Wisconsin Thoughts, Prediction Standings, & Northwestern Predictions

Blog PhotoNot going to dwell on Wisconsin much, because (a) we’re two days removed and (b) who really wants to?  We’ll just burn the tape, excommunicate Steve Stricker, and move on. 

Since this blog is about you, the people, I’m going to highlight a good point that Stumblefoot brought up in the last blog.  The Wisky game, this upcoming game, and the Nebraska game make up a key stretch of games that will help the team reach .500 in the Big Ten (which many consider a benchmark this year for making the Big Dance), not to mention boost their confidence.  So you might consider this a critical point in the Illini’s season.  Win on Thursday, then win next Tuesday, and you get the train back on the tracks.  If you slip up on Thursday, it means serious problems.

Blog PhotoAs far as picks go, only 10 out of 44 (23%) of you picked Wisky and came up a winner.  No one picked a Badger blowout though, so the RSDTs were in the double digits.  Looking at the overall standings, walker is back in the lead, with BleedOandB dropping from first to fourth.  Penniless has risen from third to second.  The other four near the top – illiniphil85, walko, mbelcher, and ReIllini – are still within striking distance.  We’re up to 61 pickers overall (20 to go til we hit my goal), and five people picked for the first time this game.

Next up…the purple people eaters of Northwestern…

My first thought when doing research on the Cats was to answer the question…are they missing Drew Crawford?  Well, the stats appear to say no, as the team was averaging 67.4 points per game with him…and is now putting up 65.3 points per game without him.  However, I would think a leader like Crawford would bring some intangibles to the table as well.  Some guys have stepped up in Crawford’s absence…Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewski are averaging in double figures and the young gun Tre Demps has shown signs of greatness after a rough start to the year (didn’t hit a three in the first nine games).  Like Wisconsin, Northwestern is a low scoring team (three games in the 50s this year, including their most recent).  This one might be a race to 70.  Not really any high profile wins on their schedule either, and while the Illini are in a stretch of winnable games, the Cats are starting grueling stretch of games against top 25 opponents (Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota).  Also interesting to note that the teams have traded wins since 2010 after the Illini had won 19 of the last 20.  The Illini lead the all-time series 129-37, by far the best record against any B1G team.

Got some soundbites from the Big Ten coaches teleconference today.  Here's John Groce on Northwestern's strengths...



And here's NU coach Bill Carmody on the new-look Illini...

Side note…what are everyone’s thoughts on if or when this Northwestern program will ever get rolling?  I don’t know if it’s safe to say they’ve been on the cusp of that elusive first ever NCAA Tournament berth in recent years, but they haven’t been outright awful in that time (every season over .500 since 08-09).  I mean…Billy C still has his job, right?  I remember an Illini fan telling me this funny little saying a couple years ago…Go to the NIT at Illinois, lose your job.  Go to the NIT at NU, get a contract extension.  Seriously, though, I know there are Wildcat fans in C-U.  Give us some firsthand perspective.  You don’t have to predict if you don’t want to, but you totally should.

MY PREDICITON:  Illinois 77, Northwestern 65

So it’s once again your turn.  Give me your score prediction by tipoff on Thursday…either here or by e-mail.  If you haven’t missed a game this year, I would especially encourage you to keep picking, as it’s going to take as much participation as possible to come out on top and win those Indiana tickets.  And don’t give up if you’re not near the top, as we’ve seen a lot of movement in the standings recently.  Also…if any of you are following the blog from far away parts, let me know.  So far, I’ve heard about readers in Missouri, Michigan, Texas, and Florida.  And I’d love to see who else is out there.  After all, I’m just talkin’ to whoever’s listenin’.

No random thoughts this week…just another shameless programming plug.  I’ll be on the DWS airwaves on Friday night for high school basketball.  We’re excited to be featuring Judah Christian and University High…two teams that haven’t been on our airwaves in a long time, if at all.  Hope you’ll join us.

-Tim

COMING UP ON FRIDAY:  Northwestern thoughts, predictions standings, and Nebraska predictions

[Stricker photo and coaches audio via BTN]

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Dazed1313 wrote on January 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm
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Only 1 game this week and it's against a team we should handle easily if we want to be in the tourney come March.

Illini     74

N-W    59

 

Eric 22 wrote on January 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm

To answer the direct question, the wildkitties will get the program rolling in the future...the future... which means never since the future never seems to get here.

Alright enough crazy talk, I was so far off last game the law of averages has to mean I will be better this week.

Ill-70  Purple guys-52   and you what?  We actually hit a few more 3-pts (I have to hope!).

IlliniLuther wrote on January 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm

The last game reminded me sooo much of last year!  Gotta get a win here!  ILL 74  NW 58

stumblefoot wrote on January 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I'm with IlliniLuther... it felt like Déjà vu all over again Saturday.

Thanks for the shoutout!  I'm glad to be contributing to the Illini dialogue from Colorado.

I'm hoping the team was a bit embarrassed by their performance in Madison and take it out on the Wildcats this week.  Fail to take care of business at home this week and we'll be in deep doo-doo.

Illinois - 82

Northwestern - 62

krervin2 wrote on January 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Illinois 85

N'Western 60

 

Because I want it (need it) to happen that badly. Come on Illini!

JamesB wrote on January 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I really hope our confidence isn't shattered.  If it's not, and we come out with some fire, we should win.  But it won't be easy.

 

Il - 72

NW - 61

 

penniless wrote on January 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Thankgoodness its a home game.8 points for home cooking,6 points for raw talent.   Illini  75  Cats  61

Mike Goebel wrote on January 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Illinois 85, Northwestern 70

 

 

illiniearl wrote on January 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I just want to break away and move ahead of Goebel in the standings.   Following this blog and listening in from the Seattle area.

Illini 67

Kitty Cats  59

geriatricillini wrote on January 15, 2013 at 12:01 am

Because it won't happen and if it does happen I will give up for this season...besides I am shooting for 0-18 on here so don't think for one minute I believe this will go down at home...I'm trying to lose this pick ok?

Wildcats   60

Illini   59

Railsplitter wrote on January 15, 2013 at 6:01 am

ILLINI 72  NORTHSOUTHERN 66     Fool me once shame on you . Fool me twice , I'm a dumba$$

Green Shirt wrote on January 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

Illinois            75


Northwestern 65

BleedOandB wrote on January 15, 2013 at 7:01 am

I know it has been several days since but I will have nightmares about that Wisc game for a very long time. I look back and still wonder how that happened I guess early foul trouble is a sign it will be a long game. But I am hopefull for the NW game, only because it is a home game. If it was away my prediction would be the exact opposite.....here is to ending the week on a good note.

ILL 71

 

NW 62

IlliniwekMerica wrote on January 15, 2013 at 8:01 am

Can't see shooting randomly improving, but it's Northwestern so...

Illinois - 69

NW - 61

Bwp 5P wrote on January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

We're going to find out if Coach Groce can shake the doldrums out of these guys! I hope so, it would be a shame to see these guys collapse again! What a bunch of fragile physches these guys have!

 

Wildcats in the NCAA????? I don't expect it in my lifetime.......but I am 62..so there's plenty of time left for them!

Illini 69

NW 58............

I wish this would be an easy blowout........but until they get back to playing like before Christmas....

buckhunter2 wrote on January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

illini   71

n w   60

mvoelke2 wrote on January 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

Illini 76


NW 62


Hopefully this will be a confidence builder for us....

mbelcher wrote on January 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

Illinois  74


Northwestern  61


I'll be watching from Nebraska.  Go illini!!

aaeismacgychel wrote on January 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Well, these next two are must win games. Hopefully the Illini come out and play like it.

Illinois: 77
Northwestern: 64

walker wrote on January 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm

This one would appear to be an easy one to pick, however you never know.


ILL 70   NU  58

Gamefan49 wrote on January 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Ok gotta be right at some point
Illini 67
Northwestern 57

tmh2196 wrote on January 16, 2013 at 8:01 am

Illini 84  NU 55  I am taking my four year old son to his first Illini game tomorrow.  I expect Illinois to crush them at home.  As we saw last night, Maybe that WIS team is for real, and this team can put a bad loss behind them.

sunnyd503 wrote on January 16, 2013 at 9:01 am

After Wisky beat Indiana, I feel ever so slightly better about Saturday. 

My analysis: if we lose this game, time to hit the panic button.

Illini 74 Evanston's Big Ten Team 60

Posting from lovely Rancho Cordova, CA

 

jruss62 wrote on January 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

After watching Wisconsin and IU play last night maybe the sting of the Wisky loss is alittle less,Ok It's not. The next two games are must wins so here it gos.  


 


ILLINI 74


Badcats 63


 


I played alittle ball way back in the day and I'm sure that our pratices were nothing like what the player faced this week. Get tough or get eaten alive in this league(BIG TEN) is for the big boys this year even more so then in the past


 

touchdown_illinois wrote on January 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Illini 78
NU 64

This is a must win. And I agree with the other posters, that this is feeling like last year. They have to turn it around now!

wincer_85 wrote on January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Not gonna talk about the Wisky game. Just yikes on that one. Wisconsin beating Indiana last night was awesome! Anytime Indiana loses, I'm good with it (unless it directly helps Illinois.)

The next 2 games are pretty much must-wins. If we lose, it will go down as a "bad" loss in the selection committee's eyes and cancel out one of our "good wins" (at Zaga, neutral against Buler, Ohio State.) If we lose both....i think people's heads in Champaign will explode.

Drew Crawford is a big loss for Northwestern and Bill Carmody. Crawford was (is?) one of the northwestern guys I like. Either way, Illinois should win this one. We have to guard the 3-point line and stop backdoor cuts. Northwestern isn't a strong rebounding team so that helps.

Northwestern: 65

Illinois: 78  

Reillini wrote on January 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Gotta have this one

Illini-68

NW-60

Its really early for a must win but this is. Go Illini

illiniphil85 wrote on January 17, 2013 at 8:01 am

Tim, can you double check the records on the Wisky game. It doesn't look like my pick got credited.

 

UI 72

Kitties 69

Tim Ditman wrote on January 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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Sorry about that.  I'll get you added in soon.

bluk5 wrote on January 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

Illinois 70

NU 55

smills89 wrote on January 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Illini 71

NW 62

Lets hope my streak ends here

rtrott wrote on January 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Illinois 74-Northwestern 62

Tim Ditman wrote on January 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm
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Hey folks...I almost have the next blog entry done.  Look for a new post late tonight.  And don't forget - high school hoops tonight at 7:30 on WDWS.  Brian Moline and myself have the call.

krervin2 wrote on January 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm

ILLINOIS 80

Northwestern 59

Green Shirt wrote on January 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Illinois             75

Northwestern  66

touchdown_illinois wrote on January 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Illini 67

Mildcats 54