THIS LOSS WAS NO BIG DEAL
I didn’t think it was that bad.
The loss to Texas quashed plans for perfect season, but I saw a lot of good things from the Illini Thursday night.
Mike Tisdale was aggressive on rebounds. He pulled a few away from the Texas bigs. That wouldn’t have happened even a year ago. I like it that he fouled out.
Bruce Weber broke another clipboard in the huddle. He fumed the entire night, either at referees or Illini players. I find no fault in that.
He’s still rotating and experimenting with groupings. I like that.
He called for Jereme Richmond to sub-in with a minute left in overtime, long after Richmond fouled out. I thought that was weird.
But hey, it’s optimistic.
Demetri McCamey was everywhere, and moving at top speed. Maybe a switch flipped in his brain. It was like he suddenly realized he’d have to do it all himself, and he did.
Afterward, he admitted to a sense of urgency.
THE ILLINI ARE NO BIG DEAL
Unfortunately, this season will not mirror 1989 or 2005. That’s what some people wanted.
I see a lot of 1988 in this team. The future stars are still finding their footing. The veterans are solid, so the coach won’t progressively whittle away their PT. We don’t quite have a Jens Kujawa or Glynn Blackwell. No first-year player recalls Kenny Battle. But I see similarities. It’s not a changing of the guard, but a blending.
Don’t give up hope just yet. It’s November.
It’s possible that the team will cohere, and not choke against Villanova.
EVAN TURNER LIKES DEMETRI MCCAMEY
NBA rookie Evan Turner was in town for the game. I asked him about his high school buddy’s performance, and career prospects.