Illinois 72, Kansas State 64 Postgame

#152      
"The Good Land", WI
Serious question: How bad is this team? Expectations were high, so it's hard to leave those at the door and go with what we've seen. I know the expectation is to make the dance, but from what you've seen, are we a tournament team?

I'm not all that surprised, simply because the past few seasons Underwood's teams have had some head-scratching losses and struggled to look well coached by the time conference play rolls around. To be fair, most teams do. Was hoping this year would be different. For sure there have been unusual circumstances, and I for one, fell for all the talk of quality depth, and how the returning players would steady the ship.
Seems a bit overblown. As others have mentioned there is a bit of a leadership/clutch vacuum with Ayo gone. Otherwise this is an extremely talented roster that should continue to grow and gel.

Add that Curbelo clearly isn’t close to 100% and Frazier was off even before the leg injury last night. Hutch is gaining confidence. Hawkins shows flashes of brilliance and still has A LOT of growing to do. We’re just starting to see Payne, Plummer is obviously possibly a huge weapon. Grandison and Williams are better than they’ve played so far as well.

I also don’t get your second point. This is a team that won the big ten conference by % last year, and obviously the BTT. They clearly played their best during conference play. So to a pretty significant extent…who cares how they look after 5 games??
 
#153      
Aurora, IL
Serious question: How bad is this team? Expectations were high, so it's hard to leave those at the door and go with what we've seen. I know the expectation is to make the dance, but from what you've seen, are we a tournament team?

I'm not all that surprised, simply because the past few seasons Underwood's teams have had some head-scratching losses and struggled to look well coached by the time conference play rolls around. To be fair, most teams do. Was hoping this year would be different. For sure there have been unusual circumstances, and I for one, fell for all the talk of quality depth, and how the returning players would steady the ship.
It's 5 games. Going to wait until January before making any grand pronouncement on our team.

And BU's teams slways start out slow.
 
#155      
Why do other teams seem to be able to drive to the hoop with impunity
And we just seem to be good at running the weave until not enough time to get a good shot
 
#157      
Good to get back in the W column. Still think we look slow and missing some energy, but its the 1st month of the year.

Hutch is going to be good, he has to get some confidence in his body. Anyone that has had serious injuries knows what I'm talking about. Same with curbelo and Frazier, if they get back, it takes time.
 
#158      
Why do other teams seem to be able to drive to the hoop with impunity
And we just seem to be good at running the weave until not enough time to get a good shot
If I'm Underwood, I'm having the managers put together a T.J. Ford highlight tape and making Curbelo watch it on repeat. They are very similar players. The are a similar size, both lightning quick, both capable of spectacular passing, neither could shoot the 3, but are good FT shooters, TJ probably had a better midrange game, Ford actually turned the ball over quite a bit.

I think the difference is Ford was much better at facilitating the offense. He drove with more of a purpose. He had his head up and was able to get teammates open looks. When you create that reputation of driving and dishing, you create a major problem for defenses, they can't necessarily crash on you, and that opens up opportunities for you to score.

But it all comes down to, you can't drive with your head down, or with the sole purpose of you scoring. I think we all remember the Tracy Abrams drives where everyone knew he was going to take a layup whether 1, 2, or 3 guarded him at the rim. The defense knew it and you didn't have to defend anyone on the perimeter when he drove. That's a killer. I think Curbelo has been more in the mode of TA with his drives than TJ.

This game was better, but I still think if I'm Underwood I reward Curbelo for assists and I have a stopwatch going when he dribbles. Yes, we want you to drive, but you need to drive with a purpose, and if you didn't crack the defense, pass instead of dribbling in circles. Ball movement was much better in this game and we scored more and more consistently. Simple as that.
 
#159      
Hard to have any ill will towards by all accounts a really great person, bled orange and blue, ran a clean program, coached one of Illinois's best teams in history to the NC game and was coach for the best and most important comeback in Illinois history.
We are what we are. A mixture of good points and bad points. And each of us seems to have a ceiling built in to our singular life paths. Best we can do is reach that ceiling and not fall short of it. You can’t blame somebody for not being what you want him or her to be. They’re just being who they are.

And we need to find a place outside of ourselves where our pieces fit with those around us. Especially true for sports teams. Teams are taking a bunch of random parts and multiple egos and making something coherent and successful out of it. Not an easy job for sure... and that’s why so many people and places are not successful. They just haven’t hit on the special sauce recipe that pulls it all together.

We see how the coaching changes since 2005 had set the Illini back. We also see the turnaround began when the Illini hired two “right’ guys for leading the program back where it belongs.

Just another thing to add to your list of things to be thankful for this season.
 
#160      
We need to take care of the damn basketball. 18 turnovers is absolutely middle schoolish!

Hit free throws and cut turnovers in half, this is not even a game!

With Frazier and possibly Curbelo ailing, that may be difficult.
 
#162      
Great article by Robert at Illiniboard about Belo.

Dan, I know you posted recently that injury talk is off topic but the article deals specifically with events of this game (and the post game presser) and how it many inform Belo’s status right now and going forward.

Plus it might create some empathy in some of our fans that think he’s just a robot out there glitching and not a human being fighting through stuff.

If you’re not a subscriber, you get 2 free articles.

Link
 
#163      
Here's my thoughts on lineup for most control, good D and offensive success..
hutch, grandison, plummer with kofi and one of (prefer trent):

Trent, DMW, curbelo, hawkins

Grandison and Hutch are both potential playmakers and seem to take care of ball...plumer is 3p weapon.

Hawkins and curbelo have both showed signs of not protecting ball....if ball protection is not valued now.. it will continue to be a problem
Grandison is not a ball handler, he is a valuable part of this team for other reasons
 
#164      
If I'm Underwood, I'm having the managers put together a T.J. Ford highlight tape and making Curbelo watch it on repeat. They are very similar players. The are a similar size, both lightning quick, both capable of spectacular passing, neither could shoot the 3, but are good FT shooters, TJ probably had a better midrange game, Ford actually turned the ball over quite a bit.

I think the difference is Ford was much better at facilitating the offense. He drove with more of a purpose. He had his head up and was able to get teammates open looks. When you create that reputation of driving and dishing, you create a major problem for defenses, they can't necessarily crash on you, and that opens up opportunities for you to score.

But it all comes down to, you can't drive with your head down, or with the sole purpose of you scoring. I think we all remember the Tracy Abrams drives where everyone knew he was going to take a layup whether 1, 2, or 3 guarded him at the rim. The defense knew it and you didn't have to defend anyone on the perimeter when he drove. That's a killer. I think Curbelo has been more in the mode of TA with his drives than TJ.

This game was better, but I still think if I'm Underwood I reward Curbelo for assists and I have a stopwatch going when he dribbles. Yes, we want you to drive, but you need to drive with a purpose, and if you didn't crack the defense, pass instead of dribbling in circles. Ball movement was much better in this game and we scored more and more consistently. Simple as that.
Pretty decent comp.
 
#165      
If I'm Underwood, I'm having the managers put together a T.J. Ford highlight tape and making Curbelo watch it on repeat. They are very similar players. The are a similar size, both lightning quick, both capable of spectacular passing, neither could shoot the 3, but are good FT shooters, TJ probably had a better midrange game, Ford actually turned the ball over quite a bit.

I think the difference is Ford was much better at facilitating the offense. He drove with more of a purpose. He had his head up and was able to get teammates open looks. When you create that reputation of driving and dishing, you create a major problem for defenses, they can't necessarily crash on you, and that opens up opportunities for you to score.

But it all comes down to, you can't drive with your head down, or with the sole purpose of you scoring. I think we all remember the Tracy Abrams drives where everyone knew he was going to take a layup whether 1, 2, or 3 guarded him at the rim. The defense knew it and you didn't have to defend anyone on the perimeter when he drove. That's a killer. I think Curbelo has been more in the mode of TA with his drives than TJ.

This game was better, but I still think if I'm Underwood I reward Curbelo for assists and I have a stopwatch going when he dribbles. Yes, we want you to drive, but you need to drive with a purpose, and if you didn't crack the defense, pass instead of dribbling in circles. Ball movement was much better in this game and we scored more and more consistently. Simple as that.
I do not think Curbelo’s sole purpose is ever to score on a drive.
 
#166      
I still think it's legit to talk about calibrating where the team is thus far, especially when your tournament invite is based on the entire body of work. Illinois had a slow start last year, and managed to get a #1 seed with some very impressive wins to get there. Could happen again, especially if Marquette and Cinci are better than expected.
 
#167      
BU:1 Trash cans:0
Chicago
I still think it's legit to talk about calibrating where the team is thus far, especially when your tournament invite is based on the entire body of work. Illinois had a slow start last year, and managed to get a #1 seed with some very impressive wins to get there. Could happen again, especially if Marquette and Cinci are better than expected.
I'm tracking with you, Calvin. I would say this team has a much lower floor than I anticipated. Averaging 18 turnovers a game is a concerning data point already. There are also times where we are not winning the rebounding battle in the way we've become accustomed to with BU teams. PG depth is a real concern right now.

That's some of the bad. On the other hand, I would also say this team has as high of a ceiling as predicted. This team absolutely has the potential to be a Final Four caliber squad. If our coaches can get everything humming together, there is enough talent to have a strong season and make a deep run in the tournament. I don't think we were wrong to be excited going into this season.
 
#169      
I still think it's legit to talk about calibrating where the team is thus far, especially when your tournament invite is based on the entire body of work. Illinois had a slow start last year, and managed to get a #1 seed with some very impressive wins to get there. Could happen again, especially if Marquette and Cinci are better than expected.
The early numbers suggest Maryland was holding back Morsell. His scoring average (acknowledging the early sample size) has jumped from 9 PPG at Maryland to 17 PPG at Marquette.
 
#170      
I confess that I thought passing out of a double or triple team was somehow out of Kofi's skill set, given the number of times he has failed to do so over the past few years. I also thought his inability to do so was a major contributor to his low NBA draft stock.

Seeing him pass out for not one but two assists in one game is one of my brightest spots of the season so far, even if does pretty much guarantee we won't have him back next year because he goes in the first round.
It's early to tell for sure but he seems to be having better free throw form
 
#171      
St Paul, MN
It's early to tell for sure but he seems to be having better free throw form
He's not bringing it across his face to shoot like he used to. Everything is in the same vertical plane and he's shooting with his fingertips instead of pushing it with the heel of his hand. Also by doing this he gets more arch on the ball which always helps with free throws.
 
#172      
The 2 loses at this point in the season really doesn't concern me as much as the way we have lost....I realize we've had injuries, suspensions, and multiple line up scenarios to contend with and maybe even coaching changes from last year that may lend to the slow start...but we just don't have good body language on the floor...we seem uninspired ......we don't value the ball on offense.....way too many turnovers...some poor decisions on both ends of the court has me concerned....these were things that I didn't expect from this team with several veteran returning players.....hopefully BU and the boys will right the ship and soon because the schedule will soon get much tougher
 
#173      
I'm tracking with you, Calvin. I would say this team has a much lower floor than I anticipated. Averaging 18 turnovers a game is a concerning data point already. There are also times where we are not winning the rebounding battle in the way we've become accustomed to with BU teams. PG depth is a real concern right now.

That's some of the bad. On the other hand, I would also say this team has as high of a ceiling as predicted. This team absolutely has the potential to be a Final Four caliber squad. If our coaches can get everything humming together, there is enough talent to have a strong season and make a deep run in the tournament. I don't think we were wrong to be excited going into this season.
I think a ton of this season hinges on TF. Value beyond scoring too.

I think we saw last night how some guys can all contribute to help alleviate not having him out there, but I think the floor and ceiling drop significantly without him.

KSU is flat out not good. Probably a similar level to NW, perhaps even worse. We've got a long way to go if we want to be considered a top big ten team
 
#174      
BU:1 Trash cans:0
Chicago
I think a ton of this season hinges on TF. Value beyond scoring too.

I think we saw last night how some guys can all contribute to help alleviate not having him out there, but I think the floor and ceiling drop significantly without him.

KSU is flat out not good. Probably a similar level to NW, perhaps even worse. We've got a long way to go if we want to be considered a top big ten team
Yep. I think when I checked last night, Torvik had them at #110, which is Quad III. You absolutely have to account for the suspension, injuries, and new coaching staff as you evaluate our early season form, and wins are wins. But anything short of dominating a Quad III game is way below my expectations going into this season. This team is capable of more, and I expect they will get much better with time.
 
#175      
Illini Basketball Fan Forever
Ft Worth, Texas
Well, that was a relief to win the K-State game. Plummer was unbelievable on the 3 point shooting, Curbelo did much better playing point guard, Cockburn had a solid game rebounding and scoring. Still too many turnovers and mistakes. But great to have a win.