Nonconference season thoughts & Indiana predictions

Nonconference season thoughts & Indiana predictions

It’s time to put your fake Internet money where your mouth is and start picking.  But first, let’s talk about how we got here.

Blog PhotoI was keeping an eye on three things during nonconference play.  One, will the Illini gel with all the newcomers on the squad?  I think the answer so far is yes, with guys falling into their roles nicely.  Two, how will the block/charge rule change impact things?  At first, it was all we could talk about.  And rightfully so, because I’m in the majority that thinks it’s a bad change.  But the hubbub has died down, and I think coaches have now had plenty of time to coach their guys to deal with it.  Three, who will rise to the top in the Big Ten?  Over the past couple weeks, I watched at least one game featuring the three top dogs, and to me Wisconsin looked like the most complete team.  That’s not to say MSU or OSU have no chance.  But, the Badgers are the leaders in the clubhouse right now.

As far as prospects for the Illini go, this year seems similar to last year.  The talking heads aren’t expecting the O & B to be at the top of the mountain, but the talent is there to do so.  A finish in the top half, maybe even top third, of the Big Ten and a couple wins in the Big Dance will keep the needle moving forward.  (You’ll note that unlike this football season, I am setting expectations for John Groce’s squad.  Read between the lines however you’d like there.)

Turning our attention to the candy stripers…

Blog PhotoYou don’t need me to tell you that this is a rivalry game that both squads will get up for no matter how the seasons are going.  The two rosters look somewhat similar this year in that they both feature plenty of either newcomers or underclassmen.  In fact, the Indianapolis Star earlier this month deemed the Hoosiers “young, raw, and full of potential.”  And I’d be inclined to agree.  Yogi Ferrell has embraced his role as the go-to guy and is one of the few IU players who have improved their three point shooting.  The team also is tops in the nation in rebounding margin, so the Illini big men will need to step up on Tuesday.

My prediction:  Illinois 75, Indiana 70 (a painfully familiar score, but this time it’s in the O & B’s favor)

Side note…I’m probably going to be labeled a Grinch for this, but I think it’s time to move on from endlessly playing the Griffey layup highlight.  It was a top moment in Illini sports history, for sure, but let’s show the current squad that it is our focus.  As a wise animated character once said…

So you know the drill.  Get me your prediction by tipoff Tuesday.  It’s the start of a long, fun journey.

-Tim

Coming up Tuesday:  Indiana thoughts, standings, & Penn State predictions

[Crean photo via AP & NBC]

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Mike Goebel wrote on December 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Illinois 68, Indiana 66 (OT). That's right. Some extra work on New Year's Eve for Marcus Jackson!

Bob Patterson wrote on December 29, 2013 at 12:12 am
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Indiana 72

Illinois   65

Railsplitter wrote on December 29, 2013 at 4:12 am

Illini 68  Indiannna 63

Tim Ditman wrote on December 29, 2013 at 11:12 am
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Railsplitter, you already gave me a pick...

http://www.news-gazette.com/blogs/fans/2013-12/happy-holidays-now-let%E2...

...so I have to go with that one.  Sorry if there was any confusion on my end.

-Tim

Railsplitter wrote on December 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

No problem Tim. I yhought you might have deleted it sin ce I didn't see it.

Green Shirt wrote on December 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

Illinois     71

Indiana   70

BleedOandB wrote on December 29, 2013 at 10:12 am

Ill68

Ind 64

conner34 wrote on December 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

Illini 67

indy 64

krervin2 wrote on December 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

ILLINOIS 66

IU 64

drcc4 wrote on December 29, 2013 at 11:12 am

Indiana  78

Illini        73

Gocart wrote on December 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm
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Illinois 72

Loosiers 61

Yogi finds bigten more difficult without last year's roster!

stumblefoot wrote on December 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Illini - 69

Loosiers - 66

twiggy354 wrote on December 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Illinois 72
Indiana 65

PZervakis10 wrote on December 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Glad to have Tim's blog back.

 

Illini 70

IU 64

 

I-L-L!!!

mbelcher wrote on December 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Illinois  69

Indiana  60

buckhunter2 wrote on December 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

ILLINI   71

HOSERS  67

IlliniwekMerica wrote on December 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

Illinois - 70

Whoosiers? - 65

walker wrote on December 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

Hoosiers have no answer for Rice.   ILL 77  IND  69

jruss62 wrote on December 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

ILLINI .........66


Indiana.......60


 


 

illiniearl wrote on December 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

Indiana 79

Illini 68

IndianaBill wrote on December 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm

ILLINI  79

 

INDIANA 75

touchdown_illinois wrote on December 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm

UI 66

IU 64

Thanks for running this again, Tim!

ehsfan wrote on December 30, 2013 at 7:12 pm

IU 65 Illini 59

brownie832 wrote on December 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm

ILLINI 69

HOSERS 64

 

mvillini wrote on December 31, 2013 at 9:12 am

    It's nice to pick the good guys for a change. Illini 65, Hoosiers 62.

smccaw_11748 wrote on December 31, 2013 at 10:12 am

iLLINI 74

IND - 65