The Morning After: Illinois open thread

  • 01/12/2009 8:19 am in

After the massive disappointment last week against Michigan, I didn’t expect much out of Saturday’s game at Illinois — that’s a tough place to play, and Illinois has sneakily been really good this year. Their tempo-free numbers belie a team better than their win-loss record, and their win-loss record is good. Let’s just say I didn’t have my hopes up. And still, somehow, the game was a gigantic letdown.

As R, Alex, and my friends yesterday could attest, I racked my brain for a while thinking of things to say about this game, and I really don’t have much. Some blowouts you can analyze; some are deceptive. There was nothing deceptive happening Saturday. Illinois was just so much better in every facet of basketball it was simultaneously boring and engaging. That doesn’t happen often.

In any case, this is your Monday open thread. Discuss whatever you’d like, whether it’s Saturday’s game, or when you predict IU will win its first Big Ten contest, or whatever. It’s all you.

I have one thought to hopefully get the discussion going. Not only was IU bad on Saturday — just skillwise, in matchups, that sort of thing — but it was the first time this year that it seemed like they weren’t even trying. Transition defense was unusually slow; Illinois was able to get into their secondary break, make one pass, and have a wide open jumper waiting for them before IU even matched up man-to-man or picked up the nearest player. I understand being drained after the Michigan game. That’s fine. But the one positive constant about the Hoosiers this year has been their energy and commitment to their coach, and Saturday was the first time I didn’t see it.

Also, one more: Did Illinois fans even enjoy that? Wasn’t that sort of like working out all summer, getting big, hoping to fight the bully that terrorized you last year only to see the bully come back to school in a wheelchair? I mean, you can punch the kid in the face if you want … but it’s not going to be nearly as satisfying.

Filed to:

  • Hardwood83

    Knowing Illini fans they'd enjoy picking on the disabled kid.

  • Phillip

    Word is Crean threatened to not bring players to Ohio St who did not play with the intensity that had been displayed in past games (and that E noted in his post)

    That said, anyone hear anymore about this, specific players?

  • BeerTruck

    The entire team plays below the rim.

  • Anonymous

    Knowing Illini fans they would enjoy picking on the disabled kid.

  • Crackerjoy

    I have to disagree with your comment that it looked like our boys weren't even trying. I thought they showed a remarkable amount of intensity for at least the first 3/4 of the game (I had to turn if off about that point due to a social engagement…and didn't bother to listen on the radio). Sure, they looked completely outmatched, but I really don't think you can say anything about their persistence. Let's be a bit nicer, here, folks. These are kids we're talking about.

  • redyard

    The lack of crying and throwing things at my house was a sad comment on my expectations for the season. This game was also a compliment to the program. My explanation: I do not understand why Illinois fans believe this is a rivalry. Outside of Purdue, I do not consider any Big 10 team to be more of a rival than any other. Illinois came out fired up, and played very well for pretty much the entire game. That's because this was a game they had circled on their calendar. A game that was extra-important to them. Even in this season, our “returning to school in a wheelchair” season, Illinois considers us one of their most important matchups of the year. That's because they're Illinois. So take solace in not being one of their fans.

  • kgork

    They're Illinois fans, who understands anything they do?

  • NC Fat Boy

    I was told once by an Iowa alumnus that the IU vs Iowa game was their biggest rivalry and game of the year too, and that was pre-Alford timeframe.

    I don't understand it, aren't rivalries a two way street?

    Purdue and Kentucky, IU basketball rivalries… no?

    Illinois? No offense to the Illini, but it was never a big game from a rivalry standpoint….. nor was Iowa….

  • BFowler

    Black and Gold look horrible together (so does Blue and Orange).

    Is it just me or is the other Assembly Hall the darkest arena in America?

    Why does Bruce Weber always sound like he has laryngitis?

    Tom Crean is the second most optimistic person I have ever heard (Tony Robbins).

    VJIII is improving, but is not as athletic as he thinks he is.

    Tijan Jobe reminds me of that Bruce Li movie where he fought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    When Is Cheaney Joining the staff?

    The meaning of life comes down to one thing…..

    Tom Pritchard from Game 1, come back and play.

    When is Whittman joining the staff?

    Set a screen for Roth every now and again.

    Chris Reynolds, put on your practice gear and show these kids how to stay in front of someone.

    I like Malik Story, he is probably my biggest surprise so far on how good he is. I think he is great with the second unit.

    Alan Henderson isn't coaching anywhere either.

    You know Illinois fan enjoyed that after last year. I just hope the natural world order is restored soon.

    Has anyone ever looked forward to next year as much as right now?

    Do you really think 5 million people can fit in the inaguration area? Do you think anyone will go swimming in the National Mall area?

    Illini fan has a huge chip on their collective shoulder, you get that when you lack banners (add Purdue reference here).

    Haven't I seen Billy Gillespie on a Hair Club for Men Commercial?

    Go Hoosiers, Beat the Buckeyes!

  • creativebear