Local college hoops. Anyone interested?

Today is a big day in the WNBA offseason (draft lottery is in a couple hours…) but, for the most part, we’re in the time of year that is all about college basketball and NBA basketball. With that said, I’m definitely gonna be keeping an eye on some local women’s college basketball teams this year. I should probably admit that I’m not really a big college basketball fan (I prefer the pro game) but I watch it for two reasons: (1) to follow the top prospects so that I know who will be in the Big League next summer and (2) to support local teams. I’ve talked a bit about DePaul in previous posts, but let’s check in again with them and a few other local programs that I like…

DePaul Blue Demons

~ DePaul Blue Demons ~
I linked to this 2009/10 DePaul Women’s Basketball Preview a couple weeks ago. It’s a good overview on what to expect from the team this upcoming season. In preseason polls, DePaul was ranked #3 in the Big East and #16 overall. Not too shabby. The Blue Demons will be facing the likes of UConn, Louisville and Marquette @ McGrath this season. Definitely worth checking out some of those games…

~ Northwestern Wildcats ~
Northwestern WildcatsAfter years and years of being in the Big Ten basement, NU is FINALLY on the rise…and I’m excited! Last year they showed a commitment to improving by signing a big-time coach (Joe McKeown). Although they continued to struggle in 2008/09, this season they are poised to make some noise in the Big Ten because (1) they now have one year of experience under their new coach and (2) they have a pretty good recruiting class coming in. The Daily Herald had a really nice season preview article about NU a few days ago: Northwestern women’s hoop team dares to be different.

(*sidebar* — has the Daily Herald always given this much coverage to women’s basketball? It seems like ever since I started this blog I’ve come across so many women’s basketball articles from them. Is this new? I’ve been reading the Chicago Tribune all these years thinking no one in this city covered women’s sports. Apparently my trusty “suburban” paper has been doing it all along?!  That move to the ‘burbs is looking even better, Sky :-). Thanks for the great coverage, Herald. I definitely gotta think about making that Trib-to-Herald switch…)

Ok, back to Northwestern…they’re playing a TON of big games in Evanston this year against top Big Ten teams — Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Illinois. The Wildcats are currently ranked #8 in the Big Ten. Anyone that watched the “Madness” last year knows that the Big Ten was well represented in the tourney (even into the later rounds…). I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really, really excited for NU basketball this season!

~ Illinois Wesleyan Titans ~Illinois Wesleyan
Who?!? Ok, so they’re not a Chicago-area team, per se, and most likely no one has ever really heard of them, but I gotta show love to my alma mater! The IWU Titans are a Division III team (CCIW) from Bloomington, IL. Last year they were the #1 ranked team in DIII ball, went undefeated the entire season (28-0), and were the favorites to win it all. It broke my heart when they unexpectedly lost to WashU (St. Louis) in the Elite 8. Well, this year they’re back and are currently ranked #6 overall according to the USA Today ESPN Division III Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.

There are other programs in the state that I will be keeping an eye on (Illini, I’m lookin at you…), but the above three are my favorites. The Illini are definitely another “local” team on the rise (like NU, they have a great new coach and a VERY strong recruiting class coming in), but I’m not an Illini fan. I never have been and I never will be. I think it’s great that women’s college basketball in the state of Illinois is improving because, quite frankly, DePaul needs some in-state competition. Overall, we need some in-state rivalries. For as long as I can remember, there’s DePaul…then there’s everyone else. Nice to see other programs FINALLY stepping up…

So, anyone planning on going to any local college games this season? While writing this blog post, I just realized that two of my favorite teams are actually playing each other tomorrow:  DePaul vs. Illinois Wesleyan in an exhibition at McGrath Arena on Friday (11/6) @ 5:30pm! I would LOVE to see that game! …too bad I already have plans with my family for my mom’s birthday 😦 I don’t know how I overlooked that when reviewing both teams’ schedules a few weeks ago.

DePaul vs. Northwestern is on 11/24 @ 8pm in Evanston (Welch-Ryan Arena). I’m definitely going to that game.


~ by audsquad on November 5, 2009.

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