UIC Loses In Horizon League Quarterfinal, The Catholic Seven’s Departure Is Official

2013 Horizon League_MBasketball



After defeating Cleveland State in the first round of the 2013 Horizon League Tournament this week, UIC had plenty of momentum heading into their quarterfinal match up with Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Unfortunately, the ride would come to a screeching halt on Friday as UWGB extinguished the mighty Flames 64-63. This game was tight from start to finish. Both teams traded baskets for pretty much the entire game.

The final 44 seconds was the story teller in this one. The game was tied at 61 when Phoenix guard Jordan Fouse missed two free throw shots and UIC got the rebound.

Shortly afterwards, Flames guard Gary Talton was fouled and hit two free throws to take a 63-61 lead. It would come down to the final play. After a series of passes, Green Bay guard Sultan Muhammad found himself wide open. And with nobody guarding him, he got the ball and hit a three-point shot with only a couple of seconds left.

UIC guard Daniel Barnes attempted a half-court shot at the buzzer but it would not go. The Flames were sent packing from Valparaiso on a night where they got another great effort from their top players.

Flames forward Hayden Humes led all scorers with 23 points. The Valparaiso native also shot 10-12 from the field and grabbed 5 rebounds. Gary Talton and center Josh Crittle combined for 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.

The Flames will return home to Chicago to await their postseason fate. They finish the season with a 17-15 record, and  have an RPI of 164. It may not get them into the NCAA Tournament, the National Invitational Tournament also seems like a stretch.

Perhaps a bid to either the College Invitational or College Insider Tournaments will be the most likely destinations. UIC has not played in the postseason since the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

In the other quarterfinal, Wright State defeated Youngstown State 66-59. Wisconsin-Green Bay will have the tough task of taking on the top seeded, regular season champion Valparaiso. As for Wright State, they will go up against the just as tough Detroit Titans.

Both games will take place later today with the championship game on Tuesday.

In other major college basketball news:

DePaul Big East Logo


Back on March 1st, I reported on how DePaul and the rest of what’s known as “The Catholic 7” could move to their new conference as soon as next school year.

On Friday, that decision was made official. DePaul, St. Johns, Villanova, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence, and Georgetown will departing the current version of the Big East Conference.

The Catholic Seven will get to keep the Big East name, logos, properties, and still play the annual conference tournament at New York’s Madison Square Garden. This all takes effect on July 1st.

Here is the official statement from the Big East:

“Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco today announced that after several weeks of cordial and professional discussions, a definitive agreement has been reached that will enable a mutually-beneficial separation of some of the league’s current members and allow an orderly formation of a new conference by the seven basketball schools. The separation will become effective on July 1, 2013.

The agreement, which remains subject to formal Board approval, contemplates continued cooperation and playing opportunities between the conferences.”

Here is what Commissioner Aresco had to say:

“I am pleased that this agreement has been reached. With the long-term well-being of our outstanding institutions and their student-athletes of paramount importance, each group worked through a number of complex issues in an orderly, comprehensive and amicable manner marked by mutual respect. We part ways as friends and colleagues and look forward to the success of both conferences.”

Here is the reaction from DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider:

“DePaul University is grateful to  Commissioner Aresco and our Big East colleagues for the collegial discussions that have  allowed us to leave in 2013 and begin our new league.  We are excited about the opportunities this  endeavor will afford our student-athletes, coaches and fans.  We wish the ongoing football members the very best as they establish their footprint in the college football landscape.”

This is from a joint statement released by the other six members of The Catholic Seven:

“We are grateful to Commissioner Michael Aresco for spearheading an agreement that truly represents the best path forward for each of our great institutions and the thousands of student-athletes who compete for our schools annually. It is a great credit to Mike, our colleagues, and all involved that we were able to work through a host of highly complex and time-sensitive issues in such a short period of time. We are pleased that we reached this amicable and mutually-beneficial separation by approaching each issue with a spirit of cooperation and shared respect.”

It’s being reported that after The Catholic Seven officially takes the “Big East” name, they will reach out to Dayton and Xavier to join the new Big East. As for the other teams that remain from the original Big East {Cincinnati, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida,  Rutgers, and Temple}, and the new teams scheduled to join that group on July 1st {Houston, Memphis, Central Florida, and Southern Methodist}, ESPN is reporting that $85 million will be split evenly among those institutions for their loyalty.

Also on July 1st, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame was originally scheduled to join the ACC in 2014. But with these new developments, Notre Dame has decided that they will try to join the ACC on July 1st along with Pittsburgh and Syracuse instead of waiting.

The only other options on the table for the Fighting Irish are to either stay in what will become of the original Big East, or join the new Big East until 2014. Hopefully DePaul will have a brighter future ahead of them now that they are once again part of a conference focused on basketball.

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