Thoughts, Standings & Wisconsin Predictions

Thoughts, Standings & Wisconsin Predictions

Blog PhotoCall me Jim Carrey, because I think we have an identity crisis on our hands.

I say that because after last night’s loss to the Gophers, I’m starting to wonder who the real Illini are.  Are they the team who won the Maui Invite, won in the Kennel, and blew out Ohio State?  Or are they a team who relies too much on three pointers, takes ill-advised shots when the threes aren’t falling, and loses winnable games to Purdue and Minnesota?  Or is it something in between?  I’m not sure at thing point.  Maybe a few more games will yield the answer.  One thing I know for sure…Coach Groce isn’t going to sit idly by and let the skid continue.  I can tell by his demeanor that he’s the type of guy that gives the players encouragement when they need it, but also is a tough cookie (to use a PG term) at the right times as well.

A quick side note.  I love the First Amendment.  Heck, I took two classes on it in college.  And I completely agree that some calls last night were questionable at best.  So express yourself by booing if that’s your fancy.  But just an FYI…no amount of booing is going to make the Illini shoot better.

Blog PhotoTaking a look at the prediction standings…

Focusing on just the Minny game, illini70 came out on top, with a few folks nipping at his/her heels. Two-thirds of the 43 total pickers picked the Illini to win (and I don’t blame you), and we had five people picking for the first time this game.

Overall, we’re up to 56 pickers (my goal by the end of the season is 81), with BleedOandB jumping from sixth place into first.  Walker has slipped from first to second, but only trails by one.  Penniless rounds out the trio of 2-1 pickers at the top with a RSDT of 46.  Oh, and pay no attention to that man at the bottom.  I don’t even know who he is or how he got in on this gig.

Next up…the Badgers from cheeseland

Not the most intimidating Wisky squad this year, and the stinker of a win they got over Nebraska last weekend won’t impress anybody.  But one Bo Ryan staple remains...the ability to consistently recruit good big men.  Running down the roster I see 6-11, 6-10, 6-10, and 6-8 in the height column.  Thinking all the way back to the Mizzou game, the Illini had big problems will super tall guys down low.  I brought the point up to fellow IlliniHQ blogger Marcus Jackson prior to the Auburn game, and he reminded me that the Mizzou big men were at a level that the Illini probably won’t see again this year.  Good point, but the Badger big men still concern me…just because they’ve been historically good.  And Bo Ryan wouldn’t recruit them if they couldn’t continue that trend.

I’m torn on this pick.  If the Illini picked up the W last night, I’d pick a win, no question.  But the way the team lost control in the second half has put some doubts in the back of my head.  One thing they have working for them, though, is recent success in the Kohl Center.  Per the team’s Twitter, their wins in 05, 06, and 10 are the most by any team since 2005. 

MY PREDICTION:  Illinois 69, Wisconsin 60

Going with a low scoring one here based on the Illini’s last road game – 61 points – and because Wisky is a low scoring team in general – 71 PPG.  Plus, the B1G has been known to be a low-scoring league…or as the front office puts it…they just play really really good defense!

So what do you think?  Leave your score prediction and analysis in a comment below or e-mail me at  If you haven’t gotten in the game yet, you should now if you want a shot at those Indiana game tickets.  The most accurate picker at the end of the month gets ‘em.  We’ll also try to round up a prize for the best picker at the end of the regular season.  Also, we haven’t had anyone pick a score exactly right yet.  If that happens, we’ll try to scrounge up a prize for you.

Cleaning out the notebook…Blog Photo

  • Here’s one for you history buffs…did you know that the U of I school song, Illinois Loyalty, has alternate lyrics?  It’s true.  I was perusing my copy of the U of I Football Vault (by our very own Bob Asmussen) when I found an Illinois Loyalty lyrics sheet from 1907.  The lyric “crack out that ball” could sometimes be sung as “smash that blockade”, and the following line of “We’re backing you all” was sometimes sung as “Go crashing ahead”.  A little later in the ditty, the lyric “we expect a victory from you” could be read as “we expect a touchdown from you”.  Try getting those alternate lyrics out of your head the next time you’re singing the school song at a game.
  • Fighting Illini Wrestling is back on WDWS tomorrow, as Brian Moline will be behind the mic at 6:50 as the Illini take on Purdue.  Be sure to tune in, cause these guys are good.  Like #5 in the country good.
  • Going back to Minny for just a sec…did anyone else see Tubby Smith rockin’ the moustache last night?  From reading a few media reports, he grew it for Movember…then just kept it after that.  Ron Swanson and Seth Davis definitely approve.


COMING UP ON MONDAY:  Wisky thoughts, prediction standings, & Northwestern predictions

[Carrey photo via Wikipedia, Groce audio via Illini Productions]


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illiniearl wrote on January 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Don't rely on the threes so much and stay away from anything resembling "The Beef House" and we will do fine!

Illini 74

Badgers  63

I-L-L ...

JamesB wrote on January 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I don't care how average Wisconsin is, I can't see us winning up there.


Il - 59

Wisc - 65

Bwp 5P wrote on January 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Funny.....last year Buckhunter and I battled right to the end at the TOP of the Standings..........this year WE ARE the end!!!!


By the way..........wouldn't think the Beef House would be on the way to Madison........but I won't eat there tomorrow or Saturday just to avoid the jinx!!



Cheeseheads 59


Surely we'll shoot better and maybe get 1 or 2 calls in our favor!

buckhunter2 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

looks like were going to battle for bottom this time lol     at least there more fun to watch this year

stumblefoot wrote on January 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

The next 3 games are critical to win if we're to have a good shot at being about .500 in Big Ten play this season.  It all starts in Madison this weekend.

Illini - 61

Badgers - 59

Bob Patterson wrote on January 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm
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Back to making some three's

Illinois 73

Wisconsin 68

Green Shirt wrote on January 11, 2013 at 7:01 am

Illinois   70

Wisconsin 65

BleedOandB wrote on January 11, 2013 at 8:01 am

This is a toss up. We are going to look really good  or really bad...... But the Illini win and I keep my lead!  I will even say this goes to OT!


ILL 68 (OT)


Wisc 61




IlliniLuther wrote on January 11, 2013 at 8:01 am

We needed the 3 to beat Minny, not so with WU.  We would lose this game last year but, Coach Groce has my faith !  ILL 63  Wisky 59

krervin2 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illinois 61

Wisconsin 58

penniless wrote on January 11, 2013 at 8:01 am

The slope is slippery.The mind will play tricks on a shooter.  Badgers  67    Illini   63

Railsplitter wrote on January 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

ILLINI  70   WISKY SOUR  68  Cmon boys con't let me down.

buckhunter2 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 9:01 am


WISC   63

geriatricillini wrote on January 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

We SHOULD win this game, but I don't know what to think any  at 0-3 with this, I'm gonna try to go that possible? Thus, I will pick us since we hardly ever win there and then again I might find an acorn and be right for once..

Illini    60

Badgers  57  (How about a three at the buzzer by DJ just for a thrill?)

IlliniwekMerica wrote on January 11, 2013 at 10:01 am


Illini - 66

Wisco - 59

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

Bo whines and cries the whole game, intimidates the refs and gets enough calls that Wisconsin wins a close one.



mvoelke2 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 11:01 am

Illini - 76

Badgers - 63

Foul trouble and poor shooting killed us in the Minnesota game.  Expecting us to make a few more threes in this one and be able to defend the Badger's backcourt more effectively. 

wincer_85 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Well, I finally got in the win collumn-too bad it took an Illinois L to get it. The loss against Minnesota hurts but it doesn't have me too worried. If Minnesota shoots 9-15 from 3-point land, it is going to be tough for ANYONE to beat them ANYWHERE. Illinois showed some guts being down 12 and cutting the lead down to 2 (2 terrrible turnovers by Tracy when we had the lead down to 2. I love Tracy Abrams and his toughness. He wants to win more than anyone on this team and has had a good year. I have no doubt he will bounce back.) We saw it too many times Wednesday, but it's fun to watch Rodney Williams dunk, isn't it?


Onto Wisconsin. Wisconsin isn't that good this year. The injury to Gasser was a HUGE blow to them. If we can neutralize Ryan Evans and Bergerren, we should win this one. I am tempted to pick Wisconsin only because i am 2 games back in the standings and a lot of people are picking illinois (so far.) However, I'll just stick with predicting what I actually think will happen (even though it hasn't worked well for me thus far.)

Illinois: 68

Wisky: 61



Mike Goebel wrote on January 11, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Well, I still have no clue what to guess about this team. Thankfully -- unlike Marcus Jackson and Tim Ditman -- I am out of the standings basement.

Guessing an Illini win. Illini 60, Wisconsin 57.

In reality, Illinois wins by 25 .... or loses by 15 and scores only 30 points. Who knows!

den85 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

It just depends on whether "Good Illinois" or "Bad Illinois" shows up. I say "Good Illinois" this time.


Illinois: 67

Wisky: 63

rtrott wrote on January 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Illinois 60-Wisconsin 59

sunnyd503 wrote on January 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Wisky has really struggled with mediocre teams this year. But they are tough inside. I'm going out on a limb and saying we steal a win at the Kohl

Illini 60 Wisky 58

teachdacc wrote on January 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm


wisc. 53

touchdown_illinois wrote on January 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I'm not very good at this... I'm about as close to the bottom of the standings in hoops as I was to the top in football... Anyone wanting any advice from me, take the exact opposite. 

So I'll go:

Wisconsin 62
Illini 59

I really don't see us winning up there. Still I have to say, Go Illini!!!

walker wrote on January 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Wisc. 63  ILL  58

Dazed1313 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 2:01 am
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Sincerely hope I am wrong....Bucky 62

                                              O+B   55

Eric 22 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 8:01 am

Wisconsin has no real point guard so Tracy should have a great game...20pts+

Ill-75  Wisc-65

mbelcher wrote on January 12, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illinois  62

Wisconsin  64

jruss62 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 9:01 am


Wisconsin 60

Close game through out come down to foul shooting late and BP and Tracy make just enough late for the win.


Reillini wrote on January 12, 2013 at 9:01 am

Wisky-70 Illini -66 Not an easy place to win plus they seem to do just opposite of what I predict anyway so this is just the good fortune they need

illiniphil85 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 9:01 am

Wisky 69

UI 66

bluk5 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

Illini 66

Wisconsin 61

UIBaton8 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

Ilini 68 - Wisconsin 59

IlliniDick wrote on January 12, 2013 at 10:01 am

Let's play B'Ball with B'Paul!

Illini 68

Wisconsin 54

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

Phew- just got this in:

Illinois: 74
Wisconsin: 66

I think Illinois is about as good a matchup for Wisconsin as Minnesota was for Wisconsin.  I think Illinois comes back on the road to win in a tough Kohl Center.

smills89 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Illini 64

Wisconsin 59

Tim Ditman wrote on January 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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OK gang, we've hit the deadline for picks.  Enjoy the game!

Tim Ditman wrote on January 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm
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Well that was no fun.  Congrats to everyone who picked the Badgers.  I'm updating the prediction standings now but am going to wait til Monday afternoon/evening to post a new blog entry so I can include audio from the Big Ten coaches teleconference.  Feel free to sound off here with your thoughts in the meantime.

illiniphil85 wrote on January 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm