If you want to coach at the NCAA Division I level, Chicago State might not be the best opportunity. But, Lance Irvin decided to take on the Chicago State head job when Tracy Dildy was let go following the 2017-18 season. Over the last three seasons, Chicago State has a combined 12 wins. Do the math and that is an average of four wins per season. The Cougars are also 2-41 in WAC play during that same time.
It is just not a good time on the south side of the Windy City. Chicago State has the lowest operating budget in the WAC and quite possibly Division I. Recruiting to the south side, which is one of the worst areas of Chicago is even more difficult. It’s just hard but there is still a lot of respect for Coach Irvin and the Cougars.
With that being said, it’s time to take a look at the non-conference schedule the Cougars face in 2019-20.
Here is the good news: Chicago State has some quality home games. And here is even better news: the schedule isn’t loaded with road trips to Power 5 Conference schools.
The Cougars get home games against Oral Roberts and Northern Illinois. And while those names don’t pop out at you, think about the home games Chicago State had in 2018-19. Two non-Division I opponents and Eastern Illinois are the only teams that came to Jones Convocation Center lasts season.
In 2019-20, Chicago State hosts three NCAA Division I teams at the Jones Convocation Center along with three non-Division I opponents. Along with Oral Roberts and Northern Illinois, Loyola-Maryland is coming to Chicago as well. The non-Division I opponents are Judson, Purdue Northwest and North Park. Oral Roberts is the opponent for the WAC/Summit League Challenge and should be a competitive ball game.
Chicago State travels to three Power 5 conference schools in Purdue, Florida State and Missouri. Purdue made it to the Elite Eight of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship where it lost to eventual National Champion Virginia in overtime. Florida State lost to Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen. These games are more for the money going to Chicago State than anything else.
The Cougars are playing in the Emerald Coast Classic Nov. 29-30 in Destin, Florida. Chicago State will face Jacksonville State and then either Alabama State or Chattanooga dependent on outcomes of the opening game.
Also on the schedule are mid-majors Eastern Illinois, Indiana State, and SIU Edwardsville.
Six home games to go along with seven road games and two neutral site contests isn’t a bad schedule at all for Lance Irvin and the Cougars.
It really isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Chicago State could have more wins going into WAC play in January than they had all of the 2018-19 season combined.