Saturday, January 30, 2010

State of the Chief - Hoops Style...

Well, we're deep into conference play across the nation and in the BIG-10. The calendar still says January, but it feels more like early February. Lots has happened with Illinois basketball since posted last in 2009. We won some games and lost a few others, mostly on buzzer beaters or close calls.

Today, we posted our 14th win to go along with 8 losses (5-3 in the BIG-10). Finally, a shot fell for us as time ran off the clock. Illinois 72 / Indiana 70. A thriller in Champaign. And when it mattered most, McCamey did it again with a little floater (19 points and 8 assists). Gut check! We needed it. We got it.

But it's about to get a lot more difficult with four of our next five against Ohio State, Sparty, Wisky, and Boiler Nation. With nine games left, and only four at home, it's going to be hard to get to 20 regular-season wins. But, if we can hunker down and dig deep, we could get to 18 or 19 heading into the conference tourney where we'll need to do some more work if we expect to get into the BIG DANCE. Resume is a work in progress with good wins over Vandy and Clemson (inside Little John). But, we've also had too many close losses to Bradely, Utah, Gonzaga, Northwestern, and Purdue.

All in all, it's been a tough year for my Illini Hoopers. The wins have been hard and the losses have been close. You expect this kind of up and down play with youngsters. Paul and Richardson have progressed nicely, but both are just freshmen. We really don't have much senior leadership on the floor this year. I do like Cole and Griffey in terms of their energy and decsion-making. This team should only get better over the next month, but will it be enough? We shall see ... I did like the pink JoJo's today (Coaches for Cancer).

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