So much for a late Valentine’s Day present, eh Congressman?
Tonight was one of those games where the Illini were playing just well enough early to maintain a slim lead, and you were subtly crossing your fingers under your lap that the bounces and calls kept going the way they were going. And that did happen…until about four minutes into the second half when momentum shifted completely the other way. Aaron Craft was his usual make-you-pull-your-hair-out self, registering a game high 14 points while in foul trouble for a good chunk of the game. In hindsight, I feel foolish tabbing this one as a high scoring affair.
Of the few bright spots, Coach Groce highlighted one with Brian and Jerry afterward...
To my favorite part…the numbers!
All but four of you correctly picked this one, with illiniearl taking top honors for the second game in a row…this time with Railsplitter alongside. Alongside his/her pick, Bwp 5P brought up a point that’s been in the back of my mind this season – the low assists totals for the Illini. ESPN has us at 10 per game, which is good for 338th in the country. Yikes. Looking at the overall standings, two of our three lead dogs from last game picked Illinois this go around, so they drop out of first place…leaving illinibadger all alone at the top. Looks like the picks are going to come down to the wire…hope you all are having fun with it!
Now, time to drink some minnie soda…
This one shakes out similar to Ohio State. The Gophers have had an up and down Big Ten season and are fighting for an NCAA Tournament berth. The offense stops and starts with Andre Hollins, who was limited with an ankle injury recently but played well in the Gophers’ most recent contest. In that game, the Gophers were done in by long shooting droughts and untimely turnovers. And media reports out of Minneapolis also indicate that defensive rebounds may be there for the taking on Wednesday, as Minny tends to be scared to get beat on defense, so they rush back down the court after a shot.
My prediction: Minnesota 60, Illinois 50
Also want to make note on something related to Minnesota basketball that I denied for a long time. That is, The Barn is a really underrated atmosphere. Like State Farm Center, the building has a unique layout (raised floor, arched ceiling, winding stairways, etc.), and The Barnyard student section is loud and creative. And the Gophers have a 13-2 home record this year to show for all that. Now…if it just weren’t so dang cold up there.
Other notes (well, just one actually)…
Coming up Wednesday: Minny thoughts, standings, & Nebraska predictions
[Underwood audio via Netflix, Underwood photo via Netflix & ohiostatebuckeyes.com, selfie gif via BTN]