Saturday, March 18, 2006

Illini take on Washington

The Fighting Illini take on the Washington Huskies in the second round of the NCAA tournament today in what promises to be a great Big Ten-Pac-10 showdown. This has all the makings of the Rose Bowl of basketball. West Coast game. Strong Pac-10 foe. Postseason intensity. Homecourt advantage for the Pac-10 representative...

Anyway, in my view there are three keys to the game today:

1. Brian Randle. Will he bring it on defense again Brandon Roy or get into foul trouble? It would be nice if Randle would slow him down because it would probably take the Huskies out of their run and gun offense. However, keep in mind if Randle has to sit early, Rich McBride did a nice job guarding Vincent Grier in when the Illini played at the Barn at the end of the regular season.

2. Augie. Trib's Niel Milbert talks about how Augie may be feeling the pressure of his last game as an Illini. Please Augie...we beg you: Loosen up. It's no big deal. Don't think about that. Just play your game like it's any other game because that's when you play best.

3. Bench. Illinois is probably deeper than Washington. If the future of the program steps up tonight (or this afternoon depending on what time zone you're in), we win.


1. Iowa. Wow. Did anyone NOT see that last second shot? It's my understanding that Iowa's seniors never won an NCAA game. And Indiana is considering hiring Steve Alford? Um, ok. Let's hire France to go after bin Laden.

2. KU. Tough. Night. For Self. Bill Self can recruit but he's starting to prove that he's having a hard time figuring out how to coach those players. Last year it was Bucknell. This year it's Bradley. Kudo's to Bradley and Jim Les for playing a tough game. However, it's not hard to argue that Kansas is underachieving with the recruits they have.

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