Ugly doesn't even begin to describe it.
Ouch. That one hurts. Losing at Northwestern is never fun, especially when the Wildcats are struggling as much as they are this season. It reminds me of this game from 2011 at Indiana , you know, the one where Tom Crean went through the concourse at the other Assembly Hall high-fiving fans. The good news is that Illini team ended up making the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps this one can recover as well, much as John Groce's first team did after a 2-7 Big Ten start.
Anyway, we have to pick three nominees for the Dick Van Dyke Appliance World  "WOW!" Play of the Game, so here they are. Cast your vote for your favorite in the comments below.
John Groce was much happier with his defense tonight, allowing Northwestern just 49 points on 37% shooting, but "anemic" was the word he used to describe the Illini offense.
On to tonight's efficiency stats, which were highly inefficient on both sides.
- 0.74 PPP
- 31.3 eFG%
- 30.4 OReb%
- 10.3 TO%
- 9.4 FTA/FGA
- 0.84 PPP
- 45.3 eFG%
- 13.3 OReb%
- 18.9 TO%
- 39.5 FTA/FGA
The Illini's shooting went from anemic in the first half to simply bad in the second half, but that wasn't enough to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit. Much like the game against Wisconsin, the Illini rebounded pretty well and took care of the basketball. But, the didn't get to the free throw line and missed shot after shot both inside and outside. Not a recipe for success, even against a bad Northwestern team. Purdue visits the State Farm Center on Wednesday night, and it's a game the Illini have to win, lest they want to head into a very tough five-game stretch on a three-game losing streak.
Thanks for reading.
The Wildcats and (especially) the Illini set the game of basketball back about 80 years with that first half performance. Woof. Somehow the Illini only trail 22-15, but let's look at the awful first half numbers.
- 0.54 PPP
- 19.4 eFG% (I didn't think a number that low was possible)
- 32.0 OReb% (Ekey needs to quit trying to tip dunk all of them)
- 10.8 TO% (the only good offensive stat for the Illini)
- 12.9 FTA/FGA
- 0.82 PPP
- 41.3 eFG%
- 17.6 OReb%
- 14.9 TO%
- 26.1 FTA/FGA
Illinois is rebounding pretty well and taking good care of the basketball. But, if you can't hit water falling out of a boat, none of that matters. Hoping the second half provides some reversion to the mean. Please.