College basketball is alive in Chicago

College basketball is alive in Chicago

It's a known fact that most sports reporters don't pay attention to college basketball season until approximately February. The Super Bowl and college bowl games typically have to finish before most newspapers will even consider running something about how Connecticut looks strong in the preseason or the fact that Ohio State's Jared Sullinger is a dominant force in the paint.

That's good for some schools. It hides their weaknesses. If you have some kinks to work out early in the season don't worry about it, because no one is going to know.
But if you don't pay attention in February and openly admit that you didn't watch a game until March, then don't give in to the urge to write a hack column like Dan McNeil did today for The Tribune.
McNeil's column entitled, "Local college basketball has become irrelevant," is the senseless journalism that proves a well-informed blog is better than a idiot columnist almost every day of the week.
He goes after Northwestern and DePaul, (I think) because well they play in power conferences and are easy targets. The predictable "replace Bill Carmody," tone of the Northwestern section shows the work of someone that couldn't be bothered to actually take 10 minutes to read the sides of the argument, or someone that just decided the ability to spout ignorance was easier than being informed. 
For instance, McNeil writes:
Tough admissions standards is the name of the broken record that's playing whenever the Cats roundball impotence is discussed. That's weird. Since 1995, Pat Fitzgerald is the third consecutive football coach there to take Northwestern bowling.
You can find my response to that argument here, but suffice it to say the reasoning is terrible.
When he's done with Northwestern he goes on to rip DePaul. And while it might be true that the Blue Demons were irrelevant on the national stage this season, they almost pulled a number of big upsets during the regular season. Of course you wouldn't know that if you didn't watch a single DePaul game this season. But even still, this season didn't really matter anyways, it was Oliver Purnell's first. It was designed to be a step towards preparing for the future. A future in which I believe the Blue Demons will be a big player in the Big East.
If you need "local juice" to get you through the NCAA Tournament, with it's Kemba Walkers (who is ignored entirely), Jimmer Fredettes, Shaka Smarts, Butlers and VCUs, then you shouldn't be watching anyways. College basketball is a game to be loved for the simple heros it creates. When it's obvious you took three minutes to write your column you're doing everyone a disservice. Save the sever space for something like the millionth column on how Derrick Rose deserves to win the MVP.
P.S. If you want to read something interesting about college basketball read this by Pete Thamel. If you want to read something inspiring by a columnist actually worth reading, check out this by Joe Posnanski.


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  • That was one of the stupidest articles I've read in a while. NU had a career year and I saw more Wildcat fans this year than ever before.

  • How can anyone that openly admits to not watching any college hoops be considered qualified to write a column on college hoops? And not even a mention of Loyola, UIC, Chicago State, or NIU or the coaching changes all these schools are undergoing?

    Whatever sells papers I guess.

  • This column wasn't written to sell papers because no one buys those anyway. Mac is right when it comes to the local buzz for local college basketball teams.

    For so long this city has been spoiled with four out of our five professional sports teams winning championships that the college buzz has faded and gone away. Many more in this city give a damn about a Blackhawks team that is struggling to get into the postseason than the Northwestern Wildcats. You speak of how DePaul was close to making some upsets're correct.

    But they didn't.....and they haven't for how long now?

    When you have a local college team in DePaul who barely draws better than the very best women's college basketball teams on average means something. Especially when NO ONE gives a damn about the women's game.

    There are people that enjoy the local product and enjoy college buckets, and there are a ton more that do not. There are huge reasons why the "media" types in town do not pay attention to local product college hoops.....because which of the "bad" should we pay attention to. And once we start paying attention to a certain player or team.....the player leaves and the team fades. Derrick Rose and Memphis for example.

    All I'm saying is before you rail against someone for being honest in a column, keep in mind.....this is a pro town and "media" types like Danny Mac get paid to rile up the masses.

    Got you to write something about it.


  • In reply to rockmamola:

    I know he gets paid to rile the masses. I also know that Chicago is a pro town. There is proof of that everywhere. Even if DePaul and Northwestern were NCAA Tournament teams they'd be in the background compared to the Blackhawks, it's just the dynamic of sports in this city, for better or worse.

    Even if Chicago is a pro town, it doesn't give someone an excuse to do lazy column writing and ignore the facts. Take a look at what is actually happening at the schools and how teams are trying to improve. College basketball is in the middle of a rebirth here. Three teams hired new coaches this season, they're all trying to get better. That type of turnaround doesn't happen in a season.

    Also, I'm not sure where the Derrick Rose/Memphis thing comes from. Rose leaving for Calpari's one-and-done school and then coming right back to Chicago to play for the Bulls is an example of one of the biggest problems in the city (it can't keep it's players), but it doesn't really seem to carry much other weight here.

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