I think of Illinois as two states, not three. If it's three, it's broken up more into Chicago/suburban Chicago/rural.
Anyway, no school owns the college sports market in the Chicago area. It's not just a melting pot for the B1g Ten, but fans from ND, Marquette, Mizzou, Kentucky and so on have a presence. Now this does create a void, and you'd think it's possible for some program to claim the high ground. There's even room for two programs, as there is with baseball and even the nfl with a sizeable contingency of Packers fans.
But the problems are that most people who care are already aligned with some other program (because they or family members went or grew up somewhere else), and that UofI isn't located in the Chicago area at all. They're not DePaul, not that DePaul is DePaul anymore either.
Chris should have no problem recruiting in the nicer suburbs, after all he does it already, but I'm less sure about the city and more urban areas.
Between me and every ideal I always find Scheisskopfs, Peckems, Korns and Cathcarts. And that sort of changes the ideal. -- Joseph Heller