Thursday, February 18, 2010


Illinois' embarrassing 72-53 loss to Ohio State on Sunday--their worst home loss since 1976--wasn't simply a waste of a chance to stay atop the Big Ten standings. Much worse than that, it was a waste of Gus Johnson! (Full disclosure: this joke was made by Trevor Sierra, but was set up by my statement that the game's lack of drama was frustrating given that Gus was announcing the game).

Tuning in to a Gus Johnson-called game is like a trip to Vegas--it doesn't come around that often, so you'd better enjoy it. But to have the stars align--to see your favorite team play on national television with Gus calling the action--that's like being in Vegas, walking into Caesar's, strolling up to the roulette wheel and putting $100 on "13." It's a chance to witness something amazing, to know what it's like to be the guy who has luck on his side, to experience true happiness.

But the Illini fell behind 13-6 out of the gate, trailed 34-14 later in the first half, and weren't able to pull within fewer than 14 points in the second half. Thirteen didn't hit. It never had a chance. The ball landed on 27 and your $100 is gone. You're not the lucky one. It's time to go to Slots-A-Fun where you belong, where, deep down, you knew you belonged even as you felt Caesar's plush carpet underneath your feet and the crisp $100 bill in your pocket. There's no money to be won here, no "HO-HOOOH!!!"s or "Rises and FIRRRRRRES ... GOT IT!!!"s or any other Gus-isms.

It didn't work out this time, Gus, but we'll reload at Slots-A-Fun and be back for another go before it's all said and done. After all, March Madness is just around the corner.

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