CBB 2019: March Sadness for the Land of Lincoln

This morning’s elliptical workout: I came, I did 32 minutes, I went.

Because of my current weight and the workout level I am inputting into the True brand elliptical for my workouts, I believe my workouts will have at least 50% at a heavy workload. I started off at medium high for the first two minutes, then spent the next fifteen on a gradual stepladder up in intensity from low to high workload, and then worked heavy for six minutes. The second half of the workout was mostly high, with a two minute break at low before going high again. I burned 553 calories in the 32 minutes.

Six days, six 0430 reveilles, six workouts in the book. Progress.


The NCAA Men’s College Basketball regular season is winding down. During the first full week of March, the mid-major conferences will start their conference tournaments, then the next week, the five major conferences (Big 10, Pacific12, Big 12, Atlantic Coast, and Southeastern) will begin theirs.

The NCAA Tournament will have 68 berths available. Most of them will be snapped up by the Major conference schools that didn’t win their conference tournaments, but had a good enough season to merit an at-large berth. For about 100 schools in the mid-major conferences, their best shot at a berth is by winning their conference tournament and the automatic berth that comes with it.

I currently live in Maryland, but I am originally from Peoria IL. My allegiance to the state’s college and pro teams has dimmed, but not completely waned. My interest in NCAAA athletics in Maryland (my Maryland) has been one University of MD football game which I won free tickets for. That was almost 11 tears ago and I haven’t been back since.

Long story short: Illinois is largely irrelevant in terms of NCAA Division I football or basketball. The Land of Lincoln especially sucks at basketball. The one school that I regularly follow is Bradley University, from my hometown of Peoria.

It has been 37 years since I watched the Braves defat the University of Tulsa 82-79 to clinch the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title. Although they lost the MVC tournament semifinal to archival Illinois State, they did make a run to the 1982 National Invitational title. I was in the stands for the quarterfinal victory over Tulane that put them in the semifinals to be played at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Courtesy of my high school speech therapist I got a chance to work Bradley games my sophomore and junior year (1985 thru 1987).

My beloved Braves have had a long, rough year plagued with issues on scoring points. They have had a brief revival of a four game winning streak, ended abruptly with a 77-68 loss at Drake on Wednesday. Starting today, they have three games left, and sit in a four team jam at 7-8, just outside the top six teams that will receive first round byes in the conference tournament. If Bradley finishes 7th or lower, they will play the dreaded Thursday play-in game, and will need four straight wins to win the tournament and the trip to the Big Dance.

Today the braves host dead-last Evansville, then host Valparaiso, one of the teams that they are tied at 7-8 with. They end the regular season next Saturday at defending champion Loyola of Chicago, Bradley REALLY needs to sweep all three games and get that top-six birth; from there, anything can happen. The Braves did beat Loyola at home earlier this season…if that means anything.

The rest of the Land of Lincoln, by school and conference:

Illinois State (Missouri Valley 7-7, 14-14 overall). Currently on a five game losing streak. Home to Drake and Missouri State, two of the top three in the Valley. Away at Southern Illinois, the other 7-8 team, to finish the season. All the momentum is in the wrong direction. One and done in the Valley tournament.

Southern Illinois (7-8, 14-14). Hit-and miss all season. The Salukis hold the tie breaker in the &-8 logjam and have home games against Loyola and Illinois State around an away thrip to Evansville. They need that top six berth, so they need to handle their business with ISU and E-ville, pull off an upset against Loyola and hope everybody else stumbles. Now would be a good time to get fellas, if you want to make the Dance.

Southern Illinois-Edwadrsville (5-10 Ohio Valley, 9-18 overall) Their win at Tennessee State was their second road win of the year. The Cougars look too far out of their depth to make any noise in the post season.

Eastern Illinois (7-8 Ohio Valley, 14-14 overall). Fifth in the conference, but five games out of fourth. The Panthers might win a game, but good luck making it out of the quarterfinals of the OVC tourney.

Western Illinois (3-10 Summit, 8-18 overall). After back-to-back hone losses to North Dakota (74-73) and North Dakota State (78-76) you could say the bottom has dropped out for the Leathernecks. Losers of five straight right now. Yeah…no.

Chicago State (0-12 Western Athletic Conference, 3-24 overall). The most easternmost team to ever play in the Western Athletic Conference. The won-loss records say it all. Next!

(my God his is more depressing than I thought it would be)

Northern Illinois (5-8 Mid American West,  12-14 overall). Another team from the L of L trending in the wrong direction (five game losing streak). They have five games left to try and find a spark, but most likely the Huskies will be one and done like their other state-sponsored bretheren.

Illinois-Chicago (8-7 Horizon League, 14-14 overall) Lost back-to back, but finish with Milwaukee (4-11), at Oakland (8-7) and at Detroit (7-8). Only two games separate the third place school (9-7 Green Bay) from the eighth place school (Detroit). IF the Flames can run the table, they have as good as a shot as anybody for taking the Horizon tournament.

Illinois (6-10 Big Ten, 10-17 overall). There are a few bright spots in the Fighting Illini darkness, such as a road win at 24th ranked Maryland, and a 79-74 home win against no. 10 Michigan State. Unfortunately, a road loss to damn0near bottom feeding Penn State today kind of dims my hopes for this team. After a midweek trip to no. 15 Purdue, the Illini finish with Northwestern (away), Indiana (home) and at Penn State (away). If Illinois want to be serious about  taking the Big Ten’s NCAA berth (via the Big Ten tournament), beating Purdue is CRITICAL, then they must sweep the dregs of the conference to build some momentum.

Northwestern (3-12 Big Ten, 12-14 overall) are utter doormats. DePaul (5-9 Big East, 13-12 overall) are two games out of third place but a half-game above last place Providence. Yeah…no. To both teams.

I have places to go and shopping to do, so I will close for now, An extended Song of the Day playlist will be posted later tonight.


I hope…?


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