Chicago Invitational Challenge — the Final Night

Kent State leads Illinois State 33-24 at half time.

There are fewer than 1,000 people here. Quite a few of them are wearing IU shirts or hats or candy-striped warm-up pants.

One of them is sitting in row two, peacefully taking a nap. That achievement is made all the more impressive by the fact that this arena plays undoubtedly the worst collection of music ever. Right now, “Jessie’s Girl” is blaring from above.

———

All good things must end.

So, too, must all bland exempt basketball events.

OK, OK. That’s too strong. This Kent State-ISU game is a nice way for two mid-majors to measure themselves early. Their goal is no different than Indiana or Xavier’s: make it to the dance. Doing so is a goal unto itself, though, whereas for the Hoosiers and Musketeers it is the first in a series.

Their game tonight should be pretty interesting. Indiana is, as it has been in each game this year, the more physically gifted team. It is, as it has been in each game this year, the less experienced team.

It’s just that Xavier has enough talent to use that experience against Indiana in ways other teams could not.

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