The open up of Western Illinois’ NCAA tournament escape in Twelve months 22, continued

Welcome relief to our simulated dynasty with the Western Illinois Leathernecks in College Hoops 2K8. You would possibly per chance receive a elephantine explanation of this mission + spoiler-free links to old seasons right here. Take a look at up on the introduction to this sequence from early April for elephantine context. As a reminder, we simulate each game on this sequence and easiest sustain a watch on the recruiting and instructing ideas.

We grab up with the Leathernecks within the predominant spherical of the 2029 NCAA tournament, nevertheless first right here’s a recap of every little thing that’s came about to this level this season.

  • Coming off a disappointing loss within the spherical of 32 to No. 1 seed Xavier closing season, the Leathernecks enter the new Twelve months ranked No. 19 within the preseason polls. We’ve got three new starters.
  • We went 6-5 within the non-conference time desk old to sweeping the Summit League and winning the conference tournament as soon as again. We earned a No. 11 seed to the NCAA tournament, coming into at 27-5 total.
  • We recruited for one scholarship, nevertheless didn’t land somebody yet.

Be taught: Western Illinois, Twelve months 22, 2028-2029

Right here’s a belief at our roster heading into the NCAA tournament:

No one can doubt the general talent stage of this roster. We’re rated as a 100 total for a motive — we have a sizable combination of skilled high-finish talent plus depth. It is ravishing to wonder who our takeover scorer goes to be, though.

I surely have elephantine self belief in Kevin Brazzle, the 7’2 junior heart and projected high grab within the NBA draft. He’s set up numbers all Twelve months and figures to present a consistent scorer and rebounder interior. Who steps up on the perimeter is a bigger are anticipating. Wilbur Ager, our lone senior, has had a correct profession to this level, nevertheless he’s never had to be the person within the shadow of Allen Cunningham and others. Now we would prefer him to play love a smartly-known person. Does Ager have a Wilky Henry-love escape in him? The spotlight is additionally anticipating Mathew Alloway, now a junior and a starter yearly he’s been eligible. Alloway has the dimensions (6’7), he has the taking pictures, and he brings it defensively. We’ve had him circled as a future smartly-known person for years. The lengthy escape is right here.

Point guard Jamie Burke and energy forward L.F. Neal, each first-Twelve months starters as juniors, are less performed nevertheless clean talented. Our bench has a 300-pound heart in Artie Snipes, a 6’10 disappear in Jitim Dupree, and our easiest three-level shooter in 6-foot guard Koko Reeves. We’re correct sufficient to lean on a smartly-known person-by-committee intention, nevertheless somebody goes to favor to step up against an incredibly formidable UConn team.

The Huskies were killer at some level of this sim, one among easiest four capabilities to take two titles (the others: Louisville, Maryland, UCLA) while we have three. UConn knocked us out within the Elite Eight relief in Twelve months 18. They have a loaded roster as soon as again. Both teams enter the game rated as a 100 total:

Maryland is seemingly waiting within the spherical of 32 and high-seed Xavier is seemingly waiting within the Sweet 16. Our Leathernecks are frail to getting shafted by the committee, and it came about in a valuable formulation this Twelve months. This would possibly be our hardest scheme ever.

We watched this game on Twitch together on Sunday night time. As continually, I’m not controlling Western Illinois at some level of the game, we’re staring at a simulated game. Unfortunately the video transfer to YouTube is taking perpetually and clean isn’t completely uploaded even after 12+ hours. I’ll add videos on this post when it’s total.

Let’s scamper!

Elevate, 103-89! 2d half team!

This became getting sad for a minute there. Led by my lengthy-misplaced relative Donny O’Donnell (36 aspects), UConn opened up a double digit lead gradual within the predominant half. That’s after I switched us staunch into a 1-2-1-1 zone elephantine court press defense. We started forcing turnovers, which led to easy offense, which led to us taking sustain a watch on of the game. We dropped 65 damn aspects within the 2nd half, which is upright wonderful.

I cherished what I saw out of Alloway, ending with 19 aspects on 3-of-3 taking pictures from three-level vary. Ager struggled to shoot the ball from the surface (1-of-5 from three) nevertheless clean found a technique discover 17 aspects and additionally had four steals.

Our entrance court gave us a sizable complement subsequent to our guards. Neal played the game of his existence: 20 aspects, 11 rebounds, and 5 stocks. He’s had a composed profession to this level nevertheless we don’t take that game with out him. Brazzle remains to be the image of consistency by going off for one more tubby double-double of 17 aspects and 16 rebounds.

Much less correct: level guard Jamie Burke, who performed with eight turnovers turnovers and nil-of-4 taking pictures from three.

We completely would have misplaced this game with out the swap to a elephantine court press defense. The closing scoreboard says we received by 14, nevertheless man does it feel love that’s a game we easily would possibly well have misplaced. Even clean, it feels sizable to beat UConn within the tournament. Unfortunately, it isn’t getting any more straightforward from right here.

Our subsequent opponent within the following our is No. 3 seed Maryland, who beat No. 14 Samford of their opening game.

No. 11 seed Western Illinois vs. No. 3 seed Maryland, spherical of 32, 2029 NCAA tournament

Maryland has been one among the higher capabilities within the nation at some level of this sim. Enjoy UConn, the Terps have two nationwide championships while repeatedly being a ingredient gradual within the tournament.

Maryland enters the game as a 100 total — the same ranking as us. Right here’s a belief at their roster:

You would possibly per chance explore that Maryland doesn’t have a ton of size, with out a one taller than 6’7 listed on the predominant page of the roster. In quite lots of methods, this Terps roster rings a bell in my memory of the Xavier team that knocked us out within the spherical of 32 closing Twelve months: a total bunch dynamic guards and wings who can knock down photos. Enjoy us, they’ve six avid gamers rated within the 90s.

Let’s reduce down on the turnovers, defend the three-level line, and feed Brazzle interior when we have the ball. We’re going to love to play better than we did against UConn to take this game.

We watched this game on Twitch on Sunday night time. As soon as again: it’s a simulated game; I’m not controlling Western Illinois on the court.

This crew is aware of the anguish of shedding within the spherical of 32 due to it came about to us closing Twelve months. A take right here and we seemingly net a rematch against Xavier, who knocked us out closing season. We desire a rematch. Let’s scamper!

Elevate, 95-91! We juuust had sufficient to cling on there within the 2nd half.

We were up to the label for most of that game and I became feeling gorgeous correct about it. We took a nine-level lead into the half on a Wilbur Ager tip-in. We pushed that result in 16 aspects early within the 2nd half, nevertheless credit score Maryland for refusing to head away. The Terps went on a escape within the closing 5 minutes and hit a 3-pointer with 17.5 seconds left to kind it a 3-level game. It became a two-level game with 4.5 seconds left when Jamie Burke missed the entrance finish of a 1-and-1 on the contaminated line. Fortunately, Alloway grabbed the offensive rebound and iced the take on the motorway.

While I didn’t swap to a elephantine court press defense on this one, we truly had more steals (12) than we did vs. UConn (10). I believed our defense scheme the tone as soon as again. It had to be that formulation pondering we couldn’t net a correct belief from within the support of the arc all night time. Maryland hit 10 more three-pointers than us — 13 to three — nevertheless we were ready to preserve alive by making an try three cases as many free throws. It wasn’t a gorgeous offensive efficiency for us, nevertheless it became sufficient to net the take.

Brazzle became a monster and surely does feel love the trump card at some level of this tournament escape. It is so good to have a 7’2 heart we can repeatedly scamper to when we would prefer a bucket. He became ravishing to compose with 27 aspects and 14 rebounds on 13-of-20 taking pictures from the sphere. That performances locks him in as a high-5 heart in program history, I deem. We lose with out him due to nobody surely received going.

Alloway, Ager, and Neal were all real nevertheless unspectacular. Maryland’s smartly-known person disappear Ross Pasco ran at some level of us, going off for 33 aspects on seven made threes. That’s two wings inserting up huge particular person scoring games on us to this level. Something to be aware.

Ager clean made immense plays when we wished him to.

I am formally insecure about Burke at this level. We’ve had so many subpar level guards over time and there’s no formulation to surely know unless you explore them available. Burke became a extraordinarily real four-smartly-known person recruit at No. 71 total in his class — the form of participant we’d buy whenever. He has succumb to the same points as Armien Amous and Angel Keita old to him though: too many turnover. After eight turnovers against UConn, he had 5 or six this game. We’ve got to buy better care of the ball.

As we sim to the following week, we have some stunning files: No. 7 seed Richmond enormously stunned high-seeded Xavier within the spherical of 32! Which means we face the Spiders with an Elite Eight outing on the motorway!

No. 11 Western Illinois vs. No. 7 Richmond, Sweet 16, 2029 NCAA tournament

Every deep NCAA tournament escape requires on the least a puny bit bit of honest correct fortune, and there’s absolute self belief we received it in a immense formulation with this matchup. Xavier perceived to have the most avid gamers rated within the 90s — seven — of any team within the tournament this Twelve months. They additionally demolished us on this stage closing Twelve months. I am feeling so rather more assured against Richmond.

How the hell did the Spiders beat Xavier? Xavier became a 100 total and Richmond is a 91 total. Right here’s a belief at Richmond’s roster, with easiest one participant rated within the 90s.

That is a game we have to take, nevertheless I’m sure Xavier thought that, too. One take away from the Elite Eight, let’s net it.

We additionally watched this game on Twitch on Sunday night time, the predominant time we’ve ever streamed three games on the same night time. Why pause now? Normal disclaimer goes right here: I’m not controlling WIU, we’re staring at a simulated game.

Let’s scamper!

Elevate, 136-71. Absolute domination out of our ‘Necks. We’re going to the Elite Eight!

This became a beatdown from the opening tip. We received out to a 10-level lead within the predominant seven minutes and never looked relief. We were up 30 by halftime and had already pulled our starters.

First things first: cry-out to our embattled level guard Jamie Burke. who performed with an stunning line of 12 aspects, 11 assists, zero turnovers. He additionally hit 4-of-6 photos from three-level vary. Precisely what we need out of our level guards. Only a textbook sizable PG efficiency.

Ager became additionally awesome to compose with 19 aspects. He became elegant aggressive from the jump and it looked love he knew nobody on Richmond would possibly well match his physicality. That became tight. Alloway additionally played an efficient and wonderful game with 14 aspects on 6-of-8 taking pictures, all within the predominant half I deem.

How about our defense? We had 17 steals, a new excessive for this tournament escape. Unreal.

Looking out relief by the files, that’s our finest take ever. 65-level take! The bench additionally beat Richmond by 30 within the 2nd half. Honest ridiculous.

I believed the model forward for this system became on elephantine level to because the bench received some escape with a immense lead. Wow, were they sizable. Jitim Dupre: 22 aspects, 10 rebounds, four steals, three makes from deep. Edwin Wolfe led us in scoring!?! I never would have guessed. The damaged-down 5-smartly-known person JUCO recruit is now a RS sophomore and rated an 80 total. That’s disappointing by our standards, nevertheless he played so great better than his rankings on this game. Wolfe performed with 26 aspects on 10-of-16 taking pictures from the sphere and 6-of-12 taking pictures from three.

Artie Snipes additionally deserves a cry-out with 20 aspects off the bench. He’ll be our starting up heart as soon as Brazzle bounces to the draft after this Twelve months and it feels love we received’t be shedding great at heart with him within the lineup.

That units up a game vs. No. 8 seed Tennessee. The Vols enormously stunned No. 1 seed Stanford within the spherical of 32 after which took out defending nationwide champs BYU within the Sweet 16 to force their formulation into the Elite Eight. If you had this game on your bracket, more energy to you.

No. 11 seed Western Illinois vs. No. 8 seed Tennessee, Elite Eight, 2029 NCAA tournament

The Elite Eight has been a nightmare spherical for us within the previous — most memorably when we saw three straight seasons finish on this spherical from Twelve months 16, Twelve months 17, and Twelve months 18. The entice of the Closing Four is so solid that guys insist in self belief to net traumatic. You would possibly per chance’t surely blame them, nevertheless we have to be better this day.

Tennessee seems real nevertheless not overwhelming from a talent perspective. I deem right here’s the predominant time we’ve ever played them? Right here’s a belief on the Vols’ roster:

Wager what? We taking part on this game out too. A four-game circulation. Elevate or lose, this would possibly occasionally be our closing game of the night time.

I’m not controlling WIU, nevertheless you realize that by now.

Closing Four on the motorway. Let’s goOoOoOoO!

Elevate, 100-92! We’re going to the Closing Four for the fifth time in program history, and we are able to be procuring for our fourth nationwide title as soon as we net there.

Ohhhhh my gosh, that became finish. The 2nd half felt as traumatic as any game we’ve ever played on this dynasty. Tennessee refused to head away, hitting threes, getting and-ones, forcing steals — they truly made us work for it. Shot of the night time goes to our senior, Wilbur Ager. With our Leathernecks up two aspects with 18 seconds left and about 5 seconds separating the shot clock from the game clock, Ager fired a recall-and-shoot three-pointer that became money to seal the take.

I became so fearful when he shot this, and delighted when it went in.

What a shot. If he misses, the Vols have the ball and a gamble to take the game on the closing possession. In its effect, it goes in, Ager is the hero, and we intention to the Closing Four. Wow.

I felt love Nick Nurse on this game: I became riding my starters unless the very finish. All of them were ravishing. Burke went all 40 minutes and easiest scored one level, nevertheless he performed with 13 assists and cramped his turnovers. Alloway played love a flat-out smartly-known person with 28 aspects on 12-of-17 taking pictures. Ager hit a extraordinarily good 6-of-9 photos from deep. Brazzle had one more ridiculous double-double with 25 aspects and 15 rebounds.

L.F. Neal additionally made two elegant tense field needs in crunch-time to support seal the take:

Unreal. I never thought this team would kind the Closing Four, not after shedding three starters and doubtlessly the GOAT Leatherneck in Allen Cunningham. I believed our tournament scheme became a ways too refined for a escape love this. I’m so cushty I became injurious.

We’ve been to the Closing Four four other cases. Three cases we received the nationwide title. Let’s return banner No. 4.

Our opponent within the Closing Four is No. 1 seed George Washington. GW has a created participant at heart in damaged-down bracket contest runner-up Steven Frye. We made Frye as a 3-smartly-known person recruit relief within the day nevertheless he’s surely developed staunch into a sizable participant. Frye vs. Brazzle will more than seemingly be a signature matchup interior. GW is rated as a 98 total, so this received’t be easy.

We’re going to circulation this game on Wednesday, September 16 at 8: 30 p.m. ET on Twitch. Right here’s be taught the absolute most sensible draw to appear the game:

How to appear Western Illinois vs. George Washington within the 2029 Closing Four

Recreation: No. 11 seed Western Illinois vs. No. 1 seed George Washington, Closing Four, 2029 NCAA tournament

How to appear: My Twitch channel

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 16

Tip-off time: 8: 30 p.m. ET // 7: 30 p.m. CT. The circulation will open up a puny bit earlier.

If we take: The nationwide championship game against the winner of No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 9 USC will apply without delay after.

What about the bracket contest?

Bracket contest results are up on Sean’s app — which works on desktop and cell. Any individual named Doop is currently winning. Arrangement to head, Doop. Ensuing from Sean again for running the bracket contest — apply Sean on Twitter at @hoopsinsight.

I’ll explore you Wednesday night time. Let’s cling banner No. 4.

Be taught More