Thoughts on ILL-ZAGA, Prediction Standings, and ILL-IOWA Prediction

Thoughts on ILL-ZAGA, Prediction Standings, and ILL-IOWA Prediction

First Word with Illini Basketball Coach Bruce Weber 1/4/10


FUN!! – Watching Illinois score lots of points J

Not fun.  – Watching Illinois allow lot of points is L

FUN!! – Watching Illinois come back from big deficits J

Not fun. – Watching Illinois again fall behind big is L

FUN!!! – Watching role players step up and make big plays J

Not fun. – Watching “star” players fail when it comes to being the leader L


Just like the Northwestern game, there was a lot of good that came out of the Gonzaga game, but there was also a lot of bad.  In particular, one play bothered the heck out of me.  It was the final play of the game…


Demetri McCamey brings the call up the floor with close to 10 seconds left.  Did he bring it up slower than he should have?  Probably.  I think this bothered a lot of people, but that’s not what bothered me…


During his post game interview, coach Weber said he should have called a timeout once the ball crossed half court.  Would this have been a good decision?  Probably.  Maybe they could have gotten themselves a good look on an inbounds play.  That would have been nice, but that’s also not what bothered me…


What McCamey did with the ball after he crossed half court bothered me.  He PASSED IT, and on top of that, he passed it to a freshman!  McCamey passed up a chance at the game winning shot, so a freshman could shoot a sideways-fadeaway three that had zero chance of going in.  This play right here told me that Illinois still has a way to go if they want to improve.


As a junior, it’s time for McCamey to be the man.  There are times when he needs to be the leader, and then there are times when he needs to be the man.  I wanted to see McCamey take that final shot, and I didn’t care what it looked like.  It could have been a three or a drive into the lane.  I didn’t care if he made it or not, I just wanted to see McCamey take the shot (okay, of course I wanted him to make it, but you get the point).


I think one of McCamey’s problems is he doesn’t know how good he is.  He’s one heck of a player.  He has the ability to take over a game at any moment, but he doesn’t.  This guy can score 20 points a game, and get to the line 6-10 times a game, but he doesn’t.  Demetri can get it done any night he wants to, but for whatever reason, there are times when he doesn’t even make an attempt at doing it.  When he decides to step it up to the next level, this team will jump on his back and pick up some nice victories to increase their credibility.  I don’t know if an NCAA tournament is in our future since we’ve dug ourselves such a hole, but I know we have absolutely no chance at making it if McCamey doesn’t become that consistent great player that he is capable of becoming.


Alright, Time to look at the prediction standings.  Illinois lost 85-83 in OT to Gonzaga, so Gonzaga is +2 with the real score difference.


NAME                                     W                L                RSDT*


Tom Young (GON 82-72)         3                 2                    57

jweeks (GON 79-72)                3                 2                    67

Reillini (GON 88-74)                 3                 2                    71

dave1956 (DNP)                       2                 2                    55

Jshaw (DNP)                             2                 2                    63

PeterE (DNP)                            0                 1                    16


* - Real Score Difference Total


Next game is Iowa tomorrow night at the Assembly Hall (thank goodness…)


My Prediction


ILLINOIS  85       IOWA 70


There is no reason for Iowa to score 70 points in this game, but they probably will.  Fortunately for Tisdale, he will have the height advantage, so I expect him to play well.  Let’s hope Illinois can take advantage of the early Big Ten schedule and rack off a few wins in a row and get some confidence back.  This isn’t a confidence building game though.  They already got confidence when playing at home.  They need to get some wins away from Champaign.  It’s time to start a nice winning streak by sending the Hawkeyes home with a loss.  Right now, I’m having a tough time seeing more than 20 wins.  At some point, this team will need to do something to make me think differently.


It’s time for you guys to ring in with your predictions.  Also, I want to know if you still have confidence on this team making the big dance?  If not, what will they need to do in your eyes to think differently.  As you can see, the play of Demetri McCamey will go a long way in determining how I feel about this team.  Let’s hope this team develops some consistency. 



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