Illini grade vs. Northwestern: F

Illini grade vs. Northwestern: F

Player of the game: John Shurna

With that shaggy mop and goofy-looking shot, John Shurna puts the fear of Harry Dunne in opponents. Then he pours in 24 points to beat Illinois for the third time in his career.


Illinois: C

Northwestern: A

Joseph Bertrand upped his intensity level in the second half, scoring consecutive buckets to give Illinois its first lead — 39-38 with 15:57 remaining.


Illinois: B

Northwestern: A

The 7-foot Leonard, hunting the perfect highlight, nearly bopped his head on the backboard while trying to pin a layup attempt against the glass.


Illinois: N/A

Northwestern: N/A

The 'Cats played the rare six-man rotation. So did the Illini, who had just one reserve play more than one minute. Weber: In "hindsight" he should've gone deeper.


Illinois: F

Northwestern: A

That Northwestern's coaches and players said the series is becoming more of a rivalry should sound an alarm in C-U. Illinois is 2-3 in their past five matchups.

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Illini_Fan_78 wrote on February 05, 2012 at 7:02 pm

 "Weber: In "hindsight" he should've gone deeper". How much money does he make? Coach if you can't figure that out earlier maybe you need to get another job...

crunchumorange wrote on February 05, 2012 at 9:02 pm

it's obvious that Bruce Weber is not a competent high major coach. Yes, the one lucky year was special, but, Like Turner and Zook, never to be recreated again.

PeterE wrote on February 05, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Disappointment, frustration, dissatisfaction, disgust and now apathy. Thanks Bruce!

penniless wrote on February 05, 2012 at 7:02 pm

F seems to be  to generous,you have clearly graded on  the curve.At this level of play, 19 wins not possible.

read the DI wrote on February 05, 2012 at 7:02 pm

When critics say Weber should shorten his bench, they don't mean abandon it.


Worst. Coach. Ever.

dave1956 wrote on February 05, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Goodbye Coach Weber. Join Ron Zook on the unemployment line. Why would any big time recruit come here knowing all he will be doing in his first year is to sit on the bench. No way Jabari Parker comes here. Why should he. a boring motion offense that looks like the Illini are stuck in mud. We need new blood. hire a coach that runs the fast break.

FloridaIllini wrote on February 05, 2012 at 7:02 pm

It appears the Keady coaching tree is pretty shallow rooted and dying from a lack of wins!

butkus50 wrote on February 05, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Most teams get better as season progresses. Illini playing since last summer and not getting any better. Illini have much talent on this team thanks to Coach Howard. The freshman class ranked high nationally yet Weber unable to find anyone but Abrams any playing time. Weber's style of play is boring and his constant walking and yelling on sideline is very annoying.

Illinois is a very good school in a large state; it should have good teams every year. It has been  difficult to get excited about either the football team or basketball team the last several years. It is not the losing, it is the way the games are coached. How long has it been sinch the chief retired? Who's job is it to get us a new mascot?  If left up to the administration, we will never have a replacement. Please students, get us a mascot. I'll suggest the galloping ghost dressed like Red Grange at football games and appears as ghost at other events. Hard to market a team without excitement and no mascot to rally around.

dave1956 wrote on February 05, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Whats happened to Sam maniscalco. He hasnt contributed anything for a long time. How long does it take to recover from an ankle injury? He hurt his ankle early lasy year and this year his ankle is still bothering him.

Col.Jessup wrote on February 05, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Butkus is right.  Political correctness is killing us.  We need the Chief.  

Moonpie wrote on February 06, 2012 at 9:02 am

You need your racism, Col. Jessup?

tominator wrote on February 05, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Sheesh. Longtime Weber backer and I've had enough. EVERY year he says he's going to "play a deeper bench" and EVERY year he doesn't. We should have run them outta the gym by rotating more, using our fresher legs.


What can you do with a coach who knows what needs to be done and stubbornly refuses to do it?


Last year we won a game (NU?) when Howard told him to press. It worked. Why didn't we do that today? Why don't we EVER do that?



Frozenfan wrote on February 05, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I too have been a long time Weber supporter.  However, this team was not ready to play today.  They were not in the game from the beginning.  This is the coach's responsibility and it seems worse each game.  Maybe it is time for a change.  However, the new Athletic Director needs to get a well known successful person and not an unknown if we expect good quality recruits.


jules61 wrote on February 05, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I have been a longtime Weber supporter also.  Not anymore.  I agreee with all of the bench talk.  We have some talent on that bench.  Who knew alot about Joe B until he played? now he has been starting.  Kudos to BP and ML.  We would be 0-? without their play.  Not saying that there are not good players but they seem to be the more consistent ones.  I like DJR also. I cringe when I see SM come on the court because bruce acts like that is his only option.  He is just not that good of a player.  and trying to make three's???? what the crap is that?  He just sucks the life out of me. and the hope.  I want to see the bench play more. No matter what coach is there next year, they have to be ready to play.  We do need a new coach and we need a mascot.  Political correctness is the most inane and stupid thing.  We lost our mascot for heavens sake!!!!!! Who should be able to take a schools mascot from them?????? Who ever let that happen in the home office ought to be scalped. We are losing our country and our individuality and our uniqueness.  Our never say die attitude.  I am sick of it. You can get rid of everyone but Jerrance.  He is not ready to be a coach but he may be in the future.  It is just starting to look like the Henson era. Yikes.

tntsher wrote on February 06, 2012 at 10:02 am

Jules61, I agree with much of what you have to say. I was also a Weber supporter. Last year began to turn my opinion of his "coaching" and this year has totally done me in. Few players seem to be "coached UP" during his tenure. One of the reasons that I stayed behind him was Deron Williams gave Weber credit for making him a better point guard, but I have not seen this happen since Deron. The depth of his bench is RIDICULOUS every year. The fact that only Sam played any bench minutes is also ridiculous! I thought early in the year that the SAM PROJECT was going to help this team and he is a hard nose kid, BUT, he obviously is still not back even to 70% as he looks like he's running in mud. Right now, he is a liability on defense and hasn't been any better with his shot or passing. Myke Henry should be seeing more time and Sam less. Egwu needs to give Meyers a breather or two and I just bought milk this morning and Griffey's picture was on it. I also like DJR, but yesterday his defense was atrocious. Many of NW's layups came when DJ got beat off the dribble and even though he hit a couple treys, it was like he didn't want to shoot and he had several open looks that he pssed up.

There are two areas I have to take exception with you though. First of all, the U of I NEVER had a "mascot". CHIEF was NOT a mascot, but a symbol of a proud University and state and a symbol of what should have been viewed as a proud state wide HERITAGE. CHIEF never pranced around during the game trying to get the crowd into the game like a mascot. A mascot is more or less an extention of the cheerleading corps. CHIEF only came out at halftime and in harmony with the band playing the 3 in 1, did an authentic Native American dance (even though many try to say otherwise) that symbolized the heritage and pride of ILLINI NATION. Some even take offense at that term, ILLINI NATION, thinking that we now even consider ourselves a Tribe. But those same shortsided people surely realize that nearly EVERY sports teams fans are identified in that way. Cardinal Nation is what StLouis baseball fans are called and there is no thought of it being insensitive. Tiger Nation, Husker Nation, the community of followers of that program, NOTHING MORE. So, if you are saying we need CHIEF back, as a endearing SYMBOL of our University, our State and our Heritage, I agree 100%!! Liberal Political Correctness IS killing this nation and we need to take back those things that have meaning and purpose.

Secondly, to say that the program under Weber is starting to look like the Henson era, you must have only been a UI fan from the mid 90's. I could only wish that this program was even remotely beginning to look like a Lou Henson coached program. Sure, Lou's last few years were not what fond memories are made of, but those last few poor seasons, as anyone who followed ILLINI BB throughout Lou's years, were the result of a witchhunt by the ncaa started by a weasel named bruce pearl, who is getting what he deserves now btw. Even though nothing was ever found that Lou or his assistants had done wrong, the ncaa slapped UI with stiff penalties that NO coach could overcome for several years. Lou Henson's legacy will be his great teams of the 80's and early 90's and a program that was among the best in the nation year in and year out. Oh, to return to those days of a Henson program, we could only be so lucky!!!

read the DI wrote on February 07, 2012 at 11:02 am

Point of fact: The push to ban the Chief was launched and driven by Indians, a group of people who hardly could be labeled liberals. Really, they are the exact opposite of liberal.


Illini Hawk wrote on February 05, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Backcout:  C

Frontcout:  B

Bench:  Incomplete

Final Grade:  F

The only way to come up with a Final Grade of F from these grades is to give the coaching an F.  No argument here.

We are all sick and tired of Keady Ball.  Make a change - it is long overdue.

Dan Bloeme wrote on February 05, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I second that. A big "F" for Weber. Refuses to rest his troops, plays most of the starters 40 minutes, against lowly Northwestern at home no less. Illini bench is underutilized, ignored, underdeveloped, untaught, unused. This is some of the worst coaching I have ever seen at Illinois. Terminate WEBER!

read the DI wrote on February 06, 2012 at 7:02 am

Take a look at the shot chart. Richardson takes all his shots from one spot, Man-excuse-o from one spot, Paul from one spot. Abrams only shoots down the middle. Leonard only shoots in the paint. They are utterly predictable and thus easy to guard.

Btw, Paul is shooting less than 40% for the season, and has more games under 20% than over 50%. He might end up being the first guy to lead the Big Ten in scoring while also shooting under 40% for the season since the 1950s.

Moonpie wrote on February 06, 2012 at 9:02 am

I enjoy the views being shared here, even though I like Weber a little more than some of the folks posting.

Be assured, though, that Sleepy Gazoo and Moses Tate surrogates are rushing here from their bubbles to try and shout everyone down.

They can't stand facts, reality, truth!

beekay wrote on February 06, 2012 at 9:02 am

Well, I waited to see if changes would occur.  I have appreciated the way that Bruce Weber has conducted this program.  And I do believe that he can coach well...if the players on the court are the right guys to execute his system.  But good coaching adapts to the players that are available.  For example, you can't take a non-shooter and expect him to turn into a 3 point shooter if the player wasn't gifted with that skill.  At this point, to my disappointment, this program definitely seems in need of a change at the head coaching level.

We have witnessed a team that slowly and methodically runs it's half court offense on the perimeter trying to figure out a way to get the ball into Myers Leonard.  They are athletes who haven't been released to play fast, so nothing that they do comes instinctively.  Everything is timid.  This results in the shot clock ticking down and hoping to get a good look at a three pointer.  And many times, we get a decent look...but there aren't enough good 3 point shooters on this team to make that kind of offense work.  When we get the ball to Leonard, there is often a sigh of relief that we were able to just get the ball to him.  An entry pass still needs to be a "good" entry pass for it to be effective.  If Leonard has been pushed out of the lane when he gets the ball, then he isn't going to have a high percentage shot.  So throwing it to him there isn't a good entry pass.  Defensively, I like man-to-man defense because it gives you a better chance of getting rebounds.  But an occasional switch to a zone isn't a bad thing as long as you teach an active zone defense.  Some players look at a zone defense as an opportunity to relax.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  An active zone defense can be very effective.  Syracuse and Baylor have done very well this year and they utilize zone defenses.  Again, I'm not fond of using zone defense a lot, but dabbling in it occasionally can change the flow of the game if it is done effectively.

The Illini program should be known for getting up and down the court quickly.  They should play fast, create more turnovers, and I believe that we should be able to value the possession more effectively than we do.  But if we are going to typically have turnovers, then let's do it by playing fast.  Let's crash the boards on missed field goals and use our athleticism.  The system that is currently in place just doesn't work with this personnel.  We have shown that we have the athletes to compete, but our total body of work demonstrates that we don't have a system that allows us to excel.

Rlyons wrote on February 06, 2012 at 11:02 am

Yesterday's game had nothing to do with the Chief.  Yesterday's game was all about a game plan poorly drawn up and executed.  A Chief doesn't draw up game plan, so please stay to the real subject at hand, which is "why did we lose and what do we need to do to get to the NCAA tournament this year". 

Carmody out coached our coach period.  With a short bench, he slowed down the game, and played to his strengths: spreading the floor, creating mismatches after switches and getting open look 3 point attempts.  What did our coach do?  He slowed down also instead of running them out of the gym with fresh legs 9 and 10 deep.  He had a 7 footer covering a wing and giving the shooter clean looks by being 5-10 ft. away from him.  Granted, the kid had not shot well in resent games, but he had shot well during the early portion of the season.  When he hit the first one, you have to go get him.  Look what making his first 3 of the year did for Joe B.  Meyers L. was clearly tired as the game progressed, slower to ball and too defend.  He is young and needs to sit down at least 3 minutes each half.  Egwu is effective enough.  Has the coaching staff forgotten his first game against NW?  Sam M. is unfortunately hurt and appears to be at best a mid major player.  Judging by the early games versus the BT season, Sam needs to mentor Tracy from the bench and at practice.  When resting Tracy, BP is a much better replacement than Sam at the point.  I find myself being negative to Sam during the game, but the coach is really at fault here by playing him.  Fans around me yesterday began to be very disparaging to Sam.  He is trying, but the coach is setting him up for failure.  Carmody exploited Sam every time he was on D and backed off and allowed him to shoot.  What is he about 1 for 20 during the last 4-5 games?

How can Jerrance recruit players when the coach Weber does not allow them to play?  If I were an opposing coach on the recruitment trail, that is the first thing I would bring up.

Where are the students?  The fan base is declining and now the new A.D. continues to talk of renovation.  Why waste I Fund monies on renovation when we can not get the student body to show up and paid for seats are empty.  The most excitment yesterday were the elementary aged girls' jump rope team.  I don't remember the fans in the stands being up and applauding except at the end of their half time show.  The fans around me were extremely frustrated by the display on the floor during the game.  Can we get to the tournament?  Hopefully with 4 wins in the remaining regular 8 games of the season.  At .500 for the BT season with wins over MSU and OSU, then probably so. 

Sorry for the long post, but I am frustrated, not with the players, but with the way they are being used.  That feeling speaks to the coach and his ability of not being able to coach the players up.

Bear8287 wrote on February 07, 2012 at 12:02 pm

 "What is he about 1 for 20 during the last 4-5 games?"

Actually it's not quite that bad. 

From the box scores on, it looks like 1 for 14 (0 for 11 from 3 point range) in 104 minutes of play. Presumably, Coach Weber is looking at the low turnovers (4) in those 104 minutes. (Fits well with the Coach's apparent "playing not to lose" philosophy.)

If Coach Weber's worrying over keeping his job keeps pushing the team down this path, he may become (has become?) his own worst enemy.

There is a lot of talent and athleticism on this team.  I'd like to see them loosen up and have some fun. I'm beginning to believe that even when this team wins, that maybe they're not really allowed to enjoy it.  The Illini have a 7 footer that runs like a deer. How about opening the game up a bit and just out running our opponents? If we were going to lose to NU, I'd rather have at least seen the younger players gain some valuable playing experience.

know nothing about basketball wrote on February 06, 2012 at 11:02 am

How do you become a fan of Wisconsin or some other team.  I am tried of exuses.  If we had switch to a zone would of we stop the easy baskets.  Weber you just got out coach again.  All summer long how great are freshman were going to be.  Now it is how weak. 

My worry is we get some one worse. 

PeterE wrote on February 06, 2012 at 12:02 pm

That is the same short-sighted refrain we hear from most of the weber worshipers. "If we get rid of Weber, we may get someone worse or we aren't going to find anyone better than Weber." I call BS! No one knows that Thomas can't find a better coach for Illinois in the long run (or short run) than Bruce. Same people that are content with Weber and mediocrity probably believe Illinois will do worse and use that myopic thinking to keep Weber entrenched at Illinois. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to take a risk if you are ever going to change things and improve on them. Thank God, AD Mike Thomas is not averse to making a change.

ATOillini wrote on February 06, 2012 at 12:02 pm

It is sad that it even pops into my head, but in reviewing the grades listed here I could only laugh remembering that famous line from Animal House..."Has no grade point average. All courses incomplete."

hopefulmike wrote on February 06, 2012 at 2:02 pm

More Chief. Less Moonpie, No Weber

davidfromcincy wrote on February 06, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Lon Kruger and Bill Self had this program on the verge of being nationally relevant. Bruce Weber's lasting legacy is a rivalry with Northwestern.

Dan Bloeme wrote on February 07, 2012 at 10:02 am

Rivalry with Northwestern? Equals with the kitties? Is this what Illinois under Weber has been reduced to? WRONG DIRECTION BRUCE!! Your time is up. Please leave the premises quietly, we don't want any trouble with you.