Monday, February 06, 2012

Another One That Got Away

That was a game that the Illini could have (and should have) won. Yes, the Princeton offense and zone defense are challenging to figure out, but protecting home court is essential to remaining competitive in the Big Ten race.

Credit the Wildcats' Reggie Hearn for a fantastic game. He rarely missed, and was an unexpected boost to his offense with a career-high 20 points. And John Shurna led his team as usual.

But the taller, more athletic Illini lost the rebound battle to the smaller Northwestern lineup, and they had more turnovers, too. And even though Meyers Leonard had a huge advantage in the paint, the Illini just couldn't figure out how to get him the ball every time. Ugh.

This loss is a big disappointment, especially after the win over Michigan State. The Illini have a brutal road schedule coming up, and they need as much confidence as they can muster to play tough and steal a couple games.

There's still plenty to like about the Illini, despite the needed improvement:
The question is, can they improve as they play through February so that they are in a strong position to play well in March? Let's hope so!

Go Illini!


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