Nick Knacks

Column: Sorry, Loyola. DePaul Has Taken Control of Chicago Men’s Basketball

Courtesy of Alexa Sandler | The DePauliaThe DePaul bench celebrates during a game against Central Michigan at Wintrust Arena.

Being wrong sucks.

A few weeks back, I wrote the Loyola men’s basketball team had a chance to take over Chicago because the three professional teams in season — the Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks — stink. At the end, I said University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) could also help lift things up.

What I didn’t expect was DePaul University to skyrocket to the top.

In the four weeks since that column ran, Loyola has struggled to a 5-4 record and UIC has fallen to 3-6. Talk about an air-ball.

DePaul, meanwhile, is 8-0 after defeating University of Minnesota on the road Nov. 29. The Blue Demons were picked last out of 10 teams in the Big East Conference preseason poll and their head coach, Dave Leitao, was suspended for the first three games of the season for a recruiting violation. See why expectations were low?

You have to give credit where credit’s due. There’s a new king of Chicago men’s college basketball, and its throne sits in Lincoln Park — for the time being, at least.

The Blue Demons pack some star power this season. Their starting five all average more than nine points per game. Junior Paul Reed and University of Kansas transfer Charlie Moore appeared unstoppable against Minnesota. Watch out for those two this year.

Courtesy of Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia DePaul players Romeo Weems (left) and Jaylen Butz celebrate after a play during a game against Central Michigan at Wintrust Arena.

It’s important to note DePaul won eight non-conference games last year before going 7-11 in conference play. Max Strus led DePaul with 20.1 points per game and now plays for the Bulls. Moore has done a good job filling Strus’ shoes, scoring 17.1 points per contest, while Reed increased his scoring average by three whole points to 15.3 per game.

Could DePaul command the city like it did in the 1970s and 80s when they made 12 straight NCAA Tournaments, including the 1979 Final Four? Let’s not go that far. But the city needs to be put on notice. This team could be for real — and, honestly, maybe better than the Bulls.

Loyola could’ve been in this conversation, though. The Ramblers could be 8-1 right now — but a borderline-embarrassing loss to Coppin State University Nov. 12 and blowing two double-digit leads in the Cayman Islands Classic tournament Nov. 25-26 left their marks.

Last season, Coppin State ranked 342 out of 353 teams in the NCAA Evaluation Tool — a metric which helps determine which teams receive at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. That means, objectively speaking, the Eagles were the 11th worst team in Division I. Loyola also led both University of South Florida and Colorado State University by double digits in the Cayman Islands Classic, but the team couldn’t close out the games. Those should’ve all been victories.

“The Blue Demons pack some star power this season. Their starting five all average more than nine points per game.”

Nick Schultz, sports editor

This season wasn’t exactly thought to be March Madness-or-bust for Loyola, which was picked fourth out of 10 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll. It was seen as a building season toward a potential run in 2020-21 since only Bruno Skokna is set to graduate after this year. But the Ramblers still had a chance to be the best team in town with the way their non-conference schedule was set up.

This is where the growing pains are seen. Loyola’s 15-player roster consists of seven underclassmen, and three of its upperclassmen transferred in this season. That means 10 players have a year or less of Division I experience, so it’ll take some time for this group to figure out how to play together.

For now, it’s DePaul’s time to shine.

(Visited 881 times, 7 visits today)

17 thoughts on “Column: Sorry, Loyola. DePaul Has Taken Control of Chicago Men’s Basketball”

  1. Normally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that
    this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do it!
    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

  2. I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing problems
    with your blog. It appears like some of the written text on your
    posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment
    and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Many thanks

  3. hello there and thank you for your information –
    I have certainly picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise
    some technical points using this site, as I experienced to reload the web
    site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load
    correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will
    sometimes affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality
    score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot
    more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this again soon.

  4. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally,
    it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You definitely know what youre talking about,
    why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos
    to your site when you could be giving us
    something enlightening to read?

  5. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through
    issues with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why
    I can’t join it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS issues?
    Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond?
    Thanks!!

  6. Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to know so much approximately this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something.
    I believe that you simply could do with a few percent to force the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is
    magnificent blog. An excellent read. I’ll certainly be
    back.

  7. What’s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It positively helpful
    and it has aided me out loads. I’m hoping to
    give a contribution & assist other customers like its helped
    me. Great job.

  8. It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this
    helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to
    “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  10. Status Liker, Photo Liker, Photo Auto Liker, autolike, ZFN Liker, autoliker, Autolike International, Status Auto Liker, Autoliker, Autolike, Auto Like, Autoliker, auto liker, Working Auto Liker, Auto Liker, Increase Likes, auto like

  11. I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing issues with your website.
    It appears like some of the written text on your content are running off
    the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.

    Thanks

  12. I simply couldn’t depart your site prior to suggesting that I really loved the usual info a person supply for your visitors? Is going to be again regularly in order to investigate cross-check new posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Next Story