I haven't done one of these in a while, but there are a lot of great places out there writing about college basketball - and some are even covering the Chicago schools. In particular the DePaul coaching search seems to be a hot-button topic amongst well... almost everyone. (Steve Lavin - left - has been getting some love lately, I'm not sure why.)
But it doesn't end there. After the jump information about Loyola and the two rankings systems that have Northwestern as the 57th best team in the country (and that's as good as it's going to get).
DePaul's coaching search has attracted the attention of every national outlet. The latest to put out his handicapping of the race was Lew Freedman's of the Basketball Times Online. Lew knows his basketball - and has written some great stuff for BTO this season about Chicago - but some of the odds seem a little out of whack for me. For instance let's just look at the favorites - all listed at 5-1. Brian Gregory has rebuffed the Blue Demons before - though money talks, Fran McCafferty and Brad Stevens certainly are hot names right now, but Craig Robinson isn't ready to handle the Big East. He's struggling in a down Pac-10 with a veteran team. It's a nice thought, but not right now.
Speaking of people that aren't ready to handle the pressure of coaching in the Big East, Rod Strickland. While it's nice that Scoop Jackson tried to get some recognition for his buddy, the fact is that coaching for a few years under John Calipari doesn't automatically qualify you to coach against Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim and the rest. The National Football Post thinks that DePaul should consider Steve Lavin, I think the NFP should stick to the game it knows best.
No matter who ends up coaching DePaul though, they'll have to bring some energy back to Allstate Arena. It got panned recently by Stadium Journey. Considering the decent scores many of the other venues in Chicago have received, this should certainly be considered a problem for the Blue Demons.
The Loyola Phoenix does a good job of covering it's home team. I found this article about Darrin "Boomer" Williams - who graduated from Loyola last season - to be a great read. It was very informative and nice to catch up with a former player. He's now playing in Germany. Also, on the topic of Loyola, but current players, this article speaks to Jordan Hicks' frustration about not being able to play much this season. His absence has been a big loss for Loyola.
Then there is Northwestern. The Wildcats are off the bubble by now, but there are still some rankings systems that feel like Northwestern is better than some people think. This great site allows you to see how 48 different ranking systems evaluate the relative strength of college basketball teams. It's crazy to think how saturated this market is. The two that rank Northwestern #57 (it's highest ranking) are: this one, and this one. Of course, if someone had hit a shot down the stretch against Wisconsin maybe the Wilcats would be ranked even higher. Bleacher Report's Aaron Morse says Northwestern's players are just too nice.
Finally, from the "What If?" category. Check out all the top talent that has left the Chicago area recently, including one very prominent national player of the year candidate.
Questions? Concerns? Other links? Share them in the comments.