Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Illinois over Carolina tonight 68-64 in Chapel Hill. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we won a close game as opposed to have lost one. But, it was an ugly victory for a more senior ILLINI squad. Sure, we're a young team after having lost Head and Williams to the NBA. We need to develop the chemistry, especially on team defense. That wins championships. But, to be up 64-50 with 8 minutes to go only to hold on in a squeaker down the wire is nothing to hang your hat on if take pride in your game.
Here is what I saw:
1) Illinois had close to 20 turnovers tonight.
2) We gave up 30 of their first 35 points in the paint.
3) We didn't protect the rock on the road - treat it like a treasure next time.
4) Less than stellar shooting down the stretch when the pressure was highest. We tightened-up and allowed a young Carolina squad to build confidence and momentum. Those guys are young but very talented.
5) Our offense sets were not crisp and lacked energy.
6) Our defensive play was better in the 2nd half but still mediocre at best, even then.
7) There were some positives like freshmen Jamar Smith and his 2 big 3-point shots in the 2nd half.
8) I also liked the play of the freak (Brian Randle) on both ends of the court. He finished with 11 points.
9) McBride looked good at times with 12 points coming mostly from the deep-ball.
10) Dee is working his way back after a broken foot this summer. He still needs to work on getting his legs back underneath him especially on the 3-ball.
At least we landed a top-ten prospect in our recruiting efforts for 2007 in Eric Gordon. This guy is good and was coveted by other schools like Duke and Notre Dame. 6'3" point guard who averaged 26 points / game as a sophomore in Indiana. Finally, some good recruiting news on the sports front.