OSU Thoughts, Prediction Standings, & Minnesota Predictions

OSU Thoughts, Prediction Standings, & Minnesota Predictions

As DJ Richardson posed after a big second half three today, I couldn’t help but think he was thinking in the back of his mind, “Take that, critics.”

The reason I say that is because there were rumblings after the Purdue game about some chinks starting to show in the Illini’s armor in the areas of depeBlog Photonding too much on the three ball and lack of rebounding prowess.  Well, today the Illini proved they could win against top competition without the treys (30% for the game…and at one point in the first half it was at 9%) and also by crashing the boards (Illini outrebounded OSU 40-30).  The fast start helped as well, as it gave the orange and blue some breathing room, provided some frustrations for Thad “Cornjerker” Matta, and gave the sellout crowd something to cheer about.  And speaking of the crowd, let’s hope the attendance keeps up with what we saw today.  These guys deserve to be playing in front of a full house.  And as it always is in the Big Ten, we’ve seen that homecourt advantage will be HUGE this year (see Illinois @ Purdue and Indiana @ Iowa as two examples).  Coach Groce touched on that in his postgame comments today…

Blog PhotoTaking a look at our friendly competition (click the photo at left to do a reverse Honey I Shrunk The Kids)…

For this game, we had 43 total pickers and 12 people picking for the first time.  The picks were a bit more balanced this time (58% OSU, 42% Illinois) than they were last time (92% Illinois, 8% Purdue).  Looking at just the OSU game, krervin2 came up the big winner, as he/she predicted the Illini to win by the biggest margin, thus taking home the lowest RSDT.  On the other end, DQ11 predicted an OSU blowout, so his/her 36 RSDT puts him at the bottom of the list.  Overall, we’re up to 51 pickers, with walker in the lead by 2.  Mike Goebel and I aren’t doing our company proud, as we’re in the basement of the standings.  You’ll notice someone with a 1-1 record is above someone with a 1-0 record.  That’s because you’re rewarded for picking as many games as possible.

Next up…those pesky Gophers…

I remember back when Tubby Smith got the job at Minny, I got worried in the back of my mind because I knew he’d have this team rolling faster than many might think.  I kept saying, “Watch out…one of these years this team is going to sneak up on all of us and be super good.”  And people laughed.  So there’s a small part of me that wants Minny to go the Final Four this year so I can say “told ya so.”  Either way, I think we can all agree that this is a solid and well coached Gopher team.  Their schedule doesn’t impress me, but the results do.  Per ESPN, the team rebounds nearly 50 percent of its offensive misses and leads the country in that category.  That sound familiar, Illini fans?  It should, because up until today, it’s been the O & B’s bugaboo this season.

And Blog Phototo think…Tubby is doing all of this after running out of Ralph Sampsons (rimshot!).

Side note…was I the only one who was confused as a child as to why the Minnesota cheerleaders had an upside down W on their flag?  Anyone?  Just me?  OK, that’s cool.

Anyway, I think Wednesday’s game will be tougher than today’s game, with the Illini needing a Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania Three-type effort to get the W.  But the team showed me a lot today, Blog Photoso I’m going out on a limb with this one…

MY PREDICTION:  Illinois 74, Minnesota 70

So now it’s your turn again.  Give me your score predictions for the Minny game by leaving a comment or e-mailing me (tditman@wdws.com).  Need ‘em in by 8 PM Wednesday.  Also keep up with the analysis…it’s fun to read.

Other thoughts…

  • Has the Matto Award been retired?  We all know that the annual hustle award named for former Illini Matt Heldman was a staple of the Bruce Weber era.  But so far, I haven’t seen any mention of it in the basketball game notes.  I understand Coach Groce wanting to carve his niche in the program, but it would have been good to keep the award going to honor Matt’s legacy.  Maybe I’m wrong and the Matto points just haven’t been publicized.  Let me know if you hear anything.
  • Not sure if this tweet from SI’s Pete Thamel regarding Ron Turner's new staff is meant to be taken seriously.  For those who don’t know, Kurt works as the color man on our Illini football broadcasts.  I get the privilege of being up in the radio booth during football games, and I can say Kurt is a ton of fun to be around.  I’d hate to see him go, but would certainly be happy for him if he does.   Coach Turner briefly touched on the matter during his appearance on WDWS’ Saturday Sportsline today.

  • Did you think I’d end the blog without another pro wrestling reference?  Check out this mark out moment from a women’s play by play announcer and leave a comment if you get the reference.


COMING UP ON THURSDAY:  Minny Thoughts, Prediction Standings, & Wisconsin Predictions

[Groce audio via Illini Productions, Hogan photo via onlineworldofwrestling.com]


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brettz87 wrote on January 05, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Prediction Illini 66, Minnesota, 64

isitoveryet wrote on January 05, 2013 at 10:01 pm

That good game against Ohio State proved a lot. If they can execute like that and play lock down defense against Minnesota and them Hollins brothers, and a beast of Mbakwe, then we should be fine. Tracy has really stepped up his game, and has become more smart with the ball.

Those Pesky Gophers-65




Railsplitter wrote on January 05, 2013 at 10:01 pm

ILLINI  76    MINNY  75

Bwp 5P wrote on January 05, 2013 at 11:01 pm

SO glad I was wrong today........I'll wait a day or so before my next prediction!

Eric 22 wrote on January 06, 2013 at 7:01 am

I believe Minny is the second best team in the big ten behind Michigan so it is going to take another great game to win this one.  Rodney Williams athletism scares the heck out of me since we have no 4 man to match him.

Minny-76, Ill-70

rtrott wrote on January 06, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illinois 78-Minnesota 70

Green Shirt wrote on January 06, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illinois 74

Minnesota  71

penniless wrote on January 06, 2013 at 8:01 am

Minny but mighty   75   Illini   73

aaeismacgychel wrote on January 06, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Should be an interesting game.  I feel Minnesota is a really bad matchup for us and the only way we'll win this game is with defensive guard pressure forcing Minnesota to take jump shots or turn the ball over instead of getting the ball down low in the blocks where the Gophers should dominate.  Illinois will need to make their open jumpers in this one as you can't expect too many second chances on the boards, or all that much scoring amonst the trees.  Illinois still has to drive to the hoop when they get the opportunity and force Minnesota to foul.  Players sitting on the bench in foul trouble can't hurt you.  I see this game being a real tough one for us to win.  Hopefully we do, but this is a good team whose biggest strength is our biggest weakness.

Minnesota: 72
Illinois: 64

krervin2 wrote on January 06, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Well, I'm going on another limb and predicting another double digit victory. Worked for us last time! Go Illini.

Illinois 75

Minnesota 65

stumblefoot wrote on January 06, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Minnesota is for real this year.  And, while they've damaged our psyche in the past few years, this particular team of Gophers hasn't witnessed the type of energy they are going to see in the hall this week.  

With only two road games this season (Florida St. and USC), Minnesota hasn't played in a truly raucous environment yet.  So, while they are rebounding machines and will no doubt out-rebound our beloved Illini by double digits, the Groce bunch is going to bring their offensive and defensive intensity fervently for a full 38 minutes and notch their second decisive win against a Top-10 team in as many games.

Illini - 83

Gophers - 75

JamesB wrote on January 06, 2013 at 8:01 pm

i'm the worst predictor ever, but i'll try.  I think minny has too much inside for us.  


Minn 75

Il 72

geriatricillini wrote on January 07, 2013 at 7:01 am

I said I wouldn't pick them to win again after the PU game unless I saw some fight in 'em...well, I saw it and I won't ever say they don't have it again. I might whine about them not using it, but I'll never claim again that it's not there..,.I compliment Coach Groce and the staff for having the fellas ready to play after a tough loss...so much better than the last few years...a really good win over OSU and despite what is said about OSU not being as strong as in the past, it's still a very good win for us. So I'm back on the wagon again...this one will be like most all of the league games...a battle...one we can win, I think. It's a long way from home for Minny..let's make the Hall a miserable place for them.....GO ILLINI!!

Golden Gophers    73

Illini   77

IlliniwekMerica wrote on January 07, 2013 at 8:01 am

I really hope the homecrowd shows up again, and doesn't need a big early lead to stay in it all game. This one will be alot closer and Illinois needs that home crowd to help them pull through after a close game.

Illinois - 70

Minny - 66

buckhunter2 wrote on January 07, 2013 at 11:01 am

ILLINI     76

MINN      67

BleedOandB wrote on January 07, 2013 at 11:01 am

I really really REALLY hope I am wrong.......


Too much inside for us to handle and they have great ball movement


Minn 74


ILL 66

sunnyd503 wrote on January 07, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Sometimes I love being wrong! Well, I think I was right about Thomas and Craft, but no one else showed for OSU. 

Onto Minnie:

Havent got to watch them play yet, but the way people are talking they are unstoppable. Which, I think bodes well for getting out team up and ready to play. They show up big for the big games (save for a chaotic Mizzou game)

Illini 73 Minnie 68

We can't possibly continue to miss so many 3s right?

mvoelke2 wrote on January 07, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Illinois - 73

Minnesota - 64

Tough to win on the road in the Big Ten.  Illinois is going to have to shoot better from three in order to win this game, but I believe we play solid on both sides of the ball and get the tough win to improve to 2-1 in the Big Ten.

It will be interesting to see how Minnesota handles the next stretch of games....

@ Illinois - @ Indiana - vs Michigan

Could easily see them sitting at 2-3 in the big ten by the end of next week.

IlliniLuther wrote on January 07, 2013 at 2:01 pm

It's truely hard to win on the road in this league!  Our guys believe in themselves....ILL  67  Minny 62

wincer_85 wrote on January 07, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Well, I am pretty much out of winning this little prediction game but Illinois is not out of winning the big ten championship (far-fetched, i know, but stranger things have happened, right?) after a huge win to calm down the fans. That was a great display of energy and execution, up until we built the lead up to 25 and got sloppy.

Good point by mvoelke2: this 3-game stretch for Minnesota is BRUTAL! But the thing is, everyone is going to have a similar 3 or 4 or 5-game stretch through the big ten this year. This league is as deep as a brandon paul 3-ball (terrible analogy. I'm sorry.)

Minnesota scares the you-know-what outta me. Their biggest strength is our biggest weakness. The home crowd will give us a spark and we will play well, but i think the toughness and bulkness of minny is too much for us to handle in a low-scoring, put-your-boxing-gloves-on sort of game.

Minny: 64


Hope i go to 0-3.

Does anyone else want to see Joe Bertrand and Rodney Williams have a jump-off???

mvoelke2 wrote on January 08, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Agreed.  Every team in the Big Ten is going to have a tough stretch of games at some point in the season. I am more interested in what happens with Minnesota simply because they have played two road games all season(@FSU & @USC - minus nutral sites).  Not exactly the same intensity that a Big Ten road game will bring.

illiniearl wrote on January 07, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I don't mind going 0-3 if it helps the home team.   I just can't forget what happened last year when Minny came to town, only now they are much better.

Minny  78

Illini   71

teachdacc wrote on January 08, 2013 at 5:01 am

ILL 82

Minny 78


jruss62 wrote on January 08, 2013 at 8:01 am


Minny 61

illiniphil85 wrote on January 08, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Minny 73

UI 68

Mike Goebel wrote on January 08, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Calling me out in the blog, Tim! Ouch! Sure does hurt to be in last place though. Yikes. Well, since I obviously have no idea what I am doing, we'll go with Minnesota 74, Illinois 70.

Bwp 5P wrote on January 08, 2013 at 5:01 pm

My family and I will be there screaming from "C" section..........wondering WHY those same seats in "A" are, as usual,  EMPTY. ^#!)^!!#@$!

C'mon people give them away or SHOW UP and Support this TEAM!!!!

These guys are playing their guts out!



Gophers 68

Reillini wrote on January 08, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Like lots of other folks I saw a little of last years collaspe in the PU game. Sat. I saw in the Fight in this Illini team and I loved it. gonna go out on a limb here and say



I'll be there, got my hands on a couple of tickets in A-section(someone who could not go and did sell them).I'm a gray hair but I scream my heart out and usally have no voice the next day.

As always Go Illini

mchen18 wrote on January 08, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Illinois 75


Minnesota 67

tmh2196 wrote on January 09, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illinois 76  Min 68  Go Illini!

mbelcher wrote on January 09, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illinois   71

Minnesota   74

bluk5 wrote on January 09, 2013 at 10:01 am

Illini 77

Minnesota 71

IlliniDick wrote on January 09, 2013 at 11:01 am

Go Illini!  Brandon Paul and Egwu will have big games and the Illini will produce another home win.

Prediction: ILLINI 83 - Minnesota 77

UIBaton8 wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Close game tonight - it'll be a defensive and rebound battle.  I hope to see a lot of big plays out of Griffey and Egwu.

Illinois 68 - Minnesota 67

smills89 wrote on January 09, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Illini 70

Minnesota 66

walker wrote on January 09, 2013 at 3:01 pm

A dogfight in the paint.  Sure am hoping that I'm wrong, but....

MINN 58   ILL  54

uhs504 wrote on January 09, 2013 at 7:01 pm


ILL 68

Illini-5 wrote on January 09, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Illinois 73

Minne 65

Tim Ditman wrote on January 10, 2013 at 12:01 am
Profile Picture

Thanks for all the picks gang.  Look for a new post with updated standings and a preview of the Wisconsin game tomorrow night.