Illinois 74, Northwestern 66 POSTGAME

Chicago, IL
Defense. In his presser Brad talked about how far AG has come defensively, but you can tell he has more faith in others on the defensive end still. Easy to see he considers his best defensive combination to be the starting lineup. I can't remember exactly if Kipper saw any time the last few minutes (don't think he did), but if he did I think BU likes his length on defensive end especially with the length of NW. He also mentioned during the presser that the plan was for Kipper to get plenty of minutes (again because of NW's length I think), but his quick foul trouble squashed that.
This is probably it.

That being said, AG was truly our one offensive weapon in the second half (17/40 pts). We didn't really play great defense down the stretch either (16 pts in 5 minutes given up after Griffin was out). Sometimes coaches can't help themselves. I still think our heads weren't in the game defensively and that has to improve because the next 3 games are tough to win.
 
i see your point, but i believe AG (along with ayo) is the mentally toughest kid on the team if he misses 3 shots in a row that is not going to affect him one bit, the kid is not scared at all.
Which is why he will be the go to guy next year.
 
Having multiple players that are regularly a threat to score, both starters and off the bench, will make us a dangerous team in March.

If we hit our shots (and GB comes around) we can go a long way, its the tourney.
AG is now our 5th guy who has scored 20 points in a game this year.

We're the only team in the NCAA with 4 Quad 1A wins (road wins v NET top 40)!! This is a dangerous team as we approach March where nobody plays at home. We defend, we rebound both offensively and defensively and we have multiple guys that can score. It's exciting like it was in the early part of this century.
 
20 years of success and consistent postseason appearances (Mike Brey)? Consistent 20-win seasons (Steve Wojciechowski)? Potentially leading a team to its first-ever conference title (Bobby Hurley)?
well, I don't really consider Brey a success and actually quite the opposite. If he was at a basketball school he'd have been run off a long time ago.

Wojo and Hurley are good examples and the guys who perhaps have broken the string of mediocrity. I really haven't recalibrated my Coach K coaching tree analysis in the last few years. Definitely needs revisiting with those two.
 
Well, I think that sealed the bid. Last remaining chance for a 'bad' loss on the schedule. I am thrilled at the way this team has responded post the Braggin' Rights game. I would be lying if I didn't despair after that game and had painted an entire scenario in my head where Underwood wasn't gonna get this done and serious doubts to his effectiveness were lingering. Underwood has pulled so many of the right strings since then and the players have shown such toughness that you can only believe that the current Illinois Bball culture is immensely strong. Such props to this squad. I know still lots to play for, but this has been a great run in conference and I'm thrilled.

Now the game. This was some of the best zone breaking offense we've run this year and yes a lot of that has to do with Griffin getting face melting hot. 2 or 3 times Damonte got into the belly of the zone and swung the ball textbook style to a rhythm 3. Throughout much of the game the defense struggled and if the offense ever went into a prolonged stall there could have been trouble, but that didn't happen. Illinois kept them at bay the entire game and won this game fairly comfortable by scoring. Most of the year defense kept us surging this game it was the offense.

Who should get the lion share of the credit? Griffin of course. Ayo was great again and that behind the back left handed layup was sweet, his bag of tricks has some gems in it. But Griffin was an absolute monster tonight. It wasn't just his 6-8 from 3, but by the end that hoop must of looked enormous for him, splash city, it was also his put back in the 1st half and his sweet alleyoop from Damonte. The man was everywhere. His energy can carry portions of the game and is a true X-factor for how far this squad can go.

Despite those two dominating this game was truly won on the boards. 41-26! It is hard to lose with that disparity and for this team to be able to just boss around the bottom of the conference on the glass is a strange feeling for Illinois fans. Kofi has changed the landscape in the paint. Allows our athletic swings to have more clear runs at the rebounds, let alone grabbing them himself. Even Giorgi is getting boards, again looks so unconfident in the paint, worried about him.

Great W. lets get it done at home against Indiana and see how far this team can climb.
Kofi had 12 and 14, so he was pretty monstrous himself.
 
That mistake could be the best thing that happened to him. His action and suspension are still most of the top hits on his Google search. If I'm him, that gives me all the motivation in the world to dominate on the court and make that be what people remember and write about.
My thoughts exactly, Fame. It seems to have given him a restart. He's come out with focus and determination. His dad was a tough dude too.
 
well, I don't really consider Brey a success and actually quite the opposite. If he was at a basketball school he'd have been run off a long time ago.

Wojo and Hurley are good examples and the guys who perhaps have broken the string of mediocrity. I really haven't recalibrated my Coach K coaching tree analysis in the last few years. Definitely needs revisiting with those two.
He took them to back-to-back Elite 8s and barely missed a Final Four in one of those. I think he may also be their coaching wins leader. Calling him a failure is a big stretch.
 
This is probably it.

That being said, AG was truly our one offensive weapon in the second half (17/40 pts). We didn't really play great defense down the stretch either (16 pts in 5 minutes given up after Griffin was out). Sometimes coaches can't help themselves. I still think our heads weren't in the game defensively and that has to improve because the next 3 games are tough to win.
Well depending on when exactly AG went out, Illini were likely up by 12 or 14. So defense like I said was a key reason as was ball handling at some point I assume since knew NW would press. Not that AG has bad handles, but would have to give the advantage to Ayo, Frazier and Dre. And BU wasn’t going to take DMW out because he trusts him and, more importantly, he’s playing the 4. I was a little surprised as it was playing out that AG didn’t get back in, but in retrospect it makes plenty of sense.
 
Sycamore, Illinois
He took them to back-to-back Elite 8s and barely missed a Final Four in one of those. I think he may also be their coaching wins leader. Calling him a failure is a big stretch.
Agree. Plus in limited opportunities I don’t think we have been able beat him while at ND.