Pregame: Illinois at Minnesota, Wednesday, January 30th, 8:00pm CT, BTN

Status
Not open for further replies.
#51
Adjusting my expectations for this 6-14 (2-7) Illini squad of ours after nothing short of an inspiring performance vs. Maryland ... I won't entertain doomsday scenarios, as I am firmly of the belief that next year will get most of our fans excited again, more excited than we have been in a while:

UNDERWHELMING, BUT I'M STILL ON BOARD
L at Minnesota
L vs. Nebraska
L vs. Michigan State
W vs. Rutgers
L at Ohio State
L at Wisconsin
W vs. Penn State
L at Purdue
W vs. Northwestern
W vs. Indiana
L at Penn State

Finish 4-7, making us 10-21 (6-14). This is fairly "expected" given our season so far but with some mild improvement as the year goes on. Given what we return and Kofi, this should still leave most fans believing we can be fairly decent next year.

MY PREDICTIONS
W at Minnesota
W vs. Nebraska
L vs. Michigan State
W vs. Rutgers
L at Ohio State
L at Wisconsin
W vs. Penn State
L at Purdue
W vs. Northwestern
W vs. Indiana
L at Penn State

Finish 6-5, making us 12-19 (8-12). It's lofty, but I think we can do it. We didn't just "look great" vs. Maryland like we did against Minnesota; we fought and showed some actual grit/maturity/ability to get it done down the stretch that we just haven't seen. I honestly, perhaps foolishly, believe that we will build on it.

WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE OUR CEILING
W at Minnesota (we KILLED them in Champaign, so beating them by one point at their place can't be totally counted out)
W vs. Nebraska (Nebraska isn't playing that well, and we're at home)
L vs. Michigan State
W vs. Rutgers (gotta beat Rutgers at home)
W at Ohio State (they've been playing worse, and we could be playing inspired for that UC collapse?)
L at Wisconsin (tough matchup for us at a really tough place to play, and they have our number)
W vs. Penn State (gotta beat PSU at home)
L at Purdue (this game isn't TOTALLY unwinnable, but our realistic ceiling doesn't include winning every rough road game)
W vs. Northwestern (revenge for that loss in Evanston)
W vs. Indiana (playing a floundering rival at home, you have to win)
W at Penn State (season-ending win to finish on a three-game winning streak, guys are fired up)

Finish 8-3, making us 14-17 (10-10) ... that would be incredible, and we would actually get some serious hype as a potential dark horse team (for the Tournament, of course, not the Big Ten) next year.

I think this Minnesota game will tell us a lot ... do the guys come out fired up and still hungry and determined to sweep a fellow Big Ten school? Or do we come out flat and complacent after a big win? If we give Minnesota a hell of a game, look tough and play smart basketball, it will be a huge step forward for this turnaround, IMO. Bad teams upset good teams all of the time ... we looked like more than a bad team upsetting a good team on Saturday, but to be sure of that, we need to keep this train rolling! I'm staying optimistic:

Illinois 78
Minnesota 74

I-L-L!
Underwhelming is most likely, maybe even one too high
 
#52
I'm not sure if I should be impressed your optimism has survived the last 12 years in such strong force or concerned that you've lost your connection to reality. Either way, I'd take it :shield:
Strange you quote that post of mine for my optimism. :). There is another one that should knock you off your chair. ;)

However, I did hedge (based on past few games).

Seriously, here are my reasons:

1) Not an avid follower of details on Illini sports (used to be in my younger days). BUT, did accidentally read that BU is a great coach: development, game plans, and teaching. This was some time last year - suspect when he was hired. (recruiting, then, I think, was questionable.)
2) Deon and Dough, on IL Radio, have repeatedly praised BU's thinking, etc. What they have stated is that the kids do not execute. Since I have no TV, I rely on their comments the most
3) BU's statements while being interviewed. BU - as far as I can tell - has never deviated from his expectations. Because he seems to be beyond convinced that what he is doing is right (which is reflected in #2)

The day the entire team gets it and executes, the horses will bolt. MN could be the opening of that barn door. IMHO of course.
 
Last edited:
#53
Was killing time before a meeting this morning and looked at some KenPom numbers (for games through Sunday, 1/27). Here are some interesting notes:

1. 5 B10 teams in the top 20 - MSU [3], UM [5], PU [7], WISC [11], NEB [18]
2. MD, IA, and OSU fall between 23 and 31 (The B10 is a tough league)
3. UofI was the #2 ranked school in the state of Illinois (NW @56, we're at 81)
4. Winless (in conference) PSU is ranked 69, 12 spots ahead of us.
5. Rutgers is pulling up in the rear at 100. Every single team in the conference is in the top 100 right now....
6. FIVE teams we lost too are ranked below us (although 4 are very close): ND [84], Miznoz [88], Xavier [90], Georgetown [93], and FAU [181]
7. We're ranked 349 (out of 353 teams) in "Luck"
8. REALLY surprising top-50'is teams: San Francisco at 41,Murray State at 46, Lipscomb at 48 and Liberty at 51.
9. Our departed friend Mr Finke is on a team actually ranked 1 spot ahead of us (GCU is #80).

Please discuss and destroy.
 
#55
Was killing time before a meeting this morning and looked at some KenPom numbers (for games through Sunday, 1/27). Here are some interesting notes:

8. REALLY surprising top-50'is teams: San Francisco at 41,Murray State at 46, Lipscomb at 48 and Liberty at 51.

Please discuss and destroy.
Just thought it was funny that in the articles I saw on Alford's firing at UCLA, it kind of seemed like losing to Liberty was the last straw that made the AD and others pull the plug mid-season. It was as if Groce would have been fired immediately after losing to Winthrop. Then you look at Liberty's record, who they've played, and kenpom and they don't look that bad. Maybe the firing was not all that well thought out and they just looked at the school name of the team they lost to.
(OTOH, it could have been well thought out...the case was made that although Alford could recruit, he had proven he couldn't coach).

"After six mostly miserable seasons for Bruin fans, Alford has coached his final game at Pauley Pavilion. He lost to Liberty University. Liberty. By 15 points. "
https://www.bruinsnation.com/ucla_basketball/2018/12/30/18161016/steve-alford-finally-fired-by-ucla
 
#56
O'Fallon, MO
Strange you quote that post of mine for my optimism. :). There is another one that should knock you off your chair. ;)

However, I did hedge (based on past few games).

Seriously, here are my reasons:

1) Not an avid follower of details on Illini sports (used to be in my younger days). BUT, did accidentally read that BU is a great coach: development, game plans, and teaching. This was some time last year - suspect when he was hired. (recruiting, then, I think, was questionable.)
2) Deon and Dough, on IL Radio, have repeatedly praised BU's thinking, etc. What they have stated is that the kids do not execute. Since I have no TV, I rely on their comments the most
3) BU's statements while being interviewed. BU - as far as I can tell - has never deviated from his expectations. Because he seems to be beyond convinced that what he is doing is right (which is reflected in #2)

The day the entire team gets it and executes, the horses will bolt. MN could be the opening of that barn door. IMHO of course.
I see what you did there.
 
#58
Just thought it was funny that in the articles I saw on Alford's firing at UCLA, it kind of seemed like losing to Liberty was the last straw that made the AD and others pull the plug mid-season. It was as if Groce would have been fired immediately after losing to Winthrop. Then you look at Liberty's record, who they've played, and kenpom and they don't look that bad. Maybe the firing was not all that well thought out and they just looked at the school name of the team they lost to.
(OTOH, it could have been well thought out...the case was made that although Alford could recruit, he had proven he couldn't coach).

"After six mostly miserable seasons for Bruin fans, Alford has coached his final game at Pauley Pavilion. He lost to Liberty University. Liberty. By 15 points. "
https://www.bruinsnation.com/ucla_basketball/2018/12/30/18161016/steve-alford-finally-fired-by-ucla
Liberty is one of those teams that the stats (kenpom, t-rank) really like, but fail the eye test. After UCLA, their next best win is Georgia State. 12 of their 18 wins are against Q4 teams in t-rank. UCLA is their only win in Q1 or Q2. They've lost to every other decent team they've played. The stats will look great if you play 75% of your schedule against the bottom 100 teams. I think if you actually look at who they played, you see why it broke UCLA's back. They look a lot like that '16 Winthrop team.
 
#59
Was killing time before a meeting this morning and looked at some KenPom numbers (for games through Sunday, 1/27). Here are some interesting notes:

1. 5 B10 teams in the top 20 - MSU [3], UM [5], PU [7], WISC [11], NEB [18]
The stat sites like Nebraska a lot more than I do.
 
#61
No clue, but I doubt it. To Minnesotans, this is just a mild dip in the temperature. Cold enough to add a scarf, maybe.
No idea if it extends to the arena or not, but much of downtown and campus is accessible without going outside much if at all. Plus they take pride in it, unlike people like me who whine instead.
 
#66
My gut tells me these guys are going to turn over Minnesota more than Maryland, and they’ll shoot at least well enough. They know enough not to get cocky, and you know they are going to come out hard to deny the Rodents revenge. I see a win, and not a squeaker.
 
#67
UIUCFAN1
Springfield, IL
Is there any chance this game is postponed due to the weather - extreme cold (no snow)?
I worry about travel to Minn. if they are flying, will flights be grounded? We’ve seen some Chicago flights cancelled this week already ... but if they bus it - they’ll most likely play, IMO
 
#68
I worry that the weird court there throws our shooting off, the confidence flickers, and we lose. Hope not, of course.
 
#71
I worry about travel to Minn. if they are flying, will flights be grounded? We’ve seen some Chicago flights cancelled this week already ... but if they bus it - they’ll most likely play, IMO
I did the CU to Minneapois by bus in my formative years, - first and last time. About 8 hours if you do not have to stop.
 
#72
I did the CU to Minneapois by bus in my formative years, - first and last time. About 8 hours if you do not have to stop.
Flying shouldn’t be a problem as pilots prefer cold weather as it gives them better lift during take off and the flight is smoother.

To the game, just keep it close with 5 min left and see what happens.
 
#73
Is there a movie on this flight?
Elmhurst
To the game, just keep it close with 5 min left and see what happens.
Exactly. The longer we stick around, the better our chances (file under penetrating observation, lol). They are going to come out with the intent to destroy us. Have to parry that, and keep it relatively close. Final 10 minutes is winning time, hopefully.
 
#74
Was killing time ...
Please discuss and destroy.
I'm just hoping we play hard. Really fun to see things start to work against high level competition. Not worried about post-season or anything else --just continue to take care of business. Would love to see us crawl up the standings and finish well. Even a bye for the BIG tournament would be nice.
 
Likes: Halloweenie
#75
aka Flash Gordon, earthling
Planet Earth, when not battling Ming the Merciless
I'm just hoping we play hard. Really fun to see things start to work against high level competition. Not worried about post-season or anything else --just continue to take care of business. Would love to see us crawl up the standings and finish well. Even a bye for the BIG tournament would be nice.
Where do we have to finish to get a bye?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.