- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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I'm deciding to break my personal (always-subject-to-change-when-my-editor-says-so) no-realignment-news rule just this once. The piece of news at hand is simply too monumental to ignore, even if it escaped my purview Wednesday afternoon.
Chicago State is now part of a basketball conference.
Yes, you read that right. A current denizen of the Great West conference, which is less a conference than a loose assemblage of schools with no automatic NCAA tournament bid between them, Chicago State is in one of college basketball's most unenviable positions. In his first two seasons, coach Tracy Dildy has won just 10 games total, and has usually finished near the absolute bottom of KenPom's efficiency statistics, too.
But life isn't easy in the Great West, and Dildy is absolutely ecstatic about the move. From Brett McMurphy's report Wednesday:
"It's huge for us," Chicago State men's basketball coach Tracy Dildy said. "It puts us in a legit conference. It now levels the playing field as far as recruiting and everything. We now get to offer everything everyone else does -- a chance for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. People have been killing us on that in recruiting. We can get and recruit a different kind of student-athlete."
That might be just a tad bit optimistic -- when he was hired, Dildy told me Chicago State was a "sleeping giant" -- but at the very least it should help Chicago State get a look or two from Chicago-area guys that wouldn't have otherwise thought twice. And Chicago State's facilities aren't bad. Its 5,500 seat Convocation Center is an on-campus selling point, and its library features a robot that gets books for you, which is obviously rad.
Anyway: Congratulations to the Cougars. It may not be the old Mid-Con, but at least it isn't the Great West.
And everyone says realignment was a bad thing. Pshh.