Rough First Year at UIC for Howard Moore as Flames Continue Rebuilding

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Last summer Jimmy Collins stepped down as college basketball coach at UIC. Collins spent 14 seasons as the Flames’ head coach and guided UIC to the first three NCAA tournament berths in school history. He is the all-time winningest coach in school history with 218 victories from 1996-2010.

Current Athletic Director Jim Schmidt, who’s been with the university for 25 years, found his replacement in Howard Moore, a high profile college basketball assistant under Bo Ryan with the Wisconsin Badgers. His Flames have just one regular season game remaining, and then the Horizon League Tournament. It’s been a rough year to say the least, as their record stands at 7-22, 2-15 in conference.

Senior Day at the UIC Pavilion was tough, as Butler blew out the Flames by almost 30.

“This one’s going to stick with me for awhile, it’s all I got to say about that. It definitely hurts right now,” said senior Robo Kreps, the teams leading scorer, following the game. The Flames will lose him, as well as Minnesota Golden Gophers transfer Paul Carter to graduation.

By Paul M. Banks

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Butler Bulldogs a Good Role Model for UIC Flames

butler bulldogs

For a solid blueprint to success, the team playing at the campus colloquially known as “Circle” can look to their “Circle City” conference brethren.

“Butler has a program that we’re aspiring to be, not that we’re trying to be Butler,” said UIC first year Head Coach Howard Moore, who previously worked as an assistant under Bo Ryan at Wisconsin.

“We’re aspiring for that kind of success, where your players come out expecting to win and expecting to get results whether at home or on the road. They’re very impressive, they know who they are, and they play to that.”

Moore has many reasons to complement his Horizon League rival. Brad Stevens has won the league all three years that he’s led the small private school in Indianapolis. This year, they’ll finish third or fourth, but look to be in decent shape for a NCAA at-large bid

By Paul M. Banks

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Does ‘The Butler Way’ Lead to a Return NCAA Tournament Trip?

brad stevens butler

Beneath the Hoosier Sky last March, the Butler Bulldogs unfolded one of the greatest stories in college basketball history. And had that last second half-court heave stayed down and fallen through in the national title game, history would not have denied the glow of the victory firelight for the “home team” at Lucas Oil Field.

Just one more basket and the small mid-major school could have beaten heavily-favored Duke to win it all. The full story is documented quite well by David Woods in his book “Underdawgs.”

This year has been much less romantic for the Bulldogs however. Sure, they can still run the table in the Horizon League Tournament next week to guarantee a NCAA berth, but right now they are the very definition of a “bubble team” in most bracket projections.

Let’s look at how they can grab that at-large berth.

By Paul M. Banks

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Butler Bulldogs 79, UIC Flames 52: Rapid Reaction

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If you read a lot of March Madness bracket projections (as college hoops nerds such as I often do) you might have noticed the Butler Bulldogs beginning the day as one of the last college basketball teams into the field of 68.

So with a road trip to UIC and a home game against Loyola waiting to finish up the conference slate, it was imperative the Bulldogs win big over Chicago’s two Horizon League teams. The first part of the mission was accomplished as Butler crushed UIC 79-52.

UIC led this game for most of the first half, but around 6:30 mark, Butler took over, never looked back and grabbed a 40-27 lead into halftime. They did what they had to in order to keep improving their RPI, winning big.

Because of the opponents’ winning percentage component of the RPI, it was essential that they beat UIC, a team that now stands at 7-15, 2-15 in conference by a very large margin.

By Paul M. Banks

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