Illini Soundly Defeat UNC in Tue Headliner of Big 10-ACC Challenge

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Illinois basketball

Well how do you like that? There was an environment in the Assembly Hall tonight that is very unusual for a late November game, it felt like the good old days of the Big Ten ACC Challenge when we would routinely host top tier teams like Wake Forest or North Carolina.  The over capacity, extremely amped crowd had plenty to cheer about as the 2010 Illini attempted to exorcise the demons of the 2005 Illini.

By Joe Kutsunis Hail to the Orange.com

Demetri McCamey must be recognized for his heroics. He played 35 minutes tonight and made all of them count, going 6-12 and 3-4 from deep. His 8 assists and even three steals cemented him as the most important player on the floor tonight. But even more than his stat line he played with as much intensity as I have ever seen. One of the many players who fans have complained about being too unemotional, Demetri was screaming his head off on defense, and commanding his players around the court on offense. He is the straw that stirs the drink, and he is a good portion of the drink as well.

If it is fashionable to pile on the big men when they are struggling, we have to give them their propers when they excel, and Mike Davis absolutely excelled tonight. MD only sat for two minutes scored 20 points and grabbed 10 boards. The walking double-double came back tonight, only it was a meaningful double-double. This was against McDonald’s All American big men, not the Yales and Irvines of the world. Also deserving of credit has to be Mike Tisdale, who though he once again fouled out, played much better against top tier big men than we have perhaps come to expect. 14 points and 5 boards is a solid game for the big man, and the fact that he was at least somewhat responsible for taking it to Zeller in the first half and drawing some valuable fouls.

Jereme Richmond made another big stride tonight, and was clearly pushed on by the crowd, which he noted was as great a crowd as he has ever seen. He is playing very solidly around the rim, he has some post moves that even I am surprised to see, given that I thought he was more of a guard-three rather than a forward three. The baseline dribble drive to the dunk is something I am looking forward to see more and more of.

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