Eleven worst Illini basketball losses of the past 10 years

bruce weber-upset

As proud a program as Illini basketball is, they’ve certainly had some “hiccups” (wow, what a euphemism there) in recent years. A 52-49 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers on January 30th, 2011 was just one disgusting-to-watch debacle that didn’t even make the cut. It marked the first win over a ranked team at IU for Tom Crean. Last night, I experienced something similar to “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” from “The Book of Mormon.” I dreamed Illini basketball put up only 15 points by halftime, couldn’t make a three-pointer to save their lives, and missed more lay-ups, put-backs and bunnies than any college basketball team in history.

Worse yet this spooky Illini basketball hell dream took place at Northwestern! Versus the worst Northwestern team they’ve had since 2007

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College basketball is AWFUL in all of Illinois, yet again

depaul blue demon

What a shame. What a crying shame that Chicago, which every year has some of the best preps talent in the country, has zero going for it on the college level. Unless the Illinois Fighting Illini can somehow go 6-3 down stretch (and they face some brutal opponents so this highly unlikely) what Land of Lincoln team will get into the big dance? An improved UIC team that is 9-2 at home and 5-5 on conference could very possibly win the Horizon League Tournament, the only way they get their ticket punched. So maybe zero teams in the NCAAs this year, just like last year, just like four years ago. Juxtapose that with Indiana in 2000, when the Crossroads of America got seven teams in the big dance.

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#54 Kansas State Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111

bruce weber kansas state

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

It is still one of the strangest off-season occurrences in my opinion; Frank Martin leaving Kansas State for South Carolina.  Fired Illinois head coach Bruce Weber lands in Manhattan and to be blunt, needs to prove the last few years of underachieving with the Illini wasn’t due to his poor coaching before I can pick the Wildcats to be anything but an average Big 12 team.

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Illini Meyers Leonard at NBA Draft Combine (Video)


The Sports Bank’s Ngozi Ekeledo stopped by the 2012 NBA Draft Combine’s Media Day and talked to the former University of Illinois big man about why he made the decision to leave school early for the NBA.

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Jacob Pullen rips Kansas State for Bruce Weber coaching hire


Former Kansas State star and current professional basketball player (in Italy) Jacob Pullen had some harsh words for recently fired Illini head Coach Bruce Weber, the man introduced as the new Coach at KSU this morning.

Pullen tweeted:

“Bruce Webber didn’t think I was good enough to play at Illinois and I don’t think he is good enough to coach at Kansas State”

“I support kstate for life no matter what but I’m not a Bruce Webber fan and I think Kstate can do a lot better”

Wow! vitriol. His arguments would be a lot more convincing if he could spell Weber’s name correctly.

Couldn’t agree more with what’s espoused by Yahoo’s Ryan Greene below:

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Bruce Weber gets offer to return to Southern Illinois


Much like the University of Illinois job is Shaka Smart’s gig to accept or turn down, the Southern Illinois head coaching job is Bruce Weber’s to turn down, according to The Southern.

Weber led the Salukis to two NCAA Tournaments from 1998-2003 before moving on to the Illini, where he coached until he was fired on the second day of the Big Ten Tournament. Weber won 103 games at SIU and has received an offer to return to the school.

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Purdue’s Matt Painter gives take on Bruce Weber firing


Purdue coach Matt Painter is from the same Gene Keady coaching tree as just fired, former Illini Bruce Weber; they’re contemporaries, peers and friends.

They both spend a lot of time screaming at their players to “MOVE” and “MOTION” in the motion offense system that they run. (It’s been a struggle offensively for both teams at times this season).

Following his Boilermakers bad 88-71 loss to Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, Painter was asked what he thought about Weber being canned today: (his response was the polar opposite in emotion and length of the response from MSU coach Tom Izzo)

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Illini officially remove Bruce Weber as basketball coach

bruce weber demetri mccamey

We knew this was coming since February, so I’m not going to say too much about it. I’ve already written thousands of words about Bruce Weber’s virtues and failures, what Illini fans will miss about Weber, why Shaka Smart is the right guy to replace him etc.

So let’s just get to the official University of Illinois statement:

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Illinois Falls To Iowa In Big Ten Tournament, Likely Bruce Weber’s Final Game


When asked if he thought his team would accept an NIT bid, embattled Illinois coach Bruce Weber responded “I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll make the NIT to be honest.”

After falling to Iowa in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, all signs seem to be pointing to Weber’s imminent departure from Champaign and the University of Illinois. In his post game comments Weber was reserved and calm, not the meltdown he had after losing to Purdue earlier this season or the anger he has shown so many other times. Weber who once guided the Illini to a Final Four and multiple Big Ten titles seemed to understand that this is likely the end.

“Sometimes, life isn’t fair, and basketball isn’t fair….If you just go on a pity party for yourself, nothing is going to happen.”

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Fighting Illini’s tournament hopes on life support, need win against Michigan


After a 1-9 stretch that included losses at Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska, a torrent of criticism directed at Bruce Weber and a crying Meyers Leonard, Illinois managed to revive their at-large hopes with an 11-point win over Iowa on Sunday. It was their first double digit win since early in the preconference.

Beating the Hawkeyes likely won’t matter to the selection committee unless the Fighting Illini can turn around and upset the Wolverines on Thursday.

Michigan enters this Thursday matchup at Assembly Hall looking to right the ship after suffering a 14-point beatdown at home against Purdue. Freshman point guard Trey Burke struggled, as did nearly everybody else. The Wolverines need to prove that Saturday night’s result was a blip, and not an indication of bigger problems.

Although this isn’t a must-win for the Maize and Blue—as is the case for the Illini—losing two straight against two inferior opponents would be a bad sign heading into the Big Ten tournament next weekend.

guest post from bigtenorbust.com

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Embattled Illini avoid first winless February since 1907


The college basketball season is only five months long, so any time you’re talking about a winless month, it’s not a good sign. And in their seventh and final game of the year’s shortest month, the Illini would not come up short.

They picked up a 65-54 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, avoiding the February donut, which hasn’t happened to the program since 1907.

The Illini also improved their record vs Iowa at home to 61-14 all time; they’ve won 11 in a row at Assembly Hall vs. the Hawks and seven in a row overall against the team from Iowa City.

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