Chicago Sports Inside and Out – The Chicago Sports Maven

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Did Anyone Think the Illini Had A Chance Tonight?

Posted by sportsmaven on January 24, 2007

If you are one of the few living human beings that thought that Illinois had a chance to beat the #23 ranked Indiana Hoosiers tonight, you deserve the Optimists of optimists award. Instead, you were rewarded with a resounding 51-43 victory by the Fighting Illini in a game won on pure guts. The Illini men’s basketball team resembles any multitudes of M*A*S*H episodes where those 1950’s plastic bubble helicopters with the stretchers of wounded endlessly kept flying to the 4077th M*A*S*H. Bruce Weber, playing the role of Lt. Col. Henry Blake, watches as his camp fills with the walking and not so much walking wounded.

Two more Illini went down for this game, Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle (again). They are added to the list of already limping wounded Chester Frazier and Jamar Smith. Four starters, three playing with injuries (only Brian Randle didn’t play tonight). If this keeps up, the ballboy, Chief Illiniwek, and the most popular member of the Orange Krush Student Fan Club will find themselves in the pre-game layup line.

This game tonight barely qualified as basketball. It is games like this that lets Big Ten Basketball take yet another hit in it’s no respect card against basketball powerhouse conferences such as the ACC and The Big East. Both teams shot under 41% from the field, decided by a decisively strong defensive game from Illinois. Oh, and by the way, the future bodes well for the Illini, they got 0 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist in 34 combined minutes of play from their bench. How many more days until football season?

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