Monday, November 30, 2009

Wanted: Hungry Illini Players

It was a tough sports weekend. Illini lose twice on the hardwood, once on the gridiron and the Bears take in on the chin in Minneapolis.

Tangent: I was hoping my Bears could pull that game out but if they couldn't I was hoping Adrian Peterson would run for 300 yards so my fantasy team could at least win. Alas, neither happened. Sigh.

End tangent.

I have to admit I didn't watch the entire Utah or Bradley games last weekend but what I saw on the hardwood made me sick to my stomach. Those are two tough early season losses that will definately have an impact on tourney seeding (assuming IL makes the Big Dance).

This will be a big test of this team: whether the team can bounce back, learn from the losses and come back strong with a good effort and hopefully a win Wednesday night at Clemson.

Personally, I would like to see more of D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul. They are top-flight recruits and should be playing as many minutes as possible. Sure, they will make mistakes but so did Dee and Deron when Self started them as freshmen. However, I think it paid big dividends later on as they had that experience under their belt.

As bad as these losses are, I'm not even close to ready to throw in the towel on this season. I think the Illini probably entered the top 25 a little early. However, my hope is that being knocked out makes them hungry to get back in. This team has talent. They just need more chemistry (which will come as the season progresses) and hunger (which can come with having a chip on your shoulder).

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