Week 1 Happening Hoops Chicago College Basketball Power Rankings
By: Ethan Hennessy
November 11th 2019
1- DePaul – DePaul finishes week 1 atop the Happening Hoops Chicago College Basketball Power Rankings. For most of the week the blue demons have led the nation in wins. This was thanks to playing three games in the first four days of the season and winning all three. The opponents have not been powerhouse teams (Alcorn State, division 3 University of Chicago, and Fairleigh Dickenson), but they still beat who is in front of them nonetheless. Charlie Moore dropped 27 on the best of those three teams Fairleigh Dickinson, who made the NCAA tournament last season. DePaul has built some nice early season momentum heading into a tough Gavitt Games matchup against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City tonight (Monday).
2 – Loyola Chicago – The ramblers are 1-1 on the season. They beat UC Davis by a large margin in Chicago, and lost to Furman on the road by a large margin. With an upcoming schedule of Coppin State, Saint Joe’s, and IUPUI all at Gentile Arena I feel like it will be difficult to judge who this team really is until they get into the Cayman Islands Classic Tournament with teams like USF, New Mexico State, and George Mason. One thing to note is Loyola Chicago has managed only four fast break points in two games.
3 – Chicago State – The cougars are in the third spot after a promising opening week. They destroyed NAIA Judson college 103-60, and fell 98-85 to Loyola Maryland out of the Patriot League. This is not the Chicago State team of years past. I was at the Loyola game on Saturday, and got a first hand look at how quick and tough the team is this year. Xavier Johnson is undersized, but quick and fearless when attacking the paint. He is averaging 28 points per game in the young season. Chicago State has also made a ton of changes to the gameday environment this year. In addition to more fans in general they also have tailgating, a pep band, dancers, color guard, and student sections. All of this combined will make the Jones Convocation Center a place that opponents will have to fight a little harder in to get wins in this season.
4 – UIC – The flames just like Chicago State are 1-1 with a win over a non-division one opponent, and a loss to a division one team. They are ranked below Chicago State because they only beat their non division one foe by three points compared to Chicago State’s 43-point victory. UIC had the singular toughest game of the week for any of the Chicago teams playing #14 Memphis at the FedEx Forum. I didn’t expect them to win, but shooting 24% for the game really hurt their chances to keep it close. The bright side for the flames is they are ranked ahead of Northwestern from the Big Ten.
5- Northwestern – I did not expect Northwestern to be sitting in last after the first week, but when the wildcats went 0-1 opening week, they did not give me a whole lot to work with. Northwestern has the unfortunate reality of now having their name next to Merrimack’s first division one win. Similar to California Baptist last year Merrimack is an above average new division one team in terms of talent, but that is still no team Northwestern should be losing to at home especially by double digits. Pete Nance had a great game opening up his sophomore season with 19 points and 12 rebounds. It was concerning that Northwestern gave up 11 second chance points to an undersized team, and only had two steals to Merrimack’s nine. The Wildcats will have to regroup quickly to avoid falling to 0-2 as a good Providence teams comes to Welsh Ryan Arena on Wednesday.
Last week’s Pre-season rankings:
- Loyola Chicago
- Chicago State