Tommy boy seemed perplexed and lost in the post game presser....wonder if he's getting enough sleep ? Might need to share a custard with his BFF Bubbles and get some advice on how losses in the B1G can affect your immune system and balance...Watching MSU looks very similar to other programs before a giant fall off. I think their run is coming to a long painful end.
Yeah ... we still have the third best winning percentage all-time in the tournament behind Ohio State and Michigan State and the second most total wins behind Michigan State, and it used to be so much better. Since our last win (2005), OSU has won four times, and MSU has won three times. Pretty incredible when you think about it. In Chicago alone, we are still 16-7 (.696), and that is after going 1-2 in our last two trips, so hopefully we make something happen this year!Remember when we were by far the most dominant BTT team over like it's first 10 years? I remember.
I watched every game played by Leonard his freshman year, and there is simply no comparison---Giorgi has outplayed him and there really is no way to argue otherwise.IMO
Giorgi best freshman center in recent history and best overall since Leonard.
Ayo and Trent best defensive guards in BIG
Our tendency to look at starting fives doesn't apply in BU's system, requires at least eight.
Rebounding our largest weakness and Kofi/Antwan should remedy.
System requires a base of experience as it is so different from what players had in HS or AAU.
We are still in for some disappointments with this young team.
Leonard was also drafted where he was because teams were forecasting what they could do with a 7ft kid who was a freak athletically. It's not like his last season at Illinois was one for the ages or all that memorable really. The most memorable things he did was shove Zeller when they were running down the court and interrupt Webber by yelling "God Dang" in a post-game speech.Before we get too crazy here, let's remember that Leonard was a first-round NBA pick after his sophomore year.
I agree with most of this, but who is Webber?Leonard was also drafted where he was because teams were forecasting what they could do with a 7ft kid who was a freak athletically. It's not like his last season at Illinois was one for the ages or all that memorable really. The most memorable things he did was shove Zeller when they were running down the court and interrupt Webber by yelling "God Dang" in a post-game speech.
Yeah. The game was horrible display for the Illini though.Ayo's 2 3-point shots at the end of the game have to be the biggest since JCL hit that walk off game winner three against I don't care who. It was the shot! I can remember it like it was yesterday. Remembering the team we beat? Who cares!
There only center I can remember that played better as a freshman at Illinois than Giorgi is Deon Thomas.I watched every game played by Leonard his freshman year, and there is simply no comparison---Giorgi has outplayed him and there really is no way to argue otherwise.
I wouldn't count on it, but if he is back, I would bet that we're not just in the dance, but a very good seed. The way the team's playing now is night and day better. To go from nearly 110 in Kenpom to a respectable high 60s/low 70s this late in the season means you're playing really well --easily at the level of tourney teams. I bet if you polled BIG TEN coaches today and ask what team they'd least like to meet in the early rounds of the BIG tournament, our name might come up the most.I really liked both the players and BU's pressers. Couldn't resist Giorgi just sitting in there grinning; really thought BU comments were right on. Here's a collection of some other thoughts, following a night that I really needed as a fan and am so happy for the players and coach to have had:
- Was truly a team effort. So many important plays by different people. Not taking anything from Ayo, but I didn't see him "taking over the game," even though he made big shots at the end. I felt the team was a team all the way through. The coach and players mentioned a number of key contributions (Ayo 3s, AJ block, Trent and others FTs) but both Feliz and ADLR get credit for really solid contributions tonight - best so far, from ADLR.
- First half defense was so consistently good and aggressive that it flustered MSU into making the "junior high plays" that Izzo commented on - you can bet that MSU players haven't seen defense like that for an entire half at any point this year; some of our turnovers were really take-aways and some of them were stress-induced brain farts by MSU that our players get more credit for than Izzo wanted to give.
- A big part of the reason the first half D was so good for 98% of that half was that our offensive energy, diversity and execution were so good for about 90% of the same period - we had a real positive feedback loop going, with offense and defense really feeding off of each other. I thought the decline in our offensive energy (and the increased whistles) in the second half took some of the ferocity out of our defense and defensive rebounding.
- I was hoping we would see a bit more TJ in the second half, because I thought he had the potential to spark something on offensive that might help recapture the first half energy. I'm okay with AJ and DMW on the floor at the same time when we are both a) working Giorgi in the post and b) at least one of TF or Ayo are clearly feeling it, but when c) we start looking flat on offense, then I think one of Feliz or TJ has to be in the game to take some initiative going to the rim.
- I watched Ayo play for the national team last year (on TV) and was thoroughly impressed by his discipline and "headiness." He was not a star on that team; he was a really solid 6th man who played within himself, understood his role (he played D, distributed and didn't shoot much in half court, unless it was obvious that offensive flow required him to shoot) and brought a calm sense of purpose to the floor.
- Consistent with the above, I have to agree with Izzo in that Ayo (based on his shooting %) isn't yet the guy you would most fear shooting a couple of threes against you at the end of the game. He does, though, seem to be the one guy we have who isn't going to miss due to nerves when he knows the situation demands a shot. [Maybe Trent, too, but I don't know what was going on with Trent's confidence earlier in B1G season; that said, I really liked Trent wanting to take the FTs at game end tonight.]
- AYO/Trent/Feliz have not yet shown that they are the best backcourt in the B1G, but by this time next year they might be.
I believe AYO will stay another year and, barring injuries to him/TF/Giorgi, we will be in the big dance next year.
- I really like his continuing comments about IL being a great historic program and having great fans. I believe BU was a good hire and love the fact that he seems to really want to become our next Lou Henson. In a bit of a reality check, however, the current players have yet to see what IL fans really can bring to the Hall. I was a cheerleader in the late 80's, travelled with the basketball team, etc., and I made it to a couple of games in in 04-05. The current players haven't seen even remotely what IL fans can do to rock the house.
- I've taken a lot of comfort over the course of the season from comments made by the players about BU. It has seemed to me that the players feel BU truly cares for them and that there's a real relationship context between him/them that people complaining about BU's "angry face" aren't allowing for … Passion is something BU shares with his players - more so than Lou Henson appeared to and more like Izzo (like him or not, Izzo gets buy-in from his players, not just because he knows the game, but also because he has passion and cares for his guys).
Leonard was a monster defensively his sophomore year, averaged over 8 rebounds/gm, and shot about 60%!! He looked ready for the jump to the NBA and we were lucky to have him.The most memorable things he did was shove Zeller when they were running down the court and interrupt Webber by yelling "God Dang" in a post-game speech.