Juwan Howard Has Happy Chicago Homecoming

Chicago native and first year Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard said it was a “great feeling” to see all the maize and blue in Welsh-Ryan Arena last night when his team demolished the Northwestern Wildcats 78-54.

The Chicago Vocational School grad flew in, led his team to a very lopsided victory and flew out just as NBA All-Star Game weekend festivities get going. Howard said it was awesome to see Dikembe Mutumbo, who he described as one of one of his all-time favorite former teammates, and other close friends and family behind the bench in the stands last night.

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Ayo Dosunmu Injury Could Change Course of Illini Basketball Season

ayo-dosunmu

Last night, in what was essentially a replay of the loss to Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (or the home loss to Maryland two seasons ago), Illinois lost 70-69 to Michigan State. The game result was a gut punch, but what happened in its final moments could completely alter the course of the Illini basketball season.

Ayo Dosunmu suffered a leg injury and had to be carried off the court. Any time you can’t walk on your own volition it’s bad, but as of now we have official confirmation that the extent of the injury is not that bad. Take a look at the video of the non-contact injury from last night just ICYMI:

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Northwestern Basketball: When Does Chris Collins’ Seat Warm?

northwestern basketball

Did you see the Northwestern basketball game last night? Did their blowing an 18 point lead and losing surprise you? Well, you haven’t been paying attention (and judging by the attendance figures most of you are not) this season. 2019-20 Northwestern basketball is to blowing seemingly insurmountable leads what Taylor Swift is to failed relationships and writing numerous songs about them.

On one hand, Northwestern basketball is in a very different place than it was three years ago this month. They now have the NCAA Tournament drought monkey off their back, top notch facilities and a world class venue for home games.

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Illini Basketball: Finally Bonafide League Title Contenders Again

bruce weber

“For one brief shining moment, there was Camelot” for Illini basketball fans…kind of. From 2002-06, Illinois let the entire nation in wins. From 2001-06, the program finished in the top two in the Big Ten every single season.

Up until this month, this golden era of sorts felt an ancient history, as they haven’t finished higher than fourth since then. The Illini basketball program has actually finished 7th or lower nine times since the halcyon days of Dee Brown, Bruce Weber and company. Recapping that period is relevant now though as Illinois currently sits tied with Michigan State atop the league standings at 8-3.

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Northwestern Basketball Can’t Close, Rebuild Further Prolonged

As you know from Glengary Glen Ross, “coffee is for closers” and that means Northwestern basketball will need to get their caffeine elsewhere. Tonight against Purdue, just like versus Maryland, or at DePaul or at Indiana, the win was there for the taking, but Chris Collins’ youthful squad just couldn’t rise up and take it.

Yes, we knew this season was going to be a character builder coming in. They finished in the basement last year, and then lost most of their experience and statistical production from that team. Then you have all the guys who transferred away in the past couple years, and the end result is a very young and inexperienced squad that will need a lot of time to develop. However, things are not getting better as the season progresses.

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Purdue Basketball Still in Danger of a Genuinely Lost Season

Another misstep or two and Purdue basketball will find itself going from Elite 8 to “must run the Big Ten Tournament table” in order to reach the postseason. The 2019-20 season came dangerously close to being a completely lost campaign tonight in Evanston, as the Boilermakers trailed nearly the entire night.

With 3:22 remaining, Northwestern’s win probability was at 92.8% according to the ESPN stats and information team. With a 1:24 left, NU was still sitting pretty at nearly 75% chance of winning. The Wildcats, who went the final 4:38 without scoring, played really tight and saw their 58-50 advantage end up yielding a 61-58 loss.

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Kobe Bryant News Hit Chris Collins Very Hard (Emotional Video)

kobe-bryant

We’re all in different stages of grief right now, but we’re alike in that the Kobe Bryant news is hitting us very hard. Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other souls, perished in a southern California helicopter crash yesterday morning.

On one hand, we all hurt for the obvious, natural reasons- seeing someone so young, with so much left to live for taken away in an instant. It makes us realize how fleeting life truly is. On the other hand, we all hurt on our own individual level for what happened in the Los Angeles metropolitan area yesterday as we see commonalities to our own lives and experiences.

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Illini Basketball: Updated Postseason Resume and Projections

illini basketball

It’s new year, new you for Illini basketball. In November and December, the Illinois Fighting Illini looked like a NIT at best level team. Now they’re a legitimate Big Ten conference front-runner. As of this writing, they’re currently ranked #21 in the nation and sitting alone atop the league at 7-2.

We’re finally starting to see the tide turn for the better, in Illini revenue sports. Illini basketball, the school’s banner program within the athletic department, is on fire right now, having won six in a row, three consecutive on the road. Now the Josh Whitman era is starting to see some results that justify all of the A.D.’s Deepak Chopra for the retired jock-and-now-executive set style ted talks and elaborate motivational metaphors.

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Kahlil Whitney Announces Transfer Away from Kentucky Wildcats

This morning, five star freshman forward Kahlil Whitney formally announced his transfer out of the University of Kentucky. Ranked by one service as the #11 overall player in his recruiting class, the Chicago native has seen his playing time, and statistical production significantly diminish as the season has gone on.

There had been rumors of Whitney seeking a transfer away from UK circulating for weeks already, so this announcement is not all that surprising.
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Illini Basketball: Kofi Cockburn, Ayo Dosunmu NBA Draft Stock Report

It’s time to get bullish on Illinois Fighting Illini basketball. Are they big board, blue chip AAA+ investment grade? No, not yet, but they’re also definitely not the junk bond penny stock level dreck we had seen in the first two years of the Brad Underwood era/much of the John Groce regime.

Led by a very talented inside-outside combo, in guard Ayo Dosunmu and center Kofi Cockburn, the Illini will head into the weekend sitting in second place in a very tough league that, although it has no great teams, has a lot of good ones, and almost everybody is not bad.

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Big Ten Basketball Chaos, Parity Fun for Fans, Excruciating for Coaches Says Chris Collins

Absolutely anyone who cares about Big Ten basketball, no matter the size of their audience, publishes a Big Ten basketball power rankings. It’s the least original endeavor possible, and this year all of these power rankings are created equal.

From the Midwestern paper of record to somebody on Twitter with three followers and no avatar, they’re all equally valid. It’s not just in regards to Big Ten basketball, it’s national as well. The AP rankings are no more valid than any list tweeted out by (insert name of hoops blogger here).

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#8 Michigan State Above, #19 Michigan Middling in Congested Big Ten

michigan vs michigan state
The Big Ten may not have the greatest concentration of Final Four contenders in the nation, but it certainly has the highest number of likely NCAA Tournament and NIT teams. Overall, it’s likely the best league in the nation, top to bottom, as almost everybody is at least decent, and a lot of sides are really good.

In terms of league title contenders, you have to start in the state of Great Lakes Splendor, with the two teams who met in last season’s conference title game. Right now #8 Michigan State is above everybody else in the league, sitting pretty at 5-0 in conference play. #19 Michigan is in the congested middle, at 2-2, but with an 11-4 overall record
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