Illinois! Michigan St! ESPN! Erin Andrews! Pop the Champaign!


By Paul M. Banks

Chris Rock once told us “No matter who you are, there’s no sex in the Champagne room”. Equally true- Even if you’re a top 5 ranked team, there’s no easy games visiting the House of ‘Paign. This Champaign party date has been circled on the calendar for months. The hype has been building for a long time. Dickie V. is here. Erin Pageviews is (I mean Erin Andrews) is here. And we’re just one hour from tip off. Here’s a few more links to get for the game.

Our game preview with predictions of the score

An exclusive with Tom Izzo discussing the idea of sports “saving” a battered city. You know those crappy mainstream media pieces we’re seeing about the Saints redeeming the city of New Orleans after Katrina. Exactly like we saw with the MSU Spartans and the post economic crisis city of Detroit during the Final Four last year.

Details on the charity free throw shooting contest between Izzo and Bruce Weber.

Our latest projection of the NCAA bracket

How Illinois used their connections and nepotism to have the chance to host ESPN College Gameday today

Speaking of Erin Andrews and College Gameday, here’s the story of how a fan’s sign on the football edition of the show last fall essentially sexually harassed her with it’s message. But the kid did use proper syntax and grammar though.

What the Illini must do to make the tournament Courtesy of our friends at Hail to the Orange

Our most recent Big Ten Power Rankings

We’ll see you again in an hour. To quote Chris Rock again “don’t forget to bring the ‘pagne- the Champagne! Tiger Woods y’all, it’s all good y’all”

2:00 til player introductions: All year Assembly Hall has been lacking something, even during the Purdue game they were fired up but waiting for disaster….This crowd is ready for bear.  This crowd is EPIC.  This place is absolutely hopping tonight, and it’s easily as loud as I’ve ever heard it here.  The ILL-INI chant is CRAZY loud…Let’s bring home a resume-saving win tonight, boys! (PS)

Player introductions: By the way, two important points: 1) the interwebs here in Assembly Hall are struggling, we think because of The Worldwide Leader’s presence…2) This is either going to be really, really fun…or heart-stoppingly awful.  I’m leaning towards the latter, but maybe that’s just the Cub fan in me….(PS)

TIPOFF: I’m a professional…I’m a professional…(PS)

Illinois 2, Michigan State 2, 18:53 left 1H: On Illinois Media Day for the basketball team, Bruce said that he wanted DJ Richardson to be his stopper…he just forced Kris Allen into a bad carrying turnover at halfcourt. GOOD DJ! (PS)

Illinois 12, Michigan St 4, 17:03 left 1H: All I can say is LOUD NOISES!!!! Except I do know what we’re yelling about…and that second Cames three….this place just blew up.  It exploded.  Literally. (PS)

Illinois 14, Michigan State 10, 14:45 left 1H: OK, This is a critical stretch for the Illini.  They were buoyed early by the huge emotion at the start of the game, but now that they have settled into the game they need to find a consistent way to score…(PS)

Illinois 16, Michigan State 14, 12:24 left 1H: Demetri McCamey just went out for a rest for the first and probably only time tonight.  This is a critical stretch.  And that’s an underrstatement. (PS)

Illinois 16, Michigan State 14, 11:33 left 1H: Are we in a good place that college pep bands are playing Green Day songs?  I don’t know if this is a good development. (PS)

Illinois 21, Michigan State 18, 10:31 left 1H: A lot of uncontested looks for the Spartans, layups and the like.  Illinois’ defense isn’t helping or recovering nearly as well as they need to. When DJ just tried to pressure the ball handler a little he got called for a foul.  That’s got to change soon, or the Illini lead will not hold. (PS)

Illinois 28, Michigan State 22, 8:59 left 1H: Just a wild start to the game. Kris Allen and Sparty have been on fire from the field, and Illinois is weathering that storm by being just as hot and not turning the ball over. Kalin Lucas is important, folks. (PS)

Illinois 30, Michigan State 26, 6:54 left 1H: Sparty is, obviously, not going away, and Durrell Summers just threw down a sick, sick oop from Kris Allen.  By the way, yes, I do know I’m spelling his name like the American Idol singer and not who he is.  I don’t care…(PS)

Illinois 30, Michigan State 26, 5:34 left 1H: Game seemed to grind to a halt there, and somehow only 1:20 went by on the clock, sandwiched around the 8 minute timeout.  It felt like 30 minutes…and both teams look flat now. (PS)

Illinois 30, Michigan State 26, 4:28 left 1H: Did you know that Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has a developing bald spot in the back of his head.  See, that’s how boring the game got…I’m staring at Izzo’s head…(PS)

Illinois 34, Michigan State 30, 2:28 left 1H: Where has Korie Lucious been?  Just hit a momentum-killing three, but has been relatively silent.  He’s the guy that could be/should be carrying the Spartans right now. (PS)

Illinois , Michigan State , HALFTIME: Really, really stupid foul by Durrell Summers put DJ Richardson on the FT line, where he hit one and missed the second…then, as the Illini have had problems with all game, they didn’t get back on defense after the miss.  If the Illini lose this game, it will be completely because of their inability to get back on defense after a miss.

Still, the Illini lead by one in a must win game.  They absolutely cannot afford to lose any more home games, and this is just too important of an opportunity to miss. Even if it is Sparty without Kalin Lucas, it’s still Sparty.  And you’ve got to take your victories where they come. (PS)

Illinois 35, Michigan State 34 HALFTIME: Hmm…Jeff Dunham is coming to Assembly Hall in March. Innnnnteresting. (PS)

Illinois 35, Michigan State 34, Start of the Second Half: Well…this is playing for your tournament lives Illinois.  20 minutes to the NCAA’s or the NIT.  Your call. (PS)

Illinois 37, Michigan State 37, 18:00 left 2H: The interwebs are spotty again…Sort of like the Illini start to the second half. They don’t look BAD…just a little bit out of it so far. (PS)

Illinois 41, Michigan State 41, 16:24 left 2H: The Illini, I think, just called time out…Cames and Tisdale literally yelled at eachother the whole way off of the floor, and then Weber joined in for some reason…a weird exchange after a nice Tyler Griffey jumper tied the game back up at 41.

Also interestingly, the Illini are on the verge of falling out of this game. They look out of sync, and they don’t appear together in the huddle either.  MSU seems balanced and focused…Sparty could run away with this thing if the Illini aren’t careful…(PS)

Illinois 45, Michigan State 45, 14:24 left 2H: MY GOD…these timeouts are killing me…(PS)

Illinois 47, Michigan State 45, 14:11 left 2H: Brandon Paul is contributing how he can off the bench, and is doing a nice job…a few points, and a few boards and is really giving the Illini a boost from, I guess from the three position. (PS)

Illinois 53, Michigan State 52 12:40 left 2H: I’ve been trying to type Demetri McCamey for three!  Times two! for a little while now, but Sparty just took the lead back with three straight threes…Umm….let me update that…(PS)

Michigan State 55, Illinois 53, 11:34 left 2H: Sigh. Illinois has no interest in playing any defense.  If they lose, it’s their own fault. (PS)

Illinois 59, Michigan State 57, 9:08 left 2H: Brandon Paul just took off from half court and dunked it. My jaw literally dropped in shock. (PS)

Illinois 64, Michigan State 57, 7:45 left 2H: ODSJAFIDSJGOAISDJASJDFJDSKLFJALSKDJOP!!!!

Illinois 64, Michigan State 57, 7:17 left 2H: Stay calm…lots of game left!

And no, I didn’t have a stroke.  I think.  But my goodness…Brandon Paul! Seriously!  SERIOUSLY!!  ARRRRRE YOUUUU SERRRRIOUS????!!!

I don’t really have much to add other than what you’re thinking, except to say that this is what happens when this team plays D.  This is how good this team can be.  (PS)

Illinois 66, Michigan State 61, 6:03 left 2H: And just like that, Kris Allen silences the crowd.  Add in a TERRIBLE Mike Tisdale pass and foul on Cames, and here we are…

Mike Davis just hit though and woke up the crowd!  They aren’t wearing down! (PS)

Illinois 66, Michigan State 63, 3:55 left 2H: Weird douchey Sparty fan behind me thinks that he just willed McCamey to miss his free throws.  In a related story, he’s really fat, and is blocking everyone’s view when he stands up, and I think is going to get punched.  Maybe that only amuses me…

Michigan State has the answer EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. the Illini do something good. It shouldn’t surprise me that that is the case, considering they went to the title game last season and returned a large part of that lineup.  But still, they are shooting 57% from the field…how are they losing? (PS)

Illinois 68, Michigan State 65, 3:11 left 2H: Calling the Illini offense stagnant right now would be an insult to stagnant things everywhere…bailout foul gets Mike Davis 2 FTs, and the Illini are back up three. (PS)

Illinois 68, Michigan State 66, 2:16 left 2H: Let’s jsut say what we’re all thinking: This team is trying to kill me.  (PS)

Illinois 68, Michigan State 68, 1:46 left 2H: Tis just hurt his knee, but just came in. Bruce just yelled, “Tis, are you going in? THEN TELL MIKE DAVIS TO BOX OUT!”  Funny! (PS)

Illinois 70, Michigan State 68, 1:21 left 2H: Brandon Paul with the basket on….well, let’s just say that was NBA-style continuation…(PS)

Illinois 70, Michigan State 68, 1:08 left 2H: Illinois is subbing offense/defense, and…well, if I live through this game, I’ll have quotes from the presser.  I gotta put the comp away!!  (PS)
73-70 ILL with 27.7 ticks left
McCamey with another huge 3!!! but of course State answers with a basket of their own..of the 2 pt variety. still that Demetri “trifecta” made this place erupt.
74-73 Illini 17.4 left
another big 3 by summers…back and forth back and forth


  1. Paul Schmidt says

    Nausea….setting in…How can I sit here quietly without cheering???

  2. paulmbanks says

    I’m sure that thunderous Tisdale dunk elicited from Dickie V. an ARRRRRE YOUUUUUU SERRRRRRIOUS?!!!!”

  3. paulmbanks says

    My undergrad school (Illinois) vs. my grad school (Michigan St.) who to root for? always gotta go with the alma mater

  4. paulmbanks says

    love love love the pace of this game right now!!! everyone’s hitting their 3s, plenty of transition. who says big ten basketball is all 54-50 wisconsin-iowa games

  5. paulmbanks says

    MSU PG Korie Lucious…yes he is indeed quite lucious

  6. paulmbanks says

    So far this game has really gone the Illini’s way. McCamey out on fire-which is important

  7. paulmbanks says

    Illini got killed on the baords 16-9 in first half. But MSU’s ballhandling was terrible 6 assts 11 turnovers, think they miss Kalin? his fill-in korie lucious has a 0 assists 4 TOs in his box score

  8. paulmbanks says

    So far I give Illinois offense a A and their defense a F…every time they seem to get a huge bucket, State answer with another basket of their own. It must be VERY FRUSTRATING for the crowd here.

  9. rushing the court… bush league… Illini might make an appearance in my Field of 65 next week… if they win at Wisconsin Tuesday night that it is…

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