First of all, I want to thank everyone for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I am by no means an expert on Illini sports. I just want to provide something fun for the fans and hopefully you've enjoyed it. We had a grand total of 128 different people make at least one prediction during the Illini football season. You've definitely kept me busy.
Dave1956 was the only person to correctly predict the winner in 10 games, and won our first pair of tickets to any Men's Illini Basketball Big Ten game of his choice. But now it's time to give away our second pair of tickets. Twenty-seven people qualified for a chance to win these tickets because they made a prediction in every single game this season, or they predicted a correct score.
Elizabeth Hess from the WDWS Morning show picked our winner out of the Illini Hat, and it's smccaw! Congratulations! You have won a pair of tickets to any Illini Men's Basketball Big Ten game of your choice. Please get a hold of my via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can set you up with the tickets.
Now it's time to start basketball predicting. This will work the same way as football did, where we are looking for a score prediction. I will put the standings together as the season goes along. Since games happen at a much more frequent clip, the standings probably won't be updated after each and every game. I will try to keep it up to date for you guys as much as possible. Illinois is off to a good 7-0 start, but things are about to get tougher, starting with Saturday's matchup against #19 Gonzaga. We will start here with the basketball portion of the prediction season. Let us begin!
#18 GONZAGA 73 ILLINOIS 70
I'm not going to lie. I haven't watched much Illini basketball this season. I saw a little bit of the Illinois-Richmond game and that's been about it. I've been hooked on the Chicago Bears and Battlefield 3. Most of what I know about this Illini team comes from what I see in box scores. Two things that stick out to me as issues are two many threes and too many fouls, especially down low. Meyers Leonard has looked good in a few games, but he still has a tendency to get into foul trouble. I see this happening on Saturday because good old Robert Sacre is back. As you may recall, he had a double-double against the Illini in a loss last year, but couldn't keep up on defense because the big guy he was guarding, Mike Tisdale, was busy acting like a guard and drilling threes left and right. This time around he will likely be dealing with Leonard. This will be a legit test for Meyers, and a good performance can really increase the confidence level.
Illinois fans have been wanting a big man that acts like a big man, and now they got one. It might just take some time for him to get use to the college game since he made the biggest possible jump coming from 1A ball in high school. We've seen what he's capible of and hopefully soon we will see it on a consistant basis.
Looks like Sam Maniscalco is playing well, and Brandon Paul has had his moments. These guys, along with D. J. Richardson, will need to play strong if the Illini want to get back to the NCAA tournament. I think they will. Just not in this game.
What do you guys think? Do the Illini beat Gonzaga or do the Bulldogs give Illinois loss #1? Let me know with your predictions below. Talk to you guys after Gonzaga.
Once again congrats to dave1956 and smccaw on winning basketball tickets. Please send me an e-mail so we can hook you up.