remains where it has for the first 13 weeks of the season: at No. 1. With a super-sectional matchup with Evanston looming, followed by a semifinal contest against the winner of Edwardsville/Bloom, the Wolverines are well-positioned to march into the state championship game this weekend.

No. 2 Proviso East is on the other side of the bracket, two wins away from a potential meeting with Simeon in the state finals. At 30-0, Proviso East is the last undefeated team in 4A.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (30-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (30-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Warren (26-3) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 13

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
1:23
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With Curie being upset at the hands of Marist last week, Simeon's path to another Class 4A state championship may have gotten a little easier. Curie played the Wolverines tough earlier in the season, so removing that potential roadblock can only help -- not that Simeon needs the help. At 28-1 and with no in-state losses, the Wolverines are still locked in at No. 1 in this week's POWERADE state rankings.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (26-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Warren (24-3) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 12

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
4:38
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With the state playoffs beginning this week, the picture remains as clear as it has been all year. Simeon is locked in at No. 1, and the rest of the state is chasing the Wolverines. Junior forward Jabari Parker is pretty much a lock to win Gatorade State Player of the Year honors, and he makes Simeon the heavy favorite to remain atop the rankings through the end of the playoffs.

No. 2 Proviso East closed out an impressive undefeated regular season by handling Oak Park-River Forest and Marquette (Milwaukee, Wisc.), and No. 3 Curie is waiting to get another crack at Simeon after losing the regular-season meeting.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (26-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (24-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala)

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 11

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
2:11
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Simeon continues to prove it has no peers in the state of Illinois, as the No. 1 Wolverines claimed the Public League tournament championship with a win over No. 3 Curie (Simeon's second win over Curie).

Proviso East remains at No. 2 after beating Warren in the City-Suburban Showdown. Because their losses came against such quality opponents, Curie and Warren remain at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (24-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (24-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

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