Illinois 59, Minnesota 51 POSTGAME

This has been a fun ride so far. The def has been amazing. Ia. is a good shooting team so it will be interesting to see if they go down low to Garza or shoot threes. I think Fran will try to get Kofi in foul trouble. I hope it is the other way around. Kofi has played against some of the best bigs in the country and he has held his own. If he stays he will be a load and should be first team all BT. Beat Ia on Sunday. I still think this will be the toughest game in the BT they will have played. I wonder what has happened to all the Underwood haters. Winning cures all ills. First place in the BT. Ranked in the top 20 and if we beat Ia. should be in the top 15. Who would have thunk it after the Missouri and Md loss.
That’s what I call a practice series for our national title run later this season. Gotta win them all in a row against what are likely the top 25 teams in the country to make it there!
In a 68 team tournament, fewer than half will be top 25 teams... ;)
One thing that REALLY impressed (and hasn’t been mentioned yet) was that play where Felix just completely stopped on a dime and made a ten footer.
Likes: illini677
That was a fun game! Two tough-minded teams that were keen on winning, battling it out! Loved the energy in the building and enjoying the win. My take on the win:

  1. Game was in control the whole time: Minnesota as good as they are, Illini had this game in control despite the score getting close and losing the lead in the 2nd half. I think that shows that this team is not one that will get too high or too low...but that this is still business and they take care of their business. Hard to capture in words specifically, but I didn't feel like the game was in danger in the 2nd half. I knew they would weather the storm in this game. Shows real growth.
  2. Illini are like a Swiss Army Knife (lite edition). We have role players that are bought into their roles. When both Trent and Ayo are struggling to find offense, you "unfold" Feliz and his game is just different enough that the opponent didn't seem prepared to deal with. Give Minn credit, they were ready for Ayo's drives, Kofi lobs, and Trent's 3 point shooting...but Feliz comes out and brings offense in that is just different enough to throw them off balance.
  3. Need to expand the options and grow to become one of those fat Swiss Army Knives to go far in the tourney: With AG out for the last game and the team in foul trouble, the thin bench was just glaring! They did a great job of plugging the holes just long enough to eat up some minutes, but when TU has to come into the game and eat up some minutes...TJones is just not comfortable yet with a role/identity with this team, you just realize the drop-off in talent. We could really use at least 1 more wing and 1 more capable big (Hamlin is not that guy) to really have the right tools to win against top competition on nights like these when the team is either in foul trouble or not producing or just need to give the other team another look. A knock-down 3 point specialist and a true 5 that can shoot from 3 would really be nice about now.
  4. Kofi is going to have a hard decision at the end of this year...but coming back one more year is the right decision: He just went up against a the top big-man in the b1g and held his own...a guy that is in discussion to be a lottery pick! He did outplay Oturu at times, but there is a noticeable difference between the two. Oturu was quicker and had a better feel for the game. He was creating his opportunities in a 1:1 match-up vs. Kofi and was responsible for putting Kofi in tough situations. He carried his team. Kofi of course had help too and it wasn't necessarily Kofi alone that helped keep Oturu in check throughout the game. The tough part is that I think that scouts will see Kofi's potential as well and I'm sure a team will take him on as a project...he has the physicality, he has shown he listens, works hard, and improves almost game to game.....not sure what one more year would do other than perhaps make him more expensive for some teams to buy into. Why not get him for cheap now and build him up?!
Great game last night. This team has come a long way. 2 months ago I would have on the edge of my seat the entire time waiting for them to loose control, but even with a close game I just felt the had it in the bag. They have come a long way this year with how confidently they are playing. First time in 10 years I get excited for the next game to see what they can do!
Will work for bourbon
Lexington, KY
He's like our mini-Rodman with less tats and piercings.
That's a great analogy.
Count me amongst those back in December questioning why Da'Monte was still getting the start and playing so many minutes (I just didn't understand what I was missing). HOWEVER, and I think I speak for others, that was earlier in the season when he was a bit of an offensive liability. In hindsight, BU's offense was still trying to sort itself out amongst all the players, and DMW stuck out as far as not being in the flow. What a difference a half season makes. Yeah it IS ponderous to think he hasn't scored a single point in 2020, but man the past 2 games he did the exact same thing in locking the door in the final minutes. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at Legends or the new Kam's whenever that "1st" score happens for the guy; the place is gonna light up.
Tough to imagine a team playing better defense by every player. Have to also give credit to Minny for playing tough for 40 mins. Neither team gave any easy shots and percentages reflected it. Next few games are probably not going to get any prettier. There is no way that Ayo, Dre, and Kipper won’t be missed next year.
Yeah, I think MN guarded their a$$e$ off. They’re a good team. We guarded our a$$e$ off and we won because we’re better. AND IT FREAKS ME OUT!
Don't like Pitino (always reminded me of the kid that doesn't get picked up so he takes his ball and goes home kind of guy), but he should be proud of what he is building as long as he keeps it going, not to long ago he was projected to get booted possibly.,
wonder which punchable face will go off, the hawkeyes always hit their shots against us it seems.
LOL. Richard Pitino got asked 2 questions about DMW and didn't have any idea why the media was interested in hearing about him.
He's just like his dad. That snippet they had of him in the huddle telling his players we (the illini) were playing rougher, to take cuts harder cause we'll probably be whistled for the foul, or to lift the chair from under our bigs when we backed up (talk about a backfire, though it was a terrible call), While he isn't all together wrong, those kind of comments are pretty bush league, especially mid game. Guess it isn't his fault they got aired out on TV, but I feel like you can tell a lot from what coaches say under pressure. Groce had a tendency to motivate, BU has some good things to say (both negative and positive), and you can tell guys like Beilein and Izzo have some great insight. But Pitino sounds like he's scraping together anything that might help his team, rather than diagnosing what to change to improve.

Then to complain to the media about getting DMW questions, labeling him essentially a nobody, can't stand it. I'm sure they didn't prepare for DMW nearly as much as Ayo or Kofi, or Trent, but it's gotta be some sort of pride thing to not acknowledge what kind of impact DMW has on the game (or maybe he honestly didn't know).

With Crean and Ryan gone from the B1G, there really aren't many coaches I dislike, but Pitino is pushing Fran for that number 1 spot.
Yeah, I think MN guarded their a$$e$ off. They’re a good team. We guarded our a$$e$ off and we won because we’re better. AND IT FREAKS ME OUT!
We won the FG% battle (though barely), the rebounding battle by a solid 9, the TO and points off TO battle. Tough to beat us if that happens. Credit to the Gophers, they played hard and defended really well.