Illinois 81, Northwestern 56 Postgame

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#176      
Rockford, Illinois
What a resilient group of guys. After listening to Coach’s presser, I am even more impressed that this TEAM made the dominant second half surge because they were “disappointed in themselves.” I know that was coachspeak, but it’s still important. I love this mindset. It’s great to see them having fun, slapping the floor TOGETHER. I think this is a very special close-knit group who really do listen to and care for each other. We are watching champions in the making, men with character who have what it takes both intrinsically and athletically to get through adversity and win together. I am more excited than I’ve been in a long time to watch our Illini reach their potential and become the champions they strive to be.
:illinois:-L-L
 
#177      
That is a break. The best one we get all season. You're wrong.
I thought we’ve been on a “break”!
we just played 4 non-ranked teams and are about to play 3 more non-ranked teams

so it’s a good part of the schedule to get some wins for sure
 
#179      
Everyone on the team would like to play with that intensity and focus for 40 minutes. The problem is that it is extremely hard to do because you don't realize that you're not. Sometimes you need something or someone, like your coach or team leader, (Ayo), to "inform" you that you are not; but in a way that doesn't insult the players. I've never met a player that thought he was loafing while he was playing. Halftime reflection is important to reset your focus. Good coaches know how to do that. Bad coaches rely on jumping around, clapping, and throwing out a bunch of rah-rah bull crap. Thankfully, I believe BU is one of the good ones.
To add to this, playing with intensity and focus is a skill. Players with more of this skill are able to do it more consistently than players with less of the skill. While you can develop the skill over time and thereby do it more consistently, it’s not something you can just expect every player to do all the time.
 
#180      
Yeah, it’s really not even close- I know we beat Wake Forest by 19 in the first half, not 40, but Wale was #1 in the country, it was at the Hall and it was rocking- not comparable from an emotional level

the last 5 minutes of the Arizona game obviously is tops for me from a pure emotional stand point
Yeah. I was there and it was insane. One of my best memories ever. The significance of that game and the atmosphere puts it over the top easily. So many loud racous fans, all orange, national TV coverage, and the fact it put us as #1 and on the national stage for the rest of that whole season makes it untouchable in my mind.
 
#181      
Wow, haha. That second half showed that this team can be SCARY good when it's clicking. Guys, NU is not a bad team ... they're just not. They're not a top 25 team, by any means, but they'll snipe someone good again before this Big Ten season is over, and it could even be us in Champaign if we don't show up.

With that said, I am so impressed with the boys' performance in the second half! I'm enjoying every bit of this season, and I know anything can happen on any night in the Big Ten, but if we play even half as well as we did in that second half over these coming games, we could very well be looking at this MONUMENTAL rivalry matchup on Friday 1/29 (rankings are a guess, based on what else is happening):

#3 IOWA HAWKEYES (14-2, 9-1) at #7 ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (14-3, 10-1)

I know I shouldn't ~look ahead~, but I am going to be (back home) in Iowa City for that one, watching with a small group of friends. It's my super bowl, and I'm inclined to say it's theirs, too!

P.S. Here are some fun Mildcats statistics, after last night's win. :cool:

- We have now won five in a row vs. Northwestern, including our last two in Evanston.
- We are now 64-28 (.696), an ABSURD metric for a road record in a Big Ten series. For reference, we only have a winning record in away games vs. one other Big Ten opponent, being 13-10 all-time at Penn State.
- We now lead the all-time series vs. Northwestern 139-42 (.768), including a 30-9 (.769) record since 2000.

GO ILLINI!
 
#182      
To add to this, playing with intensity and focus is a skill. Players with more of this skill are able to do it more consistently than players with less of the skill. While you can develop the skill over time and thereby do it more consistently, it’s not something you can just expect every player to do all the time.
Yep. Michael Jordan was one of the best ever at this. The man is and was one of the most competitive human beings on the planet, which is what made him great, but even he had occasional moments where he showed he was human. Very rarely but it happened.
 
#183      
Yeah. I was there and it was insane. One of my best memories ever. The significance of that game and the atmosphere puts it over the top easily. So many loud racous fans, all orange, national TV coverage, and the fact it put us as #1 and on the national stage for the rest of that whole season makes it untouchable in my mind.
I would add the upset over #1 Indiana on the Griffey layup. That game looked like a near blowout of Illinois for most of the game.
 
#184      
Winged Warrior
 
#186      
Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on our slow starts, tendency to give up extended scoring runs, and high turnover numbers?

Again, we can be a really good team but still have serious issues we need to continue working on to get better. Underwood in today's postgame talked extensively about how everyone was disappointed in our lack of effort and intensity in the first half. Was he just blowing smoke?
Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember BU saying disappointed in lack of effort in last night’s presser. I know he said they were disappointed in their performance in first half, and he might have/probably did mentioned intensity.
 
#187      
Everyone on the team would like to play with that intensity and focus for 40 minutes. The problem is that it is extremely hard to do because you don't realize that you're not. Sometimes you need something or someone, like your coach or team leader, (Ayo), to "inform" you that you are not; but in a way that doesn't insult the players. I've never met a player that thought he was loafing while he was playing. Halftime reflection is important to reset your focus. Good coaches know how to do that. Bad coaches rely on jumping around, clapping, and throwing out a bunch of rah-rah bull crap. Thankfully, I believe BU is one of the good ones.
I sort of see where you are coming from, but this is so easy to point out from a coaching standpoint by watching film. All Underwood needs to do is have them watch most of the 1st half from the 15 minute mark to halftime. Then, watch the entire second half. The level of effort, communication, passion, and hustle is MARKEDLY different. Effort and hustle is a mindset and our guys too often have not been ready to give maximum effort at the beginning of games for whatever reason. And it is contagious. Once one player gets going, it spills over and others gain confidence and follow suit. You saw that with NW in the first half. How many dunks and shots did they make after we let them get confidence by playing casually? This game distinctly illustrates the difference in results when you play with energy and effort vs when you do not. Hopefully the guys will get that message and use it to become the team we know they can be.
 
#188      
I would add the upset over #1 Indiana on the Griffey layup. That game looked like a near blowout of Illinois for most of the game.
It wasn't as big of a comeback - we were down 12 at the half and won by two - but still a fun one for sure and highlight of the season no doubt. Another great second half, though would be 2009 when we came back from 23 down early in the second half to beat #18 at the time Clemson at their place 76-74. Epic comeback led by freshman BP3, freshman DJ Richardson, Tisdale, and Mike Davis.
 
#189      


Belo hiding in the weeds ready to attack. He literally pretended to be a guy heading to the bench - ha. That is a ninja-killer type mindset right there.

The guy is wise beyond his years....
It was a crafty play, but I’d like the play more if it didn’t happen with less than a minute left with a 22 point lead or if he had pulled it out after making the steal.
 
#190      
It was a crafty play, but I’d like the play more if it didn’t happen with less than a minute left with a 22 point lead or if he had pulled it out after making the steal.
I'll say it wasn't the most sportsmanship-esque play he could've made. Honestly, does it matter? Maybe if there were like 10 seconds left, just run the clock out. Not saying we needed the 2, but we would've had to at least shot that possession. Might as well take the easiest 2 of the game and continue the game.

A lot of the unwritten rules of sports are flat out dumb. He made a good, clean play let him get the 2 for it.
 
#191      
During an embarrassing first half, Coach Underwood went ballistic and even replaced his starters late in the half. Kofi stated in a post game interview that coach had a few choice words with him and his teammates during halftime - I guess it worked, 53-13 is an astounding number and shows what the team is capable of when they're focused. They need to stay focused because even though their next two opponents are bottom feeders, it has been shown in league play no game is guaranteed.
 
#192      
I sort of see where you are coming from, but this is so easy to point out from a coaching standpoint by watching film. All Underwood needs to do is have them watch most of the 1st half from the 15 minute mark to halftime. Then, watch the entire second half. The level of effort, communication, passion, and hustle is MARKEDLY different. Effort and hustle is a mindset and our guys too often have not been ready to give maximum effort at the beginning of games for whatever reason. And it is contagious. Once one player gets going, it spills over and others gain confidence and follow suit. You saw that with NW in the first half. How many dunks and shots did they make after we let them get confidence by playing casually? This game distinctly illustrates the difference in results when you play with energy and effort vs when you do not. Hopefully the guys will get that message and use it to become the team we know they can be.
I totally agree with you. All I'm trying to say is that in the heat of battle you sometimes don't even realize you're not going 100% and you need outside stimulus to get back on track.
 
#193      
Glenview, IL
All the adjectives used for Spider-Man and then some
One more stat that I am not sure has been mentioned: The Illini were the first team to outscore a major conference opponent by 40 points in a half since March 5, 2003, when Kentucky outscored Vanderbilt by 43 in the second half of a 106-44 victory.

 
#194      
I sort of see where you are coming from, but this is so easy to point out from a coaching standpoint by watching film. All Underwood needs to do is have them watch most of the 1st half from the 15 minute mark to halftime. Then, watch the entire second half. The level of effort, communication, passion, and hustle is MARKEDLY different. Effort and hustle is a mindset and our guys too often have not been ready to give maximum effort at the beginning of games for whatever reason. And it is contagious. Once one player gets going, it spills over and others gain confidence and follow suit. You saw that with NW in the first half. How many dunks and shots did they make after we let them get confidence by playing casually? This game distinctly illustrates the difference in results when you play with energy and effort vs when you do not. Hopefully the guys will get that message and use it to become the team we know they can be.
I absolutely agree that effort is key. But I think fans often just see a lack of effort and ignore the opponent and execution factors. Even if you are playing with effort, you still have to execute your game plan (and lack of execution is not always a function of lack of effort or focus) against an opponent that is trying to stop you from doing what you’re trying to do. An example from the first half last night was Ayo’s attempted lob over the zone to Kofi, which NU deflected away. I think Ayo made the right read and decision, but his pass was just a little lower than it needed to be and NU made a good play. If it was a few inches higher, Kofi gets a dunk. I don’t think the turnover was a result of lack of effort from Ayo. On defense in the first half, there were probably several breakdowns, but NU also made a lot of shots off of good offensive execution where there was little our defenders could have done differently given our defensive scheme.

We did clearly need to play with more focus than the first half last night. But I’d imagine that the coaching at halftime involved more than just instruction to play harder. Good coaching is about pointing out the specific breakdowns in execution, tweaking the game plan to address the opponent, and communicating this effectively to the players. Without this, imploring players to simply play harder doesn’t do much good.

I guess my point is that while the Illini had some mental lapses in the first half, the halftime score was probably as much a function of NU playing well as it was UI’s lack of effort. In the second half, we clearly picked up the intensity. But a lot of the difference also came from making some shots, offensive rebounding (which does involve effort but also involves luck in how the ball comes off the rim) and poor execution from NU (which probably resulted in part from UI effort but also in part from tweaks to our offensive and defensive schemes and to NU just having a bad half).
 
#196      
It was a crafty play, but I’d like the play more if it didn’t happen with less than a minute left with a 22 point lead or if he had pulled it out after making the steal.
Yeah, I'd be mad if i were on the other side - but the net is -
1) he would have had to shoot anyway as there were 55 seconds left.
2) subs were in - so let them play and have some fun,
3) Its NU - so stick it to them - they get to one post conference tourney and suddenly they own Chicago and all of the NCAA. Glad to help put them back in their place. All is right in the world.
 
#197      
Interesting tidbit, we actually had a similar performance against Colorado in Groce’s first year.

It was the last time we were in the dance.

Luckily we won...and we made THREE field goals...so we still weren’t as bad as the kitties last night.
 
#198      
Yeah, I'd be mad if i were on the other side - but the net is -
1) he would have had to shoot anyway as there were 55 seconds left.
2) subs were in - so let them play and have some fun,
3) Its NU - so stick it to them - they get to one post conference tourney and suddenly they own Chicago and all of the NCAA. Glad to help put them back in their place. All is right in the world.
I’m not going to lose sleep over it, but Illini fans would be feeling different if shoe was on the other foot and that was say Aaron Craft or Mulcahy making that play against Illini under same circumstances. Yes, it was crafty but really amounts to a one-man press with a 22-point and less than a minute less. And, yes, I understand most on here will disagree with me.
 
#199      
I’m not going to lose sleep over it, but Illini fans would be feeling different if shoe was on the other foot and that was say Aaron Craft or Mulcahy making that play against Illini under same circumstances. Yes, it was crafty but really amounts to a one-man press with a 22-point and less than a minute less. And, yes, I understand most on here will disagree with me.
My only real issue with it is that I wish he had kept that trickery in his back pocket to pull out in a closer game to get a bucket that mattered.
 
#200      
I’m not going to lose sleep over it, but Illini fans would be feeling different if shoe was on the other foot and that was say Aaron Craft or Mulcahy making that play against Illini under same circumstances. Yes, it was crafty but really amounts to a one-man press with a 22-point and less than a minute less. And, yes, I understand most on here will disagree with me.
You're not alone - he probably wasn't thinking much about the situation. Freshman and all. Interesting to kind of see BU with a small fist pump when he made the basket. Even better would have been a throw off the back board to a rushing BBV flush.
 
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