Illini WR Mike Dudek: rare bright spot in lost season

Mike Dudek Catch

Champaign, IL- While your statistics professor might give you a decent argument disputing it, Saturday’s loss to Iowa effectively ended the season for the Fighting Illini. Sitting at 4-5, Tim Beckman’s squad needed to win two games to gain bowl eligibility; the team’s primary goal for the 2014 season.

For three quarters, it looked like the Illini might actually notch number five, but the fourth quickly reminded the 50,373 frozen fans (and the thousands of fraternity and sorority members choosing to watch the game at Joe’s and Red Lion instead) that both wins and bowl games in the Tim Beckman era of Illinois Football are not easy to come by.

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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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More Illini NCAA Tourney wins would be huge for Chicago

illini

The Illini were huge in Chicago in 2005, and if they can upset #2 seed Miami today, they just might be again. If the Illini make it to the next weekend, and this becomes a regular thing -Illini basketball- playing deep in the NCAA Tournament, Chicago will truly be more of an Illini town. The more they win in the big dance, the more the media will cover them, and the more Chi-city bandwagon college basketball fans will jump on board the bandwagon. Like they did in 2005 when the Illini went to the national title game. I explored this in detail here. University of Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas is aggressively promoting the Illini athletic programs in Chicago and Illini hoops coach John Groce has re-opened the recruiting pipeline to the Chicago Public League. Bruce Weber, for whatever reason could not do the CPL right.

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Is The NCAA Basketball Champion in The Big Ten?

trey-Burke

If there is a time for the Big Ten to exert their dominance in basketball, this is it! The conference has just suffered another poor football season, has been hit by scandal, and its teams continue to lose bowl games (2-5 in bowls this season). It is time for Big Ten basketball to rise to new heights; it’s time for the Big Ten to produce a national champion.

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Big Ten Football Season in Review

At the beginning of the season we gave a quarterly review of the performance of each Big Ten team and graded them based on how they did compared to pre-season expectations. As the season progressed, so did the quarterly reviews. About a month ago, we gave our third quarter review. Now, with the regular season over, we conclude the series with our season in review.  Each school’s grade is based on its overall / conference record, and how the team improved or declined throughout the season based on their expectations.

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Big Ten Football Third Quarter Review

Earlier in  the season we gave a quarterly review of the performance of each Big Ten team and graded them based on how they did compared to pre-season expectations. About a month ago, we gave our mid-season review. Now, three-quarters of the season is over, and  each school’s grade is based on its overall/ conference record, and how the team has  improved or declined since  the first half of the season.

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Is Indiana Football A Conference Champion Contender?

Indiana Quarterback Nate Sudfeld

Every time Wisconsin has the opportunity to pull away from what’s left of the Leaders division, they find a way screw it up and let the rest of them hang around. This week, it’s Indiana. You may say I’m absurd, but the Hoosiers are in control of their own destiny on the road to Indianapolis for the chance to play in the conference championship game. Although Indiana has three conference losses this season, Wisconsin now has two. Moreover, the Hoosiers and Badgers still have a showdown a couple of weeks from now, which could help Indiana get the edge come season’s end.

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Big Ten Mid-Season Review

ohio-state -cheerleaders

About a month ago we gave a quarterly review of the performance of each Big Ten team and graded them based on how they did, compared to how they should have done according to pre-season expectations. Now, we have our mid-season review in which each school’s grade is based on its  overall/ conference record, and how the team has  improved or declined since  the first quarter of the season.

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Purdue to challenge for Leaders Division title?

If there was ever a time for the Boilermakers to seize the moment, this is, most definitely, the season to do it! This may seem like “old news,” and that I am working toward an incredibly obvious conclusion, but a new factor has been added to the equation: Wisconsin is not nearly as good as they were believed to be.

As the season began, the assumption was that since Ohio State and Penn State would be ineligible for the Big Ten Championship game, the Leaders division already belonged to the Badgers. However, Wisconsin’s poor play and slow start have left the division wide open. Indiana and Illinois have practically taken themselves out of the running, as if either of them had a chance to begin with. But Purdue is in the position to challenge the underperforming Badgers.

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Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Brutally Honest Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini and Wisconsin Badgers have a lot in common in 2012 and it’s not a good thing. Most notably is the unexpected and disappointing starts  for both teams. Neither team looked half-decent against non-conference foes and both lost their Big Ten openers.

The Illini’s new head coach Tim Beckman could already be on the hot-seat and the Wisconsin Badgers are without any kind of identity on the offensive side of the ball.

Let the battle of the Big Ten’s Legends Division begin.

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Is Northwestern for real?

You may say it’s too early to talk of such things and that I need to calm down after only one conference game in the books, but this could be a great year for the Wildcats!

Their 5-0 record may not have come against the best of opponents (Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Boston College, South Dakota, Indiana), but Northwestern has shown the ability to score, almost on demand. They have scored over 40 points in two games and scored 38 in another.

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Big Ten Football Quarterly Review

pat fitzgerald

Believe it or not, the college football season is a quarter over, and we are only a week away from the kick-off of Big Ten conference play! With only three games played this season, it may seem a bit soon to be handing out letter grades, but these first three weeks can be very telling as to what may be in store for the rest of the season.

Each team will receive a letter grade based on the level at which they have performed compared to what has been expected of them.

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