Thursday, January 14, 2010
Seemingly insignificant, right? Not when you recall that Illinois put up 33 points and not one free throw attempt in last year's home loss to the Nittany Lions.
On Tuesday, they didn't do a whole lot better in the free throw category--they attempted just six, making four of them. But they managed 54 points and a one-point victory over Penn State, which remains winless in the Big Ten.
It doesn't look like the Illini are going to be blowing anybody out this year. Though they're 4-0 in the Big Ten (enjoy it while it lasts), they beat Northwestern in overtime, handled Iowa relatively easily, had to mount a huge comeback to beat Indiana by six, and then the narrow victory over Penn State in a game in which they were favored by nine.
With neutral court losses to Utah, Bradley and Missouri, and a road loss against Georgia, Illinois will have to continue to win the games they're supposed to win if they want to dance in March. This Saturday will not be one of those games--they head to East Lansing to take on the 14-3 Spartans. Michigan State has a chance to get a head start on Purdue, who has suddenly lost two straight conference games after starting the season 14-0 overall.