’11-’12 Illini Bare Disturbing Resemblance to ’98-’99 Team

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Bruce Weber has his 2011-12 Fighting Illini in real good shape to make the NCAA Tournament, with his third big, signature win coming just the other night over Michigan State. Yet he’s on both the hot seat and the bad side of Illini Nation. (Much more on this in a quickly upcoming post) Why?

Style points. Illini basketball is “sexy” alright, sexy as Camryn Manheim or Kathy Bates.

Their 42-41 win over MSU was the fewest points the program has scored in a win since 1946! Even though this teams look destined to hit Black Jack (21 wins) when the regular season ends, they still have an alarming amount of similarities to the 1998-99 team coached by Lon Kruger that set the school record for losses by going 14-18.

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Fighting Illini Basketball Sets Date, Player List for Alumni Game

Many of the best Illinois college basketball players from the past two decades will play on the Assembly Hall floor again for the 2011 Fighting Illini Alumni Basketball Game, Saturday, Aug. 6.

All former members of the Fighting Illini basketball program have been invited back to campus for the reunion weekend.

A lot of Illini have already committed to play and the list will continue growing between now and 8-6-11.

By Paul M. Banks

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Illinois Fighting Illini Choke Away BTT Game to Wolverines

Bruce Weber Illinois

There’s only one program to have reached (or received a bye into) the Big Ten Tournament quarter-finals every year in the tourney’s inception, and that’s the Illinois Fighting Illini. In fact out of the 13 conference tourneys, they’ve reached the semi-finals in every year except one. Make it two after today’s epic choke job.

The Illini (who have the most BTT wins all time with 23) were living and dying by the perimeter game all day and it came back to bite them. They stopped getting looks inside, forced up terrible shots and committed loads of turnovers down the stretch as the Wolverines ended up beating them 60-55.

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Illinois’ Second Half Choke Not Surprising

ready for the dance illini

There wasn’t much you could say about the Illini and their fall to top-ranked Ohio State on Saturday afternoon.

It was certainly disappointing.

It was certainly a let down after building a lead.

The one thing you really can’t call it, and we all know it deep down inside, was all that surprising. [Read more…]

Illinois Wins ‘Typical Big Ten Game’ Against Wisconsin

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“I thought it was a typical Big Ten Game against Wisconsin,” Illinois head coach Bruce Weber said after the game. “You have to have the right mindset and understand your opponent and understand they are going to keep playing and they don’t get rattled. We’d go on a run and they would calmly walk to the huddle. They come out, they make plays…You’re not going to put a Bo Ryan team away.”

That was how Weber succinctly wrapped up the Illini’s 69-61 win against the Badgers on Sunday night in front of a sometimes-lackluster sell out crowd at Assembly Hall in Champaign.

Though the Illini at times dominated the game, it was their inability to put their opponents away that again dominated the thoughts of many after the game — even if Weber would like to say that it was the talent and poise of the Badgers that allowed that to happen. [Read more…]