Iowa thoughts, final standings, & a look ahead
And to think…my ISU fan neighbor in my hometown told me not to expect anything out of Jon Ekey…
Hey, the college basketball season may be long and tiresome. But it gives you a chance to regroup and finish strong. And that’s what we saw over the past two and a half weeks. Unlike previous Illini teams, the guys did not resign to their fate and instead played with a no fear attitude. Nnanna Egwu provided the defensive spark tonight, and when the big guy was in foul trouble, the rest of the squad was able to shoot well enough to tread water. This one wasn’t the high scoring slobberknocker that I predicted. In fact, the good guys held Iowa to a season low in points. But if a W comes in exchange for being wrong on that one prediction, I’ll take it.
Two postgame Groce soundbites for you...one on his belief that his guys are peaking at the right time, and another on Nnanna's play.
And now…drum roll please…
Our pick ‘em winner this season…with a record of 12-6 and a RSDT of 170 is…illinibadger! A few pickers were able to pull even with him this game, but he had enough of a cushion in the RSDT column to hang on to the lead. A shoutout, as well, goes to the 14 of you who picked every game this year. Thanks for your dedication.
Looking at just the Iowa game, eight of 17 pickers got the outcome right, with jruss62 and ERE nailing the margin of victory. We hadn’t heard from ERE in a while, so it was a nice pick to ride off into the sunset with.
Time to take a look ahead…
I really can’t give a postseason outlook until I see the NIT field, but whatever happens won’t really excite me or upset me. As I’ve said before, it’s more prep for next year. Just make sure no one gets hurt. Looking further ahead, it’s no secret that expectations will be higher next year with the three transfers coming into the fold. Sports fans are impatient by nature, but if you give Coach Groce some time, he can get this program rolling. And after this year, he and his staff know how to handle a rough stretch from a PR perspective.
So the end of this round of blogs means another round of thanks from me. Thanks to Jim Rossow and Mike Goebel of The News-Gazette for giving me the opportunity to write and promoting the blog so much. Thanks to the News-Gazette sports writers for putting up with me having top billing on IlliniHQ.com sometimes. And thanks to you all for reading and being kind when I do bad math. Each time I start a round of blogs, I reiterate that I’m going to keep things light and foster good banter, and I think we accomplished that this season. I’ll see you this fall for football picks!
[drum roll audio via baniger3711 on YouTube]