15 years. That's been how long it's been since NIU has been to the NCAA tournament. Back then they weren't even part of the same league that they're in right now, which is the MAC. Everybody wonders what has went wrong since NIU is the only MAC school in the basketball-rich state that is Illinois. But I digress, the athletic director Jeff Compher is working on his second huge hire in less than six months.
"As I thought, I think this is a highly sought-after job because of all we have to offer as a university," Compher said. "Our proximity to the Chicagoland area, and this community, are certainly pluses. I think the fact that this program has won in the past (has helped), and people are familiar with the success we enjoyed from the past.
"We’ve proven you can have success here, and I think people are looking at that as a sign that it can be done."
Kent State is the favorite to win the MAC, which is playing right now in the championship game against Akron. Both Ohio schools have had several years of success in this league that NIU is trying to match. Last year Ohio came out of nowhere, but rescinded after a flurry of early exits.
The league ranks 18th in the country and arguably the biggest win between the two squads was Akron's opening win over a 22-11 Iona squad who lost to 15 seed St. Peters in the MAAC final. It is likely that
Kent Akron will get a 14 15 seed if they can seal the deal.
The #1 seeds? Ohio State, Kansas and... I guess Pitt & Notre Dame despite either team not even making the Big East final game. Sooo I'm going to go ahead and knock ND down and assume that the Blue Devils of this school called Duke is going to take that final spot. I'd make a case for Texas too, but they're too busy getting blown out by Kansas right now.
Don't fret Huskie fans, every single school in Illinois had a horrific year in basketball, and the vaunted Fighting Illini bowed out in the first round of the Big 10 tourney to Illinois. However, it looks like they will still make the big dance as an 11 seed.