Tag Archives: Western Illinois

Three Power Conference Teams Who Should Be on Upset Alert on Opening Night

Moses Kingsley and the Arkansas Razorbacks are projected by many to be a team on the rise in the SEC. Before they get there, they need to get past Fort Wayne on opening night. (Source: Samantha Baker - Associated Press)
Moses Kingsley and the Arkansas Razorbacks are projected by many to be a team on the rise in the SEC. Before they get there, they need to get past Fort Wayne on opening night. (Source: Samantha Baker – Associated Press)

With the clock changing to midnight, the calendar has officially switched over to November 11th, and it’s the day we’ve all been waiting for since April.

It’s officially opening day for college basketball!

At 12:00pm EST, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will take on Milligan, and the 2016-17 season will officially be underway. The day is chalked full of games, giving fans plenty of opportunities to satisfy the craving of college basketball.

With games come upsets, and as we learned last season, no team is safe from them. From the Blue Raiders’ win over the highly-favoured Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Tournament, to a handful of upsets on opening night, anyone can seemingly beat anyone on any given night.

The first day of action in 2016-17 is no exception. There is potential for upsets all over the slate on Friday. Below are three power conference teams who should be weary of an upset on opening night.
Continue reading Three Power Conference Teams Who Should Be on Upset Alert on Opening Night

College Court Report Preseason All-Conference Teams: Summit League

Western Illinois has one of the top back court tandems in the Summit League, with Garret Covington (above) and Jabari Sandifer. (Source: Rachel Jessen - The Hawk Eye)
Western Illinois has one of the top back court tandems in the Summit League, with Garret Covington (above) and Jabari Sandifer. (Source: Rachel Jessen – The Hawk Eye)

With the exhibition season in full swing, and coming to a close early this week, that can mean only one thing.

The 2016-17 college basketball regular season is just around the corner!

Things get underway Friday, November 11th at Noon EST with the first regular season game of the season, and there will be a plethora of talent on display across all 32 conferences all season long.

Before the season gets started, we decided to hand out some preseason hardware, in the form of our Conference Player of the Year award and All-Conference Teams.

Along with that, we have the College Court Report All-Americans, and the Mid-Major Player of the Year Preseason Watch List. Links to all of the conference awards and the Watch List can be found at the bottom of each article.

Below, you can find the All-Conference Teams and Conference Player of the Year for the Summit League. Continue reading College Court Report Preseason All-Conference Teams: Summit League

Non-Power Five Guards Who Will Be Household Names in 2016-17: Seniors, Part Three

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Nick Lindner is one of the marquee players in the Patriot League that nobody is talking about. He’s one of ten senior guards from across the country who will become household names by year’s end.
With over 5,200 players slated to play collegiate basketball in Division I this season, there are talented players from coast to coast. Some of them are household names, while there are plenty of players who people haven’t heard of, but are demanding of your attention.

The majority of fans tend to focus on the power five conferences, turning a blind eye to the smaller programs. When you dig deeper, you’ll see that the non-power five schools have players who could just as easily play for a power conference program.

When it comes to senior guards in the NCAA, there are talented players from coast to coast. With so many players, it was nearly impossible to cut the list down to just 10 players without leaving star-calibre players off the list.

So, just like the folks over at The Hoops Column did with their lists of Non-Power Five Guards (Part 1Part 2Part 3) and Forwards (Part 1), we have broken the senior guards up into three parts.

Each will have 10 senior guards who will become household names in 2016-17, along with five others to keep a flag on as the season progresses.

**Note: Justin Robinson burst onto the scene last season, and Quinton Hooker was named the CCR Player of the Year. Both didn’t make the list, as we feel that they are already household names on a much larger scale than some of the other senior guards.** Continue reading Non-Power Five Guards Who Will Be Household Names in 2016-17: Seniors, Part Three

For the Second Year in a Row, the Western Illinois Leathernecks Will Look to Upset a Power Five School on Opening Night

On the opening night of the 2015-16 season, Jabari Sandifer recorded 12 points and 7 rebounds in Western Illinois' road upset over the Wisconsin Badgers. The Leathernecks will look to pull off another upset to open the 2016-17 season, this time against the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, KS. (Source: The Summit League)
On the opening night of the 2015-16 season, Jabari Sandifer recorded 12 points and 7 rebounds in Western Illinois’ road upset over the Wisconsin Badgers. The Leathernecks will look to pull off another upset to open the 2016-17 season, this time against the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, KS. (Source: The Summit League)

It didn’t take long for upsets to take place during the 2015-16 season.

One night, to be exact.

The Wisconsin Badgers came into the 2015-16 season as the 17th ranked team in the country, while the Western Illinois Leathernecks were coming off an 8-20 season in 2014-15.

On paper, Wisconsin was by far the stronger team. They had Nigel Hayes, who was in the conversation as a top contender for National Player of the Year, Bronson Koenig, and Zak Showalter, among others. The Badgers were coming off a loss in the National Championship, and were seen as a contender to win the Big Ten title and make a deep run in March.

The Badgers entered the game as 27-point favourites, but the Leathernecks weren’t about to back down.

Despite trailing by 7 points at halftime, Western Illinois continued to fight in the second half. They opened up an 8-point lead of their own with just over 6 minutes to play, and it appeared an upset was inevitable.

Two free throws from junior guard Garret Covington with 10 seconds left on the clock pushed Western Illinois ahead by 2, and the upset was complete soon thereafter.

The Leathernecks shocked the basketball world on opening night, upsetting the heavily-favoured Wisconsin Badgers on the road, 69-67.

Heading into the 2016-17 season, the Leathernecks are hoping to draw on their past experiences as they take on another power five opponent to open the campaign.

Can the Western Illinois Leathernecks pull off yet another program-defining upset to kick off the new season? Continue reading For the Second Year in a Row, the Western Illinois Leathernecks Will Look to Upset a Power Five School on Opening Night

Five Teams Who Have Been Pleasant Surprises to Start the 2015-16 Season

Sheldon McClellan and the Miami Hurricanes have raced out to a quick 5 - 0 record this season, jumped into the AP Top 25 rankings, and have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2015-16 season.
Sheldon McClellan and the Miami Hurricanes have raced out to a quick 5 – 0 record this season, jumped into the AP Top 25 rankings, and have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2015-16 season.

Each season, there are memorable performances that take place in the opening few weeks that catch the attention of everyone across the NCAA basketball landscape. From upset wins, to overtime thrillers, and unexpected hot starts to the season, the opening month of the NCAA basketball season is always full of unexpected surprises.

The 2015-16 season is no exception. There have been plenty of upsets, memorable individual performances, and some teams who have simply dominated their competition before making a huge leap into the top 25 rankings.

These teams are not always power conference teams, and our list of Five Pleasant Surprises for the 2015-16 Season is made up of predominately mid-major programs. Four of the five teams on our list are smaller programs who have made big splashes to open the season.

Here’s to hoping these five teams can keep up their hot starts to 2015-16.
Continue reading Five Teams Who Have Been Pleasant Surprises to Start the 2015-16 Season

Western Illinois Shocks #17 Wisconsin on the Road to Open the Season, 69 – 67

Garret Covington put up 16 points on opening night to help lead the Western Illinois Leathernecks to the upset victory over the #17 Wisconsin Badgers, 69 - 67.
Garret Covington put up 16 points on opening night to help lead the Western Illinois Leathernecks to the upset victory over the #17 Wisconsin Badgers, 69 – 67.

Last season, the Wisconsin Badgers advanced to the National Championship game before losing to Duke. They have a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate on their roster, in Nigel Hayes, and are ranked 17th in the nation to open the season.

Their opponent on opening night inside the Kohl Center? Western Illinois. The Leathernecks finished last in the Summit League standings a season ago.

On paper, this game was a no-brainer. But the good thing about these games is you actually have to play them to find the outcome, and anything is possible.

Western Illinois fought back from a nine-point deficit at half time, held on down the stretch, hit their free throws when they mattered most, and pulled off the first major upset of the 2015-16 season with their 69 – 67 win over the Wisconsin Badgers. Continue reading Western Illinois Shocks #17 Wisconsin on the Road to Open the Season, 69 – 67