WBEZ | college basketball http://www.wbez.org/tags/college-basketball Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is Chris Collins a 'perfect fit' for Northwestern basketball? Maybe. http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/chris-collins-perfect-fit-northwestern-basketball-maybe-106437 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chris%20collins%20small.jpg" style="height: 443px; width: 620px;" title="Can Chris Collins finally take NU to the NCAA tournament? (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" /></div><p>Will Chris Collins be the answer to Northwestern University&#39;s beleaguered men&#39;s basketball program&#39;s prayers?</p><p>The Chicago area was a big part of the new Wildcats coach&#39;s life growing up. When his dad, Doug, was the Chicago Bulls&#39; head coach, Chris was a ball boy for the team.</p><p>Then, the younger Collins was named Illinois &quot;Mr. Basketball&quot; while playing hoops at Glenbrook North High School. He played collegiate ball at Duke, then worked as an assistant at Seton Hall before serving as a member of Coach Mike Krzyzewski&rsquo;s Blue Devils staff the last 13 years.</p><p>The 38-year-old Collins reportedly inked a seven-year deal with Northwestern, saying this challenge is &quot;a perfect fit&quot; for him and the school.</p><p>We&#39;ll have plenty of time to find out whether he&#39;s right. Here&#39;s what he has working in his favor:</p><ul><li><strong>Collins understands the academic dynamics of college ball</strong>, because Duke has been able to recruit players that also have strong academic backgrounds. A perfect example is Simeon&#39;s Jabari Parker: The student-athlete is best player in the country and is headed for Duke.&nbsp;</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Collins knows the Chicago prep school scene</strong>. You never know:&nbsp;Maybe Parker could have ended up at Northwestern if Collins had taken the job sooner. But this is where the new coach must make his mark.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>He has some pretty stellar sounding boards</strong> in Coach K and his dad. Doug Collins is busy coaching the Philadelphia 76ers, but the father and son are still close, and the elder Collins is a fount of knowledge.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>He&#39;s in good company at Northwestern.</strong> The success that head coach Pat Fitzgerald is having with the football program is a huge plus for the future of the school&#39;s athletics program.</li></ul><p>Still, that doesn&#39;t mean that Collin&#39;s won&#39;t face roadblocks at Northwestern:</p><ul><li><strong>The Big Ten Conference is a huge challenge.</strong> Collins will be competing in one of the best and toughest conferences in the country. It will be the games, as well as the recruiting, that test his mettle.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>The Wildcats have never been to an NCAA tournament.</strong>&nbsp;Collins must convince some of the &quot;blue chip&quot; players that they have an opportunity to succeed with him.<strong> </strong>That stage is very important to a high school player when he&#39;s deciding on his college choice.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Recruitment. </strong>Collins mus find players who proved their acumen for high school academic &ndash; and who can also shoot a jump shot.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>The Northwestern basketball facilities need to be upgraded</strong>, as the school just did for its football program.<br />&nbsp;</li><li><strong>Collins needs to fill out his coaching staff.&nbsp;</strong></li></ul><p>None of this will be easy, but this hire makes the Wildcats basketball program one to watch from now on.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and on Facebook at<a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"> Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</a>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/chris-collins-perfect-fit-northwestern-basketball-maybe-106437 Are you into the NCAA's Big Dance? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/are-you-ncaas-big-dance-106176 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_ncaa_david_duprey.jpg" style="float: right; height: 187px; width: 280px;" title="NCAA men's basketball has everyone talking brackets and pools. (AP Photo/David Duprey)" />There will be an untold number of electronic devices tuned into the NCAA men&#39;s basketball tournament and stealing from a productive work environment starting Thursday. The champion will be crowned April 8&nbsp;in Atlanta. Across the country people are investing time, labor or luck filling out their brackets for the The Big Dance. &nbsp;Some money will be won and a lot more will be lost. It is one of the most emotionally charged sports events of the year.</p><p>There seem to be three categories for doing the brackets:</p><p><strong>Who wants to buy one of the NCAA teams for a couple of bucks? (the popular one)</strong></p><p>Some offices have set up pools for co-workers to buy a random team instead of filling out a bracket.&nbsp;Your selection is for the tournament&rsquo;s duration and if you are lucky, the final outcome of the championship earns the cash. Of course, when you are doing a blind draw, pulling a Number 1 seed (Louisville, Kansas, Gonzaga, and Indiana) or Number 2 seed (Miami, Duke, Georgetown and Ohio State)&nbsp; makes you feel confident for a winner in the NCAA title game.&nbsp; If you get a 16th seed team, you can forget about it. People who participate in this type of pool know it is mostly a matter of luck. It is a way to participate without even having a clue about the game or the teams. You&#39;ll find college alumni of a school root for a team they wouldn&#39;t normally care about or may be a rival. It also gets you to watch a game that maybe you wouldn&rsquo;t bother viewing otherwise.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>I should have been a player or a coach since I know the game so well. (the hard-core one)</strong></p><p>The NCAA basketball pools that people really sink their teeth into is the selection of teams through the rounds, right to the Final Four and the eventual Championship. This is where everyone believes they are a master of picking the winners. Some participants will pour over every team and delve into every stat and try to get their hands on every morsel of information. This is for the real college basketball junkie: What did the team do in the past ten games, who is hot, what region are they playing, what is the team&rsquo;s travel, are they from a strong conference, did the selection committee give them a proper seeding, does this team have a great x&rsquo;s and o&rsquo;s coach, are there NBA caliber players on the squad, is it an up-tempo team or is it a physical team?&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Hey the Internet has the bracket and I can ask my wife/husband who to pick (the casual one)</strong></p><p>This is a perfect vehicle to make selections when you work from home and can be wrong and no one will find out. The casual fan will get involved with this pool and sometimes the randomness of picking the winners pays off. You can be safe with your NCAA selections and choose the favorites throughout. Maybe it&rsquo;s your alma mater. It could be a parent picking where they send their kids (and money) to college.&nbsp;You probably won&#39;t win since there are always upsets that will implode your bracket (Hint: a #12&nbsp;seed usually trips up a #5 seed. Think Oregon.). If you don&#39;t have the knowledge you can find someone who will do it for you.</p><p>This is when there is a tap on my shoulder and a sheet put in my hand as my husband asks, &ldquo;Will you fill this out for me?&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout"><font color="#006896"><em>@CRayeStout</em></font></a><em> and Facebook </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><font color="#006896"><em>Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</em></font></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 20:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/are-you-ncaas-big-dance-106176 Local colleges need more Chicago prep talent http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/local-colleges-need-more-chicago-prep-talent-106092 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_depaul_bb_heather.jpg" style="float: right; height: 377px; width: 300px;" title="DePaul men's basketball teams in Chicago with problems. (AP/File)" />While colleges across the country celebrate getting into the NCAA men&rsquo;s basketball tournament, there is no madness in Chicago. It has been years since Chicago had a spotlight on it for its men&#39;s college basketball prowess. This is difficult to understand with the quality of the players who excel on the high school courts of Chicago. Particularly since the Big Ten Conference (arguably the best in the country) just held court at the United Center for its tournament. It&rsquo;s tough to see local teams in such a rut. It&rsquo;s hard to watch the best talent from Chicago not play here on the NCAA Division I level.</div><p>Fifty years ago, the Loyola Ramblers celebrated the last time a time from Chicago won a national title. DePaul during the 70s and 80s was a nationally renowned team under Head Coach Ray Meyer. During the Blue Demons hey day, they were <em>the</em> basketball team in Chicago (not the Bulls). This of course was pre-Michael Jordan and six NBA titles. There have been Chicago schools in the NCAA tournament in the past few decades, but none have been a premier team in the country.</p><p>There have been times when Bradley, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Illinois have produced winning men&#39;s programs. Illinois has made numerous appearances in the NCAA tournament. It was just eight years ago when Bruce Weber took the Illini with Dee Brown and Deron Williams to the brink of a NCAA championship. They lost to North Carolina in the final.</p><p>Many give credit to former coach Bill Self for bringing in those players before he bolted to Kansas and won the NCAA championship there. After the loss to the Tar Heels, Illinois saw erosion of talent. Weber was fired and now Illinois is under the leadership of John Groce. In his first season, the Illini coach is guiding the team to post season play. The #7 seed Illinois will play #10 seed Colorado in first round NCAA action on Friday in Austin, Texas.</p><p>Simeon High School&rsquo;s Jabari Parker, the top national player and an excellent student, is headed to Duke. Why not? It is an elite program and has been consistently challenging for national titles. It is a huge shame that a team from this area, DePaul or Northwestern, was not even considered. Derrick Rose left here to play at Memphis for a year before leaping to the NBA.</p><p>Why is it hard to keep the best Chicago high school players? The factors are numerous: campus life, coaches, consistency of excellence, putting a distance from the streets of Chicago (and for some, the weather). Whatever the reasons, the local college teams see players leave&nbsp;and&nbsp;not become hometown heroes.</p><p>Here is a look at what the Chicago college teams did&nbsp;this season:</p><p><strong>DePaul 11-21 (overall) 2-16 (Big East conference) </strong></p><p>The Blue Demons been spinning their wheels for years. They have been the doormat in the conference and now they will be joining the new league of the Catholic schools. Playing in Rosemont is a huge negative for the school. Their last NCAA appearance was 2004.</p><p><strong>Northwestern 13-19 (overall) 4-15 (Big Ten Conference) </strong></p><p>They started the season 7-0. Numerous injuries and a suspension depleted the team&rsquo;s roster. With the loss to Iowa in the first round on Thursday, Northwestern fired head coach Bill Carmody on Saturday after 13 years guiding the team. One of the names highlighted for this job is Duke assistant Chris Collins. He is from the area and his father Doug is a former Chicago Bulls coach. NU has never been to the NCAA tournament.</p><p><strong>University of Illinois Chicago 17-15 (overall) 7-9 (Horizon Conference) </strong></p><p>The Flames will go to the Collegeinsider.com tournament. It&#39;s a rather new event that gives some teams a chance to experience post season play. UIC has had four post season appearances, three NCAA, one NIT and no wins.</p><p><strong>Loyola 15-16 (overall) 5-11(Horizon Conference) </strong></p><p>Head coach Porter Moser has had the job for two years. The Ramblers have not been to the NCAA since their &quot;Sweet 16&quot; appearance in 1985.</p><p><strong>Chicago State 11-21 (overall) 5-5 (Great West Conference) </strong></p><p>They won the Great West Conference tournament, which they also hosted on Saturday. The win gave them a berth in the Collegeinsider.com tournament. It is the school&rsquo;s first post-season appearance. The Cougars will join the WAC next year. Head coach Tracey Dilby is finishing his third season. He was a former DePaul and UIC assistant.</p><p>According to former players, it doesn&rsquo;t take much to turn a basketball program. If a school can recruit one or two top notch players, it can catapult a college team. The challenge is convincing Chicago student athletes to stay here and make a difference.</p><p>Looking at what John Groce did in his first recruiting year may mean Illinois is moving in the right direction. He will have two players from Simeon high school playing for him next season: Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate. Groce got some help from an Illinois alumni and former star Kendall Gill. The new coach asked him to recruit and it worked. Gill&rsquo;s pitch is something his parents told him: stay in your home state and it will be beneficial when the playing career is completed. He believes the alumni base in Illinois helped him when his playing days in the NBA were over.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 18 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/local-colleges-need-more-chicago-prep-talent-106092 Illinois' odds not so good in NCAA tournament http://www.wbez.org/story/news/sports/illinois-odds-not-so-good-ncaa-tournament <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-14/109981266.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There's some statistical help in filling out those NCAA basketball tournament brackets.&nbsp;But University of Illinois fans might not like the odds.</p><p>The Illini are a No. 9 seed in the Southwest region. Later this week, they'll face off against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a No. 8 seed.</p><p>U of I computer science Professor Sheldon Jacobson says the Illini are favorites to win that game.&nbsp;That's based purely on statistics that 9 seeds have historically faired better than No. 8s in the second round of the tournament.</p><p>Jacobson put together a mathematical model that helps determine who will make it to the Final Four.</p><p>&quot;If you look at the seeds there are very consistent patterns that have evolved over the past 26 tournaments. So you can actually determine how likely they are to occur,&quot; Jacobson said.</p><p>Jacobson said the best bet for the Final Four is two No. 1s, No. 2 and a No. 3.</p><p>As for Illinois, Jacobson said the odds aren't so good for the team to advance past the third round, much less win the championship.</p><p>&quot;In fact it's so low that you'd be better off buying a lottery ticket than you'd be betting on Illinois,&quot; he said.</p><p>The Illini are the only team from Illinois to make the tournament. The team came close to winning the championship in 2005, but lost out to the University of North Carolina. That year, Illinois was a No. 1 seed.</p><p>Jacobson and two undergraduate students created a website for people to check the odds of their <a href="http://bracketodds.cs.illinois.edu/">brackets</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 20:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/sports/illinois-odds-not-so-good-ncaa-tournament Big Ten may reconsider division names http://www.wbez.org/story/big-ten/big-ten-may-reconsider-division-names <p><p>The Chicago-based Big Ten conference may be reconsidering the names of its new divisions.<br /><br />Earlier this week the Big Ten announced the creation of two divisions, Legends and Leaders. The divisions were necessary after the conference added a twelfth school, Nebraska, which will join the Big Ten in time for the football season next fall. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said the names were meant to highlight the conference's rich athletic history.<br /><br />But fans and critics alike have mocked the division names. And now Delaney says the conference may reconsider Legends and Leaders.<br /><br />Delaney made his comments in a radio interview, saying the Big Ten offices have been flooded with letters asking the conference to change the names.<br /><br />He said new division names could come after the first of the year.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Dec 2010 20:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/big-ten/big-ten-may-reconsider-division-names