IU thoughts, standings, & PSU predictions

To paraphrase the great Dan Hicks…did you expect anything different from Illinois and Indiana?

Blog PhotoAnd it was fitting that the Illini’s X factor so far this season sealed this one.  It’s been written about a bunch this year, so I’m not breaking any new ground here.  But you really can’t put into words what a difference Ray Rice has made for this squad.  His talent speaks for itself, but today while watching the game I focused on his mannerisms and saw someone who isn’t going to let the bright lights of the Big Ten phase him…and someone who isn’t afraid to puff his chest out when the situation calls for it.  Case in point…a scrum in the first half involving Ekey and an Indiana player.  Ray rushed in to defend his teammate and even politely told the official to chill.

My gushing aside, today was a gritty win that dispels the rumors that this team can’t finish.  They were able to hang around despite a below average output from long range, which Coach Groce addressed in his postgame radio interview.

To the numbers…

Blog PhotoNice job all around this first game, as 25 of 29 pickers correctly picked the victor with all of the RSDTs in single digits, including five of you who nailed the margin of victory.  A special shoutout goes to my colleague Mike Goebel for prognosticating that this one would go to OT.  And I think Gocart was spot on with his analysis that Yogi Ferrell would have a tougher time with the O and B this time around.  I say tougher rather than tough because he certainly had a good day in a losing effort.

On to the next one…

I think this Onion-esque article can articulate the perception of Penn State Basketball better than I can.  Did you give it a read?  Mmkay, good.  See you next blog.

Blog PhotoOk, I kid…I kid.  It’s still a rebuilding process for the Lions, but I think the arrow is pointing up.  Tim Frazier is back and playing as advertised and is flanked by three other starters in double figures.  Transfers John Johnson and Jordan Dickerson are starting to work themselves into the fold as well, although it remains to be seen what their long term roles will be.  What stands out to me in this series more than the Xs and Os, though, are the odd and entertaining occurrences…

  • Rich McBride’s game-winner that was waved off in 2006.  BTN replays this game every once in a while, and if you listen closely during the final minutes, you can hear a potty-mouthed Orange Krusher voicing his displeasure.
  • The Orange Krush invasion of BJC in 2007 (photo above).  It may not be the group’s best sneak attack, but given the length of the trip, it was the one that required the most dedication.
  • The low scoring affair in 2009 that left fans wanting refunds and left James Naismith rolling in his grave, according to then-PSU coach Ed DeChellis.
  • The blizzard game of 2011 (photo below).  I made the mistake of walking to the Hall that night and almost got buried by a snowplow along the way.  Inside, the atmosphere was bizarre with only 3500 people in attendance and the students more concerned with getting a snow day (they did) than the game.
  • The blizzard game, part two, last year, with around 7700 in the stands.  Don’t worry, though…no snow in the forecast on Saturday.

Blog PhotoBack to the present day…

My prediction:  Illinois 79, Penn State 69 

PSU has been a high scoring team this year, but that trend ends Saturday.  Also look for the Illini’s three point shooters to shine in this one, as various media reports point to defending the long ball as PSU’s biggest weakness.

One other nugget just for fun…as this guy is the leader in the clubhouse for best sports name of the year.  Got one better?  Post it below.

-Tim

Coming up Saturday:  PSU thoughts, standings, & Wisconsin predictions

[Krush photo via ESPN, Hall photo via Spencer Turkin]

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Mike Goebel wrote on December 31, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I am changing my name to Sage.

Now, for a repeat.

Illinois 75, Penn State 66

illinibadger wrote on December 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm

UIUC 75, PSU 70

krervin2 wrote on December 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm

ILLINOIS 75

PSU 64

Railsplitter wrote on January 01, 2014 at 12:01 am

Illini...73  Nitsy Lions ....67

IlliniMike93 wrote on January 01, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Illinois 74
Penn St 63

smccaw_11748 wrote on January 01, 2014 at 2:01 pm

ILLINI 68

PSU 60

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

Illini 71

PSU 64

conner34 wrote on January 01, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Illini - 69

PSU - 64

Green Shirt wrote on January 02, 2014 at 8:01 am

Illinois         75

Penn State 68

BleedOandB wrote on January 02, 2014 at 9:01 am

I hope they dont set a record for lowest points of the season


ILL 64


PSU 58

Bob Patterson wrote on January 02, 2014 at 11:01 am
Profile Picture

Illinois 73

Penn State 68

ERE wrote on January 02, 2014 at 3:01 pm
Profile Picture

Illini 76

Penn State 60

stumblefoot wrote on January 02, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Fighting Illini = 73

Purring Kitties = 68

twiggy354 wrote on January 02, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Illinois 77
PSU 68
 

Am I the only one that thinks we'll be losing at halftime?  It won't matter though.

illiniearl wrote on January 02, 2014 at 10:01 pm

I'm back in catch up mode, bummer!

Illini  74

PSU  70

jruss62 wrote on January 03, 2014 at 8:01 am

ILLINI.........77


PU............64

buckhunter2 wrote on January 03, 2014 at 9:01 am

ILLINI   74

PSU     65

walker wrote on January 04, 2014 at 12:01 am

illinois 67  penn st  61

teachdacc wrote on January 04, 2014 at 8:01 am

Illini 76 PSI 69

IndianaBill wrote on January 04, 2014 at 9:01 am

Illini 85

PSU 72

mvillini wrote on January 04, 2014 at 10:01 am

  Love this team - FUN to watch !!! Who does Egwu think he is ? Miles Leonard ? Taking 3 pointers from between the circles. Play him a little lower, where he belongs ! That said, Illini 79, Penn State 72.