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Posts Tagged ‘Illinois Fighting Illini’

Quick Takes: Illini earn huge road win; LSU keeps tumbling

February 19, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Towing a hefty four-game losing streak, Illinois re-tuned its engine, welcomed back Ayo Dosunmu and exited Happy Valley with a smile.  It was a huge road win for the Illini.  It could also be season-defining.

Illinois was 15-9 (D1 record) heading into its matchup with Penn State, without anything to showcase from its non-conference campaign.  A fifth straight loss would have increased the pressure on a young team still learning how to win.  The Illini’s work isn’t done, but a weight has been lifted.  They close with three of five at home.  We’ll see if they can seal the deal.

Meanwhile, LSU keeps tumbling.  The Tigers lost for the fourth time in five games, dropping a home game to Kentucky.  Once 8-0 in the SEC, the Tigers have gone from a near-lock to make the NCAA tournament to a team that still has work to do.  Up next, trips to South Carolina and Florida.  Drop those two, and instead of tumbling, LSU could be in free-fall. Read more…

Quick Takes: Illinois building its resume

January 22, 2020 Leave a comment

Dave2015Without much on its non-conference slate to present the Selection Committee, Illinois needed a strong Big Ten showing to build its resume.  Thus far, mission accomplished.

Behind a dominant second-half performance, the Illini exited Mackey Arena with a 17-point road win over Purdue; the Illini’s second league road tally in the past two weeks.  And their fifth straight conference win overall.  An overlooked stat from the game: Illinois out-rebounded the Boilermakers, 37-19.

There are few (if any) off days in the Big Ten, so a lot of work remains.  But early returns should have fans in Champaign excited for February basketball. Read more…

Under-the-Radar matchups for Week 1

November 3, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015Most eyes will be on the State Farm Classic in New York (Kansas vs. Duke / Michigan State vs. Kentucky) when college hoops tips on Tuesday.  Elsewhere, in an interesting twist, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opens league play right out of the gate, including first-week matchups such as Louisville at Miami and Virginia at Syracuse.

Those are the headliners of opening week.

Just as fun are the intriguing contests that register as Under-the-Radar (UtR) matchups.  Here are a few to put on your tracking list between Tuesday and Sunday: Read more…

Preseason: Five teams that could end NCAA bid frustration

November 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Dave2015As years pass between trips to the NCAA tournament, Selection Sunday can become frustrating for Madness-starved fan bases.  As much as they love the drama that March brings, they miss the highs and lows of watching their own team try and navigate the bracket.

Fortunately, each year brings new hope, and for the five programs listed below, there’s a realistic sense that this could be the year when Selection Sunday means something again. Read more…

Quick Takes: Duke rolls, Pac-12 rebounds

November 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Duke looked like the best team in Maui on Monday, rolling past San Diego State without much trouble.  Next up: Auburn, which needed overtime to dispatch a pesky group of Musketeers.  Maybe the Tigers were looking past Xavier.  Who knows?  Regardless, Auburn better up its game today.

Gonzaga could have been looking ahead, too, or maybe Illinois is a little closer to bouncing back than we thought.  The Illini’s frenetic pace forced the Zags into 22 turnovers, and sophomore Trent Frazier poured in 29 after missing the Georgetown game (concussion protocol).  We’re still up for a potential Gonzaga-Duke final in Maui.  Set your DVR just in case. Read more…

Quick Takes: Kansas offers a Big 12 reminder

January 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015About those 13 straight Big 12 titles: Kansas isn’t conceding No. 14.  Down double-digits at halftime in Morgantown, the Jayhawks rallied to beat West Virginia, and in the process, remind us that the road to a Big 12 title still runs through Lawrence.  There’s this, too: while he played limited minutes, Silvio De Sousa made his Jayhawks’ debut, adding a much-needed body to a thin front line.  As a whole, the Big 12 is as good as its ever been, so one win doesn’t guarantee anything.  But if you had decided, “this was the year,” for Kansas to relinquish its crown, let’s hope you wrote it in pencil.

Other Quick Takes from Monday: Read more…

Quick Takes: Tough day for Cats, ‘Canes

December 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015Kentucky and Miami-FL received a couple of unwelcome presents on Saturday.  UK’s arrived wrapped in UCLA paper; Miami’s covered in a New Mexico State print.  For the Wildcats, who started five freshman against the Bruins, some bumps are expected.  Losing to a re-tooling UCLA outfit qualifies as one of those.  If they bounce back against Louisville on Friday, the Cats will have gone 2-2 against their top non-conference opponents.  And unlike some previous years, plenty of quality wins await in the SEC.  As for the Hurricanes, the loss stings a little more.  First, it means their final game in Honolulu will be against Middle Tennessee instead of USC (even though USC has underachieved).  Second, it leaves us wondering a little about the Canes’ resolve.  Other than an early win at Minnesota (ACC-Big10 Challenge), Miami has played a rather ho-hum schedule.  The loss, perhaps, adds a little urgency to the team’s opening ACC slate, which includes three of five on the road.

Other Christmas Eve Quick Takes … Read more…

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