Illini grade vs. Purdue: C minus

Illini grade vs. Purdue: C minus

Our breakdown of Purdue's 68-61 win against Illinois in Wednesday's Big Ten opener at Mackey Arena:

Player of the Game: Purdue’s D.J. Byrd
Hey D.J., the 1950s called, they want their haircut back. He looks like an extra from Hoosiers, but he hadn’t been shooting like Jimmy Chitwood. Until Illinois arrived Wednesday. The hustling Byrd hit four three-pointers and had a critical rebound in the final seconds.

Purdue A, Illinois C

Not only did Terone Johnson bother Brandon Paul’s offense, he scored a game-high 25 points himself. Throw in nine rebounds and he could have been POTG. Paul hit a couple of big three-pointers in the final minutes, but more important were four turnovers. Tracy Abrams followed his career game against Auburn with a decent performance.

Purdue C+, Illinois C+

Hats off again to Nnanna Egwu, who didn’t add much offense, but got in the Boilermaker heads with five blocked shots. Do that every night and the rest of the league will be talking. Jacob Lawson made good use of his 22 minutes, with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Purdue C-. Illinois B-

Sure, Joseph Bertrand scored 14 points. But it took him 15 shots to do it. Sam McLaurin is the only other Illini to score off the bench, hitting a pair of free throws. Boilermakers didn’t add many points (nine) but did a solid job on the glass (11 rebounds).

Purdue A-, Illinois C-

Welcome to the Big Ten, John Groce. Going in, it looked like a chance for an easy win. But they are never easy for Illinois at Mackey Arena. Mustering their inner-Brian Cardinal, the Boilermakers looked an NCAA tournament team. For a night. Hard to believe they were 6-6 going in.

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griff507 wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 pm

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Back to making the same old bad passes, taking the same old bad shots, and not fighting for rebounds. This is a pretty bad Purdue team, and we just made them look like a top 20 team. Coach, all your hard work on passing and dribbling, have been forgotten by the whole team. If we play like this against OSU next game, they will eat our lunch.

Oh, how I wish the big ten would wake up, and fire Ted Valentine! He is without a doubt THE WORST official in basketball. I won't blame our poor play on him, but he does make more bad calls, both ways than any other official accross the country. I watch a lot a ball, and he makes bad calls everywhere.


oandb wrote on January 02, 2013 at 10:01 pm

excuses again from Champaign. There is obviously one senior guard who needs to be benched in order to right the ship. AWFUL loss to an awfull team, The Illini will be lucky to go .500. 

illinizeeman wrote on January 03, 2013 at 3:01 am

Frontcourt - D

No rebounding and little scoring from the bigs again.


crackerman wrote on January 03, 2013 at 4:01 am

Welcome to the Big Ten Groce!

ilhoops wrote on January 03, 2013 at 10:01 am

I don't understand how you can say Tracy Abrams played decent?  He makes terrible decisions when he gets the ball past the half court line.  He puts his head down and forces terrible shots in the lane hoping for a foul.  I have never seen him give an assist to anyone but especially Egwu.  He is terrible at anticipating people stepping up and then dishing.  His job is not to score 27 pts a game.  He is suppose to control tempo and get everyone involved.  Plus, the opposing guards destroyed us by getting into the lane (same as mizzou).  It is a lot harder to rebound well when guards get into the lane at will and cause our big men to step out, leaving the boards open when these floaters go up.

calvin wrote on January 03, 2013 at 11:01 am

Offense will always looks like this as the team has no true point guard.......putting a non-point guard in that position and calling him one will not make it so.......also, these players have always been poor ball handlers. With an offense predicated on driving to the basket, this is always going to be a problem.  Of concern however, is giving up key plays such as the rebound and time out at the end of the game when the Purdue player went out of bounds.  I could only listen to the game, so I couldn't see how the player got to this ball after his teammate missed both free throws and handed us a golden opportunity.........that seems to be want to, and we missed out on that one.

bluegrass wrote on January 03, 2013 at 11:01 am

Oh NOOOO. Our second loss of the year was a Big Ten road game.  Let's bench our best players who had an off night!!  What?  Who are we talking about here?  Is it Brandon Paul, our leading scorer and one of the leading scorers in the Big Ten, or is it DJ Richardson who I think is the best defender on the team?

Even a casual observer could tell we did not shoot the ball well, did not play good defense, and Purdue played exceptional defense.  Let's not jump off the Big Ten fiscal cliff.

And the first commenter is right on the money.  Ted Valentine is the absolute worst referee in college basketball.  His overacting and mannerisms only accentuate his terrible calls.  His only redeeming quality is that me makes bad calls for both teams.


1 illinifan wrote on January 03, 2013 at 2:01 pm

How you get a C- out of this is beyond me, there is no way! Maybe an F-, but not even remotely close to a C-. It is too apparent that Groce is too sentimental to coach. That can be the only reason that I can think of for playing some of the seniors at this point. Yes, I know all the arguments, Paul is one of the best in the big ten, wait a couple of games and he will not even be close. Abrams, well even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while. We will win only 2 more games with the current setup, and those will only be because they will get hot like they did against Gonzaga and Butler.


Truly embarrassing lose, very poor coaching and play by the players. Sad part is that they have potential to be better, but will never reach it.


I certainly agree about Ted Valentine, but they do not have the guts to fire him, unfortunate.