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EMU v Illinois-Chicago preview & open thread

November 11, 2011

All-knowing Wikipedia tells us about Illinois-Chicago:

The University of Illinois at Chicago, or UIC, is a state-funded public research university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Its campus is in the Near West Side community area, near the Chicago Loop. As the second campus established under the University of Illinois system, it is also the largest university in the Chicago area with approximately 27,000 students enrolled in 15 colleges. UIC operates the nation’s largest medical school, with research expenditures exceeding $340 million and consistently in the top 50 U.S. institutions for research expenditures…UIC competes in NCAA Division I Horizon League as the UIC Flames in sports. The UIC Pavilion is home to all UIC basketball games. It also serves as a venue for concerts.

…The University of Illinois was chartered in 1867 in Champaign-Urbana, as the state’s land-grant university. In exchange for agreeing to the Champaign-Urbana location, Chicago-area legislators were promised that a “polytechnical” branch would open in Chicago. The Chicago-based health colleges affiliated with the University in 1896–97, becoming fully incorporated into the University of Illinois in 1913, as the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. Medical education and research dramatically expanded in the succeeding decades, leading to the development of several other health science colleges, which were brought together as the Chicago Professional Colleges of the University of Illinois. In 1935, the first act of newly-elected state representative Richard J. Daley was to introduce a resolution calling for the establishment of a Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.

In 1951, Daley succeeded in getting the state senate to pass a bill calling for a Chicago campus. Daley became mayor of Chicago in 1955 and pressed the University of Illinois to accept a Chicago campus. After a long and controversial site decision process, in 1961, Mayor Daley offered the Harrison and Halsted Streets site for the new campus. In that same year, what would later become the health science colleges became the University of Illinois at the Medical Center (UIMC)… The new Chicago campus was named the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (UICC) and opened in February 1965. UICC was designed by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, a Chicago-based architectural firm responsible for most of today’s tallest skyscrapers. Unlike the Navy Pier campus, Circle was a degree-granting institution. Many of the newly-recruited faculty came because it was connected to a strong research university and they pushed for rapid development into a research-oriented school emphasizing graduate instruction. Within five years of the campus’ opening, virtually every department offered graduate degrees.

UIC’s team name is the Flames, a reference to the Great Chicago Fire which started a few blocks east of campus. The mascot is Sparky D. Dragon…The team colors are navy blue and fire engine red. The Flames participate in NCAA Division I athletics as part of the Horizon League…

Interestingly enough, “Flames” was chosen as the winning entry in a contest in 1982, when the several schools were merged into UIC.

So what about the basketball team?

EMU has faced the Flames in men’s basketball three times, but it’s been nearly 20 years since the last meeting.

Date Home Team Visiting Team Location
1992/12/20 EMU 89 Illinois-Chicago 81 Bowen Field House, Ypsilanti
1982/12/21 Illinois-Chicago 68 EMU 72 UIC Pavilion, Chicago
1981/12/12 EMU 73 Illinois-Chicago 55 Bowen Field House, Ypsilanti

Jimmy Collins coached the Flames from 1996 until 2010. Under his leadership they went to the NCAA tournament in 1998, 2002, and 2004, and to the NIT in 2003, but they never advanced beyond the first round of either. Following the 2009-10 season, Collins retired, and the Flames hired Chicago native and former Wisconsin assistant coach Howard Moore. Moore also has a MAC connection, having been an assistant coach to Tim Buckley at Ball State for the 2003-04 season.

Last year, in Moore’s first season as a head coach, the Flames went 7-24 (2-16 Horizon League). They did manage several notable wins, beating Toledo twice (OK, that’s only notable because they played a non-conference team twice, and because it happens to be a MAC West team) and upsetting then-#12 Illinois 57-54. The Flames graduated six seniors, including the awesomely-named Robo Kreps, and only have two returners who played significant minutes last year, Darrin Williams and Paris Carter, both of whom are now seniors. Carter is a forward who averaged 4.8 points and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes per game, while Williams is a guard who averaged 5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game. Williams was named to the Pre-season All-Horizon League Third Team.

So how is Moore replacing all those seniors? With nine –NINE! — newcomers. Seven are incoming freshman, one is a junior college transfer, and one…well, we’ll get to him.

Jerome Brown, 6-4, 186, G, Fr., Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park)
Marc Brown, 6-4, 203, G/F, Fr., Dallas, Texas (Woodrow Wilson)
Ahman Fells, 6-5, 183, F, Fr., Chicago, Ill. (Simeon)
Hayden Humes, 6-8, 215, F, So.-TR, Valparaiso, Ind. (Valparaiso/Toledo)
Rob Robinson, 6-5, 188, G/F, Fr., Chicago, Ill. (Simeon/St. John’s Military Academy [Wis.])
Will Simonton, 6-10, 217, C, Fr., Vienna, Va. (George Marshall/Fisburne Military Academy [Va.])
Sammy Sutter, 6-2, 164, G, Fr., Bartlett, Ill. (South Elgin)
Gary Talton, 6-1, 158, G, Jr.-TR, DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto/Mountain View C.C. [Texas])
Greg Travis, 6-0, 186, G, Fr., Chicago, Ill. (Curie)

Did you notice that one? Hayden Humes played for Toledo just last year, but the NCAA has granted a hardship waiver allowing him to play for the Flames immediately, after Toledo’s scholarships were reduced due to a poor APR (see, grades do matter!). Humes started 25 games for the Rockets last year, averaging 5.7 points, 1 assist, and 5 rebounds in 26 minutes per game. In Toledo’s two losses to EMU he averaged 7 points and 6 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Here’s the whole Illinois-Chicago roster, then.

No. Name Ht Wt Pos Yr Hometown HS Prev. school
1 Daniel Barnes 6-2 169 Guard SR Oak Park, Ill. Oak Park-River Forest Kaskaskia College
21 Jerome Brown 6-4 186 Guard FR Chicago, Ill. Morgan Park  
10 Marc Brown 6-4 203 Guard FR Dallas, Texas Woodrow Wilson  
11 Matt Bush 6-4 197 Guard RS SR Quincy, Ill. Quincy Black Hawk College
34 Paris Carter 6-7 221 Forward SR Lansing, Ill. T.F. South Lake Land College
33 Ahman Fells 6-5 183 Forward FR Chicago, Ill. Simeon  
13 Hayden Humes 6-8 215 Forward SO Valparaiso, Ind. Valparaiso Toledo
20 Anthony Kelley 6-6 188 Guard JR Aurora, Ill. Aurora Central Catholic  
3 Rob Robinson 6-5 188 Guard/Forward FR Chicago, Ill. St. John’s Military Academy/Simeon  
44 Will Simonton 6-10 217 Center FR Fairfax, Va. Fishburne Military Academy/George Marshall  
0 Sammy Sutter 6-2 164 Guard FR Bartlett, Ill. South Elgin  
4 Gary Talton 6-1 158 Guard JR Dallas, Texas DeSoto Mountain View C.C. (Texas)
5 Greg Travis 6-0 186 Guard FR Chicago, Ill. Curie  
45 Dorian Tyler 6-9 196 Center SR Chicago, Ill. Marshall Morton College
32 Darrin Williams 6-9 269 Center SR Louisville, Ky. Eastern Wallace State CC

Depending on where you look, EMU is generally favored to win this game by 1.5 (Sagarin) to 6 (Pomeroy) points. Sagarin actually has the Flames listed as the better team, but gives EMU a tiny edge based on home court advantage, while Pomeroy lists the Eagles as the better team outright, with a 72% chance of winning. Of course, both use statistic-based ratings, which are nothing but a guess at this point (since no actual games have been played), so they could both be wildly wrong in either direction.

There will be no television, online video, or EMU radio broadcast for the game. If you can’t go, the only way to catch it is to listen to the Illinois-Chicago radio broadcast (WMVP-AM 1000 in Chicago), which will be streamed online. You can also follow the tweetcast at @EMUhoops and @eagletotemblog.

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