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Bragging rights on the line

On Wednesday, the newest renovation on campus will play host to one of Loyola’s oldest rivalries: Loyola versus DePaul.

The game tips off in the new Gentile Arena at 7 p.m. and will be a Chicago showdown layered in history.

“In essence it is the two Catholic universities in the city, and both programs have storied traditions,” says Bill Behrns. “Loyola has the 1963 national championship, DePaul made it to the Final Four in 1979 under the legendary Ray Meyer.”

“It’s a series that has a long standing tradition to it,” he adds.

Long standing may even be an understatement. This is the 55th time that Loyola and DePaul are going head to head, and it is the first time since 1980 that the Blue Demons will be heading to Rogers Park to play the Ramblers. Behrns says that while the Gentile Arena was first being built, the Ramblers were a bit “nomadic,” playing games across the city  in venues like the UIC Pavilion and what’s now the Allstate Arena. During this time, they played DePaul several times, but not on true home turf.

This game brings DePaul back up the Red Line, and the Ramblers are celebrating the match-up in true Loyola and Chicago style. Pat Kraft, senior associate athletic director, points out several key activities that will make this game something to remember. Before the game, Jim Cornelison (better known as the Chicago Blackhawks anthem singer) will sing the National Anthem, and at halftime the banner from the 1963 national championship will be raised to the rafters.  In addition, the first 1,000 students will get free t-shirts.

In addition, two hours before tip-off, students can hang out in the “Rockstar Lounge” the area above the student section with tables, bag toss games, and a DJ, which Kraft hopes will create a buzz before the game.

Though Loyola and DePaul have an extensive history, Behrns points out that games like this offer a great opportunity for healthy competition.

“There is a rivalry, but no bitterness,” says Behrns. “It is a great game to have games like this in the city, not only for the students at both schools but for alumni in the area.”

But a lack of bitterness doesn’t mean the game isn’t a competition, and Kraft expects the atmosphere to be intense.

“This is a true college basketball arena,” he says. “When we get 1,000 plus students, this place will rock, and it will create a very difficult home court.”

Students can pick up a free ticket to the game with their student I.D. at the Norville Center, Terry Student Center, or Centennial Forum Student Union. For more information on the game, and to purchase tickets, visit the Loyola men’s basketball website here. To view a video promoting the current men’s basketball season, click here.

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