Chipotle Champions Classic Quarterfinals!!!!!!!!!!!!
Updated: Mar 12, 2021
Since there is no State Tournament, Rick Malnati and Joe Hendrickson of the Chicago Sun Times came up with a great idea. Why not have something for Chicago Area teams to play for? While some of the teams could not participate because of conference rules in this covid19 environment, they still put a good field together for this 2 day tournament. I'll be talking about Friday's quarterfinal matchups and who I pick to win. All games are at Notre Dame College Prep(Niles). All games are on ESPN3 or ESPN App. Records are through Tuesday. Rankings are Big Tim's rankings:
#1 Simeon Career Academy(Chicago)(5-0) vs #24 St Patrick(Chicago)(8-2) 1pm : This is a 1 vs 8. For St Pats to have a chance at an upset they are going to have to get production from Class of 2022 Timaris Brown(6'4") and his teammates especially on the interior. They are going to have to own the glass and score inside. Simeon is just too powerful in the backcourt. In addition to the division 1 backcourt of DePaul commit Ahamad "Black Cat" Bynum(6'3") and Michigan commit Isaiah Barnes(6'6"), they are loaded with a bunch of reinforcements. Add Class of 2022 Avion Morris(5'9"), classmate Jaylen Drane(6'4"), and Class of 2023 Jalen Griffith(5'7") and St Pats is not going to matchup with them in the backcourt. This seed will hold and I have Simeon by 13.
#8 Notre Dame College Prep(Niles)(15-2) vs #7 Evanston Township(14-2) 3 pm: This is a 4 vs 5 matchup which means a tossup. Class of 2021 class at Evanston has owned Notre Dame College Prep over the last three years(3-0) and are more confident than any other team that plays the Dons. Princeton commit Blake Peters(6'1"), Isaiah Holden(5'9"), Elijah Bull(5'9") all know how Class of 2021 Notre Dame College Prep point guard Anthony Sayles(6'3") plays. They all grew up together in Evanston. They also know how Harvard commit Louis Lesmond(6'5") plays since he played at Evanston Township his sophomore year. Sayles and Lesmond destroy other teams but have problems with Evanston Township. The key for the Dons will be Southern Illinois commit Troy D'Amico(6'7"). Evanston seems to have no matchup for him. Evanston Township Bigs Class of 2021 Ola Ajiboye(6'7") and Class of 2023 Prince Adams(6'5") will have to combine to slow down D'Amico. I feel Evanston Township will do just enough to prevail in this matchup though it's on the Dons home floor. Evanston Township by 5.
#2 Whitney Young(Chicago)(11-0) vs #9 DePaul College Prep(Chicago)(10-2) 5pm: 2 vs 7 matchup will Class of 2023 Dalen Davis(6'0") play for Whitney Young. If he does this backcourt matchup is juicy. Class of 2021 Jaehshon Thomas(6'2") along with Davis vs Loyola Chicago commit Ty Johnson(6'2") and Rasheed Bello(5'11'). I think it will even itself out. Can Whitney Young find someone to match up with Massachusetts commit Brian Matthews(6'10") and Class of 2022 Dylan Arnett(6'9") in the paint? DePaul College Prep will have some problems with Class of 2021 AJ Casey(6'8") on the wing, and possibly fellow classmate Xavier Amos(6'8"). Class of 2023 Daniel Johnson(6'5") has been a difference maker for the Dolphins the last week or so. I think this will decide the game right here. Will Matthews and Arnett do enough damage down low to make the difference? I say no and I'm taking Whitney Young by 10.
#4 Mundelein(13-1) vs #14 Fenwick(Oak Park)(11-2) 7pm 3 vs 6 matchup will be a bear down low. Southern Illinois commit Scottie Ebube(6'8") vs Kentucky commit Bryce Hopkins(6'7"). Both will bang each other around and lets hope neither one gets into foul trouble. Hopkins will try to pull Ebube outside and drive on him, but Mundelein will have to give good help here. Mundelein backcourt Drake commit Connor Enright(6'0") and Maryville commit Trey Baker(5'10") is miles better than Fenwick's backcourt. Four juniors start around Hopkins, while Mundelein has a senior leaden lineup. Class of 2022 Gabe Madej(6'5") and Dave Gieser(6'2") will have to hit some threes for the Friars. Classmate Eian Pugh(6'3") will have to do the dirty work off the ball and loosen up the Mundelein defense. Class of 2021 Jack Bikus(6'1") will be big for the Mustangs hitting shots playing off Ebube, Enright, and Baker. I usually would pick the experienced team, but Fenwick has played a tough schedule in this shortened season and I think that will put them over the top. Fenwick by 6.
Semifinals and title game will be on Saturday. Semifinals will begin at 11am. Title game is at 7. I'll predict the Title game after semifinals are played.