18 January 2013

Northwestern 68 ILLINOIS 54 (F)

That was...errrr...unexpected.  Yes.  There were signs that the Illini were entering an all-too-familiar B1G swoon.  In that respect there was a fighters chance for Northwestern.  The listless manner by which NU turtled its way to a 20 point loss in the prior game against Iowa at the Welsh gave no hint that NU was in a fighting mood.

The tone was set early as four different players knocked down bombs on their first attempts.  Most noteworthy were streaky Marcotullio and Swopshire making their three pointers.  Suffice it to say that if Swop is making his threes it's going to be a competitive night for NU.  If Little Al follows suit and actually fills his marksman role then watch out!

NU played outstanding defense throughout.  The I-L-L---I-N-I offense was clicking on no cylinders and made it easy to be defended.  Hello?  Motion?  Passing?  These appear to be either foreign or outdated concepts to new Illinois head coach Mr Clean.

Our eyebrows raised in the second half when the lineup was primarily:  Sobo, Demps, Hearn, Swop, and Turner.  About a month ago after Crawford went out for the season for shoulder  surgery we proposed nearly this very lineup save Olah in the place of Turner.  You're almost there with the winning formula Coach.  Better late than never.

Next up is an overrated Indiana team coming to Evanston on Sunday.  NU has about a 12% chance ala kenpom, but we figure maybe a one in four chance since Tom Crean is tactically clueless against NU's schemes.  Indiana's talent will likely carry the day for the Hoosiers, but if the seniors are in a fighting mood again (Reggie Hearn scored 20 at Illinois for a repeat stellar performance at Ass Hall) then who knows.  Strangely enough NU has played better on the road than at home this year which is an odd trend that needs undoing (on the home front only --knock on wood).