Alabama's Sunseri recalls brother's 'perfect storm' loss to ND

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Alabama's Sunseri recalls brother's 'perfect storm' loss to ND

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri took the field at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge on Nov. 3 thinking his brother was going to score a major upset about 900 miles north in South Bend.

Sunseri's brother, Tino, quarterbacked Pittsburgh to a 20-6 lead after three quarters over Notre Dame, which was coming off its biggest win in nearly two decades the previous week at Oklahoma.

"I was like yeah, this one's in the bag," Alabama's Sunseri told CSNChicago.com on Saturday.

Sunseri didn't get to watch the rest of his brother's game, seeing as Alabama was in the midst of its biggest game of the season to date at LSU. But when he got back in to the locker room at halftime, he noticed Notre Dame won in triple overtime. Later, he called Tino to talk about the game.

"He just said it was a perfect storm kind of thing," Sunseri said. "It wasn't just the missed field goal, he said, he said 'I could've made more opportunities' -- he tried to put all the pressure on himself. The missed field goal was a big part of it, but he tried to put it all on himself saying he could've done more, he could've done certain things to put themselves in better situations."

Sunseri, though, didn't see things that way.

"I felt like he did all he could do during that game, he put them in situations and gave them opportunities," he said.

Tino Sunseri completed 19 of 29 passes for 164 yards with a touchdown, but was unable to do much of anything toward the end of the game. That proved costly, as it opened the door for an Irish comeback and, ultimately, its triple-overtime win.

Still, had Kevin Harper connected from 33 yards in double overtime -- or the officiating crew caught Bennett Jackson and Chris Brown wearing No. 2 on the field at the same time -- it may have been a different story that Saturday night.

The upshot would've been, then, that Alabama wouldn't be playing Notre Dame for a National Championship.

"Everything happens for a reason," Sunseri said, "and we're excited to go up against a great, historic program like Notre Dame."

Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

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Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

Horizon League basketball returns to CSN on Sunday as UIC travels to Valparaiso. This game tips at 2:00 p.m. live on CSN.

The Flames (11-8, 4-2) have won three straight games and have played pretty good ball after the loss of Dikembe Dixson to a torn ACL. Junior big man Tai Odiase, a Homewood-Flossmoor graduate, is playing well along with former St. Rita product Dominique Matthews.

Valparaiso (15-4, 5-1) is hoping to maintain its conference lead behind senior All-American candidate Alec Peters. The 6-foot-9 senior is averaging 23.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game on the season.

The Crusaders won the first time these two teams played at UIC on Dec. 30 as Tevonn Walker had 23 points.

Saturday on CSN: Loyola, Illinois State host Missouri Valley opponents

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Saturday on CSN: Loyola, Illinois State host Missouri Valley opponents

CSN will have two Missouri Valley Conference games with local teams on Saturday. 

The first game tips at 3 p.m. live on CSN as Evansville heads to Loyola. The second game tips at 7 p.m. and is also live on CSN as Drake will play at Illinois State.

Loyola (13-7, 3-4) is coming off of a tough road loss in double overtime to Northern Iowa. The Ramblers have been led by senior Milton Doyle this season as the former Marshall star is one of the better guards in the Valley.

Evansville (10-10, 1-6) has dropped five straight games as they're struggling to gain any momentum in conference play. Senior guard Jaylon Brown is having an outstanding season for the Purple Aces as he's putting up 21.2 points per game.

The second matchup has Drake (6-13, 4-3) traveling to Illinois State. The Bulldogs have won three of four games and junior guard Reed Timmer is dangerous while former Saint Viator product Ore Arogundade is having a solid sophomore season. 

Illinois State (15-4, 7-0) is leading the Valley after a huge win over Wichita State as they've won eight straight games. The Redbirds are hoping to make a run to an NCAA tournament bid with another home win.