Illini grade vs. Buckeyes: A (duh!)

Illini grade vs. Buckeyes: A (duh!)

Our breakdown of Saturday's 74-55 romp of No. 8 Ohio State at the Assembly Hall:

Player of the Game: Illinois’ Nnanna Egwu
You know the big guy is going to pick up his boards and blocks. But when he steps outside and hits a bunch of 15-footers, he creates a real problem. The kind that has Stephen Bardo talking about him as a future NBA player. The Buckeyes, after Saturday, will happily pack his bags.

Ohio State C, Illinois B

Deshaun Thomas is a beast and might be the best player in the Big Ten. But he’s going to need some help from the other Buckeye big guys or the school can forget about a run at the Big Ten title. Tyler Griffey’s 0 for 6 on three-pointers is a blip rather than a trend.

Ohio State B-, Illinois B+

Something about Saturday afternoon basketball must bring out the best in Tracy Abrams. The Illini trio combined for seven three-pointers. It would be nice if it took fewer than 17 shots to get there. Aaron Craft was disruptive. At times.

Ohio State D, Illinois B

Joseph Bertrand was his usual self, scoring 12 points and helping out with five boards. No real reason to make him a starter if he keeps playing like this. The Buckeyes need to do better than 3 for 12 from the field. And the five turnovers hurt, too.

Ohio State C-, Illinois A

So, it took John Groce two Big Ten games to get his first win. And he did it against one of his bestest buddies (Thad Matta). The summer BBQ might not be as friendly between the two, but Groce’s guys needed the win. Panic meter goes back to zero. For now.

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ChsnSC wrote on January 05, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Did anyone notice if Bates-Diop was at the game today.  It would be a shame if OSU didnt spring for some prime seats so he and his family could witness, close-up & personal the Buckeyes in action.  If nothing else he would have enjoyed the excellent performance by the Illini.  Does the home court have that much differnce in players Comparing the Pudue game.  Is OSU that bad or did we make them look that way with our play?  I thought we made the usual number of mistakes but the effort was speacial for most of the game.  Kudos to Lou is always good to see him enjoying a game. 


PortlandIllini wrote on January 05, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I missed watching the game live.  But when I was at the gym today,  I read the ESPN banner on the bottom of the screen which said "Illinois destroys Ohio State  74-55.

Doesn't that have a nice ring to it?

Great job guys!

aaeismacgychel wrote on January 05, 2013 at 7:01 pm

As crazy as this sounds, I actually think you underrated Illinois' performance and overrated OSU's.  That was the most complete game I've seen from the Illinois frontcourt in a very long time and about as perfect game as Illinois can get.  Egwu offensively and defensively was absolutely terrific.  I'm not sure how he was awarded only one block, but he absolutely dominated OSU's bigs on both ends of the court.  He was fantastic moving off the ball and his effort and energy was a big reason Illinois blew out OSU.  That was an A+ effort by him and I think if we expect Illinois' frontcourt to be any better this season, I think we're kidding ourselves.  An A+ performance from me for the frontcourt even with Griffey having an off night.  McLaurin and Bertrand did a great job in their time playing in the paint as well defensively.

As for OSU, sadly, I think you overrated their performance.  That was no C- game from OSU Thomas had 24pts, but he wasn't a factor inside offensively or defensively, and OSU allowed Illinois, one of the worst rebounding majors to have their way with them.  It was embarassing and the worst I've ever seen OSU.  The OSU fans I was watching with said the same- That's an F performance for them.  Great job for Illinois for sure today, but I'm very happy this was the OSU team who showed up today.  I have a pretty good feeling we aren't going to see nearly the same team in Columbus.

Nice job guys and GO ILLINI!

jjohnson wrote on January 05, 2013 at 8:01 pm

An obvious shortcoming in an otherwise excellent game was the turnovers by Paul, Abrams and Bertrand. Not to take away, but the B+ for guards was probably right. Their hustle, defense and rebounding made up for those, but if a 19 point result can understate dominance, this basically did. And I'll be glad when Craft graduates!