Thursday, November 02, 2006

Is It That Time Already?

Reading the Tribune today, I came across this article about Illini basketball and an exhibition game against Lewis University. The ever swinging pendulum that is college basketball dictates that unless you're Duke University, you're gonna have a down year. (For coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke a down year is two blue chippers and only one American Express commercial.)

After two stellar seasons of Illini basketball, expect a down year.

Gone for greener NBA pastures are uber-speedy guard Dee Brown and lefty James Augustine. Leading the team this season, Brian McBride had a pretty easy time against the Division II foe -- because he's suspended that is. Expected to play an expanded role this season (and maybe the missing cog from 2004-2005 team) Rich Randle also played a relatively quiet role in last night's game -- because he missed it due to a hamstring injury. The two floor leaders for the Illini didn't play, and the Illini still won by 25, 83-58.

Bruce Weber's calling card defense was on display at least if his offense was not. A whole lotta nothing went into the hoop for the Illini, and they were even outrebounded by Lewis.

But the future was on display. Sophomore Chester Frazier, or Dee Brown Jr., was effecient running the team, and sophomore Jamar Smith will shoot better. Warren Carter, who is as country as they come, ran the floor well too.

But the Big 10 is gonna have a banner year this year, and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Illini in the middle of the pack if not lower this season. Greg Oden is at OSU, Michigan, sanctions or not, is gonna be very tough, and Wisconsin will badger a few teams this season. Expect Michigan State to fall a but this year as they lost a ton of fire power, but Tom Izzo is as good a coach as you'll find, so watch out for the Spartans.

After all the press the Bulls and Bears have received this year, and knowing the Illini will have a tough year, the college hoops season has flown under my radar until now. But before you know it, March Madness will be here and a weeks worth of unproductivity will return again. Oh, for that week. It's kinda like a vacation.


Blogger Jeeves said...

God bless basketball season...I can finally put to rest the UCLA football season and look forward to watching a GOOD team.

4:54 PM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

It is my own fault for not getting to this sooner, but I didn't have floor time until today (Friday), so good job. IF MSU is down that much in firepower than they will battle it out with the Illini for fourth-to-sixth. The Big Ten IS up this year, and it will take all Izzo and Weber have to stay in the top half.
Extra thought:If all rosters were equal I wouldn't bet against Weber, even versus Izzo. He might be the best floor coach in the league, if not the country. What I hope he can improve with is recruiting. Of course, having said that, I believe (from afar, no personal knowledge) Bruce Weber to be one of the more honest, above the boards coach in college sports. Anyone who thinks that isn't a disadvantage in today's recruiting climate is sadly mistaken. I personally would rather be really good with occasional greatness and be legit than frequently great but have a coach with a layer of oil continually dripping from his suit.
Anybody with any shred of hope for purity, balance or integrity in college sports should root for the same things.

10:09 AM, November 03, 2006  

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