Illini basketball shows split personality in narrow NCAA victory over Colorado

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This Illini basketball game was a microcosm of the entire season! In Illinois 57-49 victory over Colorado, it was like the Michigan State, Indiana games etc. all over again. This Illini basketball tourney game in which Illinois was a #7 and the Buffaloes a #10 was quite reminiscent of a 2007 NCAA Tournament game when the Illini blew a double digit lead to VaTech. The Illini ended up losing that #12 vs #5 match-up 54-52. How come the 12s-over-5s rule didn’t work for Illini basketball that time?

Illinois attempted 30 shots in the first half, 16 of them 3-pointers. They only committed three turnovers, shot 43% field goal, 38% from three and found themselves up 37-21 at half. Rather impressive offense, but I had premonitions of what was to come. This is what Illini basketball scored in their past four games: 64, 51, 55, 55. And obviously today 57.

So what happened in the second half?

Colorado opened on a 24-2 run and took a 44-39 lead with 8:33 to play. Illinois didn’t have a second half field goal until Tracy Abrams hit a three about 11 1/2 minutes in. This was a horrible match-up for Illinois, but they got it done with defense. CU star guard Spencer Dinwiddie, and what a really fun name that is to say, was in foul trouble all afternoon and finished 1-8 from the field, with four turnovers and four assists.

Brandon Paul led Illinois with 17 points, even though he had a very rough shooting night. However Paul got it done at the line, shooting 9-10 from the charity stripe.
Now Illini basketball must look at the monster waiting in the next round. I think Miami was inspired by NCAA seeding disrespect. They DESTROYED hapless Pacific today, and look like a #1 seed. Still Illini basketball moves on the “third” round.

The “shooter’s mentality” is to keep shooting no matter what. When the shots aren’t falling to just keep going. Have a short memory. D.J. Richardson answered my question about it:

“We’re mature players.  We have been in college for four years, we have been through up?and?downs throughout our careers.  We are shooters, we both can shoot.  We’re going to keep shooting even if they don’t fall.  We keep defending?? that’s the main thing, if we defend, we’ll find some ways to score somewhere down the line and that’s what we did tonight,” Richardson said.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an author and regular contributor to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker.

Banks has appeared on Comcast SportsNet and the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)

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