Northwestern has announced that it will begin a five-year basketball series with DePaul. Chicago's two biggest teams faced off last year and were supposed to meet again in 2014-15, but couldn't due to a scheduling conflict. The series will resume in 2015-16 and continue for five years.
As you might guess, the coaches from both schools are excited:
"As a Chicago native, I think it's terrific for basketball in the area to have Northwestern and DePaul play one another," Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said. "There have been some great games between the teams over the years and we look forward to that continuing."
"Getting the DePaul-Northwestern series secured over this five-year stretch is great for both programs and basketball fans in Chicago," said DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell. "Last year's exciting finish was an example of the great competition we'll see between the two teams."
Though they play in different conferences, these teams aren't new to each other.
DePaul won last year's game on a last-second shot, but other than the late-game craziness, it was otherwise a snoozer. That game, more than anything, showed the current state of Chicago college basketball. The city has some of the best high school talent in the country — perhaps the very best — but NU and DePaul have been non-existent on the national stage for quite some time (and in the case of NU, forever).
A Chicago basketball challenge between the city's two best programs sounds like a cool idea, but for it to ever really take off, both programs have to get better. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, we'll be looking back at 2013 by the fifth game of the series and discussing just how far Chicago basketball has come.