Purdue’s Matt Painter gives take on Bruce Weber firing

matt-painter

Purdue coach Matt Painter is from the same Gene Keady coaching tree as just fired, former Illini Bruce Weber; they’re contemporaries, peers and friends.

They both spend a lot of time screaming at their players to “MOVE” and “MOTION” in the motion offense system that they run. (It’s been a struggle offensively for both teams at times this season).

Following his Boilermakers bad 88-71 loss to Ohio State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, Painter was asked what he thought about Weber being canned today: (his response was the polar opposite in emotion and length of the response from MSU coach Tom Izzo)

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Illini officially remove Bruce Weber as basketball coach

bruce weber demetri mccamey

We knew this was coming since February, so I’m not going to say too much about it. I’ve already written thousands of words about Bruce Weber’s virtues and failures, what Illini fans will miss about Weber, why Shaka Smart is the right guy to replace him etc.

So let’s just get to the official University of Illinois statement:

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Illinois Falls To Iowa In Big Ten Tournament, Likely Bruce Weber’s Final Game

bruce-weber-illini

When asked if he thought his team would accept an NIT bid, embattled Illinois coach Bruce Weber responded “I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll make the NIT to be honest.”

After falling to Iowa in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, all signs seem to be pointing to Weber’s imminent departure from Champaign and the University of Illinois. In his post game comments Weber was reserved and calm, not the meltdown he had after losing to Purdue earlier this season or the anger he has shown so many other times. Weber who once guided the Illini to a Final Four and multiple Big Ten titles seemed to understand that this is likely the end.

“Sometimes, life isn’t fair, and basketball isn’t fair….If you just go on a pity party for yourself, nothing is going to happen.”

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Top 5 things Illini fans would miss about Bruce Weber

bruce-weber

It’s complete turmoil in Illini basketball nation right now, but don’t feel too bad for them for much longer. Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Doc Sadler had to help wipe away the tears of Bruce Weber following the Illini loss by 23 in Lincoln (the Huskers were up 32, and as decorum dictates wisely took their foot off the gas pedal and it could have been worse). Weber’s fate appears sealed in Champaign, and if the University does dismiss him at the end of the season, he’ll receive a $3.9 million buy-out.

Everyone hates to lose, and to fail, but $4 million dollars can remove a lot of tears quickly. Likewise with Meyers Leonard, who’s crying image was all over the web, if he gets his head right, truly gets his game together, in a year or two, some NBA team will cut him a check that gives him a lot of reasons to smile instead of cry. Brandon Paul wasn’t publicly crying, even though looking at his turnovers stats causes Illini nation to. If he cleans that up, he could probably get his someday too.

So there will be rainbows ahead for some of the Illini. Including Bruce, who will eventually land a fine mid-major college basketball head coaching job if he decides that’s what he wants. While everyone is understandably (and often deservedly) criticizing Weber right now, let’s look at the positive attributes he brought to his eight years in Champaign.

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Illini basketball season follows same depressing path as Illini football season

bruce weber-upset

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

For Illini fans in 2011-12, both were true.

In both revenue producing sports.

On the college football gridiron, Illinois started 6-0, on the strength of some ugly wins: (Northwestern, Western Michigan), and ascended to #16 in the nation. They lost as favorites to Ohio State, then became the first team in FBS history to finish 6-6 after starting 6-0. This utter collapse prompted Athletic Director Mike Thomas to buy out coach Ron Zook’s contract, and the Illini won a bowl game after firing a coach over a team which also fired it’s coach.

Thus far, the Illini basketball season has been pretty much the same entire bi-polar story.

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Illini Coach Bruce Weber clarifies, apologies for defeatist comments last night

bruce weber demetri mccamey

Illinois Coach Bruce Weber sounded like a dead man walking last night in his post game press conference. Following the Illini home loss to Purdue, which effectively killed his team’s NCAA Tournament at-large chances, Weber sounded very defeatist when meeting the media.

He called out some of his own players (Meyers Leonard, for his body language specifically), gushed over some of his opponents’ players, reflected on the last three years, and apologized for some of the things that went on during his regime in Champaign.

Basically, it sounded a lot like a guy who was saying goodbye, and letting it all out on the way to the door.

Today, he issued a statement explaining himself through the University (obtained via ESPN Chicago):

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