College basketball is AWFUL in all of Illinois, yet again

depaul blue demon

What a shame. What a crying shame that Chicago, which every year has some of the best preps talent in the country, has zero going for it on the college level. Unless the Illinois Fighting Illini can somehow go 6-3 down stretch (and they face some brutal opponents so this highly unlikely) what Land of Lincoln team will get into the big dance? An improved UIC team that is 9-2 at home and 5-5 on conference could very possibly win the Horizon League Tournament, the only way they get their ticket punched. So maybe zero teams in the NCAAs this year, just like last year, just like four years ago. Juxtapose that with Indiana in 2000, when the Crossroads of America got seven teams in the big dance.

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Illini Open New Season and Court With Victory Over Loyola 67-49

meyers leonard illinois

The state of Illinois has produced only one college basketball national championship, and it wasn’t accomplished by the Illinois Fighting Illini; although they were just a couple 3-pt FGs away in ’05. Depaul made the Final 4 in ’80s glory years under Ray Meyer, but no further. SIU has won a lot of games in March lately, but they haven’t cut down the nets either.

I doubt any of you guessed UIC or Northwestern. It’s actually Loyola, in 1963. The Ramblers also went to the sweet sixteen in 1985, but like all the other college basketball teams in the city of Chicago; they’ve done very little in recent years.

However they gave traditional Big Ten power Illinois all they could handle for about 30/40 minutes, before falling by 18, 67-49 in the season opener for both teams.

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Loyola Ramblers Always Seem to Give Butler Bulldogs FITS!

loyola-butler

In the modern era of college basketball, only one school in the state of Illinois boasts a national title. Guess which one.

The Illinois Fighting Illini? Sadly no, but they probably are the strongest program in the nation never to have cut down the nets. DePaul was great in the ’80s, how about the Blue Demons?

Nope, it’s actually the Loyola Ramblers, vintage 1963.

The Ramblers also went to the sweet sixteen in 1985. Unfortunately, they haven’t been back to the dance since then. But there is one team with which every game has a March type atmosphere. That would be last year’s national runner-up, the Ramblers’ Horizon League rival Butler Bulldogs.

In Wednesday night’s conference opener for both teams, the Butler-Loyola rivalry saw another nail-biter, as the Bulldogs handed LUC their first loss of the season 65-63 at the Gentile Center. Last year, when BU made their historical Final Four run, Loyola lost 48-47. I guess you could call both these games “moral victories.”

By Paul M. Banks

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