NEW FAB 50: March MADNESS Hits HS!

Players in this post:
Romeo Langford EJ Liddell

The fourteenth edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by for the 2017-18 season sees five newcomers and a Top 5 team go down. State champions are crowned in key states with Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, California, Michigan and New York set to crown state champions this week. There will be plenty of movement in the final two rankings of the season as the results of state championships around the country are fully analyzed. The GEICO Nationals eight-team field is now set and that event will also be key to the final rankings in two weeks.

By Ronnie Flores

Similar to the NCAA tournament, the Madness hit the high school scene with stunning results and terrific game atmospheres around the country.

Indiana is perhaps the most basketball-crazed state in the country and this year the ISHAA Class 4A Final Four had one of its most highly-anticipated field in decades. Three of the teams entered the state semifinals as one of the special clubs in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by  -- No. 13 Riley (South Bend, Ind.), No. 20 Warren Central (Indianapolis, Ind.), No. 21 New Albany (New Albany, Ind.) plus unranked Carmel (Carmel, Ind.).

The FAB 50 ranked clubs entered the semifinals with a combined record of 81-1 with Carmel at 20-7. One of the semifinals pitted 30-0 Warren Central and 25-1 New Albany. A terrific game in which New Albany led by as many as 10 points in the final period wasn't decided until Warren Central's David Bell, one of the top Grid-Hoop players in the country, drove the length of the floor and threw in a bank runner as time expired to give his team a dramatic 64-62 victory.

Bell finished with a team-high 17 points while Mr. Basketball USA candidate Romeo Langford netted 35 for New Albany. That scoring output gave Langford 3,002 points in his high school career, fourth on the all-time ISHAA career list.

With the win, still unbeaten Warren Central moved up to No. 14 in this week's FAB 50, but the dream of a Class 4A state final with two unbeaten teams was dashed when Riley was shocked by Carmel, 63-43. John Michael Mulloy netted 18 points to lead the way offensively for Camrel. The loss means Riley is the highest-ranked team among five to drop from the rankings this week.

Riley wasn't the highest-ranked team to see its season end in defeat last week. That would be previous No. 4 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.), which fell to bubble club Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 71-66 in the IHSA Class 4A state semifinals, 71-66. That opened the door for two-loss Belleville West (Belleville, Ill.) to become the highest-rated newcomer in the FAB 50 this week at No. 23 after downing the Dolphins, 60-56 in overtime, to claim its first state championship in school history. Junior E.J. Liddell sparked a Belleville West comeback from a 13-point deficit with a 17-point, 10-rebound, seven block performance.

Based on those results, who is the best team in Illinois and who is No. 1 in Chicago?

We always take into account credible local rankings, which peg Class 2A state champ Orr (Chicago, Ill.) as the No. 1 team in the Windy City. The problem with that is it doesn't take into account Simeon's national schedule or the fact Orr never defeated Simeon. Had Whitney Young defeated Belleville West in the Class 4A state final, we'd have no choice but to rank Orr as the top team considering it beat Whitney Young twice. That didn't happen, however, as the best Class 4A teams in Chicago ended their season with a loss. We have to give Simeon rankings credit for defeating Orr in the Chicago Public League title game, splitting games with Whitney Young, giving No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) its toughest test of the regular season and for recording a win over FAB 50 No. 4 Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.).

So for us, Belleville West (which did not lose to an in-state team) is the clear state No. 1, with Simeon No. 2 and Orr No. 3. We considered Whitney Young for the FAB 50, but its overall loss count was a bit too high. That was also the case for nine-loss Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.), which captured its second consecutive MSHSAA Class 5A state crown with a win over the Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) club that lost to Simeon, defeated Whitney Young and knocked off previous No. 50 Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.) in the state semifinals.

Geico Nationals Field Set

The eight-team field is now set for Geico Nationals to be held March 29-31 at Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.).

All four quarterfinal games will be televised on ESPNU. The two semifinal contests the next day will air on ESPN2, with the title game set for Saturday, March 31 at 12 pm ET on ESPN2.

In the opener at 12 pm ET, FAB 50 No. 3 and No. 3 seed University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) will take on FAB 50 No. 8 and No. 6 seed Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.). At 2 pm ET, FAB 50 No. 9 and No. 5 seed La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.), the defending champion, takes on FAB 50 No. 5 and No. 4 seed Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). At 4 pm ET, it's FAB 50 No. 2 and No. 2 seed Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) versus FAB 50 No. 20 and No. 7 seed Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) with FAB 50 No. 1 and top-seeded Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) taking on bubble club and No. 8 seed Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) at 6 pm ET.

Montverde Academy is attempting to complete a wire-to-wire FAB 50 No. 1 season.

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
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(Fourteenth poll of 2017-18 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, March 18; Previous ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates foundation games not included; ****Indicates season not complete)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)33-0****
22Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)43-1****
33University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)33-1****
45Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)31-3
56Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)31-4****
67DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)32-5
78Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)33-4
89Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.)25-1****
910La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)23-3****
1011Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)29-2****
1114Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.)31-4
1212Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)29-4
1315Upson-Lee (Thomaston, Ga.)31-0
1420Warren Central (Indinapolis, Ind.)31-0****
1516Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)22-2****
1617Cox Mill (Concord, N.C.)29-3
1718Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)26-3****
1822Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)29-4
1923Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)26-4****
2027Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)28-1****
2125Meadowcreek (Norcross, Ga.)26-6
2226Allen (Allen, Texas)34-5
23NRBelleville West (Belleville, Ill.)32-2
2428Rayville (Rayville, La.)34-0***
2524Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)28-2
2621New Albany (New Albany, Ind.)25-2
2729Clarkston (Clarkston, Mich.)23-1****
2833Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)28-4
29NRCovington Catholic (Park Hills, Ky.)35-4
3030Guyer (Denton, Texas)38-2
3131Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.)27-0
3234McEachern (Power Springs, Ga.)26-3
334Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)29-4
3439Brentwood Academy (Nashville, Tenn.)25-5
3540Olive Branch (Olive Branch, Miss.)26-4
3636St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)36-7
3737Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)24-4
3838IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)22-5
3941Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.)21-5
4042Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)24-2
4146Orr (Chicago, Ill.)30-4
4219Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.)37-2
4347Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)25-5****
4444South Garland (Garland, Texas)36-4
45NROshkosh North (Oshkosh, Wis.)27-1
4648Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.)26-1
4745Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)30-4
48NRCretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.)27-2
4949Olympus (Salt Lake City, Utah)27-0
50NRMemorial (Tulsa, Okla.)27-2

Dropped Out: Previous No. 13 Riley (South Bend, Ind.), No. 32 Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio), No. 35 Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.), No. 43 Skyline (Ann Arbor, Mich.), No. 50 Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.).

Bubble Teams:  Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) 24-3; Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.) 22-3; Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) 30-9; Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 27-6; Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 21-7****; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 25-5; Columbus (Columbus, Miss.) 27-6; Curie (Chicago, Ill.) 26-5; Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 29-3; Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 24-5 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 28-9; Grandview (Aurora, Col.) 24-4; Grant (Portland, Ore.) 24-4; Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) 27-7; Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 26-2; Independence (Charlotte, N.C.) 31-1; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 26-4; John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) 29-8; Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.) 25-1; Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 23-3****; McPherson (McPherson, Kan.) 22-2; Meridian (Meridian, Miss.) 31-2; Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 29-4; Mountain Brook (Mountain Brook, Ala.) 34-5; Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 28-8; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 27-4; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 25-5; Northside-Jax (Jacksonville, N.C.) 29-1; Notre Dame Catholic (Fairfield, Conn.) 27-0; Putnam City North (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 25-5; Ranney School (Tinton Falls, N.J.) 28-5; Riley (South Bend, Ind.) 26-1; Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.) 27-2; Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 30-2; Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) 29-5****; Skyline (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 23-1; Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg, S.C.) 20-8; Solon (Solon, Ohio) 26-1****; Tompkins (Katy, Texas) 32-9; Trinity Episcopal (Richmond, Va.) 26-4; Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio) 25-2; Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.) 22-9; Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) 27-6; Westlake (Austin, Texas) 36-4; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 28-8.

Note: The FAB 50 powered by is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota compiled them. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 18 years ago.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of He can be reached at [email protected]. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores