Saturday, March 11, 2006
Well, it's not good when you go 1 and done in your conference tourney like ILLINOIS. But, it's tough beating a great squad like SPARTY 3x in the same year. They were due for a win against us - too bad it was yesterday night. I guess they learned a little from their home-court loss to us last Saturday. Didn't help that Dee had a terrible night from the floor. I won't even go into the free-throw shooting or turnovers (only 57% from the line and 13 big ones, respectively). Ugh! We should have won this game, fairly easily. And, this is why we're NOT worthy of a #2 seed - in my opinion. Had we won 3 games in side the Canseco Fieldhouse, you would be hearing me lobby for a #1 seed instead of Nova or Memphis.
I am a little worried 'bout my ILLINI in the BIG DANCE next week. Actually, the BIG10 as a whole isn't really shooting the ball that well from the field. I think we're one of the worst power conferences when it comes to FG%. But, that's mostly because of the strong defense that's played in the conference. Only the BIG East can match us in terms of skill and intensity. That being said, we do need to pick it up as a conference (and as a team for ILLINOIS) going into next week. None of the games are played at home. They're all neutral - court affairs in mega - stadiums and domes. Bye bye gyms. We'll see what happens when we stop beating up on each other and start beating up on everyone else.
If you have CINGULAR (X) Wireless, check out their ringtone page and download your team's graphic and fight song. Nothing like the ILLINOIS LOYALTY chant to let you know how your alma mater is doing. Go ILLINI - http://www.cingular.com/media/ringtones_graphics.
Here's who should be in the BIG DANCE from the BIG10: Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and maybe Michigan (#7). In my opinion, it would be a crime for Florida State to get in at the expense of BIG BLUE. Again, who'd you play and who'd you beat? I'm with the ESPN guys on this one (Davis and Bilas). BIG -10 deserves seven teams this year.
OK, moving on. Should UCONN still be a #1 seed even though they lost in the first-round of the BIG E? Too bad for Nova. They could have been the overall #1 SEED with a BIG E Championship. But, they didn't look that great either going down to PITT. I do have to say that Memphis has been impressive of late, especially winning their conference tourney today. So, OK - I was wrong 'bout those Tigers. They are worthy of a #1 seed.
Right now, here are my #1's - #4's:
#1 Seeds = DUKE (overall for now), Uconn, Nova, and Memphis
#2 Seeds = Texas, BC, Ohio State, and Pitt
# 3 Seeds = ILLINOIS, Gonzaga, North Carolina, and Iowa
#4 Seeds = Kansas, UCLA, Florida, LSU (Tennessee)
And don't forget about March Madness on Demand. Sign - up early for your VIP account. And get in line behind me. http://www.ncaasports.com/mmod.
Finally, my hopes for this year's tourney:
1) An ILLINOIS championship - would be our first ever on the hardwood or grid-iron. We've waited a long time (> 100 years of tradition). We've come close before ('89 / '05), but maybe, just maybe, this is the year.
2) A long run for coach Davis of Indiana. What he's gone through over the past 7 years after replacing Bobby has been very difficult. I hope that if ILLINOIS loses that Indiana goes all the way and sticks it to everybody esle, including its own fan base, disgruntled alumni, and administration who have lobbied for his departure since day 1.
3) Coach K and the Dukies. Yes, I'm a closet Duke guy. I think Coach K is the best in the land and wins the right way. No program has been more dominant over the past 10-15 years.