Illini Basketball: Updated Postseason Resume and Projections

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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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What Kentucky SF Kahlil Whitney Could Be Part 2 (Exclusive Interview)

Part two of two long form on Kahlil Whitney (for part one, featuring interviews with coaches and teammates, go here)

Kentucky freshman small forward Kahlil Whitney has elite role models, both on and off the court. He models his game after another man who is 6’6″, Toronto Raptors SF Kawhi Leonard, a two time NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP and three time NBA All-Star.

Leonard is in the conversation for greatest current basketball player on the planet right now, with most people ascribing that status to LeBron James, who Whitney describes as one of his “favorite people.”

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Complete Illinois Fighting Illini Bowl Game History and Bowl Summaries

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Good morning college football and Illinois Fighting Illini fans. Another autumn Saturday is in the books and the season is just flying by. Last night saw Illinois go on the road, to Michigan State, and win their fourth straight game. They did it in extremely dramatic fashion, achieving the biggest comeback in school history (25 points).

Illinois is now bowl eligible, for the first time under Lovie Smith, and there are still two games left to play. This will be Illinois’ 19th bowl appearance, and they are 8-10 all-time. Let’s take a look at where we’ve been, so we can try to see where we’re going.

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Illinois Fighting Illini vs California Golden Bears: RedBox Game Preview, Prediction

Going 4-5 in conference play isn’t anything to really get too excited about, but it’s plenty good enough to get you into a bowl game these days, provided you take care of business in the non-conference. Illinois and California did just that and thus they will meet in the Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara, California on December 30th.

Cal comes in at 7-5 overall, juxtaposed against the Illini mark of 6-6, but the de facto hosts don’t really have a very impressive resume to speak of this season. Their signature win is over an 8-5 Washington team that went 4-5 in a very mediocre Pac 12. They also have a win over a very blah and overrated Washington State side.

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Who are the Leading Big Ten Contenders? Chicago Legends Size it Up

Today saw Gonzaga become the sixth different team to be ranked #1 in the AP poll. The all time record, for an entire season is seven, and today is just Christmas Eve Eve/Festivus. In other words, that record will inevitably be shattered to pieces and this fact conveys just how much chaos there really is, nationally, in college basketball this season.

Not just nationally, but on a local level too! When you’re making free college basketball picks against the spread, in the Big Ten, anything can happen! Upsets are occurring all the time and now that everyone in the Big 10 has played two conference games, 12 of the 14 teams in the league are 1-1. Michigan State is 2-0 while Northwestern is 0-2. Until MSU’s 77-72 win at Northwestern on Wednesday night, the home team had won every single Big Ten league team. So up until midweek, we had perfect symmetry in the Midwestern league.

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2019 Illini Football: What it Was and What it Was Not

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Bill Parcells was completely right: “you are your record.” When you’re 6-6, it means you’re mediocre. However, the epitome of mediocrity that is/was 2019 Illini football feels a little different because being average is a major improvement from where the program has been lately.

Going from really bad to rather pedestrian is real, legitimate progress, but it’s certainly not a magical season by any means and to suggest that it is is laughably and incoherently wrong. Illini football had one amazing upset, against all odds, over a New Year’s Six bowl team. They also achieved a thrilling, record-setting comeback against a fellow mediocre side. The rest was 4-6 with four wins over some pretty bad teams.

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LOL Hat Game Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini vs Northwestern Wildcats

When the Illinois Fighting Illini football and the Northwestern Wildcats get together, typically the better team wins. We really haven’t seen many upsets in this series lately, as the LOL HAT (Land of Lincoln Hat Trophy) rivalry often goes chalk. Illinois is seeking their first win in this series since 2014, the famous match-up of 5-6 teams that would see one team go on to the post-season, the other home for the holidays.

As it’s Thanksgiving and LOL HAT week, let’s break it all down.

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Illini Basketball Preseason Hype Not Validated By Early Results

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Tonight sees Illini basketball host Hawaii in their fourth game of the season. We probably won’t learn a whole lot more about this team tonight, and they should likely cruise to an easy victory, you never know, given how the first three games of the season have gone.

Arizona is not the blue blood program it once was, but playing in Tucson is always tough. The Illini kept it close for about three quarters of the game, but then got curb-stomped down the stretch. The Wildcats have since moved up five slots to #14 in the AP poll. Illinois also has wins over Grand Canyon and Nicholls, but the Arizona game is truly the only early season measuring stick.

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Illini Football Fans Finally Have Nice Things Again Under Lovie Smith

If you’re an Illini football fan, I don’t need to remind you of history, especially recent history. Ditto for Illini basketball fans. The Mike Thomas-Tim Beckman/Bill Cubit-John Groce era did a number on you. Up until a few weeks ago the Josh Whitman-Lovie Smith-Brad Underwood era gave the previous era a “hold my beer.”

Given that, it’s understandable for an Illini revenue sports fan to think and feel “why can’t we have nice things?” Or perhaps the sentiment is the same as the title to C. Montgomery Burns’ autobiography “Will there ever be a rainbow?” Well, it finally stopped raining! And yes, you can have something nice- a bowl game vacation, most likely in San Francisco (Redbox Bowl) or New York (Pinstripe Bowl).

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