Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hanging Tough

Michigan State has proven to be the team to beat in the Big Ten. And they are very, very good at the Breslin Center. They have talent and experience. But the Illini played tough -- and had a legitimate shot a pulling an upset.

There was plenty to like about the Illini performance:

However, it is pretty hard to win a road game in the Big Ten, especially with stats like these:

The Illini held the lead for roughly half the game, and they had plenty of opportunities, including a technical foul on Coach Izzo and the bizarre shot-clock violation call that somehow gave the Illini the ball and a 3 by Legion. The refs weren't impressive. But the Illini had opportunities that they just couldn't fully exploit.

However, they have proved that they can play with anyone in the Big Ten today. Most Spartan wins during the conference season have been by a much larger margin than this one. There's lots of conference play left, but if the Illini stay healthy and focused, they can be in the top half of the conference come March.

Go Illini!

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