Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life on the Bubble

The Illini have been squarely on the NCAA Tournament Bubble for a couple weeks. And although their performance in the Big Ten Tournament was encouraging, only The Committee can determine it if was enough...

After a demoralizing loss to the Badgers at home to end the season, the Illini came out strong Friday afternoon against Wisconsin. Although they tried to give the game away, they held on to play another day.

Ohio State just barely survived to advance on a last-second shot by Player of the Year Evan Turner over Michigan. And on Saturday, the Illini played the Buckeyes much, much better than they had in either of their 2 previous meetings this season.

After an excellent run, the Illini stalled and allowed the Buckeyes to go on a 20-point run. But then they rallied to give Thad Matta's team all they wanted. The Illini played really, really well, but they did fail to get a potential game-winning shot off at the end of regulation. But they did well in overtime, again, despite Mike Tisdale fouling out and again failint to get a potential game-winning shot off before the buzzer. The Illini didn't have enough gas to get through the second overtime, but they played hard for the full 50 minutes.

But it's March, and playing hard isn't enough. ESPN bracketologist (don't you love made-up professions?) Joe Lundardi has the Illini among the last 4 teams in at the beginning of the weekend, but conference tournament play has moved them to the last 4 out list.

In or out? Who knows! That's life on the bubble. The talking heads on all networks have lots of opinions, but The Committee seemed to indicate that most of the at-large bids were decided before the last couple days of conference tourney play. So I'm guessing that there wasn't as much riding on the Illini's play (beyond winning the automatic bid by winning the tournament) as we would like to think.

I hope then are in, but they certainly haven't given the impression of peaking as they headed into March... only time will tell... but we will know soon...

Despite it all, go Illini!


<< Home |

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?