Illinois 99, Rutgers 94 OT POSTGAME

1. Rutgers is either young and very talented....or played at their zenith. They are light years ahead of Minny.
2. Giorgi....what can you say? I liked him for the biggest impact behind Ayo but he has grown into an All B1G second team level of play and a lock for All-frosh.
3. The season is going pretty much as expected with all the newcomers. They had talent, but it takes time to grow into a team and the schedule did not provide that time. Even ADel has impacted above expectations after watching his early play.
4. All these kids deserve huge kudos and support for sticking together and being persistent at chopping wood. Likely, the majority of teams with a similar journey would be mailing it in, but they never did and play their butts off on defense while learning how to get something out of the offense. After watching the ball being passed around the perimeter for decades before throwing up a desperate three at the end of the shot clock, we are seeing the ball go inside, driven to the rim, and back out to open shooters. Been looking for that for decades. The team has shooters galore and at least one post who can get it any time. Sure look to Griffin, Higgs, and Kane to become plus players eventually....I like them all. But only five get to play and the effort they give demands 10 or more. Even Underwood seems to have adjusted his uncontrollable rage from the bench and worked harder at coaching his kids with respect. I don't mind and !!!-chewing at repeated blunders, but do it in a positive way other than a purple faced, screaming rage.
5. I was looking forward to watching the team grow and learn to play with each other while contributing positively with their personal talents. That is coming to fruition. Success breeds success and the kids are growing daily and certainly from game to game in the confidence dept.
6. Keep in mind, for those of us who have seen 60 years of Illini hoops and actually consumed Chesty potato chips, there will be some more nights when the hoops gods place a lid on the Illini basket and another Iowa or Wisky game inserts itself into the Illini record. However, this team has learned some hard lessons. Most of all, they have learned how to win close games against good teams along with the fact that winning is more fun than losing. The future is bright.
I’m not to concerned about BU’s bouts of anger. Hasn’t seemed to affect the kids. This nonsense that a coach can’t get angry with the players hasn’t affected certain coaches at MSU or Duke! I think the kids have started to play and make less mistakes recently so the anger has subsided somewhat.
 
I agree. Giorgi has the best post moves I've ever seen from an Illini big man. So fun to watch. He was dominant.
Another great thing he does so well over a lot of freshman bigs is catching post feeds. Kid is absolutely amazing how well he plays overall for a freshman. Leonard,Maverick, Augustine showed nowhere near the finished moves and hands that Giorgi has as Freshman or sophmores. Deon was a pretty polished scorer as a Freshman but that’s the last one I can remember. Jens, Holcomb, Winters were ok but not on his level of moves.
 
I’m really interested in how Giorgi’s dominance tonight affects how OSU schemes us defensively. Need to have shots drop if they try to double him in the post.
 
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I’m not to concerned about BU’s bouts of anger. Hasn’t seemed to affect the kids. This nonsense that a coach can’t get angry with the players hasn’t affected certain coaches at MSU or Duke! I think the kids have started to play and make less mistakes recently so the anger has subsided somewhat.
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 … 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).
 
Rutgers did play extremely well and hit some extremely tough shots from beginning to end. They're not going to be the doormat of the B1G going forward which means there will be a much deeper conference.

It is very nice to get a win after not playing our best game (not including Giorgi) and the other team played lights out. That's what teams at the top of the conference do.
 
Not sure how much but believe OA deserves a significant amount of credit. LB becomes a huge offensive threat last year after pedestrian previous seasons and Giorgi becomes unstoppable post threat after scoring single digits in HS. Looking for Kofi to dominate in the post and Giorgi to become a matchup nightmare next year. Three threats are significant but four should be awesome in future.
Also believe we may miss AJ more than projected by stats next year.
 
Very entertaining game to watch. Rutgers played really well and their future looks bright. They remind me of Nebraska a couple of years ago with their athletic wings. I just love Illinois’ fight. All the guys are playing with a lot of onfidence.
 
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LittyvILLe
Yeah, he's playing wildly out of position, totally away from his strengths, and just answering the bell over and over.

Remember the "Matto chart"? Pretty much every Aaron Jordan rebound is that kind of hustle play. He's just not tall enough to get them any other way from where he starts based on who he's guarding.

And that gives some perspective to the idea of wanting to "play the freshmen" all the time. AJ's pure graft keeping them on the bench is gonna be the best thing that ever happened to Griffin and Tevian.
Totally agree, very nice post! I bet he wishes he had 2 more years with this system and group, me too, he's a warrior.
 
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Cool moment today at the game, I started chanting Giorgi's name as loud as I could and it turned into a crowd chant shortly after. It's pretty incredible what Giorgi is doing, the kid was having his name chanted (we the fans adore this kid and rightfully so).
 
I loved when I saw GBs skill set videos and everyone was thinking he wasn't what the other recruits where and how much we would miss Greg Ebo. I wasnt b.c worried about that but man. I never expected a game like today as a freshman GB is going to be a stud .
 
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I loved when I saw GBs skill set videos and everyone was thinking he wasn't what the other recruits where and how much we would miss Greg Ebo. I wasnt b.c worried about that but man. I never expected a game like today as a freshman GB is going to be a stud .
When I saw the vids I kept saying that I saw Ethan Happ in his game. He isn't the same caliber athlete that Happ is (Happ is one of the best college players of the past decade), but his footwork, soft touch, easy hook and ball handling are all right there with him. I tried to temper my expectations due to rankings and I will admit that I never saw it coming this year (although I did see it very possible as an upperclassmen).

As I type this, Happ is doing to Michigan what Giorgi did to Rutgers today. The exact same post moves, over and over. Glad we have one of them on our side.
 
Champaign
Not sure how much but believe OA deserves a significant amount of credit. LB becomes a huge offensive threat last year after pedestrian previous seasons and Giorgi becomes unstoppable post threat after scoring single digits in HS. Looking for Kofi to dominate in the post and Giorgi to become a matchup nightmare next year. Three threats are significant but four should be awesome in future.
Also believe we may miss AJ more than projected by stats next year.
Have to give some credit to Giorgi because he is the PERFECT big for this scheme. Can post on either block, finish with both hands, face up and drive it at the elbow or even out to the 3 point line, can pass, actually reads what the defense is doing and makes the right play accordingly. If he can add a consistent jumper it's game over for everyone else. I actually like that he stopped shooting this year because even though he made some shots it just wasn't efficient. That really shows how smart he is as a player.
 
Austin, TX
Not sure how much but believe OA deserves a significant amount of credit. LB becomes a huge offensive threat last year after pedestrian previous seasons and Giorgi becomes unstoppable post threat after scoring single digits in HS. Looking for Kofi to dominate in the post and Giorgi to become a matchup nightmare next year. Three threats are significant but four should be awesome in future.
Also believe we may miss AJ more than projected by stats next year.
Not just in the development, but in the recruiting stage too.

OA knows the East Coast. He knows Kofi's family. I bet he gets Brown too.
 
Another great thing he does so well over a lot of freshman bigs is catching post feeds. Kid is absolutely amazing how well he plays overall for a freshman. Leonard,Maverick, Augustine showed nowhere near the finished moves and hands that Giorgi has as Freshman or sophmores. Deon was a pretty polished scorer as a Freshman but that’s the last one I can remember. Jens, Holcomb, Winters were ok but not on his level of moves.
Augie is the first comparison that comes to mind because of body type and he’s left handed. He was the perfect complement to Deron, Dee and company, but I don’t think he had Giorgi’s ability to be comfortable being the main scoring option when necessary. Giorgi has said he liked setting up others in high school, but here he is being asked to do more and is not shying away from that.
 
Just finally finished watching the game and my pulse is still buzzing.
What a game! Rutgers, who many of us said is not the Rutgers of old is a tough out.
They played a great game and we played a just very slightly better game. Whew!

Giorgi, wow man, what can you say? He made nearly everything and if we could offer his brother something to just stay in town it would be worth it. Not sure what his FT percentage was today, but I know it was a lot better than 59%. GB is amazing. A great find, a great "coach up" and a fun, fun baller. Hope he's here forever.
Ayo is still doing great things.
Trent is now mixing it up effectively with Ayo.
AJ, I've been a big fan of his since he stayed through the coaching transition and he just keeps paying it forward. There is no one who is going to out heart AJ.
ADLR and Feliz are both contributing at a terrific level and when I think of the 5th year guys from prior eras I am just amazed

The offense looks better. Lots better. Moving around the perimeter a bit more than I really enjoy watching, but then about 20% of the time, they find that awesome pass into the paint and make it all worthwhile. Maybe that is about the right amount to expect? Or maybe they'll raise the bar to 30%? I just know that it is working.

But even more amazing than the offense is the defense. All of those games where the defense was ineffective and giving up fouls like it was their job. Now they are getting it. The D is better and the fouls are way down, all at the same time.

The last 10 games or so have been so therapeutic
Really,they've been more than that, but I'm desperate to get back to the liquor cabinet for another celebratory cocktail and can't be bothered with the thesauraus.
 
When I saw the vids I kept saying that I saw Ethan Happ in his game. He isn't the same caliber athlete that Happ is (Happ is one of the best college players of the past decade), but his footwork, soft touch, easy hook and ball handling are all right there with him. I tried to temper my expectations due to rankings and I will admit that I never saw it coming this year (although I did see it very possible as an upperclassmen).

As I type this, Happ is doing to Michigan what Giorgi did to Rutgers today. The exact same post moves, over and over. Glad we have one of them on our side.
GB is athletic although it may not be in areas most equate to being athletic. He certainly has much better hand eye and foot coordination most big men. He also is close to ambidextrous which is an athletic trait. GB is more athletic the Greg Ebo was it just isnt in explosive jumping.. Ask Rutger's big men if the way he moves, his strength, and the way he uses both hands if think he as athletic? He was the most athletic and skilled bug man on the court today.