Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Michigan down, Indiana tonight

Sorry for being a little behind in posting. Obviously, I think everyone is aware by now that Illinois beat Michigan on Saturday. In the event you missed it because you were obsessed with football this weekend, you can find recaps/commentary here, here, and here.

In summary, Illinois looked better offensively from the standpoint that they scored 79 points. However, 49 of those points came from Dee and Augie. The two seniors really carried the team down the stretch, scoring virtually all of the team's points over the last few minutes of the game. You expect that from your seniors so that is a positive but I would still like to see some of the other guys step up. Free throws were improved and a huge slap on the back goes out to Warren Carter for hitting two critical free throws at the end of the game.

Defense was actually a concern in this game as Michigan shooting percentage was nearly 61% in the second half and 46% for the game, becoming the first team to shoot better than 39% in the past 10 games. Illinois just did not look good defensively in the second half and gave up too many easy baskets.

Tonight's game with Indiana is going to be a battle. As Augie said, they have to play better than they did against Michigan or they will get beat. In order to win, Illinois needs to play strong defense against a great post player by the name of Marco Killingsworth while also defending against Indiana's deadly three point shooters. This one is not going to be easy. I watched Indiana play in person earlier this year against Western Illinois University (Side note: WIU's nickname is the Leathernecks. If memory serves, they are the only team in the country to have that nickname and received permission from the U.S. Marines to use it) and they were impressive. Killingsworth is a beast and their guards can shoot. Illinois will have their hands full.

Tied into playing better defense is the need for the Illini to be smarter about fouling. The team had a lot of guys in foul trouble on Saturday and Michigan was in the bonus for nearly 11 minutes of the second half. That cannot happen tonight if the Illini want to steal a road win. For some additional previews of the game this evening, check out the articles here and here. Tonight could really be a statement game for the Illini if they can find a way to pull out a win. If they want to defend their Big Ten title, then you have to find a way to win some of the games like tonight's. GO ILLINI!

<< Home |

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