#9 Purdue Boilermakers: What to Watch at Illinois Thursday

While the Purdue Boilermakers have tumbled down the national rankings and seen their B1G title hopes all but dashed, they still have a ton to play for at Illinois tomorrow night. The Boilermakers can still grab a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but only if they close out the regular season by winning their last two.

If Purdue suffers a loss to either of the two teams (at the 12th place Illini Thursday night, towards the bottom of a very VERY soft B1G, their #1 seed hopes will likely be all but dashed. That said, there’s even more on the line, for both sides. Let’s run through all of that:

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Worst Illini Basketball Team Ever? What the Records, Numbers Say

illini basketball

#WeWillWin is a slogan that needs to go on hiatus for awhile. If you haven’t already, you can bury it deep in the closet for a long while, regarding Illini basketball, and even longer for Illini football. However, men’s hoops is traditionally the jewel of the U of I DIA. Illini basketball is and always has been, far and away the banner program of the athletic department. They led the entire nation in total wins from 2002-2006.

Today, 12 years later, is this the worst team in school history? It’s debatable, and over the course of these final five games, the final record will have the say so. In the meantime, instead of watching these last few meaningless games, you might want to go play situs poker online instead. You’ll probably get more enjoyment.

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Illini Revenue Sports Disaster Still Not at Northwestern “Dark Ages” Depths

Illini fans have used many different names to describe the catastrophe that the two revenue-producing sports have become: dumpster fire, tire fire, house on fire, a cartoon dog sitting in the middle of a house fire saying “this is fine.” As egregiously awful as it currently is, and will likely be for a long time, it’s still not unprecedented- not in this conference, and not in this state.

If you go back to the 1980s, a time that many Northwestern fans often refer to as “the dark ages,” you’ll see that things can be worse. It’s always darkest, right before it gets pitch black. Tonight the Illini will welcome #9 Michigan State to their home court, and that’s coincidental (watch a BTN announcer will incorrectly call this “ironic”) as it was these same Spartans who were the most recent team to fall victim to an Illinois revenue producing team back on March 1st.

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Michigan State Basketball Rules the B1G, Purdue is Solid, the Rest is Meh

michigan-state-basketball-spartans

This current Michigan State basketball team is the class of the B1G, and there is a substantial drop-off below the Spartans. The Purdue Boilermakers were able to shake off a couple bad performances in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving weekend, and now they look very solid.

Then, once again, there’s a massive drop-off to the rest of the league. It’s MSU, Purdue and then just a bunch of guys. Some of those guys are better than the others, but there is no squad that is must see other than the Purdue and Michigan State basketball teams.

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Illini Football Could Remain at Kansas Jayhawks Level Depths for Awhile

lovie smith

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Illini football is Kansas Jayhawks level bad; plain and simple.

There’s no reason or rationale for euphemisms or spin anymore, these two programs are mirror images of each other, and they have now “established” themselves as the two worst bottom feeders of the power five conferences.

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Illini Basketball: Path to NCAA Tournament After Braggin’ Rights Win

Now that Illini basketball has its first quality win of the season, a 70-64 decision over Mizzou, perhaps they can build on this now moving forward. The Missouri Tigers aren’t nationally ranked, but they came into this game with a RPI of 7 and a SoS of 11. Illinois entered the evening with RPI 188 and SoS 197.

So obviously, there’s a lot of work to do, just to be in contention for any kind of postseason tournament at all. In the Illini basketball program, the NCAA Tournament is absolutely the only tournament that matters, and it’s obvious that they will need a very strong conference showing in order to be in contention.

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Jeremiah Tilmon a Possible One and Done, Brad Underwood Believes

jeremiah-tilmon

If there’s one specific player who is made for the annual Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis, it’s certainly Missouri Center Jeremiah Tilmon. The Mizzou big man hails from the area, as he played his high school ball at East Saint Louis.

After a substantial amount of vacillating, he signed a letter of intent to play at Illinois, but then backed out of it once Illinois and Mizzou made their head coaching changes. Pretty soon, he’ll be a guy who’s made for NBA mock drafts as well.

Ahead of the annual Braggin’ Rights contest (won by Illinois 70-64) Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood had a lot of high praise for Tilmon.

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Illini Basketball: Braggin’ Rights Game Preview vs Missouri Tigers

mizzou illini basketball braggin rights

How bad does Illini basketball need this win over the Missouri Tigers in the annual Braggin’ Rights game?

We’ll put it this way-

by the time they take the court against Mizzou it will have been 297 days since Illinois has beaten a Power 5 conference opponent in either men’s basketball or football. The last time we saw an Illini team achieve a victory of this designation, in either of the two revenue sports, it was way back on March 1st.

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Illini Basketball: Lou Henson Hospitalized, Won’t Attend Testimonial Game

nick anderson illini basketball lou henson

Update, 12-15-17, via Illini basketball Sports Information Department:

“Former Illinois basketball coach Lou Henson was hospitalized early Thursday. Henson, who was planning to attend the Illinois-New Mexico State basketball game in Chicago Saturday along with nearly 40 family members, will remain in Champaign and not be present for the game. Henson, who has been battling cancer-related health issues for 14 years, is the all-time wins leader at both Illinois and New Mexico State and was set to be honored before and during the game Saturday at the United Center.”

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Illini Basketball: Leading Scorer Leron Black Elbow Injury Update

leron black

Illinois coach Brad Underwood said way back at Illini basketball media day that in order for his team to be special, power forward Leron Black had to be the best that he could be this season. Black came to Champaign as a highly heralded recruit, registering as high at #37 nationally by some services.

This non-conference season is the first time that we’ve seen the junior start to truly realize the potential. Black, who averages a team leading 14.8 points per game, saw his career-long active streak of seven-straight games scoring in double figures come to an end last night in the 89-82 Illini basketball loss at UNLV. 

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Purdue, Illini, Northwestern Give Mixed Opinions on Early, Congested B1G Schedule

purdue hoops

The B1G schedule is disjointed and disoriented this season, beginning and ending earlier than ever before in modern history. We asked the head coaches and a couple players from the three B1G teams closest to home here (Chicago): #21 Purdue Boilermakers, Illinois Fighting Illini and Northwestern Wildcats.

The schedule is so tightly congested on the calendar that it leaves many of us physically congested, because those involved are so worn down from the workload, with quick turnarounds, all taking place inside the perfect breeding ground for germs during flu season.

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Matt Painter Reflects on Historical Coaching Carousel that Established Him

matt painter

Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter reflected this week on being a part of the biggest coaching carousel in the history of college basketball.

“Sometimes the world flips around differently, and you get opportunities,” Painter said about the 2003 coaching changes that had numerous ripple effects beyond several high major and mid major programs.

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