Illini Hoops All-Decade team

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By Paul M. Banks & Paul Schmidt of  The Sports Bank and Joe Kutsunis of Hail to the Orange, “Home of the Blogging Illini”

When putting together an All Decade Team, our first effort was Nick Smith, at guard, forward, and center. Nick Smith all the way baby. So obviously someone spiked our Egg Nog with opium or something. Eventually we decided to take the job seriously and put this together; a collection of our favorite memories surrounding the players the three of us deemed all decade.

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Big 10 Power Rankings 12-17

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By Paul M. Banks

1. Purdue (9-0)
Their nucleus has an excellent mix of NBA level athletes, college talent that excels in their system, and tough hard-working role players. In other words, they have the blue print in place that you need to go far in March in today’s college game.

2. Michigan State (8-2)
So this a typical (H to tha) Izzo team? That redeems themselves later in the year for their early preconference missteps? Remember, a few months before they won the national title, they lost to Wright St. Yes, Wright St.

3. Northwestern (8-1)

I can’t say this high a ranking will last, but no team in the conference below them has a more impressive body of work. And look out for the freshman from Naperville Drew Crawford. When he blew up for 35 points on Sunday, it was a new high for a Big Ten player this season. NU shot 20-47 from behind the arc in that game, both conference records.

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Fighting Illini All-Decade 1st Team Offense

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By Paul M. Banks & Paul Schmidt of  The Sports Bank and Joe Kutsunis of Hail to the Orange, “Home of the Blogging Illini”

For the 1st team defense and second teams click here

First team Offense

QB Kurt Kittner  – Though he only played two seasons this decade, Kittner deserves the nod here. He led the team to the Sugar Bowl and a Big Ten Championship in 2001, and did it without the benefit of a great running back corps (undersized Rocky Harvey and bulky Antoineo Harris the main contributors). With the passing game being the main focus of the offense, Kittner was still able to dissect opposing defenses.  Still, it was a close finish between him, Juice Williams and surprisingly Jon Beutjer (whose career stats are surprisingly impressive – like second all-time in Illini history for passing efficiency). Kittner’s overall winning record as a starter pushes him over the top.

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