Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Slow Painful Decent

That was fun for none. 
It wasn't fun for me watching on TV , it wasn't fun for the Illini players to grind out another game against a horrible opponent, it wasn't fun for the Illini Crush who made the 4 hour drive to Iowa City just to watch crimes against basketball, it wasn't fun for Wayne Larivee who dearly misses his best friend Doug Altenberger, it wasn't fun for Brennan Cougill who missed at least three meals and four 3-pointers over the course of the game, and it wasn't fun for the rest of the Iowa players who took time out of their busy alcohol-related arrest schedule /agri-business schedule just to lose another game.

The season started out with a bang, with the Illini scoring in the 80's and Brandon Paul doing fun things.  This lead to local foolish bloggers (me) declaring things like "The Illini are definitely improved" and "This team is actually fun to watch" or "They are a lot different from the brutal '06 through '09 teams".

If this Big Ten season is any indication, then this team has come full circle and looks exactly like every other Bruce Weber coached team since 04-05.  They haven't displayed the offensive firepower since the Gonzaga loss.
 I will admit that even though this team isn't playing to its potential and is awful to watch, I'd rather have a team that is underachieving than a team that is playing to its full potential and sucks (every Illini team from 05/06 - 08/09). 

The biggest difference between the team that showed potential in the non-conference and now is Mike Davis.  The Illini clearly need him to play like someone who isn't afraid of his own shadow.  Davis was a major scorer last year and in the beginning of this year, but now is a non-factor. 
The bottom line is that the Illini need him to produce because outside of McCamey they have no consistant offensive presence.  Tisdale has been limited by double teams and foul troubles.  DJ has not been able to create his own shot consistantly, and Bill Cole is nothing more than a spot-up shooter that is rarely on the mark. 

Davis has the ability to spread the floor and open things up for everyone else offensively.  When he is going good, teams have to honor his jumper and it opens up a high-low game with Tisdale, as well as better driving lanes for the guards. 

Going forward, hopefully Davis gets his groove back, because they have a rough stretch of games ahead, MSU, at Wisky, OSU, and at Purdue.  They need to play to that early season potential and pick up a couple more W's to look good in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee.


  1. I think all of this criticism is just as ill-advised as your early season Illini vaunting.

    Just accept the fact that Frank Williams isn’t going to come back and play for the Illini and move on :)

    PS. Tisdale is a consistent offensive presence – he’s only had 3 actual bad games this season vs. Iowa, at Michigan State, and vs. Purdue – Tisdale’s biggest problem is that Mike Davis seams to get him the ball more than D-Mac.

  2. Yeah, I don't know. All I can say is that the Illini have played well once (home vs. NW) in Big Ten. That is bad.

    Also, I don't consider 10-12 from Tisdale to be enough or a offensive presence, considering his skills.


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