I'm exhausted and it's late, but I can't get any shut eye without writing something about today's game. My mind is running at 100 mph with visions of Illinois making the NCAA tournament and everything that has to happen in order for that dream to even have a chance of becoming reality. So in honor of my scattered state of mind right now, welcome to my random thoughts. Hell, Keanu Reeves might even stop by.
I didn't watch one second of today's game. Work prevented that, but I was completely fine with it. Seems odd that a die hard fan wouldn't be upset missing a first round matchup versus the hated Hoosiers in the Big Ten Tournament, right? Follow along. I didn't watch any part of the Iowa game, or the Michigan State game, or the Nebraska game. The two games I did watch during this epic late season turnaround: Ohio State and Michigan. See the pattern? When I haven't watched, the Illini defeat three of the better teams in the conference. When I have watched, Illinois turns basketball back to the days of shooting balls through peach baskets. I won't be watching tomorrow either. I'm doing my part.
How much hatred does Mark Primiano have towards Michigan? Spoiler alert - A LOT. You can read about it here. I agree with just about every bit of venom he spewed, but one point really stuck out. Unless you're a fan/alum of the University of Michigan or you literally grew up in a Crayola crayon box, corn is not a color.
Wasting time on the commuter bus back home after work, I decided to take to my twitter feed to get some insight on the game. If you're ever unable to watch an Illinois game and the only option you're left with is tracking via twitter, follow Jeremy Werner, @WernerESPNCU. The man is not phased by a 140 word limit. I basically replayed the game through his words.
Speaking of twitter, some of you are bleeping hilarious. So funny, in fact, that I need to share. Here's an assortment of my favorite tweets throughout the game:
Of course I'm starting with Mr. Werner. No, his intention here was not of humor. However, it was crazy windy on the East Coast today around noonish. I think it's a safe assumption to say that strong breeze was caused by the sigh of relief Illini nation let out when it realized neither Ed Hightower or Jim Burr would have an impact on the outcome of the game.
Nnanna Egwu looks like Roy Hibbert right now. I'm only slightly exaggerating.— Matt Silich (@msilich2) March 13, 2014
Sorry, Silich. I'm not seeing it. Nnanna's nose is a bit wider, his face is slimmer, and he has less hair atop his head. Oh, you meant they're both tall. I get it now.
"Tom, a train leaves Bloomington at noon traveling 65 MPH, and at the same time, another train leaves Champaign..." pic.twitter.com/rG6BxDIv9j— Robert (@ALionEye) March 13, 2014
That's honestly the face Tom Crean would make if you asked him that question. Robert did a series of these throughout the day. I'd pay to see Tom Crean and John Scheyer have a weird look on their face - off.
Oh, hey Keanu. Unfortunately, the Tooth Fairy is not real...
@Champaign_Room I thought the '81 banner had a solid game this morning. defended well. Needed that '87 banner to knock down a few more 3's .— illinijacob (@illinijacob) March 13, 2014
Don't worry, Maryland. Dunks are still illegal in the B1G as they offend Michigan's sensibilities.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 13, 2014
And one more jab at Michigan seems appropriate.
Thank you all for making my commute back to Manhattan enjoyable today.
If you have not already, check out the post game press conference. Tracy and Ray do not look like two guys that just finished winning a crucial BTT game. No emotion. Short answers. Stone cold. This team is focused and on a mission.
John Groce loves coaching in March. This is his sixth season as a head coach. He's already won two conference tournaments. Albeit, both came in the MAC, but he's 2-1 so far in the Big Ten Tournament. When he makes the NCAA Tournament, he wins. His teams have made the NCAAs three times, and each time they've won at least one game. His 14th seeded Ohio Bobcats stunned the 3rd seeded Georgetown Hoyas in 2010. In 2012, he led his Ohio squad to the Sweet Sixteen as a 13 seed. They were an overtime loss to North Carolina away from reaching the Elite Eight. Last year's 7th seeded Illini took care of 10th seeded Colorado. If not for a terrible out of bounds call late, Illinois might have upset 2nd seed Miami en route to the Sweet Sixteen. The man wins ball games in the month of March.
As for tomorrow's game (shit, that would be today's game now), please do not let Nik Stauskas get hot. Let me repeat, PLEASE DO NOT LET NIK STAUSKAS GET HOT. If the Illini get into a three point shooting contest with the Wolverines, this one probably won't end well. Attack the paint and contain their shooters. If Illinois has success doing both, I'm saying there's a chance.
Brad Evans from Yahoo put Illinois into his bubble after the win against IU. Joe Lunardi says they still aren't in his bubble even with a win over Michigan. This is getting interesting.
Well, I think that's all the random I can muster. Good night or good morning. Both are appropriate for me right now.
G - O Illini GO!