Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Yikes! Visions of 1993 all over again

POINT #1 .... Everyone knew back in November Simeon was No. 1. Everyone knew when the state tournament began Simeon was clearly the team to beat. What no one knew, however, is how little of a challenge Simeon would have once it got to the Elite Eight. That, however, is what is shaping up after the completion of supersectional play.

Thornton--and likely Marshall in the state semifinals--will undoubtedly be bigger tests for Simeon than what they will face in the title game Saturday night. In fact, whatever team reaches the final out of the top bracket (O'Fallon, Lockport, Stevenson or Rockford Boylan) will enter as perhaps the biggest underdog we've seen in a state championship in many years.

POINT #2 .... The biggest underdog to play in a state title game in the last 25 years was Rockford Guilford in 1993. Guilford lost to unbeaten Chicago King by a whopping 37 points, 79-42. How did Guilford get there? Well, the bracket they were in was very similar to the top bracket of this year's Elite Eight as Guilford was joined by Palatine Fremd, Bradley-Bourbonnais and Edwardsville, which weren't exactly your basketball powers that year. Just as it is this year, the path is clear for an underdog to reach the final. And sitting there waiting, just as King was in 1993, is a Chicago Public League power in Simeon.

POINT #3 .... For all the talk about Derrick Rose as one of the greatest guards--and players--this state has produced, Simeon would still be a state title contender without the Memphis-bound senior. The key word here is contender. The dynamics would obviously be different at Simeon. But make no mistake, a nucleus of Tim Flowers, Kevin Johnson, Bryant Orange, Brandon Hall and Keyon Smith would no question be a top 10 team in the state. With Rose, this is the best team to be playing in Peoria since the great Quentin Richardson-led Whitney Young team in 1998.

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