Succint Preview…

chief_logo.jpg …of the Fighting Illini bball team. This based on viewing two preseason games (thank you, Big10 Network)–well, really one-and-a-half, as I slept through part of the first one. Two lopsided wins. It could’ve been worse. For example you could lose to Grand Valley State or the University of Freaking Findlay (love that headline–go Falcons, I mean, Oilers!)

The Motion: Bruce’s motion offense already looks better than it did last year. Maybe because he has big guys suited for his system? Maybe because Shaun Pruitt barely played? Still, a couple of times deep into the shot clock with nowhere to go. Hope that’s not a theme.

The D: Defense will be there. You can count on that. With all the bodies, we will hack-attack teams to death at times. Still not enough quickness on the perimeter to be truly frightening, though…

Bigs: Shaun ‘Big Sauce’ Pruitt will draw constant double teams. He will paste grade-B postmen into nothing. How will he fare against quality big men? When will he get sick of passing? My favorite Big Sauce stat: 7 assists last year, and he started every game. Who will back him up? Who else will play? I’m guessing, Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis, and maybe Semrau.

Wings: Whither Brian Randle? Please, Brian… Alexander looks like a solid Blandon Ferguson upgrade–shot selection and D will be key for him. Holdren is McBride without the D. Brock will excite, then frustrate.

Guards: Weber had better backcourts at SIU. This group will probably be overmatched all year. I like Frazier’s heart, and Meacham’s stroke. McCamey has a lot of potential, but will need some time. The recruiting problems really hurt us here. Still, they will be better than a lot of people think.

Bench: Who will play? Will anyone redshirt? How many in the rotation? In the past Weber has been hesitant to play more than 7 or 8 guys. I hope that changes. We have a lot of bodies and should use that to our advantage. I hope we can settle on a 9 or 10 man rotation. That would mean Cole redshirts, and a couple of guys get very few minutes. So who transfers, then? CJ Jackson has already gone to football, but I would bet at least one more big man sees the writing and goes somewhere else. I know who my candidates would be. Personally, I would redshirt two of the freshmen, but Coach has always said he’d never force anyone to do it.

Early Test: We should get an idea of this team pretty quickly, with the Hawaii trip looming. The non-conference schedule is stronger and the Big10 is weaker.

Beemsville Prediction: 20+ wins and squeak into the tourney. Of course, if Randle goes down, all bets are off.

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3 thoughts on “Succint Preview…

  1. I also watched and believe Findlay beating OSU is an OMEN for the football game this Saturday!! Go Illini!! I think that the Illini B-ball team is a work in progress-did seem to me that we have remarkably few good shooters!!

  2. O.K., so I agree with most of your predictions except Holdren will play the two when he’s in I’d imagine. Also, I don’t think anyone will redshirt, which really is too bad. Cole will transfer before its all over or possibly Semrau. We’re bringing in another big next year and then several guard/wing guys the following so we should be better next year. I’m begining to feel like a Cubs fan with the whole “Wait ’till next year!” thing.

    That said I think 20+ wins is completely possible, however I think our league standing will be low enough that with the NCAA tourney committee’s “what have you done for me lately” looking at wins etc. in the last month of the season, anything we do in Hawaii short of winning the whole damn thing will get over looked and we’ll have to win at least two games in the Big Ten tourney if not three to get into the Big Dance.

    Mark it down, Brain Randle gets hurt either over in Hawaii or within the time span of our first two Big Ten games and is out for the season. Hot Rod Alexander then chucks from the cheap seats the rest of the season and people will begin again to call for Bruce’s head.

    Then again I could be wrong!

  3. Randle got hurt but should be able to play. Cole will not be transferring but Semrau might be. Tisdale is NOT I repeat NOT the 2nd coming of Nick Smith. Holdren sucks and will end up with Carlwell and Semerau on the bench. Jeff Jordan gets way to much press for no more minutes than he plays and Yes Nancy we have few good shooters, in fact I am not sure we really have A good shooter..

    Next year Jamar is back, we get Simpson to back up Tisdale and then the recruites start rolling in.. Wait till next year might be the Cubs Motto but they never live up to, Illini basketball will..

    Later all, hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving

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