The 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament is coming to Chicago March 14-17. To celebrate, Chicago Like a Local will be highlighting the best area places to watch each Big Ten team. The University of Iowa might need to win the Big Ten Tournament in order to reach the NCAA's. And if Roy Devyn Marble can knock down, say, 30 three-pointers between March 14 and 17, the Hawkeyes have a puncher's chance. Do you believe in Iowa miracles?
This bar, like BJ Armstrong in '88, is undersized but totally unrelenting on game day. While John Barleycorn provides Wrigleyville's Kinnick Stadium-like atmosphere, Merkle's is a bit more laid back (at least by the standards of Clark Street). Owned and operated by Iowa alumni's, Merkle's opened days before the 2005 Capital One Bowl or - as you Drew Tate fans call it - "The Catch" game. So if ever there were a place to watch an Iowa miracle, it's here.
Iowa alumni love Four Shadows and Four Shadows loves Iowa alumni. You'd be hard pressed to find a more welcoming atmosphere on game day, with halftime raffles during football season and can't-miss specials during hoops season. Also, Iowa basketball games are presented WITH SOUND, which is a nice touch during March Madness.
There is a chasm of difference between Chicago's trendy River North neighborhood and Iowa City, but Theory Sports Bar does an admirable job of bridging the two. Less affected than some of its Hubbard Street contemporaries and significantly more sophisticated than slinging cold ones at the Delta Chi house, Theory is where Hawkeyes go to grow up. A little.
With an enormous first level, solid grub and tremendous black and yellow presence, this is the ultimate place to celebrate a buzzer beating Hawkeye win. Or, if things don't go so well, head up to the second floor and, suddenly, you're transported to the greatest campus party ever.
Where to Watch is an ongoing series that highlights the best places to catch Big Ten basketball in Chicago. For details on the tournament, which comes to Chicago's United Center March 14-17, visit www.bigtenchicagohoops.com. For updates, connect with the Chicago Sports Commission on Facebook and Twitter.
Help us keep the lights on by subscribing to Chicago Like a Local. For your efforts, we'll deliver awesome stories (like this one) to your inbox. Do we have a deal?