Is Illini basketball that much worse than Northwestern?

sad illini basketball fannorthwestern-football-mascot

Ever since the great Lindsey Willhite left the journalism game to become PR Director of the Chicago Wolves, I’ve been the only individual who covers Northwestern and Illini basketball regularly. That’s obviously not a very glamorous position to be in, and it’s not exactly the most exciting thing in my life either. (It wouldn’t be the most exciting in any human being’s life for that matter)

However, it does make me qualified to size up the match-up coming Saturday night; the team’s only scheduled meeting this season.

[Read more…]

Josh Whitman: Illini nation’s choice for Athletic Director


Josh Whitman is the name exciting Illini Nation right now as the Athletic Director search reaches day 93. He’s the only candidate that Illinois Fighting Illini supporters seem to be fired up about, or even talking about at this time. However, Illini fans are genuinely excited about the prospect of Whitman becoming the next A.D.

Nothing’s definitive yet, but it appears the A.D. search will end any day now, making the total duration just shy of the century mark.

[Read more…]

Jalen Coleman-Lands: bright spot in dark Illini season

jalen coleman-lands

I can’t personally speak to what having the Stockholm Syndrome feels like, but I imagine it’s quite similar to being an Illini basketball/football fan. You’re held hostage to an athletic program(s), but you’re also endeared to your captors. All the losing on the field/court and the severe issues off the field/court which have occurred under the watch of Mike Thomas, Tim Beckman, John Groce and Bill Cubit have been well documented.

Pointing out what’s wrong is quite easy.

[Read more…]

Illini basketball news, notes, links, nuggets and tidbits

illini-basketball lou henson

Have you recovered from last night’s “fun bad” Illini basketball triple overtime win over lowly Rutgers? Make no mistake about it, this was a memorable game, albeit for all the wrong reasons, kind of like the 38-33 loss to Penn State at home in 2009. The Rutgers and Illini basketball teams got together to commit time burglary against you by subjecting you to three extra periods.

Given that it was very close, and featured a ton of lead changes, you just couldn’t look away. Illinois had only one actual forward dress, and that Illini basketball team is right down in the dregs with Rutgers (and Minnesota) as by far the worst teams in the league.

[Read more…]

Illini football National Signing Day result not ideal


Everyone said that giving Bill Cubit only two years on his extension would torpedo recruiting and that’s exactly what happened. 2016 National Signing Day in Champaign-Urbana yielded very poor recruiting rankings (24/7 Sports have Illini football 69th nationally, 12th overall, Rivals places them 69th & 12th, and Scout went 60th, and 12th) and a sleep-inducing press conference.

#ItsNotIdeal to be 12th in the league, but at least Illinois isn’t Purdue, who seriously resemble a school that’s given up on football.

[Read more…]

Illini A.D. Search: evaluating the eight final candidates


“Stuff happens,” Donald Rumsfeld once said at a Pentagon press briefing. During the Mike Thomas reign of terror, lots of “stuff” has happened with University of Illinois athletics. It’s the kind of stuff that the most infamous U.S. Secretary of Defense (sorry Bob McNamara, Rummy has you beat now) was talking about in that media conference.

Yesterday, new and different “stuff” happened regarding UI sports. It’s been 84 days and counting that the Illini have been operating without an Athletic Director, but finally we have some sign of legitimate progress.

[Read more…]

Malcolm Hill could end Illini basketball NBA Draft drought


During last year’s Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, a friend/media colleague and I adjourned to a bar/restaurant down the street in between sessions. At cocktail hour we ran into a couple scouts from two different NBA teams and I asked them if anyone on the current Illinois roster (2014-15 squad) was of interest.

Malcolm Hill was the only name on their radar. A couple months later, their story checked out as Rayvonte Rice, despite his stellar career, went undrafted.

Then again Rice wasn’t invited to the combine, and no one really had him on their boards. Malcolm Hill, however, has some decent NBA draft stock.

[Read more…]

College hoops in the state of Illinois unfathomably AWFUL



Tomorrow begins the month of February, meaning there’s at least six more weeks of pain and tedium this college hoops season for the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois overall. The season is already just about lost for every team in the second city.

In the Land of Lincoln overall, only Southern Illinois looks poised to contend for a NCAA Tournament berth. Illinois State has a decent conference record, but their overall mark is so bad that they need to run the conference tournament table to become relevant.

[Read more…]

Seven compelling Illini basketball head coaching candidates

Steve Lavin with wife Mary illini basketball

It’s January 26th, and our Illini basketball feature story this week is on the head coaching search. Sounds a bit ridiculous, right? Well, would you rather read a game preview/recap right now?

Didn’t think so.

Of course not.

[Read more…]

Illini basketball retaining John Groce next year equals giving up


At this point, the “John Groce just needs more time” crowd are on par with global warming deniers, creationists or the “President Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya” camp.

In life you are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts. It’s a fact that Illini basketball should never be this pathetic. No Illini basketball fan should ever be asked to tolerate what we saw Tuesday night. Or this past Saturday. Or in the visit to Michigan State.

Or versus Chicago State, UIC, North Florida etc.

[Read more…]

Illini basketball 12th, NU 8th in latest B1G Power Rankings


Illini basketball is 0-2 in Big Ten League play, and it looks almost inevitable that an 0-4 start is in the cards given the schedule in front of them. Still, they’re not nearly as bad as Minnesota or Rutgers. Illinois might actually be better than Nebraska and/or Penn State too!

As for the other Land of Lincoln Big Ten team, their preconference schedule was softer than an Egyptian Cotton 800 thread count sheets. They started 13-1 because sometimes words have no meaning at all. At least that’s what the Maryland rout taught us.

[Read more…]

Illinois basketball: six steps to Regaining Chicago

deron williams illini basketball

The current state of Illini basketball is worthy of an ESPN Films 30 for 30:

“What if I told you, this program was two Deron Williams three-point field goals from winning a national title?”

Hard to believe that was just ten years ago. Now they’re drawing 5,000 people and struggling to finish off teams with RPIs in the 340s. As I wrote a few days before Saturday’s embarrassment at the United Center, Illini basketball was a struggling program in danger of losing Chicago.

[Read more…]