Illini grade vs. Auburn: B

Bob Asmussen's take on Saturday's game in Chicago: Illinois 81, Auburn 79

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Illinois’ Tracy Abrams
Apparently, a week was enough time for the guard to get over a dreadful performance against Missouri. Illinois doesn’t end a three-game United Center skid without the career-high points and rebounds from the former Chicago Mount Carmel star. And he made big defensive plays too.

BACKCOURT
Auburn B-, Illinois B

Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson struggled with their shooting (a combined 5 for 19), but they contributed in other ways, pulling down 12 rebounds. It’s a good sign for Illinois that it can win when Paul is 0 for 4 on three-pointers.Frankie Sullivan helped get Auburn back in the game, hitting five three-pointers.

FRONTCOURT
Auburn C, Illinois C

Nnanna Egwu did not continue his offensive ways from the Braggin’ Rights game. Illinois will need more than two rebounds from him once Big Ten games start. Tyler Griffey his usual steady self, hitting key shots from the floor. Auburn’s Rob Chubb (his real name) was effective on the inside.

BENCH
Auburn C-, Illinois B+

 Joseph Bertrand, Sam McLaurin, Myke Henry and Devin Langford were a combined 7 of 8 from the field, scoring 19 points. McLaurin showed his experience in the final minute, saving the Illini a turnover by making himself available for an outlet pass. Most of Auburn’s points came from the starters, which could be a problem in the SEC.

OVERALL
Auburn C, Illinois B

Turn off the panic buttons, Illini Nation. This isn’t going to be a repeat of the 2011-12 meltdown. Next step for John Groce’s team is to go to Purdue on Wednesday and get a rare Illini win at Mackey Arena.  Could be a tough year for the Tigers, though the SEC isn’t loaded in this sport.

Comments

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bgrant52 wrote on December 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Easier grader than I would have been. I watched the entire game and we should have one this game handily. I don't understand why Bertrand doesn't play and shoot more. Brandon has to realize he isn't the only player on this team. Better play better Wednesday night....

JohnUI82 wrote on December 30, 2012 at 3:12 am

It does seem like success goes to Paul's head. He was terrific at Gonzaga when his points came within the offense. Since then, he's tried to do too much by himself. This team has enough shooters that he shouldn't have to force anything unless the shot clock is expiring. Same thing happened last season after Ohio State. But I'll take 13-1 heading into the conference schedule. I doubt the most optimistic Illini fan expected better than that.

smartines wrote on December 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

You have to wonder by Bertrand doesn't play more, especially when the other guys are having an off night shooting (again).  It's not like he is a liability on defense or rebounding either.  

geriatricillini wrote on December 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I hope Tracy's back is ok after carrying us today. He deserves a free massage from the rest of the team. I really don't care what the game looks like. I'll take any kind of win no matter what. The Big 10 is a mine field...no one will get out of there unscathed. I do agree we woulda lost this game today as well as the last one by a lot more last year. Welcome to winning ugly..I won't gripe. It's a damn "W" ain't it?

OKOMIS wrote on December 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm

And its those one or two extra games that get you in the tournament… One thing I notice and like about this team… when they’re having an off game… they aren’t moping, not hanging their head…no pouting..not the terrible body language we saw the last 5 years.. 


 

lmaran wrote on December 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Joe Bertrand was under the weather and Marcus wrote that he got back the day after the others. Against Mo. the coach said the effort was off the chart, but we strayed from the system. It was obviouis today that the guys were trying to be within the system. And this might has tested some fans' system of "shoot the damn ball". !

GO ILLINI!

trueillinifan wrote on December 30, 2012 at 8:12 am

Bench should be a A as McLaurin, Henry, Bertrand and Langford all had key rebounds, assists, steal and points. Good job guys. Backcourt -- it is good to see when one one guy is off another is there to pick it up. Paul and DJ please recognize this and play a little looser. I think they are putting too much pressure on themselves as seniors. This is making them shoot tight.


Rebounding--I still say we need Ibbys 245lbs in there even for only 5 minutes and 5 fouls. He is built like a big ten banger. We are going to need that in the big ten and the NCAA if we make that with our rebounding weakness being discuss on ESPN.  Very please to see Nanunanu hitting those 15-18ftrs--sweet shot too. Griffey is Mr Consistent--he needs to shoot more. He is a much higher percentage shooter within the offense than when he creates or rushes.


I agree with the "no heads down" comment.  Great to see the entire team fighting and fighting and fighting the entire game.   


Happy Tracys mom got to see a great performance from him. Can we pay for her to go to every game???   Just a thought.

ifullofit wrote on January 01, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Its time to get our 3 point shot back. More arch and square up DJ.

   Illinois 80 Purdue 69