Illini Basketball 2018-2019

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Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
Actually, the most encouraging quote by BU that I saw there was about the personality of the players and the team. A great locker room, cameraderie, and a team that can stay loose and have fun while still having focus is what makes teams play better than their talent, and that's what makes otherwise bad teams average, average teams good, and good teams GREAT. It's what we saw in '08-09 with the Chet Frazier, McCamey, Trent Meacham, Tisdale, Davis team when we finished a surprising 2nd in conference and what we obviously saw in our best teams from the early 2000s. If we have that we can finish better than most are expecting this season.
 
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Who the heck plays the 5 besides those two? Kipper? Can we just give the other team two points instead, save everybody the time?
Well, starting the season without De La Rosa and Higgs the only other possibility in competitive games will be trying Tevian Jones at 4 with Kipper at 5.
 
And there's a knock-on badness there. Our desperate need for Kane and Giorgi to soak up as many minutes at the 5 as they possibly can makes it basically impossible to play the two of them together, which would be the only lineup with real size that we can currently throw out there.

And like, we have all these new players learning to play together in this system, and in practice they have two true freshman big guys to play against and that's it.

It's just really crazy that this is the roster for Year 2. Black and Ebo are nobody's David Robinson and Tim Duncan, but it's beyond measure how much better this situation would be with those two.
 
And there's a knock-on badness there. Our desperate need for Kane and Giorgi to soak up as many minutes at the 5 as they possibly can makes it basically impossible to play the two of them together, which would be the only lineup with real size that we can currently throw out there.

And like, we have all these new players learning to play together in this system, and in practice they have two true freshman big guys to play against and that's it.

It's just really crazy that this is the roster for Year 2. Black and Ebo are nobody's David Robinson and Tim Duncan, but it's beyond measure how much better this situation would be with those two.
Let’s say that we end up being competitive this year and have a borderline tourney team. The committee will certainly take into account the losses earlier on when we didn’t have depth and should give us a pass to a certain extent. Overall we’d still have to get roughly 20 wins but if we slip in the first few games and do well later on (assuming we get De La Rosa and maybe Higgs), we’ll have a chance. That’s not my expectation for a successful season though. I’d be happy with the NIT considering our youth.
 
Let’s say that we end up being competitive this year and have a borderline tourney team.
So long as we then held onto the key pieces of that team and added some additional frontcourt help in recruiting I would be over the freakin' moon.

If we're any good at all this year, my view of what's going on is wrong, period, and you will hear me say so, I promise.
 
And there's a knock-on badness there. Our desperate need for Kane and Giorgi to soak up as many minutes at the 5 as they possibly can makes it basically impossible to play the two of them together, which would be the only lineup with real size that we can currently throw out there.

And like, we have all these new players learning to play together in this system, and in practice they have two true freshman big guys to play against and that's it.

It's just really crazy that this is the roster for Year 2. Black and Ebo are nobody's David Robinson and Tim Duncan, but it's beyond measure how much better this situation would be with those two.
A couple of things:

1. I don't think that anyone would tell you with a straight face that the total amount of roster turnover from last year will not impact this season's team in a negative way. That said, if Leron Black wanted to be playing college basketball in 18-19, he'd be playing college basketball. He isn't. If Ebo wanted to live in Champaign-Urbana, he'd be living in Champaign-Urbana. He isn't, having chosen to move somewhere that has a substantial Nigerian community. I have trouble drawing a line from those two departures to a prediction of an Underwood-related exodus in the upcoming year. (I got the over at 2.5, but just barely.)

2. Sourcing the primary starting lineups from kenpom.com, some facts about the B1G last season:

Number of teams with two starters 6'10" or above: 0
Number of teams with two starters 6'8" or above: 5

Number of teams with no starters 6'8" or above: 2*
Number of teams with no starters 6'10" or above: 4

(* - This includes Minnesota. Before Lynch got booted, they would move into the category of having one starter 6'10" or above, but not two above 6'8".)

It's rare that teams deploy two true post players in this day and age. Even if all goes well and it's possible to do so, I think it's highly unlikely that Kane and Giorgi B see the court at the same time for any significant period this season. And I believe that Nichols and Jones at least have the physical tools to guard a typical 6'8-ish stretch four. (Their technical defensive skills, regardless of who they are guarding, may not keep up, but that's an entirely separate issue from 'not having enough post players'.)

I'm not enamored with our options in the post due to health and inexperience reasons, and I think that we'll continue to have one of the worst 2FG% defenses in the P5. But I also think that systematic familiarity, increased athleticism across the board, and better perimeter defense will have a significant impact on the number of two-point shots that are given up, helping to soften the blow a bit.

I'll welcome the plate of crow if I'm wrong about any of this, but we will see improvement.
 
And I believe that Nichols and Jones at least have the physical tools to guard a typical 6'8-ish stretch four. (Their technical defensive skills, regardless of who they are guarding, may not keep up, but that's an entirely separate issue from 'not having enough post players'.)
I recognize the distinction you're making, and I still disagree.

Very interesting data on the other B1G teams, I appreciate you bringing actual numbers to the discussion, I just think the extent of the smallness on the roster goes deeper than what you presented.

Though I realize now that I forgot about Zach Griffith, who is only 6'6" but is a definite post player. That makes me feel a bit better about the looks our guys are able to get in practice. A bit. But if a student manager turned walk-on has to play, and I honestly think he might at some point, that's a real bad scene.
 
Yeah, if Higgs & De La Rosa are injured and not ready at start of season, it is hard to assume Giorgi/Kane playing the full 40 mins.
I don't see any Higgs interviews, the only scholarship player that wasn't? Did BU say anything about Anthony? It just seems to be really quiet on that front. I was pretty excited about his highlights but it is starting to feel like a player that won't be here next year. Any insight from the group?
 
I recognize the distinction you're making, and I still disagree.

Very interesting data on the other B1G teams, I appreciate you bringing actual numbers to the discussion, I just think the extent of the smallness on the roster goes deeper than what you presented.

Though I realize now that I forgot about Zach Griffith, who is only 6'6" but is a definite post player. That makes me feel a bit better about the looks our guys are able to get in practice. A bit. But if a student manager turned walk-on has to play, and I honestly think he might at some point, that's a real bad scene.
He is a walk-on who won’t play. When the team scrimmaged with the recruits last week, he was not included on any of the teams. Even Cayce and T. Underwood played some. When they don’t include you in the pick up games (he watched from the sideline), you are a deep deep reserve.
 
I don't see any Higgs interviews, the only scholarship player that wasn't? Did BU say anything about Anthony? It just seems to be really quiet on that front. I was pretty excited about his highlights but it is starting to feel like a player that won't be here next year. Any insight from the group?
Higgs was there.
 
I recognize the distinction you're making, and I still disagree.
Interested in why you think they can’t guard stretch 4s.

One thing bigs (even stretch 4s) hate is when guys get under them defensively. If you take away the clean catch and shoot, now they have to put it on the floor vs a smaller, and generally quicker, guy. Advantage defense.
 
Interested in why you think they can’t guard stretch 4s.

One thing bigs (even stretch 4s) hate is when guys get under them defensively. If you take away the clean catch and shoot, now they have to put it on the floor vs a smaller, and generally quicker, guy. Advantage defense.
Most of the 4s in our conference, or in college basketball in general, aren’t post players so I’m not too concerned either. Our biggest problem has been with guarding opposing 5s and not having the lateral speed to guard 3s and 4s and I think the latter will be significantly improved this season.
 
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