Pregame: Illinois at Ohio State, Thursday, February 14th, 6:00pm CT, ESPN2

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#54
Winged Warrior
In the first tOSU game at the UC, Giorgi fouled out after playing 19 minutes and Ayo shot 1-9. Kipper is going to have a great game upon returning to the arena in 2014 where he won a State championship and was named the MOP.
I was sitting here thinking this very thing last night....Giorgi is gonna get some extra attention and the paint could open up if Kip could just put his head down and GO!
 
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#57
If we were to finish 7th in conference and 2 Big Tournament victories, why wouldn't we make the big dance?
Win our next two and then we can start talking about hail-mary NCAA at-large scenarios. One imagines Wisky is going to end this dream with extreme prejudice, but we'll see.

We've been playing well but not "sweep the rest of the schedule" well.
 
#58
Tough game to figure out. As some have pointed out, both Ayo and Giorgi had less than stellar games in the first match up. But OSU had foul trouble too and 3 or their 4 leading scorers in that game were off the bench -- and two of them (Woods and Jallow) arguably had their best games of the season in that game. I think it will be a dogfight, with Illini barely surviving on the road 65-64.
 
#62
Win our next two and then we can start talking about hail-mary NCAA at-large scenarios. One imagines Wisky is going to end this dream with extreme prejudice, but we'll see.

We've been playing well but not "sweep the rest of the schedule" well.
We don't necessarily have to win the next 2, just 3 out of the next 4 to keep a tourney hope alive.

Which is still a pretty tall order. I'd be thrilled with a 4-3 finish and a decent showing in the BTT.

Maybe get a NIT invite based on level of play recently but most importantly carry a lot of momentum going forward. Hopefully have a number by our name at some point next year
 
#63
Win our next two and then we can start talking about hail-mary NCAA at-large scenarios. One imagines Wisky is going to end this dream with extreme prejudice, but we'll see.

We've been playing well but not "sweep the rest of the schedule" well.
At large bids went out the window in December. It sucks, given how well we've been playing, but our only shot at the NCAAT is winning the BTT, which is always possible, especially with a 6/7 seed, which is doable. 4 or 5 more conference wins is obtainable. Purdue and Wisconsin are the only really challenging games.

Even so, this is the kind of team I think everyone wanted to watch at the beginning of the season. Underwood has shown he can coach up a team. The question isn't that anymore, it's to the extent at which he can. This game is important to show that we just weren't riding a hot home streak. Wins are obviously nice and the goal, but play competitive, specifically down the stretch, and I'll be happy.

We've had a ton of "close" losses due to mental issues. Cut down on those and this team would be a top half B1G team.
 
#64
We don't necessarily have to win the next 2, just 3 out of the next 4 to keep a tourney hope alive.
At large bids went out the window in December. It sucks, given how well we've been playing, but our only shot at the NCAAT is winning the BTT
Haha, within a couple minutes of each other!

If we won out in the regular season to get to 16-15 (12-8) having won 10 straight and with wins over Maryland, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue, 3 of the 4 away from home in the span of a month and a half, we would have to be a part of the conversation.

But there's very little margin for error there. Let's say we play super well going forward, and spring those huge road upsets against Wisky and Purdue, but lose on Wednesday and to a desperate bubble Indiana team. Then all of a sudden you're 15-17 (10-10) and even making a run to the BTT finals only gets you to 18-18. We'd at least make ourselves a weird case who could compellingly claim ourselves as better than a lot of the bubble competition, but it's hard to envision a .500 team getting an at-large.

But anyway, we're getting miles ahead of ourselves here. The rational expectations for the much improved team we've watched of late is probably to go more like 4-3 down the stretch, with losses to Purdue and Wisky. Would still be cause for enormous optimism going forward. We regress even slightly toward the mean and we could easily wind up 2-5.

Avoiding a program-record 20 losses is where my focus is at the moment. This team doesn't deserve that distinction. 4 more regular season wins and we've likely done it, barring an NIT invite or something. Beating OSU would be huge for that goal.
 
#65
We’re still a young team, just now learning how to win.

I see a slight reversion to the mean against OSU & we lose in a tight game.

78-71 OSU
 
#66
If we were to finish 7th in conference and 2 Big Tournament victories, why wouldn't we make the big dance?
Because there will be other bubble teams that will have fewer bad home, neutral, and away losses. And what are our signature victories? Maryland and MSU? Both very impressive, but not enough. There was a first half of the season, too. And it was ugly as sin.

But most salient: bad losses torpedo bubble teams. Just ask the '16-'17 team.

And this year we've lost at home to Georgetown and FAU. Neutral to ISU, Xavier, Notre Dame, and Mizzou. This is... *checks notes* ...very bad. Unless we win the BTT, we are not dancing this season. If we continue to make noise, and win a few games in the BTT, though, we may get a low seed NIT invitation.

I'd take it.
 
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#69
Winged Warrior
We’re still a young team, just now learning how to win.

I see a slight reversion to the mean against OSU & we lose in a tight game.

78-71 OSU
I think I can help you. I want you to do something for me. (dims the lights) I want you to try and relax. I want you to relax every muscle in your body, from your toes to your fingertips. Now I want you to relax your legs. You're going to begin to feel your eyelids getting heavy as you slip deeper and deeper into a state of complete relaxation. The air of concerns to you is disappearing. Deeper, way down, your concerns about this game melts away. Way, way down. Now when you click on this link, you will be in a state of complete relaxation. Your worries, cares, and concerns will be gone. You will remain in this state until after the game.
Way down....way way down.....


https://www.illinoisloyalty.com/For...february-9th-3-00pm-ct-btn.24849/post-1449108
 
#70
Win our next two and then we can start talking about hail-mary NCAA at-large scenarios. One imagines Wisky is going to end this dream with extreme prejudice, but we'll see.

We've been playing well but not "Sweep the schedule well" well.
Would love to believe this but think we are a piece short. The lack of a big body to play along side Giorgi is too much of a disadvantage with some teams. Kipper and Aaron play their hearts out but they just can't rebound with that size disadvantage. Don't believe it hurts us offensively but leads to too many easy looks at the basket for the opponents with size.
 
#71
Mad Scientist
Arizona, USA
Win our next two and then we can start talking about hail-mary NCAA at-large scenarios. One imagines Wisky is going to end this dream with extreme prejudice, but we'll see.

We've been playing well but not "sweep the rest of the schedule" well.
I don't imagine that. Logically, I think that is reasonably likely, but I imagine sweeping the rest of our schedule, including the NCAA tournament, because hey, imagination is supposed to be for dream scenarios, right?
 
#72
I think I can help you. I want you to do something for me. (dims the lights) I want you to try and relax. I want you to relax every muscle in your body, from your toes to your fingertips. Now I want you to relax your legs. You're going to begin to feel your eyelids getting heavy as you slip deeper and deeper into a state of complete relaxation. The air of concerns to you is disappearing. Deeper, way down, your concerns about this game melts away. Way, way down. Now when you click on this link, you will be in a state of complete relaxation. Your worries, cares, and concerns will be gone. You will remain in this state until after the game.
Way down....way way down.....


https://www.illinoisloyalty.com/For...february-9th-3-00pm-ct-btn.24849/post-1449108
Haha! I love this.
 
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#74
We are 3-23 on the road/neutral site games the last 2 years. I hope we can change that the next 5 weeks.
To add to this, Illinois is 0-12 under Underwood in the blue jerseys (this includes the exhibition loss to EIU last season). The blues are only worn away from home (the oranges are also available in the road rotation).

Let's take a look at the resurgence-

W Minnesota_____(White)
L @Iowa_________(Blue)
L Wisconsin_____(White)
W Maryland______(Orange)
L @Minnesota____(Blue)
W Nebraska______(White)
W Michigan St___(Orange Throwbacks)
W Rutgers_______(White)


Orange: 2-0
White: 3-1
Blue 0-2

In conclusion..only orange!
 
#75
Haha, within a couple minutes of each other!

If we won out in the regular season to get to 16-15 (12-8) having won 10 straight and with wins over Maryland, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue, 3 of the 4 away from home in the span of a month and a half, we would have to be a part of the conversation.

But there's very little margin for error there. Let's say we play super well going forward, and spring those huge road upsets against Wisky and Purdue, but lose on Wednesday and to a desperate bubble Indiana team. Then all of a sudden you're 15-17 (10-10) and even making a run to the BTT finals only gets you to 18-18. We'd at least make ourselves a weird case who could compellingly claim ourselves as better than a lot of the bubble competition, but it's hard to envision a .500 team getting an at-large.

But anyway, we're getting miles ahead of ourselves here. The rational expectations for the much improved team we've watched of late is probably to go more like 4-3 down the stretch, with losses to Purdue and Wisky. Would still be cause for enormous optimism going forward. We regress even slightly toward the mean and we could easily wind up 2-5.

Avoiding a program-record 20 losses is where my focus is at the moment. This team doesn't deserve that distinction. 4 more regular season wins and we've likely done it, barring an NIT invite or something. Beating OSU would be huge for that goal.
Yeah it's definitely a long shot to actually happen but I will have to respectfully disagree with anyone who says a 17-17 team who just went 10-2 in their last 12 games in a very tough B1G doesn't get in. 3 or 4 of those wins would be top 25 and 5 or 6 would be against tourney teams. I'm not sure what the metrics would reflect after a run like that but they would pass the eye test without a doubt.

More than likely, none of this matters. As you said, I'm hoping for 4-3 and continuing positive momentum for next year!
 
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