2019-2020 Predictions Thread

#76
Can't let this go unchallenged. Tell me where you're going to make all the bolded up.

* AJ could reliably take the 3, and other guards like Ayo, Feliz, and a healthy Trent would penetrate. AJ *should* be out on the perimeter ready to receive a pass. Sure it would be great if he was a multi-level scorer, but that wasn't his role. Consider that we were not a great 3 pt shooting team (98th in the country) and you've got a 42% shooter. What do you do with him?
* Took care of the ball. 0.7 Turnovers in those 27 mpg!
* Very close to Giorgi's rebounding! He was 2nd on the team as a SG
* Having a top FT shooting guard on the team who makes good decisions helps you close out games, something we are going to need this year if we're more competitive overall.
* Good defender.

I'm not saying he was the star that Ayo was, or the miracle freshman that Giorgi was, but he was a very solid senior --the type who's production is taken for granted until about half a dozen games into the following season when people realize how important his contributions were.

Just because someone has a flashier offensive ceiling, don't think they're going to be better at taking care of the ball, decision-making, end of game FTs, defense, and getting rebounds. Those are needed to win.
AJ did not reliably take the 3. He only took it when wife open and when not wide open if he did shoot it didn’t often go in.
Not many TOs but missed shots are similar if we don’t get the offensive rebound - his shooting % was 37%. He took less than 2 FT per game so who cares what his percent was.

Love AJ, but replace him with any average player and have 7 guys improve plus add a few horses- I think it’s safe to say we can both miss AJ, but still do better than last year...easily.
 
#77
AJ did not reliably take the 3. He only took it when wife open and when not wide open if he did shoot it didn’t often go in.
Not many TOs but missed shots are similar if we don’t get the offensive rebound - his shooting % was 37%. He took less than 2 FT per game so who cares what his percent was.

Love AJ, but replace him with any average player and have 7 guys improve plus add a few horses- I think it’s safe to say we can both miss AJ, but still do better than last year...easily.
He was a plus player for us, if he's playing somewhere, when he is done I want him as a coach!
 
#78
He was a plus player for us, if he's playing somewhere, when he is done I want him as a coach!
Me too but his loss can easily be replaced by improvement of the rest of the entire returning team plus what we having coming in. He’s one guy and he wasn’t a top 3 guy on the team in most in terms of game impact.
 
#80
University of Illinois
He was a plus player for us, if he's playing somewhere, when he is done I want him as a coach!
He’s at Illinois now, working in the Marketing department for DIA, while finishing up his Master’s. I’ve seen him at a couple events representing Illinois Athletics.
 
Likes: Oskeefan
#82
I expect us to be in the "last four in", "first four out" conversation at the end of the season. Given the state of Illinois revenue sports over the past decade, I just don't see this team making a massive jump in performance that many others on here seem to. Hope I am wrong and the team makes the tournament comfortably.
 
Likes: goillini30
#83
Winged Warrior
We disagree. It's ok.

AJ, if you're reading this, know that there are a lot of us who were impressed how you handled adversity in the program during your time. Thanks!
I hope when he's done, we will say the same about DMW. Legacy matters.
 
#84
SMH Yes, every team loses players, and who they lose matters. It's why a team can be very good one year, and very average the next. Just to clarify, my post about AJ was not to turn him from a solid role player into a star, but to counter a very specific point: He's a plus player that we're losing.

I'll let the optimists have the last word, at least for now. I've stated the concerns I have, and why I think we'll make a bit less of a jump than many posters are anticipating. We should be watchable most of the season, and put up a fight at home (we won only one BIG road game). I'm pretty excited to see Ayo this year too --he was sooo good in the open court, and improved his playmaking as the season went on. Glad we have him for one more year.
Calvin, don't really like to minimize AJs contribution. He and his father were one of the all time great class acts in college basketball, not just Illinois basketball. Because of our weak frontcourt last year, his contribution was even more important. But in terms of this year's team, if AJ had returned, he would have had a far less important role in terms of leadership and on court time, and a far less effect on the team's success. All the time he played at 4 with ALDR or Kip at 5 would be taken by Giorgi, Verdonk, AG, Tev or Kip. No longer will we have to play such small ball. Regardless of how many rebounds AJ got, playing a 6'5" G at the 4 is problematic. We are even more strong in the backcourt this year, so I think your concern about the effect of the loss of AJ should be mitigated by the added strength of this year's front court compared to last. This factor, coupled with what appears to be an easier schedule, should give fans the expectation of a significant jump. We shall see.

We disagree. It's ok.

AJ, if you're reading this, know that there are a lot of us who were impressed how you handled adversity in the program during your time. Thanks!
Don't think anyone here disagrees with your evaluation of AJ's character. This discussion, at least from my viewpoint, is directed at the comparative strength of this year's team without AJ to last year's team with AJ. The question is the relative strength of those two teams as a whole with the additions of Kofi and Verdonk and a year of experience for the returners versus having AJ. I think that adding Kofi and Verdonk and a year of experience significantly outweighs the loss of one player, in this case AJ (we also lost Samba but he did not contribute much last year). I understand that you remain unconvinced at this point. Those of us who are convinced are relying in part on the expectation that between Kofi and Verdonk, we will get 20-30 minutes of positive contribution to the team.
 
#85
If I may, I believe the point about AJ is that his value as a plus player came in large part from his understanding of Underwood's system AND his experience as a senior who had learned the lessons on how to be a successful major college basketball player. That's not nothing. We'll need someone to step up to replace him. Based on typical progression of frosh to soph, with a year in the system, I believe we'll get that. But until it happens, we don't know.
 
Likes: Calvin
#87
Agree with the difference in the starters of Giorgi and Kofi. DaMonte with his 7' wing span plays larger than his height would indicate. My concern (not prediction) is with the next rotation of bigs. We need a freshman (BBV or Jermaine) to play significant minutes. The good news is that both of them look physically ready to compete unlike Samba. However I don't expect another Giorgi. Opposing coaches are going to attack Giorgi and Kofi hoping to get one or both in foul trouble. Maybe Kipper or Tevian can step up to that task but I think that is wishful thinking.
Kofi. Not sure either of those guys will see many minutes. Hopefully Kofi can be as good a Fr as Giorgi was.

I am looking for substantial improvement, but think it will be on the order of 19,18 wins. Be thrilled with more. May need a BTT win or two to secure an invite.

GO ILLINI!
 
#88
Kofi. Not sure either of those guys will see many minutes. Hopefully Kofi can be as good a Fr as Giorgi was.

I am looking for substantial improvement, but think it will be on the order of 19,18 wins. Be thrilled with more. May need a BTT win or two to secure an invite.

GO ILLINI!
I have a feeling we play Ayo, Trent, Giorgi, Feliz 25-30min each. If Kofi can avoid being a defensive liability AND play nicely with Giorgi I think he plays about 20min. Then we play DMW, Kipper, Alan, and Tevian for the remaining 60-80 minutes. Split up primarily based on how good they are defensively and handling the ball... I doubt underwood will play any of them for their offensive ability if they are turning the ball over or being sloppy on D.

I don’t expect BBV or Hamlin to play much. But if either is ready defensively I’d be happy to be wrong about that! BBV especially could add a lot if he is able to defend with any quickness.
 
#89
If I may, I believe the point about AJ is that his value as a plus player came in large part from his understanding of Underwood's system AND his experience as a senior who had learned the lessons on how to be a successful major college basketball player. That's not nothing. We'll need someone to step up to replace him. Based on typical progression of frosh to soph, with a year in the system, I believe we'll get that. But until it happens, we don't know.
Basically agree about not yet knowing for sure; and injuries could always impact the results. But since I am just sitting around waiting for the season to start, I would note that this year's team has basically the same or greater (TF, Kip and DMW have more) understanding of Underwood's system as compared to AJ last year, so that factor actually supports the idea that his year's team will improve. The probable rotation on this year's team has 11 player-years in the system; last year's team had 4. As for the second factor, we have that leadership from TF and AF and, I hope, Kip. This is Kip's last year to show what he can do. I hope he takes advantage of it. Playing more time at his preferred position and not as a super-stretch 5 should help his attitude.
 
#90
Kofi. Not sure either of those guys will see many minutes. Hopefully Kofi can be as good a Fr as Giorgi was.

I am looking for substantial improvement, but think it will be on the order of 19,18 wins. Be thrilled with more. May need a BTT win or two to secure an invite.

GO ILLINI!
I'm with you. I set my O/U for wins at 18.5
 
Likes: beigh
#91
I have a feeling we play Ayo, Trent, Giorgi, Feliz 25-30min each. If Kofi can avoid being a defensive liability AND play nicely with Giorgi I think he plays about 20min. Then we play DMW, Kipper, Alan, and Tevian for the remaining 60-80 minutes. Split up primarily based on how good they are defensively and handling the ball... I doubt underwood will play any of them for their offensive ability if they are turning the ball over or being sloppy on D.

I don’t expect BBV or Hamlin to play much. But if either is ready defensively I’d be happy to be wrong about that! BBV especially could add a lot if he is able to defend with any quickness.
As a point of interest, all of our starters on our best team of the last twenty years played from 25.1 mins to 33.7. We will need the 33 mins from Giorgi and Ayo for sure and it would certainly help if we could get that type of contribution from Kofi but I think it is unrealistic.
 
#92
As a point of interest, all of our starters on our best team of the last twenty years played from 25.1 mins to 33.7. We will need the 33 mins from Giorgi and Ayo for sure and it would certainly help if we could get that type of contribution from Kofi but I think it is unrealistic.
Frazier, and Feliz are good for 30 each.....unless Griffin and Tev can take some! I want them to.....though.
 
Likes: Illiniguy90
#94
Me too but his loss can easily be replaced by improvement of the rest of the entire returning team plus what we having coming in. He’s one guy and he wasn’t a top 3 guy on the team in most in terms of game impact.
Here's how I would square the reality of AJ's limited big-picture impact for us last year with the need to lionize him because of the relationship this board had with his father (RIP). And I believe this, I'm not just blowing smoke here:

AJ kept some of the guys who are going to need to step up this year on the bench just by sheer force of how hard he played and how willing he was to do whatever was necessary to help the team win. They learned what it meant to earn minutes, and that experience is going to shape the growth of guys like Tevian and Griffin, etc. We lose AJ the tough as nails kid with a spotty jumper, but the fire AJ lit in the belly of others stays for as long as they do, and that's far more valuable.

When a team has a great culture, that's a benefit bestowed by the guys that aren't there anymore.
 
#95
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
Here's how I would square the reality of AJ's limited big-picture impact for us last year with the need to lionize him because of the relationship this board had with his father (RIP). And I believe this, I'm not just blowing smoke here:

AJ kept some of the guys who are going to need to step up this year on the bench just by sheer force of how hard he played and how willing he was to do whatever was necessary to help the team win. They learned what it meant to earn minutes, and that experience is going to shape the growth of guys like Tevian and Griffin, etc. We lose AJ the tough as nails kid with a spotty jumper, but the fire AJ lit in the belly of others stays for as long as they do, and that's far more valuable.

When a team has a great culture, that's a benefit bestowed by the guys that aren't there anymore.
Well said, and to put it even more succinctly, the impact AJ had on the team was and will be felt more by how he behaved off the court than when he was on it.
 
#97
I have a feeling we play Ayo, Trent, Giorgi, Feliz 25-30min each. If Kofi can avoid being a defensive liability AND play nicely with Giorgi I think he plays about 20min. Then we play DMW, Kipper, Alan, and Tevian for the remaining 60-80 minutes. Split up primarily based on how good they are defensively and handling the ball... I doubt underwood will play any of them for their offensive ability if they are turning the ball over or being sloppy on D.

I don’t expect BBV or Hamlin to play much. But if either is ready defensively I’d be happy to be wrong about that! BBV especially could add a lot if he is able to defend with any quickness.
DMW, Kipper, Alan, and Tevian can not guard a BIG 4 or 5. At least they have not shown they can at this point and they are undersized for the position. We will get hurt in the paint and out rebounded for over half of the game.
 
#98
DMW, Kipper, Alan, and Tevian can not guard a BIG 4 or 5. At least they have not shown they can at this point and they are undersized for the position. We will get hurt in the paint and out rebounded for over half of the game.
They won’t need to guard a 5. If giorgi and Kofi can’t combine for 40 minutes we’re gonna have a lot more problems. They can guard a lot of the league 4s who are for the most part 6-8 or shorter. Some teams might stretch their ability, like Purdue, but in those instances we should have superior quickness and outside shooting to remain competitive.
 
Likes: logjam
#99
Here's how I would square the reality of AJ's limited big-picture impact for us last year with the need to lionize him because of the relationship this board had with his father (RIP). And I believe this, I'm not just blowing smoke here:

AJ kept some of the guys who are going to need to step up this year on the bench just by sheer force of how hard he played and how willing he was to do whatever was necessary to help the team win. They learned what it meant to earn minutes, and that experience is going to shape the growth of guys like Tevian and Griffin, etc. We lose AJ the tough as nails kid with a spotty jumper, but the fire AJ lit in the belly of others stays for as long as they do, and that's far more valuable.

When a team has a great culture, that's a benefit bestowed by the guys that aren't there anymore.
Post of the month, Chief! Really well said.
 
They won’t need to guard a 5. If giorgi and Kofi can’t combine for 40 minutes we’re gonna have a lot more problems. They can guard a lot of the league 4s who are for the most part 6-8 or shorter. Some teams might stretch their ability, like Purdue, but in those instances we should have superior quickness and outside shooting to remain competitive.
I think Giorgi and Kofi will be good for at least 45, and probably closer to 50.