The Minute After: Illinois

  • 03/05/2011 2:57 pm in

Thoughts on a 72-48 spanking at the hands of the Illini:

Beatdown in Champaign today, kids.

The Illini, when they play this well, are just too much for a team like Indiana. They have more size on the interior. They have more athleticism on the perimeter. Oh, more experience and talent, too.

These mismatches were exploited on both ends of the floor all game — the emotions swirling around senior night, er, afternoon surely helped with this — and the Hoosiers, a team on a quick turnaround from Thursday night’s loss, were really never in this game.

Demetri McCamey (22 points)¬†got off to a hot start in the first half, and it was one giant orange snowball that kept building and rolling over the Hoosiers all afternoon. When the Illini weren’t scoring with ease around the bucket, they were locking down defensively in the halfcourt, making it difficult for the Hoosiers to find any sort of rhythm or success on offense.

The next thing you knew, Illinois had dropped 46 points by halftime on 54.3 percent shooting (5-of-11 for 45.5 percent from three), after only managing 49 points in their first contest with the Hoosiers earlier this season.

And though the offense slowed some in the second half, the Illini often toyed with the Hoosiers with a series of alley-oops.

They were smiling. They were having fun.

It was the difference between a team that’s feeling better about itself heading into the Big Dance and one that’s failed to win away from their home court this season, and is limping to the finish line of 2010-11 on what is now an eight-game losing streak.

Other notes:

+ Building off Thursday’s performance, Indiana again did a good job taking care of the basketball, as the Hoosiers only turned the ball over 10 times this afternoon. And they also kept their foul issues in check, as they only committed 13 personal fouls on the Illini, who went to the line just 13 times. But a rough shooting performance from Indiana — 31.6 percent from the floor (18-of-57); 17.6 percent from three (3-of-17) — kept the Illini out of reach.

+ Nice game from the hometown boy Verdell Jones today, as he was about the only bright spot on offense, save Will Sheehey. Jones played to his strengths in the mid-range for 12 points (6-of-14, 0-of-2 from three) and created by himself at times when nothing else was doing.

+ Jordan Hulls failed to make a shot from the floor (0-of-7, 0-of-3 from three), though he did hit all four of his free throws. Christian Watford finished the afternoon 1-of-8 (0-of-4 from three, 5-of-6 from the line). That’s a 1-for-15 performance from two of Indiana’s top offensive players. That’s not good.

+ Illinois blocked five of Indiana’s shots in this one. Couple that with a 24-point loss and it felt like we were watching the Hoosiers of Crean’s first two years in this one at times.

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  • Anonymous

    yeah – the picture could just use some old fashion cropping

  • Anonymous

    maybe ITH could start taking pictures of hot girls in the crowd and use them as minute after pics ???

  • Anonymous

    Just a few points: 1) If you really are a college basketball coach, how do you have the time luxury to watch, evaluate and criticize IU. Don’t you have to coach your team, work on recruiting, etc.? 2) Tom Izzo is a pretty good coach and his team is worse now than in the middle of the year, ditto for Tubby Smith. 3) You can not find 10 coaches of Division I teams to back you up on your slander of Crean (I call you out to list some real names-as well as your own and the college that you coach for- for our amusement, as they all claim never to have met you or employed you). You are not believed by me.

  • Anonymous

    Ace you usually are on top of it- but Jordan Hulls is a vastly improved player this year over last year, and at the end of the year over the beginning. Christian Watford has been good each of the last two seasons, better this season than last season. Rivers improved this season over last. Danny Moore improved this season over last. Jones, Capo, Elston, and Roth were disappointing. Both freshmen show great potential but each needs to improve like Hulls did this season. It will be great to have a 7′ player who will command the double-team, can step out and shoot, and has an excellent basketball IQ for the pass out of the double-team nextyear. It will also be great to add an athlete like Sheehey who can shoot like Roth in Etherington. I don’t think that any of us truly realized how much we missed Mo Creek’s leadership, competitive spirit and scoring this year. Can he come back and be the full player that he was as a freshman? I am betting yes! But there can never be a lack of effort next year like IU showed at IL.

  • Anonymous

    These ratings are a measurement of how good a player appeared to be as a high school senior…not as a college sophomore.

    I think that this only proves that the individual ratings don’t really mean a ton.

  • Anonymous

    I played ball for a lousy HS team. As the season wears on, it gets so tough to give good effort. These players are in college, so more should be expected of them, but I think we need to keep in mind that they are probably beat down right now.

    I am looking forward to a nice upset in the Big Ten tourney.

  • millzy32

    Honestly? Yes I do think they could win at least 3 Big Ten games without a coach playing AAU free wheeling and fancy free ball all season. My guess would be that they’d probably win 5 or 6 with their current talent. At least the guys that were playing well would stay in cuz they wouldn’t take themselves out of the game.

  • millzy32

    All it takes is good talent and good coaching. We have one of those two headed to Bloomington in the coming years. The other aspect is yet to be determined but the outlook gets dimmer and dimmer by the game.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Or that the coach has seriously failed to capitalize on the talent and help the players improve. Unfortunately, I think that would probably be a more accurate explanation as to why all of those teams are doing more with players who were rated below or the same as our talent instead of just discrediting the ratings systems!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I would agree that they improved during the off-season from last year to this year but I disagree that they have improved from beginning to end of this current season. Rivers really regressed. Hulls shooting has suffered and he’s almost seemed to play with a scowl on his face the last couple games. Watford is a push because he’s been hurt but his D has consistently gotten worse.

    Sheehey, Pritch, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) VJ3 have been really the only players who have looked better at the end of the season than they did earlier in the season! Even VO has struggled down the stretch, or he possibly hasn’t been used correctly and has lost his rhythm.

    I didn’t say they weren’t better players versus last year. I said they aren’t better players or a better team now than they were against pUKe, BC, PSU, or that run in the middle of the Big Ten season!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    The only loosing season I ever had as a player was my freshman year of college (baseball). I started and honestly put out more effort because I couldn’t stand losing!!! Maybe these guys are just weak minded because that season I had no trouble getting up or motivated to play! In fact, I got on my roommate and other teammates for not putting the time in to get better.

    They are college athletes and I definitely don’t accept that as an excuse! They are on scholarship, basically getting paid to play, so play like it, period!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’d rather lose with a guy half as talented who wants to put out the effort than a guy who has the talent and just wants to play when he feels it benefits him! Heck, I’d rather lose with the first player than win with the second. I said it above, but these guys are basically being paid to play! They need to put out the effort on both ends and play like it!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’ve already cropped my face onto that guy and used it as my wallpaper!

  • Anonymous

    I swear that I remember that as well. I didn’t even remember Graham being the record holder, always thought it was Leary.

  • Anonymous

    Very well done ITM, the quote scares you a little doesn’t it? He felt that highly of an “overrated player”.

  • InTheMtns

    Milla, I don’t know if your comments were in direct response to me or if you were wondering out loud to everyone. If it was directed to me, I didn’t say anything about blame one way or the other in Guy’s recruitment/ineligibility. I just mentioned Guy because when I was making predictions in the preseason, I assumed he’d be playing and would be a significant plus for our team and predicted more wins than I would have without him.

    I agree with you that recruiting a player who is ineligible appears to be a major mistake but I personally haven’t ever considered placing the blame on anyone. I also have never said that IU was a victim. The NCAA was following their rules and while I don’t think the application in this case was in the best interest of a student athlete, the NCAA based their decision on the rules. I can’t say if IU made a mistake or not because I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of what IU staff did or did not do in investigating to make sure he was eligible.

    Perhaps IU should have been more diligent in understanding Guy’s background but from what I understand, it wasn’t quite as black and white as all that. I agree with you that IU was not aware of everything they needed to be; but Guy was being pursued by other schools as well, so apparently IU wasn’t the only one not having a full understanding of Guy’s background. Maybe that was IU staff’s fault, maybe it wasn’t. Without more information, I can’t say. For me, I’ve thought all along of this as a misfortunate situation that hindsight makes easier to figure out. But I’ve never thought about saying anyone was to blame. If by accountability, you mean someone should pay a price for the mistake, I would say that Coach Crean, Guy-Marc Michel, team members and the IU fans have already paid.

  • InTheMtns

    No, I don’t think the quote scares me. I was just curious what others thought about the talent that was perceived (by Crean and at least one rating service) and the talent we’re seeing in Capo.

    Guessing how good a player will be or how well he’ll transition to the college game, based on how he appears at the end of his junior year in high school has to be exactly that – a guess. An educated guess, but a guess.

    The other side of the issue is how do we know if it is a case of the guess being wrong or if it’s a case of the guess being correct but the coaching staff not being able to help the player develop to his potential.

    As for Crean feeling that highly of an “overrated player,” I don’t even know if Crean felt that strongly about Capo’s potential or if he wanted to use his scholarship allotment and thought Capo was the best available at the time. His glowing comments might have been in hopes that Capo would respond to the high expectations.

    Some fans liked Capo a lot early in his Freshman year and predicted he was going to become the hard-nosed guy other teams hate. That hasn’t happened and he doesn’t appear to be the player fans were expecting when we first heard about the 2009 class. I wasn’t trying to start anything – I was just curious what others thought. Responses so far seem to indicate that folks think he was over rated and is out of his element.

  • Anonymous

    You say tomato, I say to-mah-to (doesn’t work too well when typing it).

    If you think that guys like Capo and Elston weren’t overrated, I guess we will just have to disagree on that.

    Many of those same rating systems had Hulls as the WORST recruit in the ’09 class.

    Yes, the rating systems are flawed.

  • Anonymous

    You are proving my point, Ace. You said you had to get “on my roommate and other teammates for not putting the time in to get better.”

    YOU didn’t have any problem, and that is admirable. Your own anecdote shows that you are in the minority.

    I agree that we should expect more out of them, but reality is reality.

  • Anonymous

    He must have just forgotten how to coach once he left Marquette, right? The Big East is a cupcake conference compared to the Big Ten, right? It couldn’t have anything to do with the players on the roster. Not a chance.

  • Hoosier in Ohio

    Haven’t you noticed Butler? Even Purdue didn’t have great players coming in the last 4 years, their players weren’t’ even on the recruiting radar map. They weren’t rated as high as the IU players the last 2 years. But both schools have one thing that IU doesn’t have, a really good coach, get off blaming the players and wake up. IU needs a coach now, lets not wait another year or two of going through this misery. NO other big time school would do this.