Eleven worst Illini basketball losses of the past 10 years

bruce weber-upset

As proud a program as Illini basketball is, they’ve certainly had some “hiccups” (wow, what a euphemism there) in recent years. A 52-49 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers on January 30th, 2011 was just one disgusting-to-watch debacle that didn’t even make the cut. It marked the first win over a ranked team at IU for Tom Crean. Last night, I experienced something similar to “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” from “The Book of Mormon.” I dreamed Illini basketball put up only 15 points by halftime, couldn’t make a three-pointer to save their lives, and missed more lay-ups, put-backs and bunnies than any college basketball team in history.

Worse yet this spooky Illini basketball hell dream took place at Northwestern! Versus the worst Northwestern team they’ve had since 2007

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Illini Need Thorough Beatdown of Cornell to Regroup Quickly

andy_bernard_cornell

The alma mater of Andy Bernard, Cornell, can’t get to Champaign fast enough for the Illinois Fighting Illini. The Fighting ‘Nard Dogs, actually they’re called the Cornell Big Red, with some bear looking thing as their logo/mascot I think?, will get the Illini to re-focus quickly after that UGLY loss to the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at their alleged home away from home, the United Center in Chicago.

It’s a REALLY quick, two day turnaround as Illinois returns home to face Cornell on Monday night at the Assembly Hall. And that’s probably a good thing for Illinois.

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UNLV Running Rebs Nationally Relevant Again?

unlv

Last March two college basketball documentaries premiered to remind us college basketball nuts how the game was changed in the early ’90s. Both focused on powerhouse programs that fell from grace since then, but today seem to be trending backward.

The ESPN film focusing on the Michigan Wolverines Fab 5 may have gotten all the hype and controversy, but the HBO doc on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels was actually a much better/more informational film.

Today’s Rebels are led by a link to that glorious past in first year head coach Dave Rice, a member of the 1990 National Title team.

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Illini Really Having Trouble Winning at the United Center

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This used to be the Illini playground. It used to be their second home.

Overall, Illinois is 32-11 all-time at the United Center, but that statistic seems disconnected from reality on a day like today when the Illini offense was so ugly it was an insult to college basketball.

With the 64-48 loss to unranked UNLV, the #19 Illini dropped their third straight game at the UC, and fifth of the last six on Madison St.

The Chicago Bulls ‘ home used to be like a homecourt for Illinois, but not these days: the Madhouse on Madison has become maddening for those who were orange.

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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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Purdue Dominates Second Half in Win at Illinois, Boilers Seniors Own Illini Counterparts

purdue-cheerleader

A college basketball game like this, the one in which the Purdue Boilermakers absolutely took over the Illini in the second half, as their seniors played like seniors: guys who learn, develop and focus on progress. On the other side, the Illinois seniors regressed to historically epic proportions.

But enough on that for now, believe me we’ll have plenty on all that later.

For now, I encourage you to check out the work of Travis Miller, from Hammer and Rails.com

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Where Have You Gone Illini PG Demetri McCamey?

bruce weber demetri mccamey

He was having an All-American second team, All-Big Ten first team type season. At least up until his unhappy visit to Happy Valley. Illini senior point guard Demetri McCamey went (a then uncharacteristic) sub-50% from the field, and committed five turnovers to match his five assists. The Illini lost to Penn State, and the McCamey/Illinois college basketball season slide began.

During the course of his Illini career, McCamey has been criticized for his shot selection, his lack of defense, his immaturity and even his attitude. But in ’09-’10 he learned to carry this team on his back, scoring or assisting on an overwhelming majority of the Illini team scoring.

Sometime between last season to the beginning of this season, McCamey went from being just good to really great. But for the past month or so, he’s been very mediocre at best. And that’s even a stretch.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern Closes Out Illini, Illinois Road Woes Continue

In the second battle between Chicago’s two Big Ten college basketball teams, the outcome was drastically different from the first. Just how much of a disparity?

It would be like comparing the body composition of Illini Center Mike Tisdale (7-1, very svelte) to that of Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (4-8, very squished).

In their first meeting in Champaign, Illinois crushed the Northwestern Wildcats 88-63, in a game that was even more lopsided than that final score reads.

But here at Welsh-Ryan Arena, the ‘Cats knocked off the Illini 71-70. Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody was asked if the home/road difference is truly worth 26 points?

“It was to them,” he answered.

By Paul M. Banks

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Jereme Richmond Doesn’t Play in Illini Loss at Wisconsin

bruce weber-upset

Despite the presence of two nationally ranked teams, exciting and entertaining college basketball this was not. The game being played in this Big Ten basketball contest was like the slush, snow, ice and stagnant dirty water outside the Kohl Center- slow, hard to navigate, sludge and drudgery.For the Illini at least, there was never any flow.

As unexciting as the first meeting (won by Illinois 69-61) was, this was even more wallowed in mire. The #20 Badgers got revenge on the #16 Illini from their first encounter 76-66, despite shooting just 1-12 from behind the arc in the first half.

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Illini Struggle, Get Beat By Sister School UIC- Seriously!

uic

This was not college basketball at it’s finest. Not by a long shot. The Illinois Fighting Illini, playing in their second home, the near west side’s United Center struggled with their sister school, the UIC Flames all day.

Despite the presence of two local teams, the crowd was small. The UC looked 40-60% empty all day, but perhaps that because basketball fans are saving themselves for the NBA headliner, instead of this college hoops matinee. Coincidentally, the Chicago Bulls opponent in that game will be the Los Angeles Clippers and Eric Gordon, the one and done Indiana Hoosiers two-guard who is considered one of the biggest enemies of Illini nation.

But today, the Illini hand their hands full with a program who who celebrated the big upset win like they had just won the Final Four.

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Illini Football, Cub fans know Soul-Crushing

sad illini fan

cubs L flag

By Paul M. Banks

The year 2008 truly solidified my theory: to be a fan of either the Chicago Cubs and University of Illinois football means you know a lot about soul-crushing defeats. You know more than losing, you know exactly what it’s like to have any shred of hope or optimism crushed into grains of dust. You’ve had your hopes and dreams imploded so many times that you can’t even feel optimism anymore. You’ve routinely endured the type of losing that makes you wonder to yourself why you keep returning, but in ’08 took that disappointment spiked to cataclysmic proportions. The fallout from that devastation will likely linger for generations.

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