Monday, January 25, 2010

An Ill-annoying performance

On Saturday, I saw a State Farm commercial in which LeBron James has the ball with his team (not the Cavs, but a fake, commercial team) down 65-64 with about 10 seconds to go. Weird thing was, the commercial came on with just over 10 seconds left in the Michigan State-Minnesota game with MSU leading 65-64. LeBron hit the game-winner in the commercial, which I assumed was a freaky foreshadowing of what would soon happen in the real game. Unfortunately, Minnesota's Lawrence Westbrook is not LeBron James. I repeat: Lawrence Westbrook is not LeBron James. You heard it here first.

In other Big Ten action, Illinois has now lost two straight conference games after allowing Northwestern to go on a 15-2 second half run and pull out a 73-68 victory. It was the first time the Wildcats had beaten the Illini in 12 tries.

Amazingly, it wasn't the three-ball that hurt Illinois as was the case when Northwestern forced overtime in the teams' first meeting this season. Instead, it was freebies that did them in. Illinois committed 26 fouls and sent Northwestern to the line 32 times. The Wildcats put in just 24 of them, but that still gave them a 14 point advantage from the line (Illinois was 10-15).

7'1 junior Mike Tisdale continued to disappoint. Though he had a solid effort with 14 points and six boards, the big man mopped the floor with the outsized Wildcats at Assembly Hall, going for 31 points and 11 rebounds. He should have been able to do similar damage down low given his height advantage. He was at least able to stay out of foul trouble, though, for once. Tisdale has fouled out of four games this year and has been limited to 20 minutes or less seven times because of fouls.

Not to be out-sucked, junior Mike Davis was completely invisible in Saturday's game. He failed to score and had just two rebounds after lighting up Northwestern with a 20 and 17 game at Assembly Hall. It is, I'm pretty sure--but don't quote me on this--illegal in 27 states for Mike Davis to fail to score against the Northwestern Freakin' Wildcats.

Illinois doesn't have the talent to be at the top of the Big Ten standings, but they do have enough talent to win a majority of the games on their conference schedule and fight for a spot in the March Madness bracket. But too often this season key players have failed to show up to play. With Penn State, Indiana and Iowa coming up, the Illini need to pile up some wins before reaching the brutal portion of their schedule.

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