Illini grade vs. Colorado: C plus

Illini grade vs. Colorado: C plus

Survive and advance. That's the mantra of March. Despite the incredibly poor first 13 minutes of the second half, Illinois, somehow, someway, did just that on Friday despite getting out-played for most of the second half.

D.J. Richardson, Illinois. The heart and soul of the Illini did not want his career to end with only one NCAA tournament win. Peoria native finished with 14 points and made four three-pointers, including one with 6:30 left in the second half that brought Illinois back from the brink.

Illinois B
Colorado C

The shot selection by Brandon Paul, Tracy Abrams and Richardson in the second half was head-scratching. But Spencer Dinwiddie (six points) was a non-factor while Paul, Abrams and Richardson accounted for 77 percent of the Illini offense.

Illinois C
Colorado B

Nnanna Egwu was active all game (seven points, eight rebounds in 33 minutes) and only finished with one foul, which came in the first minute. Will need more production from Sam McLaurin on Sunday.

Illinois C
Colorado D

Tyler Griffey entered the game within the first 70 seconds, and his lone three-pointer kick-started 21-4 run to end the first half for Illini. Joseph Bertrand not much of a factor.

Illinois C+
Colorado C

The Illini are an enigma. One that will play Miami on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Great at times. Confounding at others. John Groce's squad made enough plays in the second half to land the unenviable task of facing a Hurricanes squad that looked like it was ready for Atlanta on Friday.

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johnnycpars wrote on March 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Glad that we won. Come with a C+ effort against Miami and the Canes will be "surviving and advancing".

JimOATSfan wrote on March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I agree with a C+ for the game. However, every March Madness win is an A+ in my book.  It's never easy.  Go Illini!

Oh ... got to add that Griffey's smooth knock-down of that early three was a thing of beauty.  He's a quiet key to adding 5 more wins.

JohnUI82 wrote on March 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

Griffey is a senior. He won't be eligible to contribute to any wins next season. It is possible, Jim, to be an Illini fan yet also be objective about them.

misanthrope wrote on March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

C+ or not, don't underestimate this win. It means a hell of a lot for Groce and the future of our beloved program. I watched in a room full of CU supporters in Dillon CO and couldn't be happier. Enjoy the moment Illini Nation. I'm very proud to be an Illini today.

.illini wrote on March 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm

The grade is an A+!  This team wasn't even supposed to make the tourney at the beginning of the year.  They fought hard and overcame.  This game was much like the season.  Great first half.  Sluggish start to the second half and strong gritty finish.  I like how we match up against Miami.  I'd be nervous if I were them.  We've been a giant killer this year.  We just might do it again.

Amen wrote on March 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm

With a  A or better first half it stands to reason that Colorado was going to make a run in the 2nd half.  They did and this team responded with a composure down the stretch to pull this win off.  Perhaps a little more shooting practice would help them get their "touch" back.  It seems at the start of the year after shooting 10,000 shots over the summer these guys had a lot of confidence and had honed their shooting skill a little bit more.  If one or more of these guys can get hot in the same game and the team shooting is at 45-50% then they can beat anyone.

urbanaman wrote on March 23, 2013 at 12:03 am

The boys played with confidence for the most part and ultimately got the job done. Perhaps they need a fluffer in the locker room at halftime to calm the nerves. I hear a certain K-State coach is now available.

Oh, while we're giving grades: Wailin' Weber and K-State - suck minus.

An utterly humiliating first half, followed by ultimate frustration for Brucie and his boys. Maybe they were just made to play too far from home... *SNORT-CHUCKLE!!*

Ahem, better luck next year, my good man...

Moonpie wrote on March 23, 2013 at 7:03 am

Bullpucky, Mr. Matt the Cheerleader! Three of 22 in the second qualifies for a C plus? Their jack the rock with eyes closed offense rates a C plus? The Illini srurvived because Colorado is even more inept than they are.

JohnUI82 wrote on March 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

Where do you see a grade for the offense? I see grades for the backcourt, frontcourt, bench and overall, but no grade for the offense. All that matters in the NCAA tournament is whether a team advances, not how. You predicted weeks ago that Illinois had no chance of even making the tournament, much less winning in it. Don't you ever get tired of being wrong?