Sunday, February 22, 2009

Needed It - Got It!

I mean, how do you explain the turnaround? Wednesday night we lost at home to Penn State in one of the worst basketball games every played, at least since that Monmouth / Princeton thriller from 2005. Today, we travelled to Columbus and took care of business (70-68 win) against Ohio State (now 17-7), desperate to assemble a tourney-worthy resume. Not an easy task. Mission accomplished / hot shooting.

To answer the proposed questions, you need look no further than the box score:
  • Chief went 58% from the floor on 28/48 shooting
  • From behind the arc, he went 9/17 (53%).
  • From the charity stripe, just 55.6% on 5/9 attempts.
  • On those 28 field goals, he had 23 assissts (82%), which continues to lead the nation.
  • 11 turnovers. Pretty decent on the road in the BIG-10 in late February.

We also held the Buckeyes to 47% shooting (+11%), and only 36% from behind the arc. But make no mistake about it, we needed this win. Davis (22 points) and Meachem (17) both went off to lead the charge. You can't put up 33 points at home and lay a consecutive egg on the road. We didn't. Building a tourney resume is about bouncing back on the road in a hostile environment after a pathetic home loss. At 22-6 (10-5) we're back to +3 in conference - always good to be in the black by winning on the road and not losing at home.

We wrap up BIG-10 play with our next two at home against Minnesota and Michigan State before closing on the road in Happy Valley (Penn State). Momentum is back in our corner. But is there a more fickle pickle than men's CBB mojo this time of year? It's hard to find and even harder to keep. Just ask UCONN, UNC, and Oklahoma. Check out the latest Weekly Bubble Watch.

But back to today's winning result. The road-win gave Weber his 150th at Illinois in just six short years (53 losses). We started off much better today hitting our first 8 of 9 shots. That will be a key to continue going forward in tourney play next month. Teams that lose usually don't get off to strong starts. Rarely do you see a team get down big and claw its way back for the victory. It takes no energy to dig a big hole and almost all you have to climb back to square. Today's win was our first 3-game road - winning streak since 2004, illustrating just how hard it is to win away from home in the BIG-10.

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