Monday, March 08, 2004

Illinois BBall Round Up

It looks like three state teams are locks for the NCAA tourney and a fourth could join them.

Illinois won the Big Ten outright yesterday. If they win their conference tourney they should be a 3 seed when the pairings are announced next Sunday. I hope they do as the 4 seed was not to kind to them last year.

DePaul tied for a share of the CUSA title and should be a lock for the first trip back to the tourney since 2000. They might have to face a tough Marquette team in the quarterfinals of the CUSA tourney (DePaul has a first round bye). While Marquette has struggled this year without Dwyane Wade, they are still capable of making a run. Depending on how DePaul does this week, they could land anywhere from a 7 to a 10 seed. Either extreme is preferable to the 8/9 slot.

Southern Illinois will make the tourney, despite their loss yesterday. I would look for them to land at a 6 or 7 seed. Not only did the Salukis hurt themselves yesterday, but they also pooped the bubble of one team yet to be determined by not taking the MVC automatic bid.

UIC will take on UW Milwaukee for the automatic bid in the Horizon League Tuesday night. I’m not a big fan of UIC, the closest thing to a rival Loyola has, but will probably root for them if they make the tourney.

The worst area, no make that the worst national D1 program the past few years, Chicago State has reached the semis of the Mid-Con conference tourney. They are a long shot in a tourney that Valpo is expected to win, but deserve congratulations on their first ever conference tourney win, and for reaching double digits in victories this season.