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Published on January 24th, 2012 | by

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Time for college basketball

Yeah my bad for not touching on this a lot sooner, I guess football occupied a lot of my writing time. But we are in full swing of the 2011-2012 college basketball season. And I’d like to bring you up to speed on the Chicago area teams. Let’s start with the Illinois Fighting Illini (15-5 overall 4-3 Big Ten}. While they did lose to Wisconsin this weekend, they are still having an impressive season.

Bruce Weber has this team contending for the Big Ten title. They’ve beaten first place Ohio State, the Penn State loss was a tough one to swallow, but the Illini are 2-1 against the top 25 this season. But things will be a little harder looking forward for the Illini. Three of their next five games will be against the top 25, they also have game 2 of their season series with Northwestern coming up as well.

When it’s all said and done Illinois will be in the NCAA tournament, the only question is will they be the Big Ten champions when it’s all said and done? As for “Chicago’s Big Ten team”, the Northwestern Wildcats are another story. The Cardiac Cats (12-7 overall, 2-5 Big Ten) had a hot start but once conference play began they kind of cooled off. Out of 12 teams Northwestern is currently 10th in conference standings.

If the Cats are to have any further success this season, they need to get on a hot streak now. The DePaul Blue Demons are working their way back to prominence although it has been a slow process. DePaul just like Northwestern fared well in non-conference play. But DePaul has only gone 1-6 in Big East play, 10-9 overall, and after a huge upset victory over Pittsburgh {Their first ever victory over the Pitt Panthers} the Blue Demons have fallen flat since then.

And the schedule doesn’t favor DePaul down the stretch as they play three games vs the top 25 plus their heated rivalry with Notre Dame. Out of 16 teams DePaul is currently 14th in the Big East standings, DePaul needs to find some life and quickly. Northern Illinois is once again the bottom feeder of the Mid-American Conference, and Chicago State continues to embarrass themselves as a basketball program.

Both schools need major changes from top to bottom. And what seems like a case of history repeating, UIC and Loyola are once again at the bottom of the Horizon League. Butler isn’t as strong this year as they’ve been in the past, and if both the Flames and Ramblers had better coaching and recruiting they could be on top of the Horizon League.

I smell coaching changes for those schools. But at least we will have one team in the NCAA tournament {Illinois}, perhaps one NIT team {Northwestern}, and a third postseason team if DePaul can get something going before seasons end. All we can do is just sit back, watch, and let the rest of the season play itself out.

You can follow me on Twitter: @GabeSalgado82

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