Iowa Thoughts, Standings, & OSU Predictions

Iowa Thoughts, Standings, & OSU Predictions

Illini and Hawkeyes, that one was…

Blog PhotoOK, I kid.  It wasn’t that awful.  But it reminded me a lot of the Illini team we saw in the stretch of games before Indiana.  Long shooting droughts (11 minutes in the first half in this case), circus shots, etc.  The team’s one saving grace, though, was its defense, even though the box score didn’t really show it.  But unlike previous years in the Big Ten, you can’t rely on defense alone this year if you want to be competitive.  I know a lot of you were comfortable with picking Iowa, and I don’t fault you for that, but in my eyes this is one that could have easily gone the Illini’s way if the shots were falling and the confidence was higher.  Let’s all just breathe a sigh of relief that this one wasn’t an NCAA Tournament taker-outer.

Rather than picking one postgame comment from Coach Groce, I decided to post the whole interview.  Enjoy.

Also interesting to note just seven minutes of playing time and no points for Myke Henry after his breakout performance vs. Nebraska.  Perhaps he had a bad week of practice...perhaps it just wasn't his night last night.  Who knows.

Blog PhotoTurning to the standings with one game to go…

Mbelcher takes top honors this game, with the picks split pretty much even among the 38 of you.  Overall, BleedOandB maintains his lead, but walko and penniless have finally caught up to him in the win column.  Walko is in the driver’s seat to win the end of the season prize, but penniless and Reillini could catch him.  We had two new pickers this game, which bumps us up to 85 pickers for the year.  I also heard from a few Iowa fans this go around, some of which disagreed with my assessment of Fran McCaffery.  It’s always good to hear the other side, and healthy debate is never a bad thing.

Blog PhotoAnd now, the end (of the regular season) is here.  And so I face the final curtain…

No bad losses on the OSU schedule since they last met the Illini.  Really no bad losses on their schedule period...and a heckuva good win last night at IU.  So not only is their confidence sky high, you can bet that last meeting with the Illini will be fresh on the mind of the Buckeyes this Sunday.  Heck, the beatdown was so bad I got bored in the first half.  And if recent history is any indication, you would think the Buckeyes would rebound with a big home win against the Illini.  That’s exactly what happened last year.  But back to the present…OSU is a well-rounded, well coached team that excels in most if not all areas of the game.  You just hope to catch them on an off day.  When I previewed the Illini’s first meeting with OSU this year, I said to keep an eye on free throw shooting as a possible Achilles Heel of the Buckeyes.  Well, recent box scores show that the team has shored up that category, as the percentages have gone from in the 60s to in or just near the 80s.

This is similar to the Michigan game.  It’s not a resume killer if you lose (just don’t get blown out)…and it’s like finding money on the street if you win.

MY PREDICTION:  Ohio State 69, Illinois 57

That prediction may seem low scoring, but the Illini have had low outputs in their last four road games, and OSU has been all over the place scoring-wise at home.  So it’s a best guess.

OK, this is it…the final prediction of the year.  Get your picks to me by tipoff on Sunday. 

Other notes:

I had the football staff changes on the backburner as a possible blog topic, but decided against it because things died down.  But with Bridge’s departure, I had to speak up.  Does all of the turnover concern everyone else?  It’s one thing to get the players to buy in to a system, but what message does it send when coaches up and leave for greener pastures, especially so quick after being hired?  This team, like last year, will pretty much be starting over from scratch.  And this time, there’s more pressure on the head man.

Another soundbite from the pregame show…from Brian Barnhart on the diminshing of the Iowa-Illinois basketball rivalry recently:

I agree with Brian…it’s a generational thing.  I’m 23 and don’t consider Iowa a rival at all.  I think in basketball, it’s Indiana, then everyone else.  In recent years, you could say MSU was a top rival, but honestly I think a lot of that had to do with the friendship/rivalry between Izzo and Weber.  And that’s obviously gone now.

  • Good to see the Shootout at the Hall taking shape.  If there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s Brian Easter at Centennial.  And the shootout is always fun for DWS staffers like myself, as we carry all of the games with the likes of Turpin-Tate (see photo below), Barnhart-Hester, and other great duos behind the mic.
  • Speaking of DWS, we’ll have supersectional high school hoops on the air tonight, as St. Joseph-Ogden takes on the Fighting Mike Tisdales of Riverton at 7:30.  SJO swept the SVC regular season and tournament championships and has playing its best basketball lately.

Blog Photo-Tim

COMING UP ON SUNDAY (the final post of the season):  OSU Thoughts, Final Standings, & A Look Ahead

[Spartan audio via, Spartan photo via tumblr]

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stumblefoot wrote on March 06, 2013 at 11:03 am

What in the devil has happened to Joe Bertrand?  Obviously teams have learned to take away his drives into the paint.  But, the kid looks nothing like the confident player he was earlier in the year.  He's tentative on taking the open shot and his defense seems to be digressing.  Anyway, I love watching the quiet kid, so somebody, anybody, please bring the old Joe back.

Illini - 64

Buckeyes - 72

74illini wrote on March 06, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I agree Joe Bertrand looked so tentative last night, and it led to a plethora of mistakes.  We played terrible on offense.  All we really do is play two man ball with the pick and roll with the other 3 players standing and waiting on the perimeter.  It boggles my mind to how we think we could ever win a game with that logic.  This game was a must win.  I will tell you right now Illinois will not win another game this season. @Ohio St., then likely a matchup against a Purdue team I want nothing to do with, with the current state of mind Illinois will have going into that game.  Illinois will likely finish losing 4 out of their last 5 finishing. 21-12:8-10.  It's going to be a real squeeze getting in the NCAA, odds are we will be a coin flip considering our numbers will only worsen from here on out.  The only chance at a Win in the NCAA is a matchup with a mid-major.

Ohio State 75

Illinois 59

bukey wrote on March 06, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I agree Joe Bertrand looks like he is lost out there. I think he has to get about half mad before he can play

penniless wrote on March 06, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Old soldiers never die,they just fade away.Clank,clank goes the trolley.Fading and Clanking all to familiar with Illini basketball now days.Just maybe, 5 new Freshmen will not Fade or Clank.I dislike OSU sports and it pains me with this forcast.  OSU   79    Faders and Clankers  61...NCAA,now thats a laugh....Selection Committee looks at whos hot and not who have fallen and can not get up.

touchdown_illinois wrote on March 06, 2013 at 2:03 pm

No way we win Sunday. But we're in the dance, based on the rest of the season. Proabably a 8 or 9 seed.

Nutjobs 71
Illini 54

Thanks, Tim, for running this. Tons of fun!! Can't wait to do this all again in football season!

Bwp 5P wrote on March 06, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Told the Wife early; "This is a Dental Game"! That's where it's so painful to's like going to the dentist!


Just awful awful AWFUL! It's hard to imagine how talented kids could be so lackadasical and unproductive!


OK....Keeping on with my Strategy..........I'm reversing course;

Illini 59

Buckeyes 15!

Yeh....I know....I know.........that's just dumb! Oh well!

stumblefoot wrote on March 06, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Here's hoping your RSTD is at least right!  44 has got to be the biggest ever.  Would love nothing more than for your prediction to come true.

basketball junkie1123 wrote on March 06, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Ohio 80

Illinois 50

Would bench all the starters?

Two more losses before the end, may we do not go to the dance, can not take any more

Eric 22 wrote on March 06, 2013 at 6:03 pm

OSU - 76 Ill-72,  here is to hoping 8-10 is good enough for the NCAAs.

illiniearl wrote on March 06, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I give up!   If I can't catch the leaders, then I'll join them with their winning picks.   Redemption time for the Buckeyes on their home court.

Illini: 61

OSU of The:  84

Green Shirt wrote on March 06, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Ohio State        77

Illinois               65

buckhunter2 wrote on March 07, 2013 at 8:03 am


OSU   71

illiniphil85 wrote on March 07, 2013 at 10:03 am

Keep zigging when I should be zagging. This one could be real ugly

O$U 77

Illini 66

basketball junkie1123 wrote on March 07, 2013 at 9:03 pm


Illinois 50

Maybe we do not get in the dance.  that will be on less lost. 

tmh2196 wrote on March 08, 2013 at 11:03 am

Bad loss to Iowa, but Iowa has only lost twice at home this year.  This TEAM plays up or down to its competition, and I think they have a chance to win this game.  Not a good chance, but a chance.  We need a TEAM effort, and big contribution from Joe, Tyler, and Egwu.  

Illini 74

OSU 72


GranadaClub wrote on March 08, 2013 at 11:03 am

I really can't abide by the notion of an 8-10 team -- no matter the conference -- getting an invite to the NCAA tournament.  So a win at Ohio State would likely be the signature highlight of this Illini team.  However, the odds are long for that happening.  And a less-than-.500 team should not receive an NCAA invite (leaving the conference tournament championship as its only route in).

illinirev wrote on March 08, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Only if Aaron Craft et al stay up way too late on Saturday night will our boys survive a beat down in Columbus. I think the 1 hour time difference to eastern time coupled with the additional 1 hour loss because of DST contributes to a very poor showing. Oh well.

the OSU 81

the UofI 68

Mike Goebel wrote on March 08, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Ohio State 75, Illinois 71



krervin2 wrote on March 08, 2013 at 6:03 pm


tOSU 63

Bob Patterson wrote on March 08, 2013 at 11:03 pm
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Ohio State 85

Illinois 71

Railsplitter wrote on March 09, 2013 at 6:03 am

Well ,since I can't win and I guess we aren't having a contest for the BIG tourney . I'm going to pick with my head instead of my heart sooooo...... ILLINI145  .... Suckeyes  5 . There that oughtta do it.

mbelcher wrote on March 09, 2013 at 8:03 am

OSU  78

Illinois  67

Reillini wrote on March 09, 2013 at 9:03 am



Can we win this game? Heck ya if we play well

Will we win this game?proably not, nothing in the last 4 games says that we are playing well enough to win it. I hope I'm wrong


Go Illini

sunnyd503 wrote on March 09, 2013 at 12:03 pm

This is a tough pick since Groce knows Matta so well and we crushed them last time. However, the Schott is a tough place to win and OSU is back on fire.

Suckeyes 69 Flyin TJ Wheelers 61

jruss62 wrote on March 09, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Illini - 68

OSU - 67

This is thinking with my heart not my head but it could happen.

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 09, 2013 at 11:03 pm

OSU 78
Illinois 62

BleedOandB wrote on March 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

I would say the team has impressed me most of the season. Time to bel I eve one more time

Ill 77

osu 74

walker wrote on March 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

ILL 64  OSU  60

corvus27 wrote on March 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

Buckeyes 71

Illini 59

wincer_85 wrote on March 10, 2013 at 11:03 am

I don't have enough time to put my regular paragraph(s) up here for this game. That probably makes a lot of people that read this happy. haha. So let's get right to it:


I think Illinois will come out and play tough today and I think we have a good shot of winning this game. Illinois probably needs this one a little more than Ohio State. Ohio St is coming off a big win with illinois coming off a disappointing loss. However, I am going to have to go with the Buckeyes today.

Illinois: 61

Ohio St: 68

smills89 wrote on March 10, 2013 at 11:03 am

OSU 70

Illinois 67

Tim Ditman wrote on March 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm
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I'm working on the final post of the season right now.  Look for it later tonight!