Inside the FAB 50: Wheeling tourney preview

No. 1 Simeon (Chicago) will play No. 34 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) at the 5th annual Cancer Research Classic Saturday in Wheeling (W. Va.). The 8 p.m. ET game will be televised on ESPN2. Matt Marcinkowski/Ryan Gibson/ESPNHS

With seven ranked FAB 50 teams in the field, the 5th annual Cancer Research Classic this weekend at Wheeling (W. Va.) Jesuit University could have a major impact on next week's rankings and for the rest of the season

The six-game Saturday showcase at the Alma Grace McDonough Center has five matchups with FAB 50-ranked teams, including two games with both opponents in the FAB 50 -- No. 1 Simeon (Chicago) vs. No. 34 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) and No. 5 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. No. 18 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia).

Pairings for the other ranked teams in the event are: No. 8 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone, N.J.); No. 11 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) vs. Whitney Young (Chicago); and No. 50 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) vs. St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.).

The final two games also will be televised and streamed on Watch ESPN: Simeon vs. Miller Grove on ESPN2 and Gonzaga vs. Whitney Young on ESPNU.

Here's how possible results could impact the FAB 50:

1. If Miller Grove upsets Simeon, it would knock the Wolverines off the No. 1 pedestal they have held since preseason and elevate the status of Miller Grove, which was ranked No. 2 in the preseason before dropping four games to current higher-ranked FAB 50 teams.

2. DeMatha could solidify its new top 5 ranking with a win over No. 18 Neumann-Goretti, whose only loss is to No. 11 Gonzaga. A Neumann-Goretti win over the Stags also could push both the Saints and Gonzaga up the list if Gonzaga prevails over a dangerous Whitney Young team that has a win over No. 23 Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas).

3. A Mater Dei loss to a 3-2 record, regionally ranked Gill St. Bernard's team could cause a major drop in the FAB 50 for the Monarchs, who have lost only to No. 3 Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) and has a win over No. 27 Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.). The New Jersey team could make a strong case for a FAB 50 spot with an upset victory.

4. Paul VI, which has lost only to No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), would solidify its new FAB 50 status with a win over a dangerous St. Raymond's team that plays a challenging schedule.

In the FAB 50, the two factors that count the most are strength of schedule and results. The Cancer Research Classic provides a great barometer for both.

FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week:

Anrio Adams, Rainier Beach (Seattle)

With this talented 6-foot-3 combo guard leading the way with 23 points, the Vikings turned a halftime deficit into 70-63 win over Bellevue (Bellevue, Wash.) in the championship game of last week’s Kaufman Holiday Hoops Classic.

Earlier in the tourney, Adams pumped in 33 points when Rainier Beach rolled over Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) 85-70 in the semifinals and he had 18 in an opening-round win.

Adams, considered by some to be on par with some of the top guards ever to come from the Seattle area, including Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson, committed to Kansas in November. He is attending his fourth high school in two years and his addition is certainly a major reason why Rainier Beach started this week at 8-0 and at No. 26 in the FAB 50.

No. 1 Simeon nearly stunned by last FAB 50 champ from Illinois

There almost was a new No. 1 team in this week’s rankings when Simeon (Chicago) had to come through down the stretch for a one-point win against Manual (Peoria, Ill.) in the semifinals of last week’s Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Manual was the last Illinois team to be FAB 50 national champ, earning the title in 1997.

The Rams went 32-1 that season and had to get past 31-0 Ely (Thornton, Ill.) in the Class AA state semifinals. The team’s top players were 6-foot-5 senior Sergio McClain, 6-foot-1 junior Frank Williams and 6-foot-9 senior Marcus Griffin.

Since 1952, the only other No. 1 teams from Illinois have been King (Chicago) 32-0 in 1990, Quincy 33-0 in 1981, Thornridge (Dolton) 33-0 in 1972 and Collinsville 32-0 in 1961. Collinsville also is one of the national leaders for most wins by a school with more than 2,000 in its history.

Why Some Private Schools Don't Make FAB 50 Cut

Regular viewers of the FAB 50 might notice there are some teams scoring victories over ranked opponents that aren't included in the rankings themselves.

There are reasons for these situations. Some competing teams aren't eligible for the lists because of the use of non-eligible high school players or the teams are not eligible for state high school association membership.

That list currently includes several prep and private schools such as La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.), Quality Education (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.), St. Mark’s (Southborough, Mass.) plus independent academy teams like Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.).

Several of the prep and private schools regularly use non-high school eligible players including post-graduates and reclassified 5th-year athletes to compete against FAB 50-ranked teams.

Independent academy teams have schedules that include FAB 50-eligible teams and those results are counted for the ranked teams but the impact isn't weighed the same in the rankings process.

For example, FAB 50 No. 6 Findlay Prep (Las Vegas) lost its first game 67-66 last week to La Lumiere and dropped only three spots in the rankings. Findlay is an associate member of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association and eligible for the FAB 50.

The most prominent private school eligible for the FAB 50 rankings is five-time national champion Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). Oak Hill, an old school in rural Virginia, is an associate member of the Virginia High School League.

Oak Hill and the other FAB 50-ranked private schools have met rankings' eligibility while some of the other competing teams don't meet the qualifications at this time.