College Basketball Tipoff

The Purdue Boilermakers kick of the 2021-2022 season tonight, meaning it’s time to take our fourth look at the results of the now whopping 17 college basketball games I have attended in my lifetime. You’d think it would be more, since I was a big fan and we had a great team while I was in school, but for some reason I only made it to 2 games while enrolled in college. The other 15 have been post-graduation, including one new game last season, an upsetting appearance in the NCAA tournament against North Texas.  With Danny now at Purdue, this number may go up with a bit more regularity, at least for the next 3 years.  Anyway, without further ado, here are the standings for those 17 games.

All-Time Team Records
Team Won Loss Winning Pctg
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 1 0 1.000
North Texas Mean Green 1 0 1.000
Butler Bulldogs 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 10 6 0.625
Northwestern Wildcats 2 3 0.400
Illinois Fighting Illini 2 3 0.400
Vermont Catamounts 0 1 0.000
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 0 1 0.000
Long Beach State 49ers 0 1 0.000
Iowa State Cyclones 0 1 0.000
Houston Cougars 0 1 0.000

By The Numbers – 45 Bonus!

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees. By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues. Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Sunday, we continued our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #45.  Today, we take a special bonus look at someone who wore #45 during a Windy City Classic exhibition game in 1994.

After winning his third NBA championship in the summer of 1993, Michael Jordan retired from basketball.  He signed a contract with the White Sox in February of 1994, “I chose to try to play baseball just to see if I could,” Jordan said when he signed the contract.  “I’m not doing it as a distraction and I’m not doing it as a media hog or looking for the media exposure from it. It’s one of the wishes my father had and I had as a kid.”  Jordan’s father had been murdered the previous July and Jordan’s memories of his father played a large role in his deciding what he should do next.

Jordan, who hadn’t played baseball since high school, had a difficult spring training, hitting .152 in 46 at bats, and he was assigned to Double-A Birmingham.  First, though, was the annual exhibition game between the two Chicago teams on April 7 at Wrigley Field.  Jordan was penciled in to the starting lineup, batting sixth.  In the sixth inning, Jordan hit an RBI single off veteran Dave Otto, and in the seventh, he bounced a Chuck Crim pitch down the third-base line for a game-tying double.  The crowd, White Sox and Cubs fans alike, rose to their feet and roared, as Jordan smiled, stuck out his tongue, and tipped his helmet at second base.

Jordan finished the day 2 for 5, with 2 RBIs, an error, and base running gaffe.  “Who would ever think I would be out there playing in Wrigley Field?” Jordan said.  “It was a great feeling just to come out there and do well.”  Jordan reported to Birmingham the following day and, after the labor strife that ended the 1994 season early spread in to 1995, Jordan left baseball, returned to the Bulls, and won another three NBA championships.

The Sweet Sixteen

We enter the Sweet 16 with upsets galore. leaving me without my champion pick, An Ohio State University, who lost to a 15 seed in the opening round.  My Boilermakers also crapped out in the first round, making my trip to Indianapolis last weekend a questionable decision.

Gonzaga, the overall #1 seed, has to be even more of a favorite to win the whole thing at this point.

The Big Ten did me wrong in this region, as both Purdue and Ohio State were upset in the first round.   Continue reading →

Socially Distanced Dancing

Because money is more important than the health of their so-called student athletes, the NCAA tournament returns after a year break caused by the outbreak of the corona virus.  For reasons that I’m sure make some sort of sense, games this year will be Friday through Monday instead of Thursday through Sunday.  As the nation’s attention is grabbed for the next few weeks, let’s take a look at my picks for this year’s tournament.

A few minor upsets, but the overall #1 seed, Gonzaga, makes it out on their way to the Final Four.

Purdue finds themselves the #4 seed, playing tomorrow night at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Again, there’s a few minor upsets early in the going, but I have things chalk in the Elite Eight, where Ohio State, the #2 seed, gets through. Continue reading →

College Basketball Tipoff

The Purdue Boilermakers kick of the 2020-2021 season today, meaning it’s time to take our third ever look at the results of the now whopping 16 college basketball games I have attended in my lifetime. You’d think it would be more, since I was a big fan and we had a great team while I was in school, but for some reason I only made it to 2 games while enrolled in college. The other 14 have been post-graduation, including two new games last season at Illinois and Northwestern.  Anyway, without further ado, here are the standings for those 16 games.

All-Time Team Records
Team Won Loss Winning Pctg
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 1 0 1.000
Butler Bulldogs 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 10 5 0.667
Northwestern Wildcats 2 3 0.400
Illinois Fighting Illini 2 3 0.400
Vermont Catamounts 0 1 0.000
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 0 1 0.000
Long Beach State 49ers 0 1 0.000
Iowa State Cyclones 0 1 0.000
Houston Cougars 0 1 0.000

200 Things To Do In Illinois – United Center

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018. To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  Now that the state is starting to open back up following the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Sports category: United Center, from Chicago, IL.

Seeing the stars of the Bulls and the Blackhawks go to battle in the Madhouse on Madison is thrilling – or infuriating, depending on how the teams are doing.

But no trip to the Near West Side stadium is complete without genuflecting at a trio of statues commemorating former Chicago hockey and basketball greats Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Michael Jordan.  You’ll find Hull and Mikita outside, while His Airness is enshrined in an atrium that opened last year.

I’ve been to the United Center 10 times, for 4 Bulls games, 4 Blackhawks games, a 2011 NCAA tournament game, and a concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  My first two Bulls games came in 1997, a month or two prior to Michael Jordan’s return to the team.  My only game during the championship years came in November of 1997, when I saw Jordan and Bulls defeat the Hornets.  3 of the Blackhawk games came during their lean years, with just one coming during their championship runs.  The NCAA tournament game saw the Purdue Boilermakers fall to VCU in a surprising upset.

 

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Fighting Illini Basketball

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018. To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities. With the state still shut down due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Sports category: Fighting Illini Basketball, from Champaign, IL.

Get swept up in Big 10 school spirit at the University of Illinois’ recently renovated State Farm Center.  The space-shiplike dome contains an intense student section, the Orange Krush, created at the urging of former coach Lou Henson in the mid-1970s.

Decades later, the Krush conyinues to put the squeeze on opposing teams with an intimidating sea of orange and trademark cheers.

I’ve attended 2 Fighting Illini home basketball games, one in 2016 and the second this past January.  In both cases, I’ve left the State Farm Center disappointed as the Illini managed to defeat my beloved Purdue Boilermakers.  With Danny now committed to Purdue, there probably isn’t a reason why I’d need to go back to Champaign to see another game.

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

Earlier this afternoon, Major League Baseball suspended the remainder of spring training and delayed the start of the season by at least two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Instead of the March 26th openers, the earliest the season would kick off would be April 9.  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he had talked with owners of Chicago’s major sports teams and asked them to cancel games until May 1 or play without spectators.

This follows the suspension of the NBA season last night following Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for the virus prior to the team’s game in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.  On the college scene, the Big Ten Tournament was cancelled earlier this morning, followed by the entire NCAA Tournament.

Personally, this means I won’t be going to opening day for the White Sox in two weeks or the Cubs home opener the following Monday.  It also puts my trip to Boston the following weekend in doubt, as the White Sox v Red Sox tilt at Fenway Park will not be taking place and Angelina may not be back at school.

The Decade In College Sports

The 2010s have drawn to a close and its time to take a look back at the previous decade.  Today, we are wrapping things up with college athletics, specifically football and basketball.  On the gridiron, this was not a particularly successful ten years for the boys in gold and black, with only 4 bowl games, none of which were particularly prestigious.  Things were considerably brighter on the hardwood, with 8 appearances in the NCAA tournament, including 2 losses in the Sweet Sixteen and 1 Elite Eight appearance.  Not to mention 2 Big Ten regular season titles.

I only managed to take in 3 football game over the past 10 years, all at Ross-Ade Stadium.  The home team managed to win only the first of those, and were frankly somewhat embarrassed in the other two.

Team Records
Team Won Loss Winning Percentage
Northern Illinois Huskies 1 0 1.000
Illinois Fighting Illini 1 1 0.500
Purdue Boilermakers 1 2 0.333

Things were a little better on the basketball side.  I made it to 9 different contests over the course of the decade, at 5 different arenas.  Of those 9, 4 were tournament games.  Purdue was involved in 8 of the 9 games, mostly against the Illini.

Team Records
Team Won Loss Winning Percentage
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 1 0 1.000
Northwestern Wildcats 1 0 1.000
Butler Bulldogs 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 5 3 0.625
Illinois Fighting Illini 1 3 0.250
Vermont Catamounts 0 1 0.000
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 0 1 0.000
Iowa State Cyclones 0 1 0.000