Smile Politely

Beauty & sadness

Joe Bertrand’s final home game was a thing of beauty, an almost perfect display of offensive basketball. Unfortunately for Joe, neither he nor his team was involved in the beauty.

If you can appreciate great basketball, and prefer to see scoring rather than defensive stops, Tuesday night’s demolition was wonderful to behold.

If, on the other hand, you like only Illini victories, it was painful.

The Michigan Wolverines dismantled the Illini. On the last day of Max Abramovitz’s original spaceship, Nik Stauskas & Co. played like part of the demolition crew.

12 hours later, actual bulldozers rolled in.

The Illini could still win at Iowa, right? Three wins in the BTT would put them back on the bubble, right?

Nah. It’s over.

It’ll be weird next year, with no Bertrand contingent filing the family section. Joe’s 67 aunts and uncles, mom Lorita and brother Justin are a collective institution within the Illini family.

Jon Ekey’s family never became entrenched. They didn’t have time. But moreover, Betty & Bob didn’t hang out in the family section. They preferred to sit in B32, where you can actually see the game.

I’ll miss Jon Ekey for selfish reasons. He’s right up there with Bill Cubit for the Best Communicator among current Illini quote feeders.

The CBI awaits. It’ll be a long drive to Morehead, Kentucky, or Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

John Groce tried to run the first half clock out, fouling Michigan on each inbound play. But of course, Nik Stauskas got a shot off, and hit it. Illinois had held oppoenents under fifty points for four consecutive games. The Wolverines finished the half with 52.

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