Thursday, January 05, 2006
Mr. Brown has now left the hall - taking his 34 points with him as the #6 ILLINI spoil another BIG - 10 opener for Michigan State (now 1-6 against the men from Champaign in openers). SPARTY has lost 4 in a row at the Hall. With a crowd approaching 17K, all decked - out in construction orange, it was another great victory for the ILLINI Nation as we moved to 15-0 to start the 2005-2006 season.
Dee accounted for 34 of the 60 points tonight. It was not a well-balanced affair. Dee took control early and often scoring from just about everywhere on the court. But, I think the story of this game was our tenacious defense, holding the 80+ SPARTANS to 35% shooting and 50 points. This was a real surprise. I think our defense might be a little ahead of last year's squad - which wasn't too bad either.
But, the offense is another story. We need to find another 1 or 2 scorers when the game is on the line, especially as BIG - 10 play deepens. Dee can't be expected to post 34 points / night in the strongest conference in the country. We might send 8 teams to the big dance in March save Penn State, Purdue, and Northwestern. If we don't send 8, we might send 9. Mr. Carmody has the Wildcats playing some good Princeton b-ball of late.
But back to this one. The Orange Krush returned to campus early (still on winter break) and were loud and obnoxious as usual. Gotta love 'em.
Next up is a game Iowa Squad on Saturday in Iowa City. Then we get Michigan at home before two consecutive road games against Indiana and NW, respectively. Not an easy opening month for the Fighting Illini.
The BIG-10 is stacked top to bottom this year. It's not going to be an easy road to 10 victories in the conference this year. Anything more than that would be a surprise to me. I see the ILLINI going 10-6 this year as we extend our home court advantage. The two real - tough home games appear to be against Indiana and Iowa later in February.