Great West Championship comes one year too late

The one Chicago area team that could've used a conference tournament didn't get to play in one last season. After leaving the Mid-Continent (now Summit) Conference in June of 2006 Chicago State hasn't had a conference affiliation. The Cougars though are part of a group of independent schools which will be starting conference play in basketball during the 2009-10 season.

Chicago State played a home-and-home schedule against a number of members from the Great West Conference during the 2008-09 season as well, but there was no conference tournament to look forward to at the end of the season. For a team like the Cougars, which were right on the bubble for a tournament like the brand new Invitational Tournament, that had to be a big blow.

A conference tournament also could've meant a third game against Utah Valley State and Ryan Toolson. The Wolverines and Cougars played two excellent games during the 2008-09 season. The first, in Chicago, was a 123-121 quadruple overtime affair. The second was a 77-72 nail biter in Orem, Utah. Chicago State lost both. 

A third match up between the two teams might've been epic. It definitely would've provided some compelling basketball. 
Chicago State lost four key seniors from the team that went 19-13 last season. A conference tournament could've helped David Holston and John Cantrell get that magical 20th victory and possibly have extended their season even further. 
Next season, the Cougars, with Carl Montgomery now leading the charge, will get the opportunity to make a difference during the postseason. They better take advantage of that chance.

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