The Morning After: Illinois open thread
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.