Pentagram: #1 De-Creaned

It’s been a rough 2013 for the Fighting Illini.  The promise of Nov-Dec. wins, surprising confidence and offensive execution, and a new uptempo attitude all slipped away as the Big 10 slugfest continued.  Realistically, the NCAA tournament has slipped off the radar.  Or maybe not…

Griff, the winner

One way to get over the hump is to end your home losing streak with a win over Indiana.  Who happens to be #1 this week…  On a last second shot…  After coming way back from behind in the last five minutes.

It just so happened that the Hoosiers were ranked at the top this week – a happy coincidence of scheduling and other teams losing.  They are not #1 (especially now), and certainly not the best team we’ve seen; that would be Michigan.  But we’ll take it.  If someone gets to knock the smirk of Tom Crean’s face, it might as well be Illinois!

Five points in the upset Pentagram…

  1. Griffey needed that, and the Illini need him.  Tyler Griffey had been 0-for 2013 until he hit a pair of three pointers last night.  When the first one went in, the Hall erupted.  I told me brother (with all due irony at the time), “We can’t lose now.”  This team is much better and much more dangerous when Griff (and Myke Henry) are making shots.  And he played tough, rebounded, and didn’t get burned on defense to boot.
  2. DJ Richardson leads this team.  In the midst of these bad performances, DJ has been the one constant.  His shooting has ebbed and flowed, but his play on defense and intensity never waver.  He made three of our last four Field Goals in the final two+ minutes, last night (two of those were three pointers) and got the steal on IU’s last chance.  That’s your captain.
  3. Groce and staff had an excellent gameplan – which called for the Illini to pressure the guards high to stop transition looks and deny post touches to Zeller.  This led to just enough turnovers to keep it close, despite the fact that Indiana shot the ball extremely well.  On offense, the Illini looked and shot better than they have in weeks.
  4. Egwu gets the shaft – again.  Nobody, and we mean nobody, gets as many crap-touch fouls as Nnanna Egwu, who once again fouled out.  The officials are officially targeting him now, and we wish Coach Groce would send the Big 10 a letter or something.  Three of Nnanna’s five fouls were absolute jokes.  The last one was so funny, even Tyler Zeller could be seen laughing about it.  Let Egwu play ball.
  5. That last shot…  pure fundamental basketball by the Orange and Blue; lack of communication by the Hoosiers.  Of course Crean didn’t want to call timeout and give Groce a chance to draw something up.  The play was designed to get DJ an open look coming off the double screen, and Tyler did what his coaches have told him to do since junior high – he rolled to the hoop after the screen.  Brandon Paul with the pinpoint pass(!) and…

One thought on “Pentagram: #1 De-Creaned

  1. When I saw Cody Zeller let Griffey roll to the hoop unabated, I had flashbacks of Jim Egan yelling, “Ball-you-man! Ball-you-man!”

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