DePaul and Northwestern each have a college hoops team going for a tournament title this weekend
CHICAGO – At the moment, only eight teams in Division I College Basketball have a chance to achieve the ultimate prize in their sport.
Four men’s basketball teams are heading to Minneapolis to play for a title – Auburn, Michigan State, Texas Tech and Virginia. Meanwhile four women’s basketball teams – Baylor, Notre Dame, Oregon and UConn – are headed to Tampa to determine a champion.
Depaul and Northwestern basketball fans, like most in the country, don’t have a team to root for on that stage. But at least each school still has one of their hoops teams playing on this first weekend in April.
The Blue Demons men’s basketball team forced a third and decisive game in the CBI Finals on Wednesday night by beating South Florida 100-96 in overtime on campus at McGraw-Phillips Arena.
Max Strus reached the 30-point mark for the third time in his last five games, scoring 32 to lead all scorers as DePaul forced the CBI championship game on Friday night at 6 PM. The Blue Demons and Bulls along with the four Final Four teams are the only men’s basketball teams in the country still playing.
Unfortunately, the team will most likely play the game without senior guard Eli Cain, who injured his wrist in the win over the Bulls on Wednesday. The senior guard has been the most consistent player for the team in the Leitao era, averaging over ten points a game in each of his four seasons.
Northwestern women’s basketball will have a tournament championship of their own one day after DePaul as they go for a WNIT title against Arizona in Tucson on Saturday.
The Wildcats, who finished the regular season 16-14, have won five-straight games in the tournament to reach the final, including three away from Welsh Ryan Arena. On Wednesday, the got their spot in the championship game with a 74-69 victory at James Madison.
Head coach Joe McKeown celebrated with the team in the locker room Wednesday night, as this video from his daughter Meghan shows, and another win would give the Wildcats their first-ever WNIT Championship.