Minny Thoughts, Standings, & Purdue Predictions

Minny Thoughts, Standings, & Purdue Predictions

Tyler Griffey:  not a one hit wonder…

Really happy to see Tyler continue the momentum from the IU game, and really happy overall to see another game in which the Illini were able to scrap and claw from behind.  What I saw last night reminded me of the Illini we saw to start the season, at least in their shooting prowess.  And although TG gets the lead highlight clip in this blog post, honorable mention goes to Tracy Abrams, who had three of his five points (and his only field goal) in the most clutch of times.

Also want to include a soundbite that stood out to me in Coach Groce's postgame interview.  After the Wisconsin game, Groce mentioned that the guys were struggling a bit with trusting the system.  But per his comments last night, it seems like that's been turned around.

Blog PhotoOk, so NOW what do we think of the Illini’s postseason chances?  If the team continues its hot streak, I’m looking at five more Big Ten wins – Purdue, Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa – which puts them at 9-9 with four wins over ranked teams and a healthy RPI.  That’s a definite dance invite.  Slip to 8-10, you’re still looking pretty good.  Slip to 7-11, then it’s a 50-50 shot, and if your late season losses are to bad teams, you hurt your chances even more.  But as I said, I don’t see that happening, which means a tournament berth for Coach Groce in his first year…which is a GREAT accomplishment in my opinion.

Looking at the prediction standings, we had four people – teachdacc, buckhunter2, touchdown_illinois, and UIBaton8 – who predicted the margin of victory right on the nose.  We had 44 pickers overall this game, with no new faces, and a 43%-57% split in those picking Illinois to Minnesota.  Overall, BleedOandB remains in the lead despite his/her incorrect pick.  Walko and penniless are second and third, respectively, and there are six folks who are two games off the pace at 5-6.  Overall, we held steady at 81 total pickers.

Blog PhotoNext up…round two with the Fighting Gene Keadys Matt Painters…

Blog PhotoWell, looking at the Illini’s desperate need to get wins now, you look back at the Big Ten opener vs. the Boilers and think about how good it would have been to get that one.  But like Rafiki says, there’s no sense in living in the past, so let’s take a look at how the Boilers have fared since that January 2nd matchup.  They’ve gone 5-6 while more or less winning the games they were favored in, including an out of conference win vs. West Virginia.  Their stats show that they’re still a low scoring team (65 PPG) that attacks the paint in lieu of shooting threes (4 threes made per game…0/10 from long range vs. Penn State…over half of their scoring coming in the paint…you get the idea.).  AJ Hammons may not be a household name yet, but he’s been strong for the Boilers lately (17 PPG & 10 RPG over the last five games).  That assignment will probably be split between Egwu and McLaurin, so their ability to contain the seven-footer could be the difference maker in this one.

As usual on a Monday, I got to listen to some of the B1G coaches talk about the week ahead on their weekly teleconference.  Here's Coach Groce on gameplanning for AJ Hammons...

And here's Purdue Coach Matt Painter on the wacky B1G season so far.

Predicition-wise, this is a fairly easy one.  Illinois is riding high and desperate for wins…Purdue is a .500 team and in a down year…and honestly, the two teams’ last meeting doesn’t affect my choice much since so much time has passed and the teams have evolved a lot since then.  The Illini jump out in front early en route to…

MY PREDICTION:  Illinois 69, Purdue 57

So it’s another quick turnaround prediction-wise.  Do your research, talk to your dog, look at your magic 8 ball, do whatever you do, but get your pick in by 8 PM Wednesday.  Again, if you haven’t missed a game so far this year, you’re highly encouraged to keep picking to stay in the running for the season prize.

Blog PhotoSome other news and notes…

  • We could see some clarity soon about how the new Big Ten Conference (with Maryland and Rutgers) will operate in terms of divisions, schedules, etc.  Per northwestern AD Jim Phillips on the WDWS’ Saturday Sportsline, the conference’s athletic directors will meet in the next few days to talk it all over.  Whether there will be another Illinois-Northwestern game at Wrigley Field, though, Phillips kept that close to the vest.
  • With all the talk of gimmicky uniforms in the B1G this year, I thought I’d give my fashion advice.  The talk around the Illini basketball program is to reserve the orange uniforms for special occasions.  That would be fine…if the athletic department hadn’t already branded itself around the color!  At one time we had Paint the Hall Orange…at one time the tickets said “wear orange”…90% of the merchandise is orange…it’s all just a given at this point.  So I think the uniforms should reflect that by wearing orange as much as possible.  If you want something for special occasions, come up with a throwback uniform or something to that effect.
  • It’ll be a unique night of sports programming on WDWS tonight, with three coaches with Illini ties on the air back to back.  At 7, it’s the John Groce Show.  Then at 8, we’ll have bonus basketball between Kansas (Bill Self) and Kansas State (Bruce Weber).  We just can’t quit them, can we?
  • Wonder what the Illini’s upset of Indiana sounded like from the other side?


COMING UP ON WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY:  Purdue Thoughts, Prediction Standings, & Northwestern Predictions.


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Mike Goebel wrote on February 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Why not again!?!?! Illini 74, Purdon't 68.

Tim Ditman wrote on February 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm
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Groce/Painter soundbites have been added!

stumblefoot wrote on February 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I absolutely love that my last two picks against the Illini have been proven wrong.  Way to go fellas!

This time my brain and heart agree.

Illini - 65

Purdue - 56

Don't let me down fellas.  Win big going away, okay?

IlliniMike05 wrote on February 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Between you and Barnhart, is it WDWS policy to unnecessarily use ellipses over and over again, or just an unfortunate style decision both of you coincidentally made by yourselves? You're not nearly as bad as he is about it. I think he intentionally makes his blog entries unreadable with it. Or he's sneaking in subliminal messages somehow. Either way, he must be stopped.

coaxhdufus wrote on February 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm

i don't get it. Is it your policy to be a ...

Bwp 5P wrote on February 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Great Win ILLINI!

I promise to keep the good Karma going by picking against the Illini!! besides....I'm trying to keep pace with Marcus!!

Boilers 68

Illini 64

Good Luck Gang....PLEASE make me wrong again!!!!!

IlliniLuther wrote on February 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Starting to believe again...hope they don't let us down !


ILL 71   PU 58

Railsplitter wrote on February 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

ILLINI...80   Poopdue 64

Eric 22 wrote on February 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I feel like the win against Minny was bigger than most (not the people on this site) realize for the team's confidence.  Let's get the snowball rolling down the hill toward the big dance.

Ill - 70   Purdue - 64 (And they double Hammons like they did Mbakwe and DJ stops Bryd)

mbelcher wrote on February 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Purdue  72

Illinois  71

Hope I am wrong but I just know if I pick Illinois they will lose.  Go Illini!!

basketball junkie1123 wrote on February 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I will not be like for this

Purdue 75

Illinois 65

Painter has our number.

Green Shirt wrote on February 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Illinois    70

Purdue   60

CecilColeman wrote on February 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

"Hail to the ORANGE!!"  Article is correct  - - - - wear orange uniforms - - a trend started by football coach Bob Blackman in the early 1970's.

krervin2 wrote on February 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Illinois 69

Purdue 66

touchdown_illinois wrote on February 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Thanks Tim for correcting my error and combining my scores. Let's hope the O&B keep up the good play. That said I'll go with:

Illini 71

PU 64

With another couple of wins we are clearly off the bubble.

Bob Patterson wrote on February 12, 2013 at 12:02 am
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Illinois 73

Purdue 67

illiniearl wrote on February 12, 2013 at 2:02 am

Confidence and swagger are back and just at the right time!   Wednesday night is payback night - give em heck o and b!

Illinois  75

Purdoggiedoo   59

illiniphil85 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 6:02 am

Hoping Bill Self's curbstomping last night helps us to break the Keady Kurse.

Illini 71

PU 68


penniless wrote on February 12, 2013 at 6:02 am

Ilini still weak in close,but look for more of the same defense that Minny faced.This time Purdue will not prevail. Illini 71  Purdue 59   Our struggle starts with NU,UM,IW and ends with OSU,away games stink.To end with back to back losses just might pull the rug,we will see.

Gamefan49 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 8:02 am

We win this. The boys seem to have a renewed focus in the games.

Illini 73

Purdue 65

wincer_85 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm

That was another HUGE win for Illinois at Minnesota Sunday, even if Minnesota is struggling right now. Any win on the road in conference play is big. Throw in that Minnesota was ranked in top 25 last week, and you have another very good win the selection committee's eyes. Let's see how we respond after is probably the best week in Illinois basketball in about 3 years.  As we know, this team hasn't handled success very well  the last couple of years.

I think we match up well with purdue. Hammons has made some really good improvement over the course of the season and it is ok for him to get his points. We just can't let him get easy points and can't let Byrd get comfortable/open looks. The Johnson brothers (and there is a 3rd johnson i think) are good, but our guards can handle them. I think we make just enough shots and win in an ugly one.

Purdue: 53

Illinois: 59

PZervakis10 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Let's keep it rolling! 


Illini 80 

Purdue 68

illinirev wrote on February 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm

64-57 Illinois

tmh2196 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm

It is so nice to see Tyler playing well again.  When he plays/shoots well, this Illini team have a lot of wepons on offense.  If they can keep up their defensive intensity, and continue to shoot the ball well, they could make a run in the tournament.  But first they have to get there, and they need to beat Purdue to do that.  Keep it up Illini!




Boiler boys-65

BleedOandB wrote on February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

Nothing is a given in the B10. With Purdue having an 8 game winning streak against us is not fun, but it starts to get fun after the win tonight! It will be a typical B10 slugg fest, this time the good guys come out on top.....in OT

Team Groce  72

Pur  67

aaeismacgychel wrote on February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

Great wins this past week, but if I know anything about the Illini, whenever they take 2 steps forward, they retreat backwards as fast as humanly possibly. It will truly be interesting to see how they come out against Purdue as they go from being a big underdog to the favorite against a team that has had their number. I think they can and should win, but Purdue does have decent defense, and this might be a bit uglier game than the Illini like playing. I think Illinois can and should win, but I have a feeling this one is a heartbreaker and gets everyone upset. That's unfortunately life here...

Purdue: 61
Illinois: 58

With Illinois leading late but unable to make a field goal in the final 4 minutes allowing Purdue to steal it.

jruss62 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 9:02 am

Illini - 73

Leakie steam pipes - 67

IlliniGradDad wrote on February 13, 2013 at 9:02 am

Fighting Illini 70

Purdue 62



IlliniGradMom wrote on February 13, 2013 at 9:02 am

Illinois 68

Purdue 63

sunnyd503 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 9:02 am


Love my streak of being wrong. Everything says Illini are due to win this, but we have been Painter's whipping boys. And this is a trap game though I hope the Seniors are tired of losing to Purdue. Btw, a Russian person once told me that Purdue means fart in Russian. A quick Google search seems to confirm.

Matt's Methane 69 John's Jock 68

walker wrote on February 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

ILLINI  58  PURD  51

CLBlood wrote on February 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

Nemesis almost wins, but seniors come up big and hit the big free throws at the end. Then, Illini fans rush the court.

Illinois 66

Purdue 63

UIBaton8 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

Illinois 79

PurWho 65

74illini wrote on February 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

This is BIG statement game for the Illini.  We have lost 8 straight to Purdue.  Matt Painter and his players know very well how to break the Illini down.  We must come ready just as we did for Indiana and Minnesota.  Purdue is no exception to the rule and nothing about winning this game will be easy.  I think we will win this game but it will come in dramatic fashion. There is no reason to think Purdue will not take us to the wire.

I am very proud of the resolve these kids showed in their last 2 games.  They have matured a little bit from last year's team.  Now, can they take another step forward.  Illinois could be a team of no one wants in their bracket.  

Illinois 62

Purdue 59

Am I not in the standings anymore for season records?  ;)  I know your busy and its not making or breaking my day.  Appreciate the articles, specifically with the dynamics to them being able to archive audio and statistical information with ease.  

Tim Ditman wrote on February 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm
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Sorry, just now seeing this comment.  I did indeed drop you from the overall standings for some strange reason.  Sorry bout that.  I added you back in on the newest blog with a record of 4-2.  Does that sound right?  If not, shoot me an e-mail:  tditman@wdws.com.

buckhunter2 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

ILLINI    70

PUD      62

Tim Ditman wrote on February 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm
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Just a heads up folks...I'm working the game tonight so I won't have time to get a new blog post out til tomorrow evening.  Have your Northwestern picks ready to go!

Reillini wrote on February 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm



This game may not be pretty but I think we win... If I'm wrong again and this time on the bad side I'll never pick them to win again(This year).

Go Illini

JamesB wrote on February 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hasn't anyone in here seen the memo?  Purdue has beeten us 8 times in a row.


Purdue - 71

Ill - 67