Monday, February 28, 2005


With Michigan State's loss to Indiana yesterday, Illinois claims the Big Ten Title outright for the second consecutive year! Although it happened in somewhat anti-climatic fashion, this is a big accomplishment for the team. Winning outright conference championships back to back doesn't happen very often. The last Big Ten team to do it was Purdue when they won three in a row from 1994-96.

If my math is correct, this title is Illinois' 5th in 6 years, although we should note that the other 3 were shared with other Big Ten teams. With all due respect to Michigan State and Wisconsin, Illinois is beginning to establish itself as the conference standard bearer. The road to a title goes through Champaign. This is a major accomplishment for a team that had some leaner years during the 1990's. With a second outright conference title, a possible undefeated regular season, and a possible national title run, Illinois is setting itself up to be a major player in recruiting both in Illinois and nationally. The Sun-Times has a good article today about Illinois' rise to recruiting prominence.

With their goal of winning the conference title accomplished, the team now turns it focus to becoming the first Big Ten team to go undefeated in the regular season since Indiana did it in 1975-76. After that, the Big Ten Tournament awaits followed by the big dance. A magical number 39 and immortality may also await the Illini, as Lindsey Willhite points out in an excellent article in today's Daily Herald.

Side Notes:
--Welcome back to the Chief and Skinny Sweetcheeks. Hope both of you had a good time in Australia but glad Chief is back to add his wit and insights to Illinitalk.

--If any of you Illinois fans out there have a friend who is a DePaul season ticket holder, you better start hitting them up now for tickets to the NCAA Midwest Regional games at the Allstate Arena. Click here to see why.

<< Home |

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?