Illini Basketball: Let’s Talk that #1 in the B1G Recruiting Class

jeremiah-tilmon

Many, if not most Illini basketball fans have already started looking ahead to 2017-18. Can’t I say blame them either as this team could be at .500 by tomorrow night, and that’s a very embarrassing position for a high major program to be in during November. You saw the results in the preseason NIT, and at home versus Winthrop.

Those results speak for themselves. The main Illini basketball storyline now revolves around University of Illinois head coach John Groce’s future. Whether or not he’s back is something only Athletic Director Josh Whitman knows for sure.  We do know that Groce’s approval ratings, if such things were measured, would almost certainly be at their all time low right now.

[Read more…]

Illini Football: Year Two EXTREMELY Critical for Lovie Smith

lovie-smith-illini-football

Year one of the Lovie Smith era of Illini football was a disaster.

Year two will go a long toward determining whether or not Smith will stick around for a year three, four and beyond.

As William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

It’s not that Illini football was THAT awful this year. In quite a few areas (wide receiver play, run defense, pass blocking come to mind first and foremost), yes, yes they were atrocious for much of the 2016 season. Penalties were a major issue from the beginning, persisted for most of the season and reared their ugly head again as Illinois got trounced by Northwestern 42-21 in the season finale.

[Read more…]

Illini Football vs Northwestern Wildcats: Land of Lincoln Trophy Game Preview

lovie smith

Who’s Hat? Well right now it’s Northwestern‘s Land of Lincoln hat, and it appears they’ll maintain their recent upper hand in this series. NU is 4-3 in LOL Trophy/Hat games, and if this rivalry has one predictable trend, it’s this- the team having the better season almost always wins.

Yes, strange things, upsets often happen in intrastate rivalry games, but this bloodfeud has seen mostly chalk. Bad news for Illini football as they’re heavy underdogs for the Saturday morning clash in Evanston.

#BecauseItsTheLOLHat

pat fitzgerald

[Read more…]

Illini Basketball Fans, Start Looking Ahead to 2017-18

lou-henson-illini-basketball

Monday night, if we may paraphrase Obi-wan Kenobi, “it was if a thousand Illini basketball fans screamed out in terror, and we’re then suddenly silenced. The inexcusable and inexplicable home loss to Winthrop led to more proverbial pitchforks for John Groce. The Illinois Twitter meltdown that then ensued was a million times more entertaing than the the result of the game

Today, as well as the rest of this week, has the potential to get ugly, Illini basketball fans. You already knew that, but I figured I might reiterate anyway.

[Read more…]

Illini Basketball Fans, How to Survive the Recruiting News Cycle

jeremiah-tilmon

Recruiting news is the drug of choice possible for college basketball fanatics.

It’s the hardest drug available in the sports media world too. Illini basketball fans know this truth as well as any fanbase; perhaps even more so. Now more than ever blue chip freshmen have major influence on whether a team rises for falls.

It also doesn’t help that Illinois is coming off the worst season in school history, and no one really expects them to do anything special this season.

[Read more…]

Illini Basketball: Malcolm Hill Among Nation’s Best Players Says Jay Bilas

malcolm-hill-illini-basketball

Things can only get better for Illini basketball this season, and they will. It could be marginally better, or he could be significantly better, it all depends on how far Malcolm Hill can carry them. Announced just now, Hill was one of 50 players named to the Naismith Award watch list. The Naismith (or the Wooden Award as well) is kind of like the basketball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

Last year, when they finished 12th in the B1G, the Illini set a new school record for losses. Off the court, Illinois had four players arrested and indefinitely suspended, three of which on violent criminal charges. Hard to imagine a season having more bad news all around than 2015-16.

[Read more…]

B1G Basketball Power Rankings: Every Team as a Past or Present Presidential Candidate

hillary clinton

It’s November 8th B1G basketball fans! Huzzah, if you’re reading this it means that we actually made it through the strangest, ugliest and most low brow election cycle in the history of our glorious democracy. Election Day fell on the latest possible day that it possibly could, and that’s unfortunate, given how one poll showed that 13% of respondents preferred a meteor hitting the Earth to Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.

Hey, it’s all over tomorrow and then we can all move on to other past times like college hoops, which tips off its season on Friday.

Viva la Revolucion!

american-flag-star spangled banner

[Read more…]

Maria Kanellis was “Fired” by Donald Trump for “Locker Room Talk”

maria-kanellis-cubs

(Editor’s note: as we head into the final hours preceding the U.S. Presidential Election, we revisit and republish some of the sports and pop culture stories we ran in 2016 relating to the electoral process) 

Maria Kanellis, a wrestler, actress, singer, topless model and valet, was once “fired” by Donald Trump for “locker room talk.” This occurred in 2010 on the NBC reality series “The Apprentice,” and this exchange yet again proves what a total hypocrite Trump is.

The Daily Show re-aired the footage last night.

[Read more…]

Lovie Smith “Miserable” with Illini Claims ESPN, Coach Responds

lovie smith

All bets are off with Lovie Smith and the Illini football program; both literally and figuratively. The line for Michigan State at Illinois on November 5th opened briefly with the Spartans as 9 1/2 point favorites, but then quickly went off the boards. There is no spread, at all, on the game at any major leading sport book right now.

Vegas simply does not mess around. They are all business so when instances like this occur, something is definitely up.

That something might be Smith being “miserable” in Champaign according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

[Read more…]

Illini Football Fans, Dig in for a REALLY REALLY LONG Rebuild

lovie-smith-josh-whitman

Well, that certainly escalated quickly.

It didn’t take very long for Illini football fans’ excitement and hope to completely degenerate into despair, and then apathy. The March hire of Lovie Smith as Illinois Football Coach brought a level of buzz that the program has arguably not seen since the Rose Bowl season of 2007.

Week two saw Illinois sell out Memorial Stadium; for the first time since 2001 versus Michigan and the first non-conference affair since 1987.

[Read more…]

#3 Michigan Football Game Preview vs Illinois Fighting Illini

giant tire detroit

Ah, the depth chart mind games! It’s a staple of every football coach. Chip Kelly, during his Philadelphia Eagles days, even once said that he lets a Media Relations staffer make his for him. Depth chart obfuscation is all part of the Art of War that is football, and no one takes that to heart more than Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.

He doesn’t release his to the public; ever.

Remember Michigan football is a submarine after all. This week, Illini football Coach Lovie Smith refrained from releasing one either.

[Read more…]

Lovie Smith CHEWS OUT Illini Reporter over Penalties Query

lovie smith
These are the kinds of things that happen when a season is lost.
Or when you inexplicably lose at home, as ten point favorites, to Purdue, the laughing stock of the Big Ten. Or both at the same time. Tensions mount and fingers get pointed. We’re about halfway through the debut season of Lovie Smith, and thus far, it’s been a bit disastrous.

[Read more…]