Illini Basketball 2018-2019

We were 5 points away from 4 wins - 3 OTs and 1 2 pt loss. That close to 18-14 rather than 14-18. If we can get Adonis sooner rather than later, I am thinking we're at least mid pack and up this year.
How many wins did we have that were within 5 points of losing? I counted 3. The indiana win was very 'loseable'. As was grand canyon.

Honestly though, I felt about the same as you. In fact, I'd say there were three wins dictated by bad luck. Pythag agrees, it shows we were 3 games 'under' due to luck. We were quite literally an inbounds play away from another win or two. A buzzer beater at Neb too. Hard to predict this years total wins as others have pointed out due to SOS, but the team should look improved on offense, and I still find it difficult to think we wont be on defense.
 
OFL Supplier, BU's Brylcreem
Virginia
How many wins did we have that were within 5 points of losing? I counted 3. The indiana win was very 'loseable'. As was grand canyon.

Honestly though, I felt about the same as you. In fact, I'd say there were three wins dictated by bad luck. Pythag agrees, it shows we were 3 games 'under' due to luck. We were quite literally an inbounds play away from another win or two. A buzzer beater at Neb too. Hard to predict this years total wins as others have pointed out due to SOS, but the team should look improved on offense, and I still find it difficult to think we wont be on defense.
Not sure my post was clear, we had 4 games where 5 more points In Total would have given us 4 wins. Each OT game was 1 point away from a win (before OT of course) and the 1 pt loss to Nebbie (2 more points would have been a W).

I realize things can bounce both ways - so this is not a Beckman "if not for those 10 plays" type of statement on my part, just sayin a bounce (or pass) here or there and we're feeling pretty wonderful about last year.
 
Not sure my post was clear, we had 4 games where 5 more points In Total would have given us 4 wins. Each OT game was 1 point away from a win (before OT of course) and the 1 pt loss to Nebbie (2 more points would have been a W).

I realize things can bounce both ways - so this is not a Beckman "if not for those 10 plays" type of statement on my part, just sayin a bounce (or pass) here or there and we're feeling pretty wonderful about last year.
I think that's a very valid point to discuss. We were competitive in most games and if we improve on any of those areas of weaknesses, we're capable of improving our record quite a bit. The games were more exciting than past years even with the bad record, and I think a lot of the fans that are still around are patient enough to give BU some time if we are close to bubble territory and have some fun games to watch with some highlight worthy plays. It hurt my soul every time I would watch a game with no dunk from an Illini player. It's a shame that Groce set my standard so low..
 
Give me a name of a consistent inside presence we saw last year so I can know where your perspective lies on that.
I went to the Wake game down here & I will throw out Doral Moore. If I was a Wake fan I would have been ticked off that they didn't get him the ball 10 times more in that game, cuz it could have been worse
 
Give me a name of a consistent inside presence we saw last year so I can know where your perspective lies on that.
Iowa ate our lunch inside last year with Cook and Garza.

They are the opposite of us really. Roll out 3-4 guys whos game is all on the block, with little depth/length at the 1-2 spots.
 
We disagree if you think that we had great consistent inside presence last year with Black. While Black had more inside skills than other players on the current team (e.g., Kipper) I thought our froncourt and inside game last year was weak and one of them most obvious deficiencies that even BU stressed on some post conferences. This year, we unfortunately lost even Black.

I do not think anyone is claiming that a big consistent inside presence would not help, just that our view of what happens IF one of our bigs (Giorgi/Kane/Higgs/De La Rosa) does not develop as a consistent inside presence is different. You think we can be effective, I say we can't. At least in contending for NCAA, which IMO is really the measure, because just improving on 4-14 is meaningless since we set the bar so low ourselves having one of worst seasons in 20+ years. If we just marginally improve on last year, it would be the worst 2-year stretch in B1G since 1973-1975 (Harv Schmidt and Gene Bartow). We are talking pre-Henson years.
Getting this out of the way first -- a 4-14 team needs to improve in multiple phases by definition, and I personally won't be happy with the outcome of this year unless Illinois is seriously considered as part of the NCAA tournament conversation (i.e. last eight out, NIT bid).

I'm curious about what you're referring to when you talk about a post presence, specifically on offense. I admit I didn't follow along last year as closely as I usually do, but I seem to recall Underwood talking a lot about finishing around the basket. I don't think that he was referring specifically to post players making post moves, though, and his offense seems to revolve more around taking advantage of space and mismatches rather than anchoring the other team's best defender near the rim and scoring over him.

That doesn't mean that you don't want big men who can score around the hoop, of course. (And to be fair, Mike Finke was about the best on the team in the paint, though a lot of his points there seemed to come at the expense of smaller defenders.) But having that type of player doesn't seem to be a requirement to effectively running Underwood's offense.

If you're just talking about guys who can finish layups and dunks in space, though, sign me up.

Defensively, no argument from me that Illinois needs better rim protection, and that's likely to come from the big men. I think they can work around it if they don't show improvement there, mostly by cutting down the number of shots (and specifically, shots in the paint) the other team takes. That means better perimeter D, better rebounding, and maybe even more turnovers. No doubt that they're nibbling around the margins if they can only improve on those areas and not rim protection, though.

I just don't think that post play is a particularly important part of today's game. I look at it like stealing bases -- everyone did it back in the 80s, but between the emergence of the power game and the realization that getting caught stealing is a very bad event from the offense's perspective, stealing has become limited to a few elite guys who can do it at a high rate of success. Same with old-style back to the basket post play. If you have a guy who can convert on McHale up-and-unders and Sikma reverse pivots at a high rate, you want to use him. But most guys can't do it, and if they can't, those shots aren't a particularly good option.

I'd love to see this team have a very effective post player for a number of reasons, including aesthetics and novelty. But I don't think that we're going to benefit by having a square peg hammered into a round hole.
 
Illini Basketball Open Practice Saturday Morning

"Illinois will hold an open practice on Saturday from 8-11 a.m. at the Ubben Basketball Complex. Fans can watch from the balcony overlooking the men's gym on the east side of the complex.

Following practice, the Illini basketball team will hold an autograph session in Grange Grove from 11:30-Noon, followed by the 12:15 p.m. Illini Walk arrival of the football team prior to its 2:30 p.m. Homecoming game vs. Purdue."

https://fightingillini.com/news/201...asketball-open-practice-saturday-morning.aspx
 
Likes: KevinC
This is my silver lining hope for this year as well. In reality, we were a 4 win conference team, but a bounce (or inbound) or 2 away from7-8 conference wins. A little luck and slightly more success (however you chose to define success) 9-11 or 10-10 in conference.

If's and buts are not a good way to look back on a season. Let's hope it shakes out better this year.
Are helped along with good attitudes and hard work. I feel we have an upgrade in those intangibles.
 
This might be the best spot for this, but I read about Mike Shaw being featured in the Lebron produced documentary "Student-Athlete." Pretty mixed reviews on the film overall, but from what I read you see a lot of the struggles Shaw is having post basketball. Has anyone seen this yet or have more info on it?
 
Getting this out of the way first -- a 4-14 team needs to improve in multiple phases by definition, and I personally won't be happy with the outcome of this year unless Illinois is seriously considered as part of the NCAA tournament conversation (i.e. last eight out, NIT bid).

I'm curious about what you're referring to when you talk about a post presence, specifically on offense. I admit I didn't follow along last year as closely as I usually do, but I seem to recall Underwood talking a lot about finishing around the basket. I don't think that he was referring specifically to post players making post moves, though, and his offense seems to revolve more around taking advantage of space and mismatches rather than anchoring the other team's best defender near the rim and scoring over him.

That doesn't mean that you don't want big men who can score around the hoop, of course. (And to be fair, Mike Finke was about the best on the team in the paint, though a lot of his points there seemed to come at the expense of smaller defenders.) But having that type of player doesn't seem to be a requirement to effectively running Underwood's offense.

If you're just talking about guys who can finish layups and dunks in space, though, sign me up.

Defensively, no argument from me that Illinois needs better rim protection, and that's likely to come from the big men. I think they can work around it if they don't show improvement there, mostly by cutting down the number of shots (and specifically, shots in the paint) the other team takes. That means better perimeter D, better rebounding, and maybe even more turnovers. No doubt that they're nibbling around the margins if they can only improve on those areas and not rim protection, though.

I just don't think that post play is a particularly important part of today's game. I look at it like stealing bases -- everyone did it back in the 80s, but between the emergence of the power game and the realization that getting caught stealing is a very bad event from the offense's perspective, stealing has become limited to a few elite guys who can do it at a high rate of success. Same with old-style back to the basket post play. If you have a guy who can convert on McHale up-and-unders and Sikma reverse pivots at a high rate, you want to use him. But most guys can't do it, and if they can't, those shots aren't a particularly good option.

I'd love to see this team have a very effective post player for a number of reasons, including aesthetics and novelty. But I don't think that we're going to benefit by having a square peg hammered into a round hole.
My post talked about strong inside presence both on offense and defense. Not sure why you are referring to "post players" and "post presence" in the post you quoted (unless you mean post conferences, this was a reference to postgame conferences). Independent of that, I refer to the ability to get consistent results in the paint. That does not mean necessarily a C, there are many PFs as well who have excellent inside games. Offensively, that means the ability to score in the paint and get rebounds against opponents' inside presence. That will indeed require some low post skills and ability to also play with your back to he basket, especially in half court sets, but not necessary mean that this will be their entire skillset and game. I do not think Kipper is that kind of player, he lacks some of those skills IMO despite really liking the rest of his game. I think Kipper is really a SF as far as skills.

I disagree that Finke was our best inside player last year, I thought Black was. Black had better skills in that department than both Finke and Kipper. Yet, his game was not really geared towards that and I think playing him in that role out of necessity really hurt his pro prospects. I do not think that Liddell would have liked that role. But Black is gone.

Defensively, you have to be able to hold ground against "inside" opponents, rebound, and would be nice to have some shot blocking ability although that is less of my concerns. Egwu was good for example on weakside help defense and blocks (most his blocks were coming from the weakside) but he had a lot of problems holding position against opposing inside players.
 
My post talked about strong inside presence both on offense and defense. Not sure why you are referring to "post players" and "post presence" in the post you quoted (unless you mean post conferences, this was a reference to postgame conferences). Independent of that, I refer to the ability to get consistent results in the paint. That does not mean necessarily a C, there are many PFs as well who have excellent inside games. Offensively, that means the ability to score in the paint and get rebounds against opponents' inside presence. That will indeed require some low post skills and ability to also play with your back to he basket, especially in half court sets, but not necessary mean that this will be their entire skillset and game. I do not think Kipper is that kind of player, he lacks some of those skills IMO despite really liking the rest of his game. I think Kipper is really a SF as far as skills.

I disagree that Finke was our best inside player last year, I thought Black was. Black had better skills in that department than both Finke and Kipper. Yet, his game was not really geared towards that and I think playing him in that role out of necessity really hurt his pro prospects. I do not think that Liddell would have liked that role. But Black is gone.
I wasn't sure what you were getting at when discussing 'inside presence' so I asked for clarification (and thanks for providing it). I'd assumed you were talking about post players because you cited our three bigs as the ones who we'd depend on to provide it.

It's instructive to look at what Underwood's OSU team did in terms of how he views production in the paint. The guys who did most of the heavy lifting were Carroll and Evans, neither of whom were post players. They just took advantage of space on the interior that was created by having three outstanding perimeter shooters (and one passable one) spreading the floor. By comparison, the guy who played the most minutes at the 5 (Solomon) shot about as many twos as Finke did for us last year in roughly the same minutes.

Spreading the floor is going to be way more critical than posting up in terms of generating good interior looks this year, and that's by design.
 
My post talked about strong inside presence both on offense and defense. Not sure why you are referring to "post players" and "post presence" in the post you quoted (unless you mean post conferences, this was a reference to postgame conferences). Independent of that, I refer to the ability to get consistent results in the paint. That does not mean necessarily a C, there are many PFs as well who have excellent inside games. Offensively, that means the ability to score in the paint and get rebounds against opponents' inside presence. That will indeed require some low post skills and ability to also play with your back to he basket, especially in half court sets, but not necessary mean that this will be their entire skillset and game. I do not think Kipper is that kind of player, he lacks some of those skills IMO despite really liking the rest of his game. I think Kipper is really a SF as far as skills.

I disagree that Finke was our best inside player last year, I thought Black was. Black had better skills in that department than both Finke and Kipper. Yet, his game was not really geared towards that and I think playing him in that role out of necessity really hurt his pro prospects. I do not think that Liddell would have liked that role. But Black is gone.

Defensively, you have to be able to hold ground against "inside" opponents, rebound, and would be nice to have some shot blocking ability although that is less of my concerns. Egwu was good for example on weakside help defense and blocks (most his blocks were coming from the weakside) but he had a lot of problems holding position against opposing inside players.
Just so that there is no misunderstanding, being a consistent inside presence does not mean that you necessarily have to be the top or one of the top scorers. Someone can have Finke's point production and be very effective. Finkes' problem was not that he did not score more, he just did not have inside skills on offense or defense. FInke on the other hand can be a very productive player if he plays alongside a player with very strong inside presence. It would actually create a lot more opportunities with his outside shot and skills.

I have seen many being very critical of Finke, almost to the point of dislike and how much better we would be without him. I thought FInke was a good player, certainly more than I had hoped coming out of HS. I just think Finke was a poor fit given the roster construction and was asked to play a role that did not suit him. To be honest, I thought the same for Malcolm Hill and so far, I think the same has been true for Kipper.
 
This might be the best spot for this, but I read about Mike Shaw being featured in the Lebron produced documentary "Student-Athlete." Pretty mixed reviews on the film overall, but from what I read you see a lot of the struggles Shaw is having post basketball. Has anyone seen this yet or have more info on it?
Lack of talent and motivation = lack of success.
 
This might be the best spot for this, but I read about Mike Shaw being featured in the Lebron produced documentary "Student-Athlete." Pretty mixed reviews on the film overall, but from what I read you see a lot of the struggles Shaw is having post basketball. Has anyone seen this yet or have more info on it?
I read this article a while back. Gives the movie an F. A quote from the article in regards to the movie making Shaw a bigger deal than he was. He was cited as the number 9 ranked player in the country apparently.: "When I saw Shaw was ranked No. 9, it struck me like a basketball to the forehead; something was wrong. I was well aware of Shaw as a player on the summer circuit in 2010, when he played for the Mac Irvin Fire at the Peach Jam. I remembered him as a prospect ranked somewhere in the neighborhood of the top 50. So I stopped and rolled it back. Looking hard at the screen, I saw it: Shaw was listed as the No. 9 prospect in the state of Illinois."

http://www.sportingnews.com/us/ncaa...kentucky-mike-shaw/17hn1polh64u611ikxodfb3lyj
 
Just so that there is no misunderstanding, being a consistent inside presence does not mean that you necessarily have to be the top or one of the top scorers. Someone can have Finke's point production and be very effective. Finkes' problem was not that he did not score more, he just did not have inside skills on offense or defense. FInke on the other hand can be a very productive player if he plays alongside a player with very strong inside presence. It would actually create a lot more opportunities with his outside shot and skills.

I have seen many being very critical of Finke, almost to the point of dislike and how much better we would be without him. I thought FInke was a good player, certainly more than I had hoped coming out of HS. I just think Finke was a poor fit given the roster construction and was asked to play a role that did not suit him. To be honest, I thought the same for Malcolm Hill and so far, I think the same has been true for Kipper.
You lost me with your comment on Hill and Kipper. Finke comments I could get behind.
 
I think most people would agree with Obelix. Finke was a stretch 4 who was forced to play the 5. Malcom and Kipper are natural 3's that have had to play the 4 and someone mentioned recently they expect Kipper to get minutes at the 5 !? For a player to live up to or exceed expectations, they need to play at their natural positions. I know some people are going to jump on here and say Malcom was obviously a 4. That's only because he played the 4 so much for us that it became what we think of him as. Coming out of high school, his build and skill set were definitely a 3. Fortunately, we now have a better mix of builds and talents and starting this year, we'll be able to play people in their natural positions. Though our recruiting hasn't been what we'd like, we'll see the benefits of variety this year.
 
Likes: TruIllini89
Illinois – 10/27 vs. Vanderbilt

Not-So-Secret List of 2018 College Basketball Scrimmages
https://watchstadium.com/news/not-so-secret-list-of-2018-college-basketball-scrimmages-10-09-2018/
Iowa – 10/28 vs. Missouri at Quincy University (Illinois)

Can you imagine a school you could hate more (just based on the name components) than "Missouri at Quincy University (Illinois)"? Maybe Iowa at South Bend (Indiana).

Of course maybe that's just the old Quad Cities in me...
 
Just so that there is no misunderstanding, being a consistent inside presence does not mean that you necessarily have to be the top or one of the top scorers. Someone can have Finke's point production and be very effective. Finkes' problem was not that he did not score more, he just did not have inside skills on offense or defense. FInke on the other hand can be a very productive player if he plays alongside a player with very strong inside presence. It would actually create a lot more opportunities with his outside shot and skills.

I have seen many being very critical of Finke, almost to the point of dislike and how much better we would be without him. I thought FInke was a good player, certainly more than I had hoped coming out of HS. I just think Finke was a poor fit given the roster construction and was asked to play a role that did not suit him. To be honest, I thought the same for Malcolm Hill and so far, I think the same has been true for Kipper.
I've been critical of Finke, along with the balance of last year's interior players, on the basis of defense. The results don't lie, and it's been a very long time since Illinois was able to consistently stop teams in the paint.

In terms of what he contributed on offense, I've always thought of him as a stretch four type, but his numbers last year don't really look like you might expect from a stretch four. He hit less than 30% of his threes but was at 62% from two. Not all of those twos were layups or post moves, but a lot of them were and that's a very good percentage.

Honestly, I think it would have been better for the team had he flipped that around and been more like the guy we saw in 2017. I don't really consider that a failure on his part, though. He had a new system, some nagging injuries, and some off-court things to deal with. Wish it would have worked out a bit better for any number of reasons.
 
North Bethesda, Maryland
Groce gave BU a team that would be ready to win in year 2 with just a piece or two. BU kind of mucked it up IMO. But even now, there is a very good possibility that Kipper, Damonte, and Frazier are our best players alongside Ayo for the next years. That’s 3 Groce recruits.
I’m not disagreeing with you, but you do have to concede that BU should be judged more on what he is able to do with those recruits, and not just whether they were his or not.