Saturday, March 05, 2005

Dee, Baby, Self and Jamar Smith

We didn't post commentary on Thursday night's win against Purdue because we were still in complete shock after Dee's unconscience performance from beyond the arc.

That, and Good Hope Orange and Oskee Mom Mom had their baby and, as regular readers of Illinitalk probably know, when this blog becomes a solo show, it gets tough to keep up. (Kudos to "Da Wonk" for being able to do so and to "Mrs. Illiniwonk" for putting up with him.) Anyway, The One Baby Fast Break weighed in at 9 pounds, 9 ounces at 10:37 p.m. Wednesday night. Congratulations!

My predition of eight hours of labor was a little short and I missed the gender too (they had a girl). Let's hope my Illini predictions from a few days ago are a little truer to form.

Thoughts about Thursday
1. There is no doubt in my mind that Dee sealed up Big Ten Player of the Year. That was my prediction and I'm sticking to it.

2. You can see the game recap here. I like how the starters were all at 30 minutes or under for the game. Going into the final March stretch, coming off eight days of rest, having a hot shooting night and having all players at 30 minutes or under is a very good thing. It'll keep those legs fresh. For April.

3. With Gene Keady's Big Ten career coming to a close, so does the end of an era of Big Ten coaches. I grew up watching these guys (Lou, Bobby, Gene, Jud, etc.) so it's sad for me too. Mark Tupper has a nice entry on his blog about the new era of Big Ten coaches.

Rick Morrissey
As usual, the Tribune's Morrissey has a couple great columns about the Illini. The latest is dated for tomorrow but is on the Tribune's website today. It's pure speculative about if Bill Self has any regrets that he didn't stay at Illinois. A great read. Here are my favorite excerpts:

Please, no stories during the NCAA tournament about Illinois being Self's team too. It's not anymore. It's Weber's team. He did the heavy lifting, turning skeptical players into believers.


These are Self's players, but this is not his accomplishment. There is no way of knowing whether he would have produced the same results from these players, but there's no doubt Weber's motion offense is perfect for Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head.

Illinois recruit Jamar Smith from Peoria Richwoods must've watched Dee Brown's game Thursday. In a 76-41 win over Pekin in the regionals, Smith was an amazing 10 for 11 from three point land for a season-high 37 points. You can read more about it here.

Seems like Weber is doing fine recruiting so far.

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