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Never Made The Tourney Club Game Of The Week: Let’s not talk about it.

Chicago State deserves better and I am sad.

NCAA Basketball: Chicago State at Northwestern Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, when Chicago State played Northwestern, an Anthony Eaves jump shot cut Northwestern’s lead to one with just 2:19 left in the game. Chicago State was on the precipice of an historic upset.

The magic ran out from that point, but it was still an incredible effort. Chicago State did all they could and very nearly pulled out an incredible upset.

And no one would have deserved it more.

Chicago State is in dire straits, and I don’t mean Chicago State basketball. The state of Illinois is broke and Illinois public schools have taken budget cuts squarely on the chin. Perhaps no school has been more decimated by the cuts than Chicago State. Go ahead and read any article written about the current situation, and tell me that this school couldn’t use a big time win in basketball.

They certainly don’t deserve to be the butt of everyone’s jokes, which is unfortunately what they’ve become after a 96-31 thrashing at the hands of Northwestern.

I don’t think there’s a whole lot Northwestern could have done to lessen the blow. Playing high pressure defense into the latter stages of the second half wasn’t extremely cool, but those were reserves fighting for playing time. Of course they’re going to want to get theirs. Should Chris Collins have planted his starters on the bench for the entire half, instead of pulling them at around the 15-minute mark? Sure, you could say that, but it wouldn’t have really made that much of a difference. It probably would have been more insulting if Northwestern walked it up and took a shot clock violation on every trip.

And there’s some truth to the “if you don’t like us dancing, don’t let us into the end zone” ethos.

I don’t know, all I know is that I felt pretty gross watching Chicago State’s deficit balloon from 20, to 30, to 40, to 50, to 60. A loss would have been fine, expected even. But this? Once the novelty wore off, it was not fun. Extremely not fun. I very much wanted it to stop.

The Cougars, to their credit, are probably not interested in my sympathetic dithering.

Northwestern don’t deserve the label of the bad guys, not really, but Chicago State 100% deserves the label of the good guys, and seeing them get dragged beneath the Wildcats’ wheels for 40 minutes sucked a lot of eggs.

I don’t want to write about this game anymore. Chicago State is 2-11 and will find themselves close(r) to the bottom of the KenPom rankings than they were this morning (343rd of 351). Northwestern is 6-4.

The Never Made The Tourney Club is strong at the top, with Lipscomb and Grand Canyon looking every bit the part of contenders. The bottom?

Let’s just not talk about it.