This is a huge weekend for Illinois sports. There was the basketball game on Thursday night and on Saturday afternoon we've got our Homecoming game against Michigan State.
But there's something else happening on campus this weekend that will be the center of a lot of attention.
This is the weekend of Cliff Alexander's official visit.
Now I don't know what exactly will be happening during Cliff's visit, but I am pretty sure he'll be arriving on campus tonight and won't be leaving until Sunday morning. Now, Alexander and his family have been on campus before, so I don't think a lot of this official visit will be spent touring the school.
I think this will be a final recruiting pitch more than anything, which makes me excited because we've all seen what John Groce can do when it comes to closing on a recruit.
What you should not expect this weekend is a decision. If Sunday morning comes and Cliff Alexander hasn't committed to Illinois yet, please do not fling yourself from the nearest window. Alexander has already announced that he won't be making his decision until November 16, and he'll be doing so on television. So no matter what happens over the next 48 hours or so, that's not going to change.
As for Illinois' chances to land him, while nobody actually knows what Cliff is thinking, word is that it's essentially a two-horse race between Kansas and Illinois at this point. Though there's still some talk about Michigan State still being in the hunt. Now, prying Alexander away from Bill Self and Kansas isn't easy, but there's also talk in recruiting circles that Kansas may be going after Jahlil Okafor at the moment as well, and that he may be their priority over Alexander.
If that's true it could work out well for the Illini.
Cliff has also said that his mom loves John Groce and he used the words she's "warming up" to Bill Self. Having mom in our corner can't be a bad thing.
But as for knowing where Alexander is going to end up, no matter what you hear at this point, it's all speculation. All we really know is that this is the biggest official visit the Illini have had in a long time, and that if Alexander does end up committing to Illinois, it'll be a game-changer for the program. And if Alexander ends up going somewhere else, we know that we'll still be all right, because our 2014 class is already strong.
Finally, we know that this is the weekend Illini fans have been hoping for and waiting on for a long time. Let's hope everything goes well and we don't all go crazy waiting another three weeks to find out what Cliff's decision is.
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