Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Rich McBride Show

Illinois beat Purdue 76-58 today. After a slow start, the Illini lit up the Boilermakers behind Rich McBride's 19 points. In a welcome site for Illini fans, McBride got in a groove of driving the lane and pulling up for a jumper, drawing a foul or both. If McBride can continue to do this, especially in a tight game on the road, it would go a long way to helping Illinois improve as they move into the meat of their Big Ten schedule.

Of course, that tight game on the road will come Tuesday night at Wisconsin (6 p.m. CST on ESPN). Wisconsin lost to Michigan today so Illinois is now tied with those two teams for the Big Ten lead. Ohio State plays at Iowa tonight and whoever wins that game will also be tied with Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan for the Big Ten lead.

Iowa doesn't concern me as much as Ohio State when it comes to conference play. However, it's so hard to root for Iowa to take down Ohio State (OSU has the easier schedule too). Ever since we lost in Iowa City, most of the Iowa fans I know at work are acting beyond obnoxious. (I'm sure no other Illini fans can identify with me.) So for one night, I'll probably pull for the Buckeyes. Sorry Young Man but your fellow Hawkeye fans are giving you a bad name. You'd think they just won the national title or something. I just say it means Illinois is now an elite program. (See Iowa students storming the court after they beat us.)
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We'll have more coverage later but I liked what the Illini did today. McBride's solid game should give him confidence and make us dangerous and we also hit our free throws today. We will need both those things to win at Wisconsin Tuesday.

Another side note: We've gotten some cool e-mail lately from our readers. Keep 'em coming! Love the interaction and please let us know if you have suggestions for things you'd like to see us cover.

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