Auburn Thoughts & Purdue Predictions

It might not have made MJ do a double take, but it got the job done.

The Illini’s win over Auburn at the UC on Saturday once again fell into the range of “too close for comfort” (or “grimy” as Coach Groce put it), but as I was watching, I never felt the game was out of hand.  Like the Mizzou game, the three point shooting wasn’t there (4 of 15), but instead of taking ill-advisedBlog Photo shots, this time the O & B drove in the paint, drew fouls, and made free throws down the stretch when they needed them (something Illini fans aren’t used to seeing in recent years – ‘member Shaun Pruitt vs. Indiana?).

The 11 Illini steals (blatantly ignoring Dora’s advice) and 19 points off turnovers stood out to me on the box score as well.  Now some bloggers might play devil’s advocate and ask if the Illini still would have won the game without Tracy Abrams’ career day.  Me…I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole.  I’ll just give TA a pat on the back and hope this is the start of another big Illini winning streak in the Windy City.

So what’s my take on this 13-1 and 11th ranked Illini team so far?  Well, I like what I’m seeing.  The big thing that sticks out is it seems that Coach Groce is giving the guys the right type of encouragement, and that’s giving them the fuel they need to play with confidence and toughness.  I don’t have a problem with the team relying on the three ball, but you have to have a backup plan if that’s not working, and I think the guys are starting to figure that out.  I don’t think this team will blow anyone out going forward, but if the shots are falling, they can hang with the top dogs.

OK – on to the B1G…

It’s the Illini vs. the choo choo trains, I mean Boilermakers on Wednesday.  As I was reading my News-Gazette sports section last week, I almost did a spit take when former Illini Sean Harrington predicted the Boilers would miss the postseason.  But then I did some snooping and found out that this isn’t your daddy’s Purdue team.  The household names like Hummel, Jackson, Johnson, and Moore are gone (although DJ Byrd is still around), and so far this year, the team has fallen at the hands of Bucknell, Oregon State, and Eastern Michigan.

Like this year’s Illini team, previous Purdue teams have lived and died by the three ball.  But judging from their stats (4 threes made per game) and Matt Painter’s postgame comments from Saturday, it seems like the Boilers will try to attack the paint on Wednesday.

The Illini’s post defense (and maybe defense overall) has left a little to be desired this year, and the Illini have lost seven straight to the Boilers dating back to 2009, but I’m still giving them the edge in this one.

MY PREDICTION:  Illinois 77, Purdue 69

As an aside, I’ll be watching Wednesday’s game on TV, and I’ll be interested to see what the atmosphere is like at Mackey Arena with the Boilers having what Blog Photoappears to be a down year.  I’ve been to a men’s game at Mackey once before, and while it wasn’t overwhelmingly loud, the place was rockin’.  Like the Assembly Hall, Mackey has in-the-round seating, but the arena itself is smaller and more compact, thus it can seem louder at times than it really is.  Imagine if the Assembly Hall lopped off C Section and lowered the ceiling to the top of B Section.  That’s Mackey.  And since the building is smaller, the boisterous Paint Crew student section stretches all the way up to the nosebleeds, which is an intimidating sight.

OK, enough of my barbershopping.  This blog is about you and your predictions.  Leave a comment below with your score prediction for Wednesday’s game.  Or, if you’d rather keep your prediction private, e-mail me at tditman@wdws.com.  Either way, the prediction has to be in by tipoff.  You can also throw in some comments, analysis, etc., but keep it clean.  Remember – you’re being judged on the following criteria (in order of importance):  number of games correctly picked, how accurate you pick the score, and whether you can pick a score exactly right.  Click here for an example of prediction standings.  I know so far I’ll be able to give some Indiana game tickets away to the best picker, and I’m hoping to be able to get some other prizes as well.  So…get pickin’!

Other random thoughts from my noggin:

  • Have you started to pay attention to the Illini women’s basketball team yet?  Their upset of #6 and then-unbeaten Georgia on Friday turned a lot of heads.  One thing I’ve enjoyed seeing with the team this year is the amount of players involved with the offense.  It’s not just the Karisma Penn show anymore…although ironically, Penn did kind of steal the show vs. Georgia.

If you have the chance, check out the woopsters (women’s hoopsters, get it?) at a game this year.  As someone who’s been going to the games for a few years, I can tell you that there’s new life that’s been breathed into the Hall this year.  The games are up-tempo and fun to watch.

What do you think…too many bowl games?  I say no, and if you listen to the above sound clip, you’ll hear why.

  • Speaking of DWS, here’s another programming plug.  Brian Moline and myself will be behind the mic on Friday for high school hoops – Maroa-Forsyth vs. Unity at 7:30.  Be sure to tune in.

-Tim

COMING UP ON THURSDAY (OR FRIDAY):  Purdue thoughts, prediction standings, and Ohio State predictions

[Bollant audio via fightingillini.com, Painter audio via purduesports.com, Mackey photo via purduebball.com]

Comments

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Bwp 5P wrote on December 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm

OK.....I'll go First!

 

Illini 74

PU 65

 

Oh baby we need to go in there and PROVE that we ARE on the way back! Road games are going to be a grind this year no doubt!

IlliniLuther wrote on December 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Another close one, but we pull it out with free throws.  ILL-62  PUR- 60

 

Railsplitter wrote on December 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Illini 77  Pukedue 75                                                               

dealmaker21 wrote on December 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Illini 72

Purdon't  64

mchen18 wrote on December 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Illinois 74  Purdue 69

DQ11 wrote on December 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Illinois 67

Purdue 62

It's a grinder.

Green Shirt wrote on December 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Illini 78


Purdue 72

drcc4 wrote on December 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm

ILLINI  84

Poodoo  73

buckhunter2 wrote on January 01, 2013 at 8:01 am

ILLINI     75

PURDUE  67

BleedOandB wrote on January 01, 2013 at 9:01 am

ILL 68

 

PUR 63

 

PurDUE, more like PurDont

walker wrote on January 01, 2013 at 9:01 am

ILLINI  61


PURD  58

penniless wrote on January 01, 2013 at 11:01 am

Dog fight start to finish,Boilers at home,  Purdue 71  Illini  70. 7--3s,turn overs,rebounds,still a problem.....

Eric 22 wrote on January 01, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Weber can't help Painter by giving him wins anymore!  3pt shooting starts to come back but it will be close.

Illini-76, Purdue-72

sunnyd503 wrote on January 01, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Purdue has dominated us for too long. They are also having a down season. But Illinois plays down to its competition, and you can't get away with that at Mackey. 

Purdue 65 Illini 64 (hope I'm wrong)

Amen wrote on January 01, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Illinois 72


Purdue  67


 


Every game will be close this year.  So far someone different has stepped each game up to lead  Illinois to victory.  This is a strength that no one seems to talk about.

illiniearl wrote on January 01, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Illini - 81


Purdue - 64

rtrott wrote on January 01, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Illinois 76-Purdue 67

wdallen wrote on January 01, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Illini 75

Purdon't 67

wincer_85 wrote on January 01, 2013 at 5:01 pm

No one really knows how well illinois is going to shoot the ball. That is pretty much what this game (and season) comes down to. It's not the only thing, obviously (defense, rebounding, getting to free throw line, etc are big too) but shooting is the most important. I do like the way we are attacking the basket when the shots aren't falling, especially Abrams and Paul. DJ seems to be attacking more this year than in his previous 3. Even though DJ's shot hasn't been going down lately, he has been playing some pretty good D.

Anyway, winning on the road in the B10 is always tough, but this year it is going to be REALLY tough. If you have an opportunity to snag one on the road, you HAVE to get it. Purdue should be one where we have a decent shot of getting. I think illinois does JUUUSST enough to get the W in Mackey...and it's about time. We've seen a lot of Purdue wins over Illinois recently. ILLINOIS: 73 PURDUE: 69.

<?xml:namespace prefix = o />I LOOOVEE conference play in college basketball. Every team knows every other team's tendencies and plays, so it all comes down to who executes their offense better. I can't get enough!  Let's get it started!

stumblefoot wrote on January 01, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Illini 68

Boilers 65

DJ hits a last possession 3 for victory on a tremendous assist from Tracy.

Reillini wrote on January 01, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Purdue-66


Illini-63


We haven't beaten them the last 7 times we have played them.We will need our guys to hit a good portion of those 3's to win and we haven't done that the last several games.Winning on the road in the Big 10 is very difficult. I hope I'm wrong but history says I'm not.


Go Illini

geriatricillini wrote on January 02, 2013 at 12:01 am

Illini 70

Boilermakers 67

It's time to win one over there..and like always for this go 'round, rebounding and shooting well are the keys to our success or failure...especially in the league this season..lots more grinders ahead,,,bring your hard hat...

illinifan1280 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illini 72, Purdue 62

jruss62 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 8:01 am

ILLINI 73


Purdue 65


 

bluk5 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 9:01 am

Illini 65

Purdue 57

mbelcher wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 am

Illinois     71


Purdue    69

uhs504 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 am

Illini 69

Purdue 61

aaeismacgychel wrote on January 02, 2013 at 11:01 am

Should be an interesting game. While Purdue has struggled mightily this year on the offensive side of the ball, their defense has been quite good. For the most part, this should be a strength on strength and weakness on weakness game, but Illinois has a major advantage in defensive guardplay as Purdue will take bad jumpers. Purdue has been the 18th ranked offensive rebounding team in the nation so that could be a major issue and they guard the three extremely well. This one will be a mixed bag, but even with what should should be an amped up arena for the B10 opener (even with Purdue not performing as well as in past years), I see Illinois just pulling this off on the final possession.

Illinois: 66
Purdue: 65

Illini-5 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 11:01 am

illinois - 75

purdue - 63

illiniphil85 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 12:01 pm

UI 72

PU 67

walko wrote on January 02, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Illini 69

Purdue 66

Tim Ditman wrote on January 02, 2013 at 2:01 pm
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Thanks for all the predicitons folks!  We'll take them up until 7:30 tonight, so tell your friends and neighbors.  Remember, the more you pick, the better chance you have to win those Indiana game tickets!

ewhite wrote on January 02, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Fighting Illini   79


Purdue           70

smills89 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Illinois-67

Purdue-59

Mike Goebel wrote on January 02, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Illinois 80, Purdue 68.

touchdown_illinois wrote on January 02, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Illini 78

PU 77

Got to get the road wins when we can! Go Illini!!!!

Tim Ditman wrote on January 02, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Profile Picture

OK gang.  We've hit the deadline for predictions.  Good luck!