Even though I thought it was improbable, I thought the Illini could beat Michigan State with a well played offensive game. Who would have thought that 42 points would be enough to win it? Both team struggled when they had the ball in their hands, but give credit to the defenses. Michigan State made things tough for Illinois, while the Illini were able to hold down a team that averaged around 77 points a game. I can't remember who it was on HQ that said it but I totally agree: scoring 42 and winning is better than scoring 92 and losing.
After 15 games, the prediction standings are like the team we follow. It's all over the place. Since Illinois has been so hard to predict, there have been a lot of losses. Only five people have correctly predicted 10+ games. With Illinois playing a lot of close games (ten of last eleven games decided by five points or less), you never know who's going to win. Let's see how things look after last night's big win!
NAMEPREDICTIONWINSLOSSESRSDT*buckhunter2Illinois 69-66114114Bwp 5PIllinois 68-65114119riverIllinois 62-59105103walkerIllinois 68-60105120pennilessMichigan St. 69-68104109Paul KleeIllinois 63-6296102bubba2hypeMichigan St. 72-6496112ReilliniMichigan St. 71-6196113geriatricilliniIllinois 66-6396114JoeK82Illinois 68-6596114Wincer_85Illinois 74-6996129Tom YoungIllinois 70-6996138dealmaker21Michigan St. 64-5696167mbelcherIllinois 68-659593aaeismacgychelIllinois 76-729494smills89Illinois 68-6694126uofiisuIllinois 72-7086102CARPETMichigan St. 71-6486119dave1956DNP8392Eric 22Michigan St. 69-6378147illiniearlMichigan St. 73-6478225rtrottMichigan St. 68-6477145illinifan1280DNP76136drcc4DNP75107gordonbacon15Illinois 69-6874118illiniloveMichigan St. 71-587297mvilliniMichigan St. 73-6367128illiniphil85Michigan St. 72-686466Foo_GIllinois 72-6764113oskeewowwowDNP6378jruss62DNP6390illinizeemanDNP6159UIUIlliniDNP5250adamnolenIllinois 66-654670WLSILLINIMichigan St. 71-594588indymic1956DNP4392tstephensDNP4265JamesBIllinois 68-654133kelkaidruMichigan St. 73-644133retby50DNP4138sunnyd503DNP4153illini7074DNP3462wilson577DNP3473ILLINI04DNP3237smccawDNP3247illiniartDNP3248happygilmoreDNP2336LanphierDNP2390illinois52DNP2120ICB36DNP2124illini82DNP2130bumpin99DNP2140pblilliniDNP2155oandbDNP21133ax474DNP208berniesDNP2015cjcohenDNP2016Illinifan11_42DNP2022afanDNP2035butkus50Michigan St. 73-591115Illini_Fan_78Michigan St. 80-671115PhiloJoeDNP1115demitrimaniscalacoDNP1122foreverilliniDNP1126bookworm24DNP1136uswtmb47DNP102B-ILLINIDNP103Ed Bond DNP105JeremyHDNP105jimbo2009DNP108DaisyJDNP1011GWDNP1013ILL HoosierDNP1014rumbob35DNP10141 illinifanDNP1017SmittoDNP1022jrhymerDNP0224judahtomDNP017yatesDNP0113nikeguy1618DNP0116cevansDNP0118IlliniExileDNP0122toddalan1975DNP0128WhoSaysDNP000
* - Real Score Difference Total
Looking ahead to Sunday...
ILLINOIS 61 NORTHWESTERN 57
One thing we have learned about this team is that they play better when people seem to forget about them. The get a big win against Gonzaga and get ranked, only to lose to UNLV and Purdue and fall out of the top 25. They get a big win against Ohio State to get back in the top 25, only to loss to Penn State and Minnesota and once again fall out. Now they are on the heels of another big win. Once again, people are looking at Illinois and thinking of their big wins this season. How will they respond???
Illinois only needs four more wins to get to that magic number of 20 and they have plenty of games left to do it. The problem is those games coming up are incredibly difficult. With nine conference games left, five are against teams that are currently ranked. It will not be easy finding four wins, but if they are able to get it done, they will deserve that trip to the NCAA tournament.
This is one of their best chances to pick up one of those wins, so they must get it done. However, it's been these types of games that have proven difficult. When you play to the level of your competition, it makes games like last night fun, but it makes games like Sunday's potentially frustrating. Let's hope this time around the Illini can build off of a huge win and not neutralize it.
What do you guys think? Do the Illini make it a two win week, or do the we get nipped by the Cats? Let me know with your thoughts and predictions below. Talk to you guys after Sunday.