Pregame: Illinois vs Ohio State, Wednesday, December 5th, 6:00pm CT, BTN

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Winged Warrior
Your assumption of my opinion and athletic experience is...well your assumption. I have quite a bit of experience being a part of championship level teams at the D1 level. Irrelevant either way because we are both here, on this internet message board...

This isn’t junior high or high school anymore where you play kids based solely on the effort they put forth in practice. Christ, there was a movie made about that at the college level. True story in fact. Guy killed himself in practice for 4 years. He got in on a kickoff and one meaningless snap for his career. Good movie. You should check it out. Forgot the title though???

Most on this board, me included, are concerned with our recruiting and the talent/athleticism on our current roster. Part of recruiting is retaining your current talent so that you can build around that with future classes. In our current state, we cannot afford to lose TJ or SK because we were unable to motivate them without putting the coaches walk-on son in when the game is still undecided. We lack athleticism with our current scholarship athletes and it is hurting us. Tyler Underwood wouldn’t be a top 3 athlete on the IWU team we played in the preseason. I disagree that he makes the offense run more smoothly and he knows where to be on defense so that helps us. There isn’t an opponent we have played to date or that we will play that is worried about him doing anything but the occasional ball reversal or trying to move fast enough to get in the way to take a charge on D. Tevian and SK look lost out there, TU just looks out of place!

We all have our crystal balls on this board. Mine is telling me if TJ and SK sit too much more while TU goes into games that still having meaningful minutes to be played we won’t have to worry about them being here next year. I would rather watch arguably our two best freshman athletes we have had in a while screw up than a senior walk on take up space and make the occasional hustle play and possibly chase off our young players in the process. I know it is only a couple minutes here and there, but it isn’t going unnoticed.

To top recruits deciding between us and them...

Cuonzo, Prohm or any other coach we are recruiting against, “UofI huh? Saw BU played walk ons over a few of his best freshmen recruits last year. How would that make you feel? Is that what you would sign up for?”

My example is about as exaggerated as your Baker Mayfield, but both are relevant. These are 17 and 18 year old kids who have always been told they are the best and most likely are still (insert Mark Smith) being told that by their support system. Times have changed and the landscape has changed. Even Coach K coddles his players to a degree now...

Did you notice the chart posted on the previous page? TJ is getting twice the minutes as TU. So at least half of your gripe is without merit.
As for Kane, he would/will get pushed around hard in B1G play. Also, TU is not taking any minutes from Kane, so the other half of your argument is almost without merit.
Gilbert, AZ
Check out those stats. Ayo leading team is total points (to be fair: Trent is averaging more), rebounds, and assists. Giorgi is tied in rebounds, and Trent averaging more on assists, but still pretty impressive.
Stat that stands out to me is Griffin has taken and made and taken more shots than Williams. Wish he'd be more aggressive.
Oswego, IL
Looking back at the seasons since we last went Dancin' (13-14 to now) but excluding the total rebuild year (last year), there always seems to be at least a couple of Conference games where we come to play and get a truly satisfying victory:

2013-14: 20-15 (7-11), NIT Second Round loss
W 53-46 at #18 Michigan State
W 66-63 at #24 Iowa

2014-15: 19-14 (9-9), NIT First Round loss
W 64-58 vs. #11 Maryland
W 59-54 at Michigan State

2015-16: 15-19 (5-13), no postseason
W 84-70 vs. #20 Purdue
W 68-66 vs. #20 Iowa (Indianapolis, IN)

2016-17: 20-15 (8-10), NIT Quarterfinals loss
W 85-69 vs. Michigan
W 73-70 vs. Michigan State (mostly due to the Tournament implications ... which we then blew at Rutgers)

That is my absolute minimum goal for this season at this point ... beat someone we shouldn't looking good. Provide us some true hope going into next year. An upset of Ohio State could really jumpstart this team to at least become respectable by the end of the year.
We were in the NIT two seasons ago? Didn't even notice.
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