Couldn't every school outside of the elite blue programs say the same thing?When you look at the full history of Illinois ball you realize just how very many good years this program has had for many generations (during the regular season). But the tournament?
The lack of tournament success is almost freakish. Having oh-so-many great years and so little success in March/April. Nearly impossible to do that. But we’ve seen it. And so have our great-grandparents if not even earlier than that.
We cling to 1989 and 2005 like life rafts in stormy seas. Why? Because that is the level of success that (we feel) this program should have had — and should be having — more routinely like certain other legacy names we all know and (don't) love. You just should not be so good in the regular season and so struggling in the tournament for so many years. Bizarre.
Yes, winning Titles is hard and they just don’t hand out National Titles because you’ve been at it a long time. But still... different eras... different coaches... different players... even different styles of ball played... yet the tournament results have been freakishly similar.
And this creates a sort of generational ache that Illini Nation feels. That doesn’t help to win tournament games or gain anyone’s sympathy outside our Team Family. But to deny this ache would be to deny (a weird) reality.
I’m going to look at the Arkansas game with fresh eyes. I’m going to forget what’s happened during this regular season... the last couple years... hell, the last hundred years. I’m going to watch two good teams go at it and see who wears the smiles at the end in this great National frenzy of roundball.
We need to clear out our collective tournament cache and bitter tasting cookies and start a whole new tradition – the one with the kind of tourney success that we’ve always wanted.
Hard work... good players.. good coaches... good execution... and maybe a little luck in the tournament. And see if 'The Fates' can beat THAT...
The fake wing ball screen to clear the paint, and open up the high low iso for the other big, is a thing of geniusI’ve heard this view expressed a lot. I’m not sure I agree with that. I do think he was quite good at it. I liked his unique motion offense…the long looping banana cuts and such. (I certainly respect what he was able to do at SIU…with far less talent.)
I really feel like Self is very underrated at X’s and O’s honestly. He’s such a good recruiter and roster builder that people underestimate how clever his stuff is.
I think the high-low offense is genius in its simplicity… well deceptively simple is maybe more accurate. He’s real good at indoctrinating into his system quickly…not afraid to make big adjustments either.
Kruger…I honestly don’t remember that much. Seems like it was more numbered specials/ a lot of called plays…pro set quick-hitter & iso type stuff?
Seems like he tried to exploit matchups a lot…I honestly can’t remember that much
…but remember his in game adjustments being quite good. So I’ll leave him out of it
The perception I got about Henson was that he was solid…but relied on his bench coaches. (I could be wrong) I was too young to really know know what was going on under the hood. So I’ll leave him off this too.
Self’s High/Low > Underwood’s Spread Weber’s Motion Offense
The defense PROBABLY goes in the same order IMO.
Eh, we have a better regular season history than Michigan, Ohio State, Georgetown and many others that have more National Championships and Final Fours than us. We are one of only a few programs to have FOUR #1 seeds all-time (under four different coaches, too!). We’ve underachieved a lot compared to how many times we’ve been to the Tournament with a really good seed, literally never truly outperforming our seed besides winning a 5/4 game once.Couldn't every school outside of the elite blue programs say the same thing?
In my opinion, we will know in 5 minutes of playing time how the game will go. If Arkansas blitzes us early, we're in for a long day. I've seen it too often.Eh, we have a better regular season history than Michigan, Ohio State, Georgetown and many others that have more National Championships and Final Fours than us. We are one of only a few programs to have FOUR #1 seeds all-time (under four different coaches, too!). We’ve underachieved a lot compared to how many times we’ve been to the Tournament with a really good seed, literally never truly outperforming our seed besides winning a 5/4 game once.
Let’s change that this year!
This has to be a good sign, right? And on the first try!!
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Weber would have been a fantastic coach for an Ivy League team. I sort of viewed him as the Mike D’Antoni of college basketball. Great system, but very stubborn and couldn’t always get his players to believe in it.I would definitely be in the camp of saying that Weber is the best X's and O's coach we've had in modern times. It wasn't just the motion scheme he tried running, he was on another level when it came to knowing how to break down an opponent's offense on the defensive side of the ball. He really was a strategic guru, and I'm fairly confident to say he was at worst Top 20 in the league during his coaching career. And when you think about it, he has had significantly less talented players than both Self and Underwood, though had better tourney success than either in his first 10 years of coaching. In fairness, Self has improved greatly when it comes to X's and O's over the years, but people tend to forget that for the first almost 15 years of his coaching career, people would mockingly call him "Big Game Self" because of how he'd tighten up in the final minutes of big games, and his team would just follow him and fall short. And it'd be interesting to see how Illini fans would've handled the back to back 1st round exits Self had from '05-'06 with Kansas before finally winning his National Championship. Even more interesting is that in those national championship games, Mario Chalmers hit a very low quality intensely guarded three to send the game to OT that Kansas wound up winning, while Luthor Head missed a high quality wide open three that would've tied the game and likely sent it to OT where there is no doubt in my mind we would've won (by the way, the play Weber called up during the timeout with 25 seconds to go to get Head that wide open look, is an absolute thing of beauty. Rewatch if you get the chance). Sometimes, the difference between winning and losing is just that razor thin. After Self got the monkey off his back though, he has really come into his own and no longer tightens up in clutch moments and he's become an extremely good x's and o's coach in his own right. But in their time with Illinois, I do believe Weber was our best x's and o's coach by a decent margin.
Overall, I tire greatly of the flack Weber tends to get here, as the truth is he was a damn good bench coach, he just was from the wrong era. You give him a team of highly motivated self-starters who will listen to him and do whatever he asks, he'll take that team far. He did it with SIU, Illinois, and Kansas State- it's no fluke. Problem is he struggled recruiting enough of those type of talented kids, and he would stubbornly coach players more to the level of what he saw them capable of than what they actually were and could provide. And as you mentioned, he was never the salesman for the job he needed to be. That said, he probably would've made for a phenomenal NBA bench coach or even a college coach in the 70s-80s. But as a modern coach, recruiting and keeping players motivated and buying in to your program is a big part of the job requirement, and that's the thing Bruce struggled with the most.
Overall, we've been blessed to have some really great coaches lead our program. None were perfect, they never are, but overall they were really damn good. And it's a shame when most of my 30+ years as a fan we have people so quick to throw them under the bus, and hell, in Weber's case it has been over 10years already. People need to let it go already- celebrate the positives and accomplishments, and let go of the negatives.
By the way, none of this was directed at you, OP. Just the overall nature of some of the posts I've been reading.
In my opinion, we will know in 5 minutes of playing time how the game will go. If Arkansas blitzes us early, we're in for a long day. I've seen it too often.
I feel like we need to attempt 12 or fewer 3's if we want to win the game. I'll give us six attempts each half and they better be wide open trayz. We need to attack and get inside. At least I'm hearing it in the pressers now... if we get behind and revert to prayers behind the arc we're done. I think we get into foul trouble early but we're going to be okay. We're a pretty young team and we're going to get good experience. I just hope the kids remember to have some FUN. I want to see some positive body language and some focus. I'll be happy with that.Me too. I feel like Goode and RJ are both going to hit a few 3’s.
That’s some tough grading but i get it. I think i’ll hand out my grades long after our last game because we’re all going to frustrated if/when that happens and the season will seem like a failure.I think I can get on board with those grades. I probably have more patience than others when it comes to tournament success just due to the complete randomness of it. Though, as others have pointed out, postseason canceled in '20, R32 in '21, R32 in '22 and the fact that he has beaten a 5 seed as a 12 seed and beaten a 3 seed as a 14 seed.
Nothing personal but I really don’t like this take, Lou built a program from the ground up through hard work and preaching fundamentals. Kruger and Selfish used what Lou built as a stepping stone to “better” jobs. Lou>Self>Kruger is my take.Lou was a good coach, but no chance he goes ahead of Self and Kruger.
I always prefer the late Friday draw, because even if we lose we can say “at least we were in the final 52” and if make it to late Sunday we can say “at least we were in the final 34”. I take what i can get.Yep. However, we haven’t played on the Thursday in a long time so I’m up for a change. If we can’t beat Arkansas, I get to abandon any delusion of a surprise run by Thursday afternoon and move on. If we win, as you said, Friday will be so fun just watching games and getting pumped for a HUGE game on Saturday!