Commentary

Illinois rolls to Great State Debate final

Updated: March 12, 2009, 12:46 PM ET
By Mark Tennis | ESPNRISE.com

Great State Debate bracket

Landslide voting results are nothing new in Illinois, and the entire state can celebrate one Thursday with the revelation that the Land of Lincoln has swamped California in this week's ESPN RISE Great State Debate.

When voting was closed Wednesday night, Illinois collected an impressive 70.9 percent of responders compared with just 29.1 percent for California.

The victory pushes Illinois into the final matchup of this Great State Debate. The No. 2 seed will go up against surprising No. 5 seed Michigan, which upset No. 1 New York last week.

In addition to New York, California joins Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas on the outside looking in for the boys' basketball Great State Debate.

In this past fall's Great State Debate for football, Texas won in the final over Florida. California lost in the semifinals of that one as well.

Best of the Great State Debate

"Indiana is probably the only state that packs the gyms for HS games than Illinois does. Small towns of just a few thousand routinely fill gyms beyond capacity. Across the board Cali doesn't even come close to that. Small towns have nothing better to do than to watch high school sports. The same thing happens in my small California town."
-- bustos26

"Along with that, Catholic High School in the Chicago Area has to be the best in the country. Along with many great players that have played and the deep talent that will be recruited by major D 1, the pride that the student sections show are unbelievable. Friday night conference basketball in the Chicago Catholic League or the East Suburban Catholic Conference is the place to be and a road victory is often hard to come by."
-- ChicagoJoe1985

"Chicago by far is the better hoop state. If you're going to put Tyson Chandler as a great, why leave off Kendall Gill or Adrian Dantley? Isiah Thomas, Mark Aguirre, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Terry Cummings, Adrian Dantley, Tim Hardaway and Mo Cheeks too much talent there."
-- royalte1423

"The great thing about Illinois hoops is that its quality is all over the state. The downstate schools from the Quad Cities, Peoria, Quincy and East St. Louis don't cower in fear when March Madness comes. They know they more than hold their own versus their big city brethren. Go to any of those gyms and you will see great basketball with amazing fan support year after year. In California there are often more people on the court than in the stands."
-- sports medic

"If it were surfing or skateboarding then California wins hands down. But it isn't and everyone knows Illinois brings it when it comes to hoops."
-- cubstrophycase