Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm Glad It's Over

Everyone who was holding their breath during the last few minutes of last night's game please raise their hand. I have mine raised--I was a little worried the Illini just might let UNC steal this one. For some game summaries, check out these articles in the Sun-Times, Trib, and the Daily Herald.

Not a lot of time to write today so here are some observations.
1) This was a nice win on the road in a tough place to play. The UNC fans were loud and this was a good early season test for the Illini. Illinois won the game as they should have against a very young Carolina team. On a side note, this is going to be a VERY good UNC team a year or two down the road.

2) I am still spoiled from last year's team. I keep having to remind myself that it is going to take this team some time to gel and come together. The defense in the first half was the worst I have seen from an Illini team in some time and we looked extremely out of synch at times on both ends of the court.

3) On the positive side, I think this team has some huge potential once they get more familiar with one another. Jamar has one of the nicest shots I have seen in a long time and it was great to see McBride shooting well again. Randle really is an athletic freak--what a block in the second half plus some key rebounding and scoring. Although I wish he could have/would have played last year after his hand healed, it sure will be nice to have him around as a fifth year senior.

4) Dee's shooting will come around--one of the biggest adjustments for him is going to be gaining trust in his new running mates. He, Deron, and Luther knew each other so well last year and it is going to take time for him to get comfortable with the other guys on the court this year. However, I loved how he was coaching the other guys on the floor and his two free throws to seal the game are why you gotta love having a senior All-American on your team.

5) Augustine played well and have a good game overall. However, I think he could dominate so much more than he does and I am just waiting for it to happen. This Beacon News article conveys what I am getting at.

6) Finally I am glad this game is over. I knew it would bring up a lot of discussion about last year's title game and that loss still stings a bit. As everyone pointed out, these are two completely different teams so it really wasn't a revenge or payback game. It was a nice win but I think all Illini fans would trade it for a victory back in April.

Quick Takes:

*The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is tied at 3 games apiece. I wish Wisconsin could have pulled off the upset against Wake Forest last night but Justin Gray was too much and the Badgers had no answer. The Big 10 has never won the challenge but let's hope that changes tonight. Northwestern vs. Virginia may be the key game that determines which conference comes out on top.

*Same old Dukie V. Some things never change--there should be kissing sounds every time he talks about the ACC and its teams on a broadcast.

*Coach Weber--Hope your foot starts feeling better and heals fast.

*Go Bears--8-3 with the 2-9 Packers coming in this weekend. Who would have thought that would be the case at the start of the season?

*Nice 4 game winning streak for the Bulls. They look like a playoff contender again this year.

*Congrats to the White Sox on resigning Paul Konerko as well as getting Peoria native Jim Thome in the trade with the Phillies. Konerko and Thome are two of the good guys in major league sports and I am glad they are in Chicago.

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