NCAA Talk

Irish season in review: ND 20, Purdue 17

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Irish season in review: ND 20, Purdue 17

Everett Golson completed 21 of 31 passes for 289 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, one throwing and one rushing. But that wasn't enough for the sophomore to finish Notre Dame's home opener against Purdue Sept. 8.

Notre Dame's offense stalled after Golson hit T.J. Jones for a touchdown early in the third quarter, and the Irish ultimately squandered a 10-point lead. Purdue tied things up with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, with the game-tying touchdown coming a few plays after Golson fumbled deep in Irish territory.

The luster of Notre Dame's season-opening blowout win over Navy had worn off, and the Irish suddenly had their backs against the wall against a team they should've easily dispatched -- just like South Florida in 2011.

And then, the first twist of 2012 hit.

With the game tied at 17, it wasn't Golson who trotted on to the field to try to lead the Irish to a win. It was Tommy Rees, 2011's starting quarterback who was suspended for Notre Dame's first game of the 2012 season.

Rees marched Notre Dame down the field, and Kyle Brindza hit a field goal as time expired to give the Irish a win. After the game, Notre Dame didn't make Rees or Golson available to the media, certainly not quieting the whispers of a quarterback controversy. Rees had the confidence of his teammates, a confidence that took years to build. Golson didn't gain that complete confidence for another month and a half.

"There is no quarterback controversy," coach Brian Kelly insisted after the game. "Everett Golson is our starter. He will start against Michigan State. We know we have assets at that position with Andrew Hendrix and Tommy Rees."

Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin didn't have any intention of deposing Golson from his starting role, especially after just two games. But they showed a willingness to cut him off if they didn't feel he was able to perform throughout the season.

Sept. 8 was the first of those instances, and it set a precedent that was followed for the next few months.

Stay with CSNChicago.com every weekday through the end of January for game-by-game reviews of Notre Dame's run to the BCS Championship. Previous reviews: Notre Dame 50, Navy 10

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

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AP

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

It looks like it was too good to be true.

Tyger Campbell shocked the recruiting world when he committed to DePaul on May 8.

Less than four months later, Campbell has reopened his recruitment.

The Rivals.com four-star point guard out of La Lumiere High School in Indiana, who is the No. 66 prospect in the 2018 Class, took to Twitter Friday night to explain his decision.

One of Campbell's original draws to the Blue Demons was DePaul hiring Shane Heirman as an assistant coach. Heirman coached Campbell for two seasons at La Lumiere.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com when he committed to the Blue Demons. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy."

Campbell currently has offers from a handful of D1 schools, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, Memphis and Tennessee.

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

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USA TODAY

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

On the heels of a 12-win improvement, UIC basketball is riding confidently into the new season. 

And why shouldn't they be? Head coach Steve McClain returns a young, talented nucleus that's expected to challenge for a Horizon League championship and NCAA Tournament berth. 

In fact, the program is in such good shape that they thought: Let's play Kentucky. 

Yup, that's right. The UIC Flames will match up with the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Nov. 26, a necessary stage in development, according to McClain. 

“Every year you build your program, there’s steps you have to take," McClain said. "When we got the opportunity to go to Kentucky, I think that’s the next level of exposure for our program.

"When you're chasing trying to be great, you gotta show your kids and show people what greatness looks like. I don't think anyone can argue what Kentucky has done, so I want to put our kids in that environment so they see what it is." 

The contrast between programs is severe. UIC hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since 2004. The Wildcats have made 11 since then. UIC has never advanced out of the first round at the Big Dance. Kentucky has eight National Championships. 

Even this upcoming season, as the Flames boast one of their most skilled teams in school history, none of them were ever touted like Kentucky's freshman class, which ranks No. 2 in the nation per ESPN. 

But the disparities in past successes don't seem to bother UIC. Instead, players, who were likely snubbed by bigger schools in recruitment, are excited about the opportunity to compete on a national stage that the Flames rarely see. 

“First I was like, ‘It’s about time we got someone like (Kentucky) on our schedule,’" said center Tai Odiase, one of the few seniors on the roster. "We’ve been trying to play bigger teams to showcase what we’re made of."

“I don’t see why you go into a place like that without a chip on your shoulder. You don’t go in there just to play basketball, we’re trying to win."

UIC will be heavy, heavy underdogs. There's no way around that. But there are certain spots where they may not be at such a disadvantage. 

On the defensive end, Odiase continued to terrorize guards and big men alike, finishing fifth in the NCAA with 2.9 blocks per game. The dynamic guard duo from "The Six," Godwin Boahen and Marcus Ottey, are quick enough to hang and both took a huge step down the stretch last season. Then there's the return of 2015-2016 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Dikembe Dixson, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

"The doctors at times thought he was a freak of nature because he was back as quick as he was," McClain said.  

Still, it's a tune-up game for Kentucky, who also scheduled Kansas, UCLA and Louisville on their non-conference slate. But one team's expected walk through is another team's vital experience. 

"Our guys can walk in and see that on a given night, you can compete with anyone," McClain said. 

Given new athletic director Garrett Klassy's comments at his introductory press conference, it doesn't seem as if games like this are a one-hit wonder for UIC. 

“I am an aggressive scheduler," Klassy said. "I helped with the scheduling at George Washington. We’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

"You want to measure yourself against the best. We have a lot of returning starters. It’ll be nice to go on the road, play a tough game and maybe sneak out an upset."