Northwestern Thoughts, Prediction Standings, & Nebraska Predictions

Northwestern Thoughts, Prediction Standings, & Nebraska Predictions

I think I’ll let Phil Connors do the talking for me on this one…

Indeed, Blog Photothe Illini have fallen into similar ruts in back to back games…with a slow start, a poor defensive effort in the first half, then a poor offensive effort in the second half.  This one, of course, stings much more than Wisconsin because it’s your in-state rival…at home…in a game that you’re favored in.  So if you’re looking for answers, I don’t have them.  That’s kind of the beauty of this blog.  It’s called “For The Fans” because, like any other fan, I’m just along for the ride.

Other observations from last night:

  • Tough break for Mike Shaw in a game where he was given the opportunity to earn a bigger role.  Two early fouls kind of killed his chances, and he ended up with goose eggs in the box score.
  • Northwestern can sure run that backdoor cut, can’t they?  It’s not rocket science that if you get a whole lot of uncontested high percentage shots, you’ll have good results.
  • Remember a couple blogs ago when I said it’s not in your best interest to constantly boo at a game?  Well, we’ll make Jim Burr the one exception to that rule.
  • Good to hear Coach Groce tell it like it is when talking about the team’s slump, especially when referring to defense.

NoBlog Photow, I know I’m not the first one to point this out, but with back to back shocking losses, I think it’s worth noting.  Last year’s Illini team started the Big Ten season with a bang, highlighted by the upset of Ohio State at home.   After that…the season finished with 12 losses in 14 games…and a mass exodus by the coaching staff.  And this year…the script is looking eerily similar.  An upset of Ohio State at home, now three straight losses…with five of your next six games vs. opponents either ranked or getting votes.  With the obvious exception of Meyers Leonard, this squad has the same impact players as last year.  So will they repeat history and go down with the Titanic?  Or turn it around?  The X factor, of course, is the new coaching staff and whether they can motivate the guys in the right ways.

Taking a look at the ever-growing prediction standings…

Blog PhotoFunny how this one turned out, as geriatricillini picked the Cats not because he/she thought they were going to win, but because he/she was trying to go 0-18 in picks.  Well, sorry dude or dudette, but you got a W…and were the only person to do so.  And since most of the rest of you picked double digit Illini victories, the RSDTs were high this time around.  The 43 put up by tmh2196 is the highest single game RSDT this year.  Overall, walker is in the lead with penniless nipping at his or her heels.  We had 40 pickers this game, one person picking for the first time, and we’re up to 62 pickers total.  We’ve also heard from some new states – Washington, Nebraska, and California – and I’ve also confirmed at least one former Illini athlete that’s submitted a pick.  So that’s cool.  And the consensus answer to the question of "Will NU ever be really good/an NCAA Tournament regular?" was no.

Next up…Nebraska…a football school with a basketball problem

The Huskers are similar to Northwestern in that they’re not having the most stellar of years (9-9, 0-5 B1G, averaging 49 points per game in league play)…and they’re also a bit like Illinois in that they’re starting a new era under first year head coach Tim Miles (four new starters and an eight man rotation that features only two players that saw PT last year).  The team has been battling injuries as of late, but still managed to hang with Michigan State and Purdue down to the wire.  Dylan Talley has been a consistent scorer, despite seeing more time at point guard than shooting guard.

An interesting couple of soundbites from Coach Miles after the team’s loss to Purdue…sort of an “I feel your pain” moment for frustrated Illini fans…

Anyway, as far as a prediction goes, as much as I’d love to continue to pick my alma mater, in the words of Cletus The Slack Jawed Yokel…I can’t, I simply can’t.  If you can’t compete with Northwestern at home, how can I expect you to compete with a similar caliber team on the road?  And it’s not like history isn’t on my side…’member this game?  I’m nowhere near the top of the prediction standings, so I have nothing to lose and hope the guys prove me wrong.

MY PREDICTION:  Nebraska 55, Illinois 50

So what do you think?  Leave a prediction and some analysis in a comment below or shoot me an e-mail.  If you need some guidance, former Illini Sean Harrington has been doing a good job breaking down the Big Ten for IlliniHQ this year. You’re also welcome to sound off in the comments after the game is over.  I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on the team so far, so keep it up.  Again, that’s what the blog is all about…you and your opinions.

Want to also give you an update on prizes.  Earlier I said we’d name a winner at the end of the month.  I’m actually going to push that back until after the Wisconsin game on February 3rd so it’s at the exact halfway point of the Big Ten season.  The top picker at that point wins two tickets to the Indiana game on February 7th…as well as tickets to the Illini women’s basketball games on 2/10, 2/18, 2/23, and 2/28.  At the end of the Big Ten season, whoever is the top picker wins tickets to next year’s Illini football home opener.  The same person can’t win twice though.  So now you know what’s at stake…get pickin’!

OBlog Photother random thoughts:

  • Do you know the first website I check each day when I get home from work?  No, it’s not, but that's a close second.  It’s the YouTube channel for Illini Productions, the video department for Illini Athletics.  If you haven’t checked out their work, you should.  Their mini-documentary series on Camp Rantoul recently won an Emmy, and they’re currently doing a similar series on the basketball team.  What’s also great about IP is that they’re posting more practice/postgame/press conference interviews, which gives the average fan a way to get firsthand information without sneaking into Ubben (which my brother totally did one time, but Gary Nottingham was cool with it).
  • What are everyone’s Superbowl Picks?  I’m going Falcons over Pats.
  • I don’t like to get caught up in the “heavy” sports stories, so check out the photo at left for a lighter moment from the Lance Armstrong nonsense.  Let’s just hope their actual thread count was as high as their advertised thread count.


COMING UP ON WEDNESDAY:  Nebraska Thoughts, Prediction Standings, and (gulp) Michigan Predictions

[Groundhog Day photo via IMDB, Groundhog Day audio via, Burr photo via USA Today, Miles audio via, Armstrong photo via CBC]


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Railsplitter wrote on January 19, 2013 at 4:01 am

I've given up. Hate to say it but. these guys don't are aside from Egwu and Abrams. So---Illini 64   Nebraska 66 .

Bwp 5P wrote on January 19, 2013 at 8:01 am far I'm a perfect 0-5!

I think these guys are Toast! Mybe they'll finally show some spirit and fire and prove us wrong.


Huskers 69

Illini 61

penniless wrote on January 19, 2013 at 8:01 am

A hard pick.Welcome to the land of the Pretenders.Why is it so hard to jump on this Banwagon?    Corn People   67     Ilini    59    Once again its the paint

geriatricillini wrote on January 22, 2013 at 11:01 am


Gamefan49 wrote on January 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

Going against the flow. One more chance for our guys before I reconsider.
Illini 62
Nebraska 49

krervin2 wrote on January 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

Illinois 70

Nebraska 60

Green Shirt wrote on January 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

Illinois 65

Nebraska 60

Openmind wrote on January 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

Illinois 48

Nebraska 45

Defense gets back on track and we will suffer the rest of the season on offense.

Illinois regular season won-loss record will be 19-14. We go to the NIT and lose in the first round.


JamesB wrote on January 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Anyone picking an Illinois win should have their head examined.  Seriously.

Nebraska 68

Ill 57



tmh2196 wrote on January 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Wow; great to know I was the biggest loser so far this season.  The only thing that I am thankful for is that I was unable to take my four year old to his first game vs NW because my wife delivered our new baby boy that day.  We did a home birth and he was born at about half time of the game.  I will forever remember the day my son was born as the second time in a row the Illini lost to NW at home.  Has that ever happened in the history of this match up before?  

I am sticking with the team for one more week, and since I need to make up some ground after last weeks terrible pick.  I am picking Illinois to WIN big.

Illini 68 NEB 50

Come on guys, pick yourselfs up, and how about more than 2-3 assists the whole darn game!

Tim Ditman wrote on January 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm
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Congrats on the addition to the family!

tmh2196 wrote on January 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Thank you very much!

sunnyd503 wrote on January 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Come Mister Talley man, tally me bananas! Lincoln come and we wanna go home!

The panic button is engaged. The hopes of making the Tourney are pretty much shot.

Cornjerkers 70 Illini 60

saw the Huskers play UM pretty tough. The problem is we haven't been tough for a while. Exception being the OSU game. Watching basketball is kind of like watching football. The aggressor usually wins (in FB is who dominates the lines and interrupts the others game plan the most). We have let the other teams dictate what we want to do on both ends. I expect UNL to do the same. 

touchdown_illinois wrote on January 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Going to Lincoln is a bad omen after what happened last year. At least we'll keep it a bit closer this year:

Cornhuskers 62

Illini 59

The season continues its mirror image to last year...

PZervakis10 wrote on January 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Tim, my brain says Nebraska but my heart says Illinois. Can't pick against my team on my first ever submission!

Illini: 56
Huskers: 45

Illini-Phil wrote on January 20, 2013 at 7:01 am

Nebraska 58 Illinois 50

Pats over 49ers 

IlliniLuther wrote on January 20, 2013 at 8:01 am

ILL 63  Huskers 58

Eric 22 wrote on January 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I have watched Nebraska play right into each Big Ten team they played with loses in all.....that frame of mind tells me that Groce will flip the switch and the team comes back to life - can't get worse, right?

Ill-62  the other guys-48

P.S. I am feeling exactly how I did last season after the Nebraska game so I am really hoping the team gets a few wins and shows something the upperclassman have never shown - a uncontrollable desire to be successful.  For a win - I..L...L

wincer_85 wrote on January 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

LANCE ARMSTRONG USED RUGS!??? WHAT!? haha. PED's were fine but not RUGS! On a tangent here, but I think most other cyclists were also using PED's at the same time so the 7 tour de france's is still impressive. Also, i know i am in the minority on this one, but I kinda wanna see baseball players juice up again. Records are already tarnished and have asterisks next to them and whatever so let 'em juice! I liked baseball a lot more when McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, etc were belting out 500+ ft homers and 60+ homers a season. These 2-0 or 3-1 baseball games are total snoozefests. Ok. Sorry. Back on topic here:

Yikes to the northwestern game. So not defending the 3-point line, not stopping backdoor cuts, and not shooting the ball well doesn't equal a win? Getting beat by your little brother by double figures for 40 minutes without their best player (Crawford) is not good.

Nebraska isn't great at basketball. We all know this. But they went up to Michigan and played them tough. Nebraska is going to pretty much try and slow the game down, play good to very good defense, and make the game ugly. Illinois has to make shots and get to the rim/free throw line. Hopefully this goes better than last year's trip. Think we win but it won't be pretty.

Illinois: 64

Nebraska: 59

Hand is hovering over the "panic button." If we lose this one, time to push it.


Dazed1313 wrote on January 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm
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Illinois    56

Huskers  51


Mike Goebel wrote on January 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Nebraska 60, Illinois 50 ... no faith.

74illini wrote on January 21, 2013 at 9:01 am

The Big Ten Part of the schedule of this season has gone close to what I thought. The only two surprises to me was the win over Ohio State and the loss to N'western.  We do not have smart players.  They have gotten away from playing team ball.  This one on one "I got to get my points" NBA showcase crap really started to wind up with the more success they had.  They got away from sharing the ball and the defensive pressure has collasped. We are losing to teams that just smarter than ourselves.  

This skid has started a little bit earlier this season than last, that could play to our benifit.  After losing 5 of 7 and starting the conference 1-4 vs. last year's 4-0 start, I feel like it could have a bit different affect on this team.  This situation could present itself with less pressure versus last year.  We were deeper in the season, every game was a must win after a 4-0 start and ended up 6-13.  If they can scrape an ugly win at Nebraska that would put us at 2-4;15-5.  They just need to let it all out the rest of the season, relax and try and have fun.  They need to remember also they are more than capable of the beating anyone, as they have already shown that 3 times this season.  I do not have NCAA inspirations with this team, but if they play opportunistic and with the same defensive tenacity as they did earlier this year they could still possibly make a run at 7-11, and maybe, just maybe 8-10 if they pull off an upset or two.  


Illinois 67

Nebraska 59

BleedOandB wrote on January 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

Well, somebody on the team finally got a Technical.....and it was the coach!! I love it. I realized the reason that I dont get so upset with the team this year is because Groce gets mad enough for me. IF this was last year you would see Webber standing there just red faced with a staggering, but not intimidating, glare. Good for the coach. We have to have faith. There is a big difference between last year and this year and this team will get better. It starts with Nebraska.

Illinois 65

CornLovers 61

jruss62 wrote on January 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illini - 67

Nebraska - 64

buckhunter2 wrote on January 21, 2013 at 10:01 am

illini   69

neb   64

aaeismacgychel wrote on January 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Sigh... Well, if one thing is good about my consistently bad 1-4 picking, it's that Illinois assures me of never getting heavy into sports betting and losing my shirt in Vegas. In fact, it's getting to the point where I might consider betting on the team I think isn't going to win. So, after the unmitigated disaster against Northwestern in what basically was a must win game, we now have another must win game at Nebraska. Now in most cases, I would say that coming off being clownstomped by Northwestern in your own building (something that I can't recall happening before) and being absolutely destroyed last year @Nebraska, one would think this would give Illinois much motivation to go in there and play lights out. Of course, motivation is a problem with this team, especially against teams they should have no problem beating. Sigh... I'll take Illinois in this one. Nebraska has no business at all even staying close.

Illinois: 70
Nebraska: 58

mbelcher wrote on January 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Illinois  67

Nebraska  68

mbelcher wrote on January 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Illinois  67

Nebraska  68

basketball junkie1123 wrote on January 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Well Neb 65 Illinois 55 .  groce will resign

illinirev wrote on January 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Bring on the Wolverines

Big Red - 57

Little Orange - 53

tonyjb37 wrote on January 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm
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WUSSIES  60         CORNEY 71

illiniearl wrote on January 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Time to right the ship!

ILLini  72

Cornjerkers  61

stumblefoot wrote on January 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm

We're not really going to lose to Nebraska again are we?  Surely, these fellas have a shred of decorum in them.

Illini - 68

Cornhuskers - 59

illiniphil85 wrote on January 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

Illinois 67

Red 61

Reillini wrote on January 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm



Mom always told me, If you cant say something nice ,Don't say anything at all

I'll leave it at that

Go Illini

smills89 wrote on January 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

ILL 66

NEB 61

UIBaton8 wrote on January 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Illinois - 66

Nebraska - 64

DJ Richardson has a great night tonight.

IlliniDick wrote on January 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Illinois wins over Nebraska 60 - 57

walko wrote on January 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I don't even want to contemplate a loss in this game because the season would literally be over.  Hope Nanna doesn't disappear altogether behind the 315 pounder.


Illini 63

Corndogs 60

IlliniGradDad wrote on January 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Can't decide if I should vote with my head or heart.  My heart wants the Illini as my daughter is a proud Illinois grad... but I'm going to go with my head for my prediction:

Illinois 54

Nebraska 57

IlliniGradMom wrote on January 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Go Illini!

Illinois 67

Nebraska 62

rtrott wrote on January 22, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Illinois 64-Nebraska 60

Tim Ditman wrote on January 22, 2013 at 7:01 pm
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OK, that's the deadline.  Feel free to sound off here during or after the game.  Look for a new blog post as early as tonight, but no later than tomorrow night.