Five Worst Moments of the 2010-11 Illini Hoops Season

Bruce Weber Illinois

The Illinois Fighting Illini came into this year with across-the-board top 15 preseason national rankings. Yet here they are receiving no votes at all (deservedly so) in either poll for the past few weeks, under .500 in conference, and squarely on the NCAA bubble.

In other words, grossly underachieving and not even remotely close to meeting expectations. And it’s not just this year’s expectations. The current nucleus (Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Demetri McCamey) have been starting for three straight years. So one would expect them to peak this season…so much for that! Throw in a recruiting class that was highly regarded on a national college basketball level, and this WAS the year Illini fans have been looking to since 2008.

Kind of depressing isn’t it? Go here for more on that. It’s a very emotional description of how soul-sucking this season has been for the Illini fan base. What follows is a more anecdotal and objective description of the same soul-sucking season from hell.

By Paul M. Banks

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Why do the Illini have so Little Fight on the Road?

ready for the dance illini

Following yet another disappointing road loss at Northwestern, Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber talked about what he’s tried to fix their 1-4 in conference play road woes.

“We tried lineup changes, they all want to start, but step up and be a starter, make the plays. Billy (Cole) said it, we got to start the game with shutouts, we got to be determined, we can’t let a team, especially on the road, just jump on us,” he said of his woefully under-achieving Illini team.

It would help if the senior class started living up to their potential, but it was sophomore, Brandon Paul, who gave the media a soundbite Illini Nation would like to hear.

“It’s tough, we keep talking about the same thing, and people get mad, people talk about it, but actions speak louder than words, we got to do something about it,” Paul said.

Very true. It’s Groundhog Day, just like Weber said last Saturday, as the team keeps repeating the same mistakes all over again. Had they bothered to show up for the first 5 minutes of the games at Penn State, Indiana and Northwestern, they easily would have won all three. The final margin of defeat was so small that had Illinois not utterly sleep-walked out of the gate they could be 8-2 instead of 5-5 in Big Ten play right now.

By Paul M. Banks

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Can this Illini Team, specifically the Seniors, Ever Wake Up?

bruce weber demetri mccamey

“We have had people talk to them, and we did everything except electric shock [therapy] to get them going,  Illini coach Bruce Weber said about his college basketball team. “They have to jolt themselves from the inside. We have to be determined and not let a team, especially on the road, jump on us.”

Weber made this comment after his Illini team lost at Northwestern; despite beating the same exact team by 25 points just less than a month ago.

For whatever reason, the Illini can’t seem to put together any type of consistent effort and heart into their play this season; but this problem has actually persisted for the past three seasons.

During those past three years, the Illini have been led by a trio of seniors –center Mike Tisdale, power forward Mike Davis, and point guard Demetri McCamey. This trio looks dubiously poised to finish their collegiate careers with zero NCAA Tournament wins.

That’s a rare feat in Champaign- four years without a tourney win, and it’s unfathomable that a trio with six All-Big Ten selections combined will be a class that “accomplishes” this.

Why? In four years, they just NEVER learn from their mistakes.

By Paul M. Banks

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