Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brr...It's Cold Up Dere

Minnesota in January. Nobody in their right mind wants to be there, and the Illini sure showed that tonight. The Illini must have froze walking from the bus into Williams Arena, and they never thawed out, shooting just 29% in the 59-36 loss. (At least they broke 30 -- there was a point I wasn't sure they would make even that.)

The Illini were out of rhythm on offense, and no one could figure out how to make a shot at the Barn, a place that had recently been very friendly for the Illini. Dominique Keller and his unorthodox shot helped a bit, and he led the Illini off the bench, with 9 points. But overall it was ugly.

Give the Illini credit, though, for playing their game on defense, especially during the first half. They now know which Gophers floss. But Tubby's team also defended well. They can probably tell you what the Illini had for lunch -- and breakfast. I don't think even a sneeze went uncontested. It was a defensive battle, which made for ugly, low-scoring Big Ten basketball.

The Gophers earned the W, just less than 10 years since their last win over the Illini.

And a game like this often happens over the course of the season. This just wasn't the night to go cold. The Illini will need to quickly regroup before they face the Hawkeyes. But at least they are headed home for a game. The Gophers needed a home win before tackling a tough road schedule.

I expect a much different outcome when Tubby brings his boys to Champaign next month...

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