Saturday, January 28, 2006
Good wins over the past week in Evanston and then at home against Minnesota and today against Purdue. You gotta protect the home court in the BIG-10 and try to win 50% of your road games. So far so good as far as the ILLINI go. And, the good news is that we still haven't played a great game all season. I'm hoping all elements come together next Tuesday in Madison against the Badgers.
Pruitt and Randle stepped - up big against Indiana on the road and had it not been for 50% foul shooting we would have and should have won that game in Bloomington. Still, can't complain too much after the talent we lost last year to the NBA (Head, Williams, and Powell to the CBA).
Kudos to Jamar Smith for stepping-up from downtown with the 3-ball over the past few games. His sharp-shooting and quick release will come in handy over the next few months. It's good to see other players score besides James and Dee who are each capable of putting up 20 points on any given night. But this team plays best when we are tenacious on defense and balanced on offense - not just relying on the 3-ball to win in the half-court game. We have size this year down low unlike last year with Augustine, Pruitt, Randle, and Arnold.
With games at Madison, Ann Arbor, Columbus, and East Lansing still on the schedule, the closing stretch won't be easy. I'd like to see us win 2 of these games - if not more. I think we have a chance in all games because there is no domination this year. But, it's tough to win on the road in February in the BIG-10. At 32 straight, we're tied with Southern for the longest home -winning streak in the nation. Oskee Wa Wa!