(This is the start of what will be, hopefully, a regular article from broadcaster Jim Leo on the CPS and IHSA tournaments. Leo has broadcasted over 50 games across the area this season, and his knowledge of the local basketball scene is unrivaled. Here is his look at the upcoming CPS Playoffs.)
The calendar has turned to February. From now until the first 80 degree day, can you ever look at enough basketball brackets? Right in our own backyard, we're witnesses to the best tip-off of the 'Bracket New Year'.
In Chicago, the future stars of basketball play for year-round braggin' rights. Chicago's top 32 public league teams square off for the City Championship on Tuesday and today is the Sweet 16 at school sites all around Chicago. All these games can be seen LIVE on highschoolcube.com (where was this when I was in school?)
1 Orr vs. 16 Kenwood
I'll be on the call for this one. I asked for it so I can see this ultra quick Orr team up close. Any team is worth a look if you're ranked #1 over Simeon, Young, Morgan Park etc. A talented group of juniors led by a steady senior PG Jamal McDowell. Kenwood won a double OT thriller over Westinghouse 81-79. This team has got quite a future with some sensational sophomores and freshman pheneom Nick Robinson, and that future could start now with a win and a trip to Chicago State University for the quarterfinals Sunday.
8 Uplift vs. 9 Farragut
Farragut snuck by #24 Brooks by the slimmest of margins, 59-58, and will have to turn it around as they hit the road.
5 Young vs. 21 Marshall
This seed is simply laughable, as some circles wouldn't seed Young as low as #5 in the country, but a buzzer beater loss to Orr 50-47 less than a week ago gave the Dolphins the unfamiliar view of 2nd place in the Red West and a seed behind the rest of the Red division champs. Young may not reach 100 like the 1st round, but they'll threaten to against outmanned Marshall.
4 Foreman vs. 13 Vocational
The Red North champs will try to earn a trip to the elite 8 of the city against this always solid south side foe. CVCA more than doubled up on King in round 1.
3 Curie vs. 14 North Lawndale
Curie, who topped the Red Central, continues to search for the big win to put them on the map with the big 3 in the city (4 counting Orr). A 5 point opening round victory did not impress.
6 Morgan Park vs. 22 Lane
The fun should start in the pre-game, when Billy Garrett Jr gets his #5 Mustangs jersey retired. The future DePaul Blue Demon will proceed to put on a great show as Kyle Davis (Dayton), Josh Cunningham and the crew provide a high flying brand of basketball that is always a treat.
7 Hyde Park vs. 10 Bogan
This the biggest tossup of the 2nd round. Could end up being Thursday's marquee matchup. Evenly matched. We'll see if Bogan can score the mild upset and a potential rematch with Simeon.
2 Simeon vs. 18 Harlan
Harlan has some underrated ballplayers, but the challenge will to be start strong and deal with the inevitable waves from the Wolverines. Simeon won comfortably last time out a few weeks ago, and should defeat Harlan for a second time.