I was Wrong Thread; Now I'm a Believer

#1
Michigan
Thought it could be fun to have a thread where the doubters confess, and we marvel at the on the court turn-around.

Hi, my (user) name is Calvin, and I doubted this team and coach Underwood. I'm a believer now. I looked back at my posts, and I was crapping on this team up to the Michigan game, where I thought we were only playing well for relatively short stretches. The Minnesota game blew me away, and even though we lost at Iowa, I felt like we were getting there and simply ran into a good team playing well.

I am THRILLED to eat crow about where this team was at.
I am THRILLED to see the turn-around.
I am not at all bothered by it taking a while (ok, there's a part of me that wishes it was a couple games sooner for the guys, so they could fight onto the bubble without a lot of pressure on the BTT).

Please feel free to rub it in --I'm enjoying watching these guys too much for it to bother me.
 
#2
1. We're not anywhere near there yet.
2. The people whose perspectives on the situation have changed in response to the sharp, dramatic shift in the team's performance are the ones who are actually looking at things rationally and empirically.
3. There was never a reason to believe that Underwood was anything other than an excellent basketball coach, and with the program seeming to be coalescing around him, there is tons of cause for optimism. If we get the roster and the culture in a solid place, we're gonna win a lot.
 
#3
Mad Scientist
Arizona, USA
1. We're not anywhere near there yet.
If by "there" you mean competing for a national title, then no we aren't. However, if by "there" you mean being at the point where we are top half of the Big Ten and in the NCAA tournament every year like we should be, then I have to disagree with you. I think we are there (or very close) and would be a tournament team if our turnaround was just one or two weeks sooner.
 
#5
I think we are there (or very close) and would be a tournament team if our turnaround was just one or two weeks sooner.
Or maybe even if we'd played a different sort of non-conference schedule.

Still though, winning games with absolutely no pressure on you when your opponents are taking you lightly and don't much film of your quality play to study is a whole different thing from where we're gonna be next year when there are expectations and pressure and an anxious SFC rather than a delirious one. Those are tougher wins to get.

And keeping the roster in a good place remains a prerequisite to all of that. We've begun to see what Underwood can do with a good slate of chess pieces to work with, and it's just what his resume made obvious. The system works. But his resume had a lot less to say about how he'd manage and maintain a big time program as it evolved, and his performance on that front in his first 18 months was catastrophic. It's been better since, and that's the easy part really, but I remain guarded on that until I see more.

Anyway, I can't wait to watch the game on Monday, and I find myself thinking about this team at random down moments during the day. I lost that feeling about Illinois sports for awhile, and it's wonderful to have it back.
 
#6

Deleted member 11196

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Since this is all 'just in fun'.... I'd like to hear from those who said that BU had 'lost the team', and those who intimated that many (maybe as many as 'half' ) were just looking for an opportunity to 'transfer' .... Listening to what the players are actually saying, and NOT injecting ones own biases into their tone, I'd like to know where those people are who suggested there was about to be a 'MASS EXODIS' .... But I know I won't... Besides it's a fan website, and it's just for fun anyway...
 
Likes: Butkus68
#7
Thought it could be fun to have a thread where the doubters confess, and we marvel at the on the court turn-around.

Hi, my (user) name is Calvin, and I doubted this team and coach Underwood.
Hi Calvin. This thread has a certain feel to it. Is this part of a twelve step program? The first part of the season felt like something that might require an intervention which it looks like has successfully occurred.
 
#8
Anyway, I can't wait to watch the game on Monday, and I find myself thinking about this team at random down moments during the day. I lost that feeling about Illinois sports for awhile, and it's wonderful to have it back.
I completely agree with you, Gritty. Win or lose, this team is fun to watch. After an extremely rough week at work I found myself almost giddy on Friday thinking about this team.

As long as the thread is dealing with any of us eating crow I specifically wonder how people feel about our recruits this year. I personally am ecstatic. Ayo is what we thought, Giorgi is better than we thought, Feliz is better than we thought. Tev had a breakout game and helped us beat Maryland and likely would.have improved even more but for his suspension. Griffin did lots of good last game despite shooting poorly. Samba has shown flashes of what he could be. We missed on some key targets but I've gotta say the class has impressed me.
 
#9
Or maybe even if we'd played a different sort of non-conference schedule.

Still though, winning games with absolutely no pressure on you when your opponents are taking you lightly and don't much film of your quality play to study is a whole different thing from where we're gonna be next year when there are expectations and pressure and an anxious SFC rather than a delirious one. Those are tougher wins to get.

And keeping the roster in a good place remains a prerequisite to all of that. We've begun to see what Underwood can do with a good slate of chess pieces to work with, and it's just what his resume made obvious. The system works. But his resume had a lot less to say about how he'd manage and maintain a big time program as it evolved, and his performance on that front in his first 18 months was catastrophic. It's been better since, and that's the easy part really, but I remain guarded on that until I see more.

Anyway, I can't wait to watch the game on Monday, and I find myself thinking about this team at random down moments during the day. I lost that feeling about Illinois sports for awhile, and it's wonderful to have it back.
Define "works". I'm still worried about the defensive system and how consistent it can be. Sometimes it's ok to just sit back and defend the rim rather than try to cause havoc. Specifically against teams or players that can't hit the broad side of a barn from 3. And I do believe it takes a certain type of athlete to be able to play in this defense. I'm not sure we can consistently recruit that type of athlete who also has enough skill to get it done on offense too.
 
#12
DC Area
I was really positive about underwood.... then we lost to FAU and I said the following. I probably should have waited a week to make that post.

I still like the Lovie hire. I think that program is in a better place than it was when he was hired. Lovie and Whitman have made changes (rod smith hire), recruiting has been decent. So all in all I think the program is improving. If they manage to get the DC decision right the program could become attractive to other coaches and recruits.

I was completely wrong on the Underwood hire. At the time I thought t was great. I thought he could coach guys up even if he didn't recruit well. However, the regression this year really has we worried that the program is going the opposite direction. My main concern is that the program isn't attractive to other coaches.
 
#13
Hi, I’m illiniguy (*class chirps up, “hi illiniguy”*) and I claimed a few weeks ago that Andres Feliz didn’t move the needle for this team. I take it back. All the way back.
 
#15
I completely agree with you, Gritty. Win or lose, this team is fun to watch. After an extremely rough week at work I found myself almost giddy on Friday thinking about this team.

As long as the thread is dealing with any of us eating crow I specifically wonder how people feel about our recruits this year. I personally am ecstatic. Ayo is what we thought, Giorgi is better than we thought, Feliz is better than we thought. Tev had a breakout game and helped us beat Maryland and likely would.have improved even more but for his suspension. Griffin did lots of good last game despite shooting poorly. Samba has shown flashes of what he could be. We missed on some key targets but I've gotta say the class has impressed me.
The only recruit that (we were in on) we didn't get and would have made a contribution this year is THT. All of the bigs we missed were absolutely inferior to Giorgi. The class has two all big freshmen, solid bench contributors (Dre no. 4 scorer) and future potential. Next class has at least one important missing piece in Kofi and is not complete. I was doubting the coaching but not the recruiting. Compare it to Mizzu's class who supposedly hired the recruiter.
 
#16

Deleted member 643761

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Well, first off, I've been a wait and see guy all along. To be honest, I was disappointed in last season. But I know every coach has a clunker of a season every once in a while where he can't get the team to gel the way it ought.

I certainly was a skeptic regarding those who discounted first year recruiting because it was last minute.

At the same time, I recall posting at one point before this current streak that we ought to be a tournament team next year and some of the hard core "it takes time" crew said that was a ridiculous expectation. So a few of those who were telling us how long it would take have some crow to eat as well.
 
#17
Bonnaroo Land
Or maybe even if we'd played a different sort of non-conference schedule.

Still though, winning games with absolutely no pressure on you when your opponents are taking you lightly and don't much film of your quality play to study is a whole different thing from where we're gonna be next year when there are expectations and pressure and an anxious SFC rather than a delirious one. Those are tougher wins to get.
Not one comment I have heard the entire season from coaches or the media would put this anywhere in the neighborhood of how teams feel about playing us.
 
#18
Not one comment I have heard the entire season from coaches or the media would put this anywhere in the neighborhood of how teams feel about playing us.
The way the opposing coaches talk about us is the absolute proof that we're not a top-of-mind opponent for their players yet.

It's gonna get tougher. But that's okay, we'll be older and wiser and hopefully better ourselves.
 
#19

Deleted member 643761

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The way the opposing coaches talk about us is the absolute proof that we're not a top-of-mind opponent for their players yet.

It's gonna get tougher. But that's okay, we'll be older and wiser and hopefully better ourselves.
Link please
 
#20

Deleted member 11241

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Link please
Well, I haven't watched every post game press conference but look up Izzo after we beat MSU. He did everything he could to not give us any credit for beating them. I kind of remember Beilien acting like he wasn't impressed with us either
 
#21
I don't think we'd be the team we are right now if they hadn't run that gauntlet together.
This is a fact. Although there a few.games we could/should have won, the game that stings for me is Northwestern. I know FAU was a weak opponent and Notre Dame waa winnable but having a winning record this year in the B10 with quality wins might have been enough to get us to the dance without winning the conference tourney.
 
#23
Springfield
For the most part this season is going pretty much as I expected. Too many freshman and newcomers (one coming off major injury would have to contribute by Jan.). I expected between 10-14 wins and no postseason but a team with youngsters improving.

What has surprised me from a negative side:

1. That with the team playing hard and working their tails off at both ends they were not able to win 3 or 4 more games prior to conference play. That said, the non-conf schedule may have been the toughest ever for the Illini. Still, they were fun to watch because of how hard they played and the newcomers growth at both ends.
2. Biggest surprise for me is how Damonte had struggled with making shots...especially after watching his video of Spring and Summer workouts making shot after shot. He has as high a hoops IQ as any player on the team and does much very well....but must find a way to get the ball in the net. Love DW...but he simply has to get better at scoring.

Positive surprises:
1. Truly, I was hoping that GB would translate his hand and ball skills into court success....moderate at best but good omen for the future. However, I must admit, though surprised he is not a better shooter, his ambidexterity, footwork, ball handling, and quickness have all been above a level anyone could expect. We needed this...and he delivered.
2. Giving BU credit, he has tempered his public rage lately, embarrassing at times, and shown some control and restraint when young kids make blunders. If kids are going to lay it on the line for you, you have to give them some degree of respect. There is a huge difference between uncontrollable rage and an attention demanding point made. Kids actually hear to latter.

Other than that, nothing has been surprising but all games have been enjoyable....some more than others. I love watching kids play hard and looking to do the extraordinary...win or lose. These kids all have talent, B1G talent, but it takes some time for the pot to boil. Still, a lot of mountain to climb but they can climb it...likely more slowly than we want them to...but you have to appreciate the process. This team could be special in a couple of years.
 
#24
I thought the mass exodus talk was hysteria. I did wonder about Underwood’s sideline demeanor on a team struggling for wins. I thought he backed off a touch when things started to turn around. I don’t know what came first, the chicken or the egg. Maybe he backed off because they started “getting it”?
 
#25

Deleted member 643761

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Well, I haven't watched every post game press conference but look up Izzo after we beat MSU. He did everything he could to not give us any credit for beating them. I kind of remember Beilien acting like he wasn't impressed with us either
Here's an example.

https://www.freep.com/videos/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2019/01/11/michigans-john-beilein-recaps-illinois-win/2544631002/

Anyone coaching in this league more than two seasons has learned to take no team lightly.