Illinois ranked #24 in AP Poll (Jan. 13th)

Status
Not open for further replies.
#76
Here’s what’s true IMO:
1. MSU is better than we are and outplayed us significantly when we played them at their place, but we can beat them on a good day especially at home and especially if we learn from some of the things that doomed us last time around.
2. Purdue is much much much better at home than on road. Basically two different teams.
Every BIG 10 team is much better at home.
 
#77
This is great news and I wonder what the posters who wanted to fire Underwood 10 days ago think.
Okay, I'll bite. First, this ranking IS good news. And while I never said I wanted BU to be fired, I did (and do) question his coaching ability. I also said I hoped I would be proven wrong and I hope that I continue to be proven wrong.

BUT, let's don't get too far ahead of ourselves:
(A) The 1 point win at Wisconsin could have easily gone in the loss column.
(B) The Illini only beat Rutgers by 3 playing at home and with Rutger's best player Geo Baker unable to play. He should be back for the return game at Rutgers.
(C) Of the 14 remaining games, 7 are on the road (PU, MI, IA, RU, PSU, NW, tOSU) and other than NW, I doubt Illinois will be favored in any of those road games.
(D) 2 of the 7 home games remaining are against Maryland and MSU. Those won't be easy in any way.
(E) The other 5 home games (NW, MN, NE, IU, and IA) should be wins, but it's the BIG TEN. You never know.

Yes, the Illini could end the regular season 26-5 and I hope they do that well. But let's play the remaining 14 games before we put up a statue for BU.
 
Likes: Illini_05
#78
1579015633779.png

We CAN win these next two games. We SHOULD win these next two games. But they gotta bring it. It's gonna be tough but 2 wins here really sets us up well going into the 2nd half of the Big Ten season
 
#79
Okay, I'll bite. First, this ranking IS good news. And while I never said I wanted BU to be fired, I did (and do) question his coaching ability. I also said I hoped I would be proven wrong and I hope that I continue to be proven wrong.

BUT, let's don't get too far ahead of ourselves:
(A) The 1 point win at Wisconsin could have easily gone in the loss column.
(B) The Illini only beat Rutgers by 3 playing at home and with Rutger's best player Geo Baker unable to play. He should be back for the return game at Rutgers.
(C) Of the 14 remaining games, 7 are on the road (PU, MI, IA, RU, PSU, NW, tOSU) and other than NW, I doubt Illinois will be favored in any of those road games.
(D) 2 of the 7 home games remaining are against Maryland and MSU. Those won't be easy in any way.
(E) The other 5 home games (NW, MN, NE, IU, and IA) should be wins, but it's the BIG TEN. You never know.

Yes, the Illini could end the regular season 26-5 and I hope they do that well. But let's play the remaining 14 games before we put up a statue for BU.
It's a fair assessment and I can see why you believe the above, but then the question for you is what will be enough evidence that BU is actually a good coach? Is it a 26-5 record? Is it something less? Or can nothing ever convince you that he's a good coach. I'm not trying get on you for this, but I'm thinking through the same questions for myself.

However, here's what we do know and I don't think we can dispute:

1) Coach surrounds himself with a good team. Like any good CEO, he's only as strong as the team around him. Everything has pointed to OA, CC, JW, and the new guy all being good hires and developers of talent. Proof - See GB, Trent, Kofi, and Ayo development.
2) Coach is bringing in the right recruits. It's a little bit of the above mixed in with him, but BU is bringing in talent that we haven't had in a while. Has it taken a while to accumulate, sure, but would you rather a flash in the pan like Cuanzo or a solid program? As BU said in his post-RU interview, us lay people don't know. We have no idea how hard or what it takes to build a program with talent in response to a question of why it took RU this long to get better. Proof - Recruiting Ayo, Kofi, Curbelo, wolffe.
3) Coach is willing to change. This may have taken a little longer than one would think, but he's done it. He's changed his demeanor, changed his schema, adapted to B1G play. Proof - What he ran in OK state is not the same as what he is running today.
4) Coach has gotten this team to come together. Some of this is on the players, but BU is still the lead and you can't question that we are playing much better than we were at the beginning of the year. Sure, I'd love to have the Miami and Maryland game as do-overs, but the fact is that we are playing better and more together. Now, does this always have to be measured in Wins and Losses. I don't think so. We are more competitive, we are not giving up, we are playing ball the right way and executing better. Some days this won't be enough, but I'd rather see more competitive/tight/ugly games than I would blowouts either way. Proof - we won against RU, Wisc, and Purdue. We came back from a huge deficit and had a chance to win against Miami.

Of course, we'll always want to see more, but you have to be happy with where we are. BU was a really good hire and I'm not sure that other than a handful of coaches, we wouldn't be where we are today....the handful include the Selfs, the coach K's of the world. I'm not sure Shaka gets us here. Cuanzo definitely doesn't. Anyways, my 2Cents
 
#82
Alaska, you are pretty spot on, we had

15 more shots than MSU
Tied them in total rebounds
Had 9 more offensive rebounds
Had fewer turnovers
Had only 13 fewer free throws

but if you can't throw it in the ocean from the beach, it's probably going to be a long night
Many people were very upset about our game in East Lansing. We did not play as bad a people think. We did, however, shoot the ball horribly. The games that upset me the most are Nicholls State and Mizzou. We were unprepared and unfocused for both of those games.
 
#83
It's a fair assessment and I can see why you believe the above, but then the question for you is what will be enough evidence that BU is actually a good coach? Is it a 26-5 record? Is it something less? Or can nothing ever convince you that he's a good coach. I'm not trying get on you for this, but I'm thinking through the same questions for myself.

However, here's what we do know and I don't think we can dispute:

1) Coach surrounds himself with a good team. Like any good CEO, he's only as strong as the team around him. Everything has pointed to OA, CC, JW, and the new guy all being good hires and developers of talent. Proof - See GB, Trent, Kofi, and Ayo development.
2) Coach is bringing in the right recruits. It's a little bit of the above mixed in with him, but BU is bringing in talent that we haven't had in a while. Has it taken a while to accumulate, sure, but would you rather a flash in the pan like Cuanzo or a solid program? As BU said in his post-RU interview, us lay people don't know. We have no idea how hard or what it takes to build a program with talent in response to a question of why it took RU this long to get better. Proof - Recruiting Ayo, Kofi, Curbelo, wolffe.
3) Coach is willing to change. This may have taken a little longer than one would think, but he's done it. He's changed his demeanor, changed his schema, adapted to B1G play. Proof - What he ran in OK state is not the same as what he is running today.
4) Coach has gotten this team to come together. Some of this is on the players, but BU is still the lead and you can't question that we are playing much better than we were at the beginning of the year. Sure, I'd love to have the Miami and Maryland game as do-overs, but the fact is that we are playing better and more together. Now, does this always have to be measured in Wins and Losses. I don't think so. We are more competitive, we are not giving up, we are playing ball the right way and executing better. Some days this won't be enough, but I'd rather see more competitive/tight/ugly games than I would blowouts either way. Proof - we won against RU, Wisc, and Purdue. We came back from a huge deficit and had a chance to win against Miami.

Of course, we'll always want to see more, but you have to be happy with where we are. BU was a really good hire and I'm not sure that other than a handful of coaches, we wouldn't be where we are today....the handful include the Selfs, the coach K's of the world. I'm not sure Shaka gets us here. Cuanzo definitely doesn't. Anyways, my 2Cents
Cuonzo left a smoking crater at Cal and conventional wisdom out west is he will do the same at Missouri. The only reason Missouri got the Porters was Cuonzo hired their dad, after Lorenzo Romar flew the coop at University of Washington and his empire collapsed.

Underwood looks like the real deal to me. He recruits as well as anyone we've had since Self. His game-day is good, not great, but still competing -- watch him work the referees during a timeout at Wisconsin, it seems to have changed the slantedness just a little of how they were calling such a one-sided game, for example. He teaches defense. He tries to get his guys to play high level ball. I'll just also remind people it took Henson until year *5* to be a regular winner. Anyway, I have some distance from the day to day panic I'm sure I'd feel living back in Champaign, but from this distance out on the coast, Underwood is a great hire, a passionate coach, and the best recruiter we've had in nearly 20 years. And he bleeds orange and blue! He wants to be here. I am holding out hope that he's our new Henson. A guy that settles in and makes a nice 15 year run out of the pinnacle of his career, isn't looking to jump ship to a blue blood. Fingers crossed on that one. Worst case, he's going to leave Illinois in far better shape than he found it.
 
#85
It's a fair assessment and I can see why you believe the above, but then the question for you is what will be enough evidence that BU is actually a good coach? Is it a 26-5 record? Is it something less? Or can nothing ever convince you that he's a good coach. I'm not trying get on you for this, but I'm thinking through the same questions for myself.
Just my 2-cents, but Illinois has, for many years, had better talent than coaching. Despite poor records, Illinois has been able to draw solid talent that should have been able to compete in the B1G. So, that trend (from previous coaches) hangs over Underwood's head. Is he getting the most out of the talent he has, and is he developing that talent? I don't think that Underwood is getting the most he could out of Trent and Giorgi. Griffin, on the other hand... I don't know if Underwood is a good coach yet. It's time to win, now.
 
#86
Many people were very upset about our game in East Lansing. We did not play as bad a people think. We did, however, shoot the ball horribly. The games that upset me the most are Nicholls State and Mizzou. We were unprepared and unfocused for both of those games.
Mizzou was not good and that's the most doubt I had about BU...
He was flat out out-coached in that game....to Cuonzo, no less. He has redeemed himself since. Seems to have turned after his press conference about "taking back leadership" from players.
 
Last edited:
#87
.4 percent is still in it kids
Virginia
Which is what Illinois scores by halftime. They should head to the south farms and take aim with practice balls at the broadside of any barn there.
I have 2 observations with our low scoring. Underwood sez if we can't hit any 3's, just shoot more 3's.
Geez. Back in the day we shot 2's because there was no 3 point line. And the hooting percentages were a lot higher. Simple statistics. And physics.
Second, the only player for the last 2 seasons who has any cojones is Feliz. Who will drive the lane fearlessly when he leaves the program?
Yeah, and players also jump now when they shoot.. so talk about your physics! ;)
 
#88
Would be A+ fantastic to get to a 7 seed or better.
Interestingly, Lunardi has 3 of the 4 #7 seeds coming from B1G -- Penn St., Wisc., and Iowa -- along with Memphis. Other #9 seeds are Rutgers, Houston and BYU. He has 11 teams from B1G in.
 
#89
Okay, I'll bite. First, this ranking IS good news. And while I never said I wanted BU to be fired, I did (and do) question his coaching ability. I also said I hoped I would be proven wrong and I hope that I continue to be proven wrong.

BUT, let's don't get too far ahead of ourselves:
(A) The 1 point win at Wisconsin could have easily gone in the loss column.
(B) The Illini only beat Rutgers by 3 playing at home and with Rutger's best player Geo Baker unable to play. He should be back for the return game at Rutgers.
(C) Of the 14 remaining games, 7 are on the road (PU, MI, IA, RU, PSU, NW, tOSU) and other than NW, I doubt Illinois will be favored in any of those road games.
(D) 2 of the 7 home games remaining are against Maryland and MSU. Those won't be easy in any way.
(E) The other 5 home games (NW, MN, NE, IU, and IA) should be wins, but it's the BIG TEN. You never know.

Yes, the Illini could end the regular season 26-5 and I hope they do that well. But let's play the remaining 14 games before we put up a statue for BU.
I was thinking a picture on a dartboard so we could go either way. I.e. it is just a picture unless he loses one we deem winnable, then it is a dartboard.
 
Likes: IlliniFan1965
#90
Cuonzo left a smoking crater at Cal and conventional wisdom out west is he will do the same at Missouri. The only reason Missouri got the Porters was Cuonzo hired their dad, after Lorenzo Romar flew the coop at University of Washington and his empire collapsed.

Underwood looks like the real deal to me. He recruits as well as anyone we've had since Self. His game-day is good, not great, but still competing -- watch him work the referees during a timeout at Wisconsin, it seems to have changed the slantedness just a little of how they were calling such a one-sided game, for example. He teaches defense. He tries to get his guys to play high level ball. I'll just also remind people it took Henson until year *5* to be a regular winner. Anyway, I have some distance from the day to day panic I'm sure I'd feel living back in Champaign, but from this distance out on the coast, Underwood is a great hire, a passionate coach, and the best recruiter we've had in nearly 20 years. And he bleeds orange and blue! He wants to be here. I am holding out hope that he's our new Henson. A guy that settles in and makes a nice 15 year run out of the pinnacle of his career, isn't looking to jump ship to a blue blood. Fingers crossed on that one. Worst case, he's going to leave Illinois in far better shape than he found it.
He has impressed me with two things. He hired assistants who could recruit rather than bringing his old assistants as Groce did. His defensive modifications this off season prove he is smart enough to adapt. Coaches need to learn and improve as well as players. He will still get out coached at times but hopefully less than 50% of the time. This season is his chance to prove he belongs and he is at least a B+ at this point.
 
Likes: twinky25
#94
Okay, I'll bite. First, this ranking IS good news. And while I never said I wanted BU to be fired, I did (and do) question his coaching ability. I also said I hoped I would be proven wrong and I hope that I continue to be proven wrong.

BUT, let's don't get too far ahead of ourselves:
(A) The 1 point win at Wisconsin could have easily gone in the loss column.
(B) The Illini only beat Rutgers by 3 playing at home and with Rutger's best player Geo Baker unable to play. He should be back for the return game at Rutgers.
(C) Of the 14 remaining games, 7 are on the road (PU, MI, IA, RU, PSU, NW, tOSU) and other than NW, I doubt Illinois will be favored in any of those road games.
(D) 2 of the 7 home games remaining are against Maryland and MSU. Those won't be easy in any way.
(E) The other 5 home games (NW, MN, NE, IU, and IA) should be wins, but it's the BIG TEN. You never know.

Yes, the Illini could end the regular season 26-5 and I hope they do that well. But let's play the remaining 14 games before we put up a statue for BU.
A. But no mention of the 1 point loss at Maryland that could've/should've gone the other way??? We had them on the road, so I think we'll handle them in Champaign.
 
Last edited:
#95
If you go back and watch the Whisky game you wonder if the officials in the Rutgers game could have attended any of the same training. Whisky, ticks-tac, Rutgers, no blood- no foul. Think I am objective because thought both were fair, just completely different definition. Am I off base here?
 
#96
Chicago, IL
If you go back and watch the Whisky game you wonder if the officials in the Rutgers game could have attended any of the same training. Whisky, ticks-tac, Rutgers, no blood- no foul. Think I am objective because thought both were fair, just completely different definition. Am I off base here?
Crews opperate differently. From what I noticed with working high school basketball games, new refs/power trip refs whistle everything. They want everyone to know they're in control. Veterans/more relaxed ones let somethings go as long as nothing dangerous is happening. I always like the second group myself.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear it's the same mentality in college.
 
Likes: FiveStar
#97
Yeah, our road win is against the one team that has picked up two road wins (Wisconsin). We should feel good about that.
I'm genuinely starting to think we can go on a special run ... maybe not QUITE 2003-04 or anything, but look at the last three games we have won in our winning streak:

vs. Purdue: We absolutely THROTTLED a team that turned around and destroyed the best team in the league (MSU) ... say what you want about home court advantage, but that was impressive, and their win vs. MSU made it look better.

at Wisconsin: We won in Madison (impressive enough right there) in a year where hardly any road teams are picking up wins ... against a UW team that has won 6 of 7, including three victories over ranked teams (and two of those coming on the road!). That win was for real.

vs. Rutgers: We avoided a letdown and won a super hard-fought game vs. an RU team that had won six straight, including wins over two ranked teams and one of the few conference road victories (though, to be fair, it was at Nebraska).

I'm not kool-aid drunk enough to think it will continue with zero setbacks, but the way we have played in the last three games is worthy of our current spot in second place in the B1G. I really hope these guys are hungry enough to keep that momentum going and now have the (real) confidence necessary to make a run! I mean, really ... if Wisconsin upsets MSU in East Lansing this Friday and we take care of business vs. NU on Saturday, then we are...

... TIED FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE BIG TEN! That tie would be with Michigan State and Wisconsin (paging anyone whose formative sports years were 2000-2006 ... my friends and I called UI, MSU and UW the "big three" in the Big Ten during that period!).
 
#98
Just North of the Southern border!
One thing is for sure, no one else in the conference is going to be afraid of a number next to our name. Hope the guys realize that. Thus far in the season, we had... some issues... handling success. That needs to change starting Saturday.
As long as others fear our D, I am good.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.