Smile Politely

Illini hang on against Indiana

It was nice to watch a game without defense for a change. Just, you know, for the excitement of scoring. That’s what Sunday’s affair in Bloomington seemed. Illinois made its first five shots, with an assist on each bucket. The Mikes got a lot of open looks. Backdoor cuts worked. 17,000 White Stripes fans sat rigid, attempting to conceal the rock hard erections they could not avert when confronted with an oversized likeness of Eric Gordon.

But in a way, the signage worked. The Illini, not heeding any Hoosier placards, forgot to “never never never give up!”

Instead, they gave up.

They gave up shooting — 63% first half, 38% second. They gave up blocking shots — seven in the first half, three later. They gave up sharing — fourteen assists at the break, five after.

They got rattled. White Stripes fans, frankly, are obnoxious. And Jeebus were they loud. Whether it was taunting Bruce Weber for … them cheating? … I’m not sure; or simply exploding every time one of their little white guys made a bucket. Holy Crap, that place reverberates. And of course, that’s by design. The Great Hall at Krannert features similar acoustically-conscious architecture.

In the second period, Indiana nearly cut a 21-point lead to three. Sadly for them, Verdell Jones³ trey was long. We feel for Verdell³, because he’s really one of us. But one likes to point and laugh at the rest of the Hoosier fanbase. So that was all right.

I mean c’mon, let’s face it. People from Indiana are just awful.

Mike Tisdale blocks a shot from behind.

Mike Davis blocks a shot

and then another.


That’s just gotta be embarrasing.


Bruce Weber stuck with the formula of bringing in Dominique Keller at the under-16, even though Mike Tisdale was scoring at will.

IU scored its eleventh point at the 7:39 mark of the first half.

One of the local Bloomington press (sitting within earshot of me) remarked to another that the “SHUT UP WEBER!” chant was the loudest he’s heard this year, maybe ever.

Verdell³ looked rather fragile under Calvin Brock.

The line-up of Frazier, Jordan, Brock, Tisdale, and Davis was the most effective. You might think that fivesome has little scoring punch at the guard position. Maybe you’re right. Being a pragmatist, I go with what works. Jordan saw a lot of floor Sunday, and it was good.

Early in the second half, Indiana’s Tom Pritchard hit a shot from 18 feet out. As it left his hands, he followed it — just in case. I hope the Illini coaching staff shows that clip to the team.

Bill Cole played in the first half.

Even Jeff Jordan blocked a shot. Dude is 6-foot-1.

Verdell³ (12) was not happy with the outcome of the game. Trent Meacham (1) was not happy with his own performance.

But Townie Sr. got the last laugh versus the Hoosier fans. Upon fouling out, Meacham forced the IU fan base to flummox its own shooter. The crowd (unoriginally) counted off each of Meacham’s footfalls as he walked to the bench. “Right, left, right, left, ” they called.  He knew they would yell “SIT DOWN!” when he took his seat on the bench.  So Meacham waited to sit until Malik Story entered his free throw motion, at which point the entire inbred Hoosier fanbase shouted, as they learned to do by watching others on television. Story missed.

Coach Weber foamed at the mouth about Indiana’s immense fan support, as if any other Bloomington enterprise were open on gameday Sunday. Like if you wanted an oil change or something — you’d be screwed. I’ll bet the churches were closed, too. Hoosier basketball is enough of a religion. And they all believe in an imaginary savior who smites his enemies, and sometimes throttles his only begotten players.

Weber then added that tickets remain for Wednesday’s home game versus Penn State. You know, even though we’re ranked. He added that PSU is seeking an NCAA berth. You know, so it’s going to be an exciting game. He pointed out again how great IU’s crowd was, despite their crap season. Unlike our crowd. Which obviously doesn’t care enough to show up, even though we’re good. So, basically, “fuck you.”

The press got free pizza from Bucceto’s. It was even weirder than some of my homemade pizza. For example, here are two of their weird pizzas.

campfire: smoked sausage, sweet onion marmalade, gorgonzola, and fresh rosemary

bill (formerly known as steve): hot italian sausage, yellow and red bell peppers, thyme, oregano, and parsley

Indiana football is so bad, it comemorates its 1979 Holiday Bowl appearance.

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