Pregame: Illinois at Northwestern, Thursday, February 27th, 7:00pm CT, BTN

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#76
Giorgi has done a ton to get us where we are including getting Kofi and don’t want to give up on him.
Agree. We've seen him brilliant before and most of his Freshman year he was amazing. He has the skills, he's just in a deep funk.

I think....next time he's on the floor and gets the ball, the entire stadium starts chanting his name. Let him know we all have his back and we're not going to let him slide.
 
#78
Giorgi has done a ton to get us where we are including getting Kofi and don’t want to give up on him.
Giorgi will be fine. From afar, his problem seems to be mental right now. The guys just need to keep his head up until his next great game.
 
#79
Wow how can so many people on here be so negative and panicked about Thursday. I figured with a team like this and a coach like Underwood would actually bring more positivity at this point in the season, especially with us basically in the tourney at this point. I’d be interested in knowing what goes on in the minds people like @ChiefIllini to cause them to be so negative. Some of you need to follow my favorite tip in life: if you’re more optimistic, good things tend to happen more often. Here is why I’m not worried

1: We’ve never shot well after long breaks and BU confirmed that in the post game. Our 3 game stretch this week might actually help us to stay in our competitive mindset and play aggressive

2: Trent is fine. He actually started looking for his shot last night and it worked out well. Previously he looked hesitant and passed it around too much because he was looking for a “smart shot” which his smart shot is different from others as we actually does better when he created his shot by shaking off the defender for a step back or in transition. Him shooting that tough shot in the face of his defender is actually a good thing. Attempting that shot is called confidence.

3: Giorgi will get it going. He’s been good in practice and game day he gets rushed. Happens in every sport day to day.

Stop worrying. These guys are hungry and want to win too. They were here last year too and know what it was like to lose these games. We’ll be just fine and looking forward to rejoicing on selection Sunday
Guess we have different definitions of negative. Laying out how crucial not losing to NW is is negativity? Just trying to say this isn't a game you should sleep on, neither should the team. I honestly doubt BU is as "optimistic" as you when speaking about this game to our players. They should be worried about winning every game, not just hope we beat a team as we are expected to. I never said this team shouldn't, nor did I ever say I dont think they wont win this game. The Illini are the better team top to bottom. But that isn't a reason to not have concerns for this game. Duke WF last night sends its regards.

Here's some negative facts:

1: Like I pointed to previously, we're 14th in league play in both 2pt and 3pt shooting percentage. Just because we shot poorly against Neb or because we shoot poorly after long breaks doesn't change the fact that we're the worst percentage shooting team in the conference. Spin that for me please, cause it's far from being a positive.

2: Trent is "fine", and I love his confidence. But his fine is better than this. I know he's a good shooter and as long as he's an Illini, I'll trust him taking any shot he does--he's earned that. But his shooting percentages are down 6% accross the board this year, on less shots and he's shooting worse than his freshman year. Already pointed out before the Neb game he was 2-16 from 3 in his last 4. But I do believe they fall at a high clip for him again.

3: This I can't argue. Giorgi is an anomoly. He scored what 35 points in a single game last year? He shot 58% from two last year. Now he can't hit uncontested layups. I blame the yips. He'll bounce back eventually.

Just because the team is about a million miles better compared to last year doesn't mean they don't have their weakness, not should they be ignored just because good things are happening. I'll continue to enjoy watching them player, win or lose, while understanding they aren't perfect or guaranteed any victories.
 
#80
Lose vs. IU, at OSU and vs. Iowa: 8-10 seed, needing a BTT win or two to try to get out of that horrid 8/9 slot.
Win vs. IU, lose at OSU and at Iowa: 7-8 seed, needing a BTT win to forego the aforementioned scenario.
Win vs. IU and beat one of OSU or Iowa: 6-7 seed, with our BTT performance capable of lifting us up to a 5 or down to an 8/9.
Win vs. IU, at OSU and vs. Iowa: 4-5 seed, with the BTT being icing on the cake to play for something even better.
I think is pretty much spot on and a good way to think about tonight's game and the next few weeks. I really can't imagine that we'd be in the 8/9 game if we win 5 of our last 6 games and finish 13-7. If we did that, the chances of us not having a double bye have to be minuscule. Top 4 in the Big Ten I think locks us in to the 6 because you either lose in the first round of the BTT to a really good team or you lose to a bad team that already had to beat a really good team to get there.
 
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#82
Waukegan
A couple of random thoughts cobbled together....

1) Any chance Giorgi has some sort of nagging injury that's impacting his playing? Didn't he have some sort of undisclosed hand injury last year that supposedly hampered his outside shooting? Could it be continuing? Could it be getting worse? Could it be a completely different injury? I think "the yips" is the simplest explanation right now, but who knows...
Not gainsaying your comment here. In fact, it is something I hadn't thought of and appreciate you suggesting it. And in a way I hope you are right, at least in that it is a very minor injury and GB will get over it quickly. But in any of BU's comments about Giorgi lately he has been saying something along the lines of that he (BU) doesn't know what is wrong and that Giorgi has to just work his way out of it (or words to that effect). I would think if there was an injury of some kind BU would have mentioned it. But then maybe for some strategic reason (like not giving other teams a heads up about it for some reason) he won't admit it.
 
#85
St Paul, MN
^ Obviously, I am no basketball genius ... but this game seems ideal for Giorgi to break out. He's the type of passionate, expressive player that might get really fueled up by a huge Illini contingent on the road, and (IIRC) NU really swarmed Kofi last game. He just needs to get out of his own head, and the chances will be there tomorrow.
Yes would really like to see some of that nifty footwork and soft touch off the glass from last year against NU's 2nd string center. Would be a big boost to have him as an offensive threat again instead of a liability especially with the second unit on the floor.
 
#86
I understand some of the fanbase remaining cautious about the tournament. 2013 was a while ago. With that said, prior to this stretch of missed tournaments, no one would have questioned a team with our resume as far as making the tournament. The only discussions would have been what seed and where. Sure would/will be nice if a few years from now we can get back to that!
I didn't see anyone questioning us making the Dance, other than one guy saying if we somehow lost the last 4 and the 1st BTT game, we might not make it, which is silly, because that's not happening, in fact my guess is we win the last 4.
 
#87
They are long and shoot it very well. We should get the W, but I’ve seen this movie before-
It’s called a zone defense
If you've seen this movie before you know they played zone the last time, they shot out of the @sses and still lost.
 
#88
I think your #2 is dead wrong. Lose all remaining games and we're still in safely. As I said above, who has 4 Quad 1A wins (Top 40 teams you beat on the road)? Nobody near a bubble. Moot point though, since I think we win all of our remaining games.
Agree to disagree?

I'm not saying we're DEFINITIVELY out if we lose out, but I also don't think we're definitively in if we lose out. That second part is where I consider us "on the bubble". That being said, I also think it is RIDICULOUSLY unlikely we lose out. Baring major injury we win at least 1 (NW or IND) and its highly likely we win at least two. I think anywhere between 2-2 and 3-1 is where the money should be. But 4-0 isn't some pipe dream. I really don't know what to make of playing tOSU on the road.

Also, without looking at the NET Rankings, I think losing to NW is a Q3 loss, right? We already have one of those. 2 could be devastating. Related to that, the computers already hate us because we tend to win ugly. I realize the computers don't make the decisions, but losing out puts us at .500 in conference, 2 Q3 losses, bad NET rating. There's enough factors in there that I'm just not confident we're in if we lose all remaining games.
 
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#92
OK, you have me on losing to NW. Barring that and no other wins, we are safely in. How does that compromise suit you, Dave? NW is on the road, so I think it would be a Q2 loss.
Win tomorrow night, and we are in. 11-9 Big Ten record with the wins they have on the road will be enough.

The rest of the games don't matter as they would all be Q1 or Q2 losses with @Ohio State (#18) or at home with Iowa (#28) and Indiana (#53). Losing to #178 Northwestern on the road is crippling.
 
#93
^ Obviously, I am no basketball genius ... but this game seems ideal for Giorgi to break out. He's the type of passionate, expressive player that might get really fueled up by a huge Illini contingent on the road, and (IIRC) NU really swarmed Kofi last game. He just needs to get out of his own head, and the chances will be there tomorrow.
I think I may have found Giorgi's jam.


When explanations make no sense
When every answer's wrong
You're fighting with lost confidence
All expectations gone
The time has come to make or break
Move on, don't hesitate
Breakout
 
#94
Forgottonia
Win tomorrow night, and we are in. 11-9 Big Ten record with the wins they have on the road will be enough.

The rest of the games don't matter as they would all be Q1 or Q2 losses with @Ohio State (#18) or at home with Iowa (#28) and Indiana (#53). Losing to #178 Northwestern on the road is crippling.
Agree that we are in at 11-9. However, I think the other games are huge as far as seeding and affecting the likelihood of making a splash in the tourney. With the right seeding we have a pretty good shot at the sweet 16 imo. An 8 or 9 seed would make that much more difficult. Right now, we just worry about NW! :)
 
#96
Plano, TX
A few comments on the messages that I've seen on here over the past week or so:
1. Prior to the last five games I said that in the next four games (I assumed NB would be a win so the comment was for the four games prior to that one) that if we won two out of four we would have been in good shape. Some thought that if we only won 2 of 4 we would have had no chance at the B10 title. Well...we won one. Had we won two...as I said...we would be where we needed to be based on our remaining 5 games) and would be sitting tied for second place (alone in 2nd had one of those wins came against MSU).
2. NW is always scary especially away from home and they always play IL harder than they do against anyone else. Having said that...in this one there should be to much talent to outweigh all of the other variables. That doesn't mean that it will be easy. Predicted score. IL 67 NW 59
3. I truly hope that HS players see the development of Kofi from HS senior to freshman in college. That can't do anything but help is in recruiting his replacement. I can't imagine him trying to go to the league next year and if not he will be a total beast because a lot of his top level competition in the B10 you would assume will go pro. There are rumors that Garza will stay. For what? He's going to finish first or second for national player of the year. If he doesn't go pro he's a **** because it's now or never.
5. The most underappreciated IL that I can remember in recent past is Feliz. He's bad ***. Granted sometimes late in games he gets TOO aggressive and goes one on three and puts up a wild shot. BUT....how many times has he been aggressive and saved our bacon? As I coach my team...fail based on being aggressive and I will rarely question you. Being a timid person late in games and you will end up sitting next to me on the bench.
 
#97
Forgottonia
A few comments on the messages that I've seen on here over the past week or so:
1. Prior to the last five games I said that in the next four games (I assumed NB would be a win so the comment was for the four games prior to that one) that if we won two out of four we would have been in good shape. Some thought that if we only won 2 of 4 we would have had no chance at the B10 title. Well...we won one. Had we won two...as I said...we would be where we needed to be based on our remaining 5 games) and would be sitting tied for second place (alone in 2nd had one of those wins came against MSU).
2. NW is always scary especially away from home and they always play IL harder than they do against anyone else. Having said that...in this one there should be to much talent to outweigh all of the other variables. That doesn't mean that it will be easy. Predicted score. IL 67 NW 59
3. I truly hope that HS players see the development of Kofi from HS senior to freshman in college. That can't do anything but help is in recruiting his replacement. I can't imagine him trying to go to the league next year and if not he will be a total beast because a lot of his top level competition in the B10 you would assume will go pro. There are rumors that Garza will stay. For what? He's going to finish first or second for national player of the year. If he doesn't go pro he's a **** because it's now or never.
4. AM will sign in the spring. If he WAS on the fence (and I don't think that he was) there isn't any way that he can't see the future in this team with AC, Kofi, Griffin, etc...
5. The most underappreciated IL that I can remember in recent past is Feliz. He's bad ***. Granted sometimes late in games he gets TOO aggressive and goes one on three and puts up a wild shot. BUT....how many times has he been aggressive and saved our bacon? As I coach my team...fail based on being aggressive and I will rarely question you. Being a timid person late in games and you will end up sitting next to me on the bench.
#5 - Underrated maybe? I think most who follow closely appreciate the heck out of AF. I know I do. He’s Chester Frazier tough with the ability to score. Almost always does more than it looks like he should be able to. Absolutely love the toughness he brings to the team and completely unselfish.
 
#98
Chevy Chase, Maryland
I think I may have found Giorgi's jam.


When explanations make no sense
When every answer's wrong
You're fighting with lost confidence
All expectations gone
The time has come to make or break
Move on, don't hesitate
Breakout
Mad, mad props for dusting that off and holding your head proudly as you linked it.

I dunno, tho. If we're going to go all SOS on this, I favor these lyrics, as they really capture how I feel about our beloved Illini at this point in our 40-year relationship. Definitely a bluesy, torch feel:

I'm the one you hurt
And I'm the one you need
I'm the one who cried
I'm the one you used to meet
But you are pretending you don't care
But the fire is still there
Now we are no longer too young
To love each other this way


I've been waiting four decades for an NC (goodness... poor Loren Tate!) Why don't you stop and look me over? Soon, please. Lol.

 
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#99
#5 - Underrated maybe? I think most who follow closely appreciate the heck out of AF. I know I do. He’s Chester Frazier tough with the ability to score. Almost always does more than it looks like he should be able to. Absolutely love the toughness he brings to the team and completely unselfish.

We will miss Ayo....no question....but I really think we'll miss AF more....unless....Curbelo comes in and just makes everyone totally forget past point guards we have had
 
Chevy Chase, Maryland
On a more serious note: what's with the shooting %?! 14th and we're in second place?? I pondered today after reading that stat how much tenacity, defense, and pounding of the boards have yielded these guys this year when they're often stone cold from the field. SMH on one hand this seaosn. Deliriously expectant for what we can expect under BU and his style of play when we get some shooting soon.
 
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