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Indiana 56, Illinois 46: My Eyes Hurt

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Illinois went into Bloomington, lost, and looked helpless doing it.

Michael Hickey

Illinois cannot do anything productive on a basketball court. It's a product of the losing streak and the cloud of failure they're suffocating in. They have basketball ability somewhere, which they've shown this season, but that somewhere is not here. It's nowhere we'll reach again. It's the past, when Illinois won games and they were fun to watch.

I hate watching this team right now. I can't stand it. The lack of passing, lack of floor vision, terrible shot selection, complete inability to grab a rebound, and everything else that comprises this stagnant, no-good offense of ours gets really tiresome really quick, and right now, my eyes hurt. You can condition yourself to accept defeat and to look ahead. But you can't condition the eyes to accept something it naturally rejects. Don't give me shit and tell me it's Big Ten basketball. I know shit when I see it.

Illinois managed to stay close in this game for most of the afternoon, but the eventual outcome was never really in doubt. Illinois chucked up contested 3-pointers from within a sad offense. Indiana grabbed rebounds, got to the rim, and took open shots. The sustainable option won out, just like it usually does.

What's most upsetting is that Rayvonte Rice looks fully healthy--scoring 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting--yet the hapless offense remained. I credited most of the troubles of this losing streak to Rayvonte's injury, but you can flush that credit down the drain right along with the season. "We played well earlier this season," I told myself. "Players opened up drives for each other. They played tough in the paint and opened up shots all over the court. Once Rayvonte comes back, we'll click again." They were all lies and I was a fool.

Illinois lost today. I don't know when they'll win again.

NOTES

- Our NIT chances are getting slimmer. I don't particularly care for the NIT, but I'd prefer it over nothing.

- Nnanna Egwu, grab a rebound. GRAB. As in, take both hands and clamp them around the round, orange object that just careened off the rim. Don't tip it away from you, wildly. Don't simply touch it, or pat it, or put your hands near it. That won't work because Noah Vonleh will just rip it away from you. You have to GRAB it.

- I hated this game.