IU Thoughts (WOW!), Standings, & Minny Predictions

IU Thoughts (WOW!), Standings, & Minny Predictions

Just like Taylor Swift remembers when we broke up the first time…just like Skid Row will remember you…just like Michael Jackson remembers the time…I vividly remember the events of December 1st, 2004.  Like every other day, I woke up at 7, had breakfast, showered, threw on my #34 Brian Cook jersey, and was on my way.  Then, like siblings often do, I got into a pretty good dust up with my younger brother for what I’m sure was a frivolous reason.  He got off scott free.  My punishment?  Not being allowed to watch the Illinois-Wake Forest game on TV.  I was relegated to my room to listen on the radio.  Ironically, I now work side by side with the man I listened to that night.  But I’ll never be able to say I saw the Illini’s upset over #1 as it happened…only in replays.

This time…I got to witness the magic from Section B6, Row 4, Seat 5.

Blog PhotoWow…what can you say after that one?  Great fight shown by the guys.  IU’s open looks were killing the Illini all night, and ironically it was a wide open look that won it.  Keep in mind that was Tyler’s second game winner this year.  And although TG will get all the press, major credit goes to DJ Richardson for turning up the defensive pressure down the stretch.  Also give credit to Brandon Paul for not retreating into the shadows after being taken out of the starting lineup last game.  That shows maturity.  Two other stats that stand out…28 Illini points off of 14 IU turnovers…fast break points 8-0 Illinois.

Here's Coach Groce and Tyler talking about the big win...

So how do we feel about the postseason now?  One win does not an NCAA Tournament berth make, but the resume wins are piling up…and may offset that fact that the team might not get to 8-10 or 9-9 in the league.  I guess we can dare to dream.

Blog PhotoWell, let’s compose ourselves and take a look at the prediction standings…

Credit goes to the top nine pickers this game, who either had an intuition or went out on a major limb and picked the Illini.  Top spot goes to krervin2 who picked the margin of victory right on the nose.  Also kudos to CLBlood, Chris Glazik, and Derek Martin for nice picks on their first go around.  For the rest of us though, the RSDTs were higher than we would have liked, as most of us picked a big IU win.  We had 47 pickers overall this game (the most for a single game this year), 6 people picking for the first time, and had  84% of pickers choose IU.

Overall, BleedOandB holds on to the top spot as the only picker with a 7-3 record.  However, remember that since he/she won our midseason prize, he/she is ineligible for the year end prize.  So the top person in the running for that prize right now is walko, who’s the only one at 6-4.  We have six folks who are within striking distance at 5-5, with mbelcher and wincer_85 making a big jump in the standings with their correct picks.  Looking at some of your analysis…buckhunter2 was correct in predicting a buzzer beater, just didn’t have the right player.  CLBlood was one for two…he/she correctly called a big night for Griffey but missed the mark on a career game for Egwu.  Overall, we’re up to 81 pickers, which matches my goal for the season!

Now, on to act two with Minnie soda…

Blog PhotoWere the Illini the kiss of death to the Gophers?  After the team’s win in Champaign, they lost four straight, lost five of their last seven overall (with the wins coming over lowly Iowa and Nebraska), and in my eyes have dropped out of Big Ten title contention.  However, the team is just as dangerous as the last time around, with Trevor Mbakwe not seeming to show many if any effects of that lingering wrist injury.  One Gopher who has seen some fluctuation in his offensive production, though, is Rodney Williams, who has had outputs ranging from 2 to 23 points in B1G play.  Besides their offensive prowess, this team likes to rebound and block shots.  So if you’re an Illini fan, you have to hope for a lights out shooting night to have a chance in this one.  Plus, there’s just something about playing at the Barn that rattles you.  I’ve been there for a game, and it’s nowhere near a raucous atmosphere (Minnesotans are polite, dontcha know?), but still, the Illini have lost two out of their last three there. 

Here's Coach Groce on what he took out of the Illini's first meeting with the Gophers...

Normally I’d go L here, but the momentum from the big win has changed my mind…

MY PREDICTION:  Illinois 81, Minnesota 79

One areBlog Photoa that might help the Illini in this one is getting points off turnovers.  I caught a little bit of the Minny-MSU game last night, and the Gophers had trouble hanging on to the rock in key times, leading to 19 points off turnovers for the Spartans.  And as I mentioned above, points off turnovers was an area where the Illini excelled vs. IU.

So if you’re still with us (which I hope you are), get your pick in either as a comment on this post or by e-mail by 5 PM Sunday.

Other notes…

  • A quick point of personal privilege…you all I’m sure have noticed the pro wrestling references on the blog this year.  It’s not just for kicks…it’s because I’ve been a lifelong fan.  So you’ll imagine my SUPER DUPER INCREDIBLE EXCITEMENT when I got the chance to interview current WWE superstar Wade Barrett (that's him over there) this week, ahead of WWE’s stop in Champaign this weekend.

  • Tough break for two of my favorite Olympic hotties…er, I mean athletes.  Lindsey Vonn tears up her knee and Champaign’s own Katherine Reutter retires.  Best of luck to both in their future endeavors.
  • No one wanted to take a stab at guessing the movie quote at the top of the last blog.  Maybe you didn’t know…maybe you didn’t want to admit you knew.  Either way the answer is BASEketball, a hilarious and raunchy flick that shows you what happens when you create a sport that’s the combination of baseball and basketball.  Definitely worth a watch.


COMING UP ON SUNDAY OR MONDAY:  IU recap, Standings, & Purdue Preview (hopefully including soundbites from Coach Groce and Coach Painter)

[Groce/Griffey audio via Illini Productions/Fightingillini.com, Barn photo via www.vigilantsports.com, Barrett photo via WWE.com]


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illiniearl wrote on February 07, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Tim, you missed my prediction - I posted right below BleedOandB.

Speaking of BleedOandB - great guess!  Who are you?

Griffey's winning layin is ESPN's #1 play of the day!

Back to reality though -

Gophers  77

Illini 65

Tim Ditman wrote on February 08, 2013 at 5:02 pm
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Sorry bout that.  Your comment was posted as a reply and not on the main timeline so I glossed over it.  There were actually a few more picks on the HQ Facebook page, as well, so I'll get yours and those added in soon.  The good news...with those picks, we've reached my goal of 81 pickers!

illiniearl wrote on February 09, 2013 at 2:02 am

No problem Tim!   I appreciate all you do with this.    I guess I need to quit trying to rattle the confidence of the prediction leaders in their guesses -  Hah!

teachdacc wrote on February 08, 2013 at 4:02 am

Tim, I enjoy your articles. The horse are out of the barn now so   Sunday the Illini keep going ;

Illini 73. Minn 69

Eric 22 wrote on February 08, 2013 at 6:02 am

This is where the team decides if they want to make a run or last game was a one hit wonder.

Ill-72, Golden Varmits-76 ------Prove me wrong and I will be the happiest person to lose my prediction!

basketball junkie1123 wrote on February 08, 2013 at 6:02 am

Still have to go with Minn.  Hope they prove me wrong.

Minn  75

Illinois 65

Illinois needs to play 40 minutes of defense.


BleedOandB wrote on February 08, 2013 at 8:02 am

I woke up this morning and still couldnt believe what happened! Its a toss up on this road trip. Although we have a better mind set going in, it will be a dogg fight to the end

Min 72

Illini 69


Sometimes its good to be wrong ;)

penniless wrote on February 08, 2013 at 9:02 am

If you like a fast paced game,this is it.Who wins,who has the most rebounds?We seemed to play well at the Barn.Even though Tubby has his statuesque Giants ,Illini are quicker of feet,except for the Grif.   The Grif   finally knows why he needs to rebound.                           Illini     79    Minny   78

nndsmom wrote on February 08, 2013 at 9:02 am

Loved being at last night's game.  Wish I could say that I think the Illini will continue to work hard for wins.  However, with apologies to my beloved Illini, I predict:

Minn - 68

Illinois - 64

Mike Goebel wrote on February 08, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Why not? Illinois 75, Minnesota 70.


IlliniLuther wrote on February 08, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I hope the guys will continue to play hustle and grit !  I have my doubts they will every game.


ILL 63  Minny 71

Bwp 5P wrote on February 08, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I thought I already posted earlier?????


Anyway........I'm keeping my karma going and picking AGAINST us!!! Worked last night....although I did switch from the orange to the blue Illini hat at the half!!!!


Gophers 64

Illini 60

MAN I hope I'm as wrong as I was last night!!!


CLBlood wrote on February 08, 2013 at 4:02 pm

This old man takes no credit for predicting Griffey's great day; just part of my list of what "can" happen. If I am wrong, I am orange-and blue wrong:

Again, time for Egwu to have his career game. Mbakwe fouls out. Joe is going to do some big damage. Griffey stays hot.


Minnesota 70

Illinois 72

PZervakis10 wrote on February 08, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Still have no voice following last night! 

Great writing, as always, Tim. Love hearing your thoughts/insight. 


Illini 77 

Minny 69

tmh2196 wrote on February 08, 2013 at 6:02 pm

My wife is from Fort Wayne IN and is an IU fan.  She was talking trash up until the last three min.  What a great win for this team!  That has been these seniors MO.  Beat the best and often lose to the worst.  I hope they can keep it rolling.

Tim congrats on reaching your goal of pickers!  I really have enjoyed reading and playing along this year.




aaeismacgychel wrote on February 09, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Awesome.  If your wife made you sleep on the couch, that must've been the best sleep you've ever had!  :-)

Green Shirt wrote on February 08, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Minnesota      75

Illinois             70

walker wrote on February 08, 2013 at 10:02 pm

We carry our momentum to Minneapolis...


ILL  74  Minn  66

Tim Ditman wrote on February 08, 2013 at 10:02 pm
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Standings are updated with the straggler picks I missed.

Bob Patterson wrote on February 09, 2013 at 12:02 am
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Minnesota  71

Illinois 67

buckhunter2 wrote on February 09, 2013 at 8:02 am

ILLINI    75


mbelcher wrote on February 09, 2013 at 9:02 am

Minnesota  78

Illinois  68

illiniphil85 wrote on February 09, 2013 at 11:02 am

Very happy for the seniors, they've been through a lot. Now, back to reality. Inconsistency has plagued this squad


Hope I'm wrong, but

Minny 73

Illini 70

illinirev wrote on February 09, 2013 at 12:02 pm

As much as I want to go with the good guys, I just can't.  I hope that I am wrong.

UM - 77

UI - 66

Tim Ditman wrote on February 09, 2013 at 2:02 pm
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Just added a soundbite from Coach Groce on the Minny game.

sunnyd503 wrote on February 09, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Boy I was really wrong last time crowning Indiana king and Illinois NIT bound. It sure looked that way for most of the game. Still not convinced we are NCAA bound, but we are in much better shape!

Minnie dominated us last time but has been really struggling. We seem to be playing slightly better. Our team is such an enigma. But I appreciate the fun moments they've given us this season. Still, can't shake the last game and I'm going Tubby. 

Barn Mice 68 Grocenigmas 63

touchdown_illinois wrote on February 09, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hey Tim,

I logged on to pick the IU game with my other accout, rbarnes. Is it possible to combine my losing IU pick with all my other losing picks? That'd be great.

I should pick Minnesota, that way the Illini will win... But I feel the Illini will surpise us again.

Illini 68
Minnesota 64

Thanks, Tim for running this!

Tim Ditman wrote on February 09, 2013 at 11:02 pm
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Got it fixed.  Sorry your other identity couldn't bring you better luck!

JamesB wrote on February 09, 2013 at 6:02 pm

We got slaughtered by these guys at home.  No way we beat them at their place.  Not a good match up for our guys.

Min - 77

Ill - 63



aaeismacgychel wrote on February 09, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I think this is a pretty terrible matchup for us.  Only way we'll win is if we can use defensive guard play to hamper the Minnesota guards all night as once they get it inside to the bigs, it's pretty much an easy basket.  We'll also have to make our open shots threes against them.  We did a decent but not great night of doing that against Indiana.  Hopefully that was a sign that we're going to set the net on fire at The Barn.  Unfortunately I don't think that'll be the case, but really, beating Indiana made my season.  Sure I'd love a spot in the tournament, but man I hate that school and if we can't make the tourney, this is by far the next best thing.  Also, I'm just happy, that even if it's just for a few days, I don't have to hear how terrible our players are or how people need to be benched.  This win was simply perfect.

Minnesota: 72
Illinois: 64

Gamefan49 wrote on February 09, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I think we have been getting better each of the last 3 games. Our defense was better especially the last 8 minutes or so against IU and I think we will limit Minny's transition game.

Illini 72

Minny 66

stumblefoot wrote on February 10, 2013 at 12:02 am

Hate to bet against our guys, but a big win does not a trend make.

Minnesota - 79

Illinois - 71

Railsplitter wrote on February 10, 2013 at 4:02 am

wouldn'i it be nice to see Egwu get someone else in foul trouble rather than himself. That would be like groovy maan. Illini 68 Moldy Gomers 66

IlliniGradDad wrote on February 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

Illinois will win if they can handle Mbakwe.

Illinois 63

Minnesota 61


IlliniGradMom wrote on February 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

Illini 72

Minnesota 65

jruss62 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

Illini - 69

Minny - 64

Don't let me down gang I'm on cloud nine. Picking with my heart not my head. Nanna has to stay on the floor if we have any chance, and lately he is the whipping boy for the refs.

smills89 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

Illinois- 70

Minnesota- 65

Reillini wrote on February 10, 2013 at 10:02 am



Winning on the road this year is very difficult.Please show me last Thursday was not another one game thing and I'll be happy.

Go Illini

UIBaton8 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

Illinois 79

Minnesota 75

Overtime game!

krervin2 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

Illinois 63

Minny 50

wincer_85 wrote on February 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I was at work during the Indiana game and was recording the game, so I didn't want any updates or anything from anyone. Told my fruends not to text me or anything because I was going to watch the game later and didn't want to know how it ended. Everything was fine until about 845. I'd made it through the game without any updates or anything. Then, one of the security guards comes up and says "can you believe illinois won???" haha. So i knew we won but didn't know by how much or how until i watched the game. I was wondering when we were going to go on our run when watching the game. We waited just about as long as we could. Thank you, DJ. That stepback jumper to tie it at 70 was SWEET! I agree with one of the other posters: It was very refreshing the last few days not hearing/reading how bad our players are and how everyone should be benched.


Onto Minnesota.  I sure hope we can get back on defense this time. Maybe guard joe coleman sometime? Because we didn't do either one of those things the last time we played. It's going to be tough to beat Minny in the Barn, even tho they haven't been playing great lately. If we play solid defense and pressure them, Minny has shown that they will turn the ball over. If they don't turn the ball as much, Minny is a top 10 team. I say Illinois plays well and we make some shots, but too much inside and Dre Hollins hits some big shots at the end.

Illinois: 63

Minny 68

I think our ncaa tourny hopes is all going to come down to the game at Iowa. We win that (and when the other games we are "supposed" to), that puts us at 8-10...squarely on the bubble. We may need 1 win in big ten tourny to get in. Looking too far ahead now.

74illini wrote on February 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Minnesota 71

Illinois 66 

Tough to win on the road.  Beating Indiana at home will be easier than beating the Gophers on the road.  I see us playing well, but Minnesota pulling away at the end.  

No worries though as I still believe this team will still get to 7-11 in conference this season, which I believe will be enough to get them into the NCAA tournament.  

Illinois now owns 3 wins over teams ranked in the top 10, although that will likely change to two with OSU dropping to Indiana today.  None the less Illinois still owns 4 victories over teams ranked in the top 15. 

Tim Ditman wrote on February 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm
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Gutsy win by the Illini.  I plan on rolling out a new blog tomorrow with highlights, soundbites from Coach Groce and Coach Painter, prediction standings, and other fun nuggets.  It'll leave about 48 hours for you all to get your next pick in, so make sure you're ready to go!