Friday, March 30, 2007

We Want Bush! We Want Bush!

Jenirro Bush that is! Rumor has it that Bruce Weber and the Fighting Illini are recruiting Jenirro Bush, who had committed to Arkansas and has now reopened his recruitment. This tall (6' 6") point guard prospect won the state title in Mississippi (actually his team did) and wants to play point guard in college, hopefully in Champaign. Remember, we want Bush! Article link

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

HoopTV Dunk Of The Day, Oct. 12th, 2006

Arkansas recruit Jenirro Bush has apparently been working on a release from his commitment, and is a potential Illini recruit.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Final Four Picks

Well, I don't want to dwell on this, but another losing year based on my final four picks not being that accurate (I had Georgetown and Florida correct, but missed with Kansas and Texas A&M). The Kansas loss really hurt my bracket, as did the A&M loss and Tennessee folding in the second half of their final game. Oh, well.

Potential Recruit Ty Abbott (2007 Class)

It sounds like Weber is on the hunt to add one more player to the 2007 class, which already has the best guard tandem since Deron Williams and Dee Brown came to Illinois in 2002. My guess is they are looking at Ty Abbott, who had committed to New Mexico, but was released after they fired their head coach. Ty Abbott has reopened his recruitment, and Illinois is listed as a potential school for him. Ty Abbott is a shooting guard, and we need shooters, based on last season. A good article about him when he was going to New Mexico. Link

Nice Interview with Bruce Weber

Here's a great interview with Bruce Weber, covering almost every topic you can imagine, recruiting, Tubby Smith, Jamar Smith, next year's team, a new mascot, etc. Apparently, Weber is working on a 5th recruit for the 2007 class. He also talks a little too much about the coaching situation at Kentucky............

Sunday, March 25, 2007

State of Illinois Class A All State Summary (per

Here is a nice page summarizing the Class A All-State Team of Illinois. Nice to see that we have commitments from two of them, Tisdale and Richmond, and a third might walk-on to play at Illinois this fall.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Derrick Rose Scenarios

Well, with the news of Tubby Smith taking the job at Minnesota, there is already speculation that John Calipari, coach at Memphis being the replacement at Kentucky. Should Calipari actually be chosen, there is a chance that Derrick Rose could be released from his commitment to Memphis, and reopen his recruitment. Apparently, his brother, Reggie Rose has commented that they could reconsider Champaign if that scenario happened. This is probably a 100 to 1 odds scenario, but stranger things have happened. Rose being added to Illini's 2007 class would put the class in the top 5 or 10 in the country, in my opinion, and reposition Illinois' prospects for next season. It would also provide some great freshman matchups against Indiana next year with Eric Gordon.

Go John Calipari!

Elite Eight is Complete

I cannot believe North Carolina came back with a convincing win, after being down most of the game to USC. USC looked like they had the game under control, then could not score at the end. Reminded me of the Illini this year.

Tim Floyd should do better next year, with O.J. Mayo coming on board.

It also seems like we might have an unusual final four this year, with more than the typical amount of top-seeded teams making it. Go upsets!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sweet Sixteen Day 1 and Coaching Changes

Wow, great games in the sweet sixteen. I had A&M advancing and they lost by 1 point. I had Tennessee knocking out OSU in an upset, and they blew a big lead and lost at the end in a close game.

Coaching musical chairs is just starting, with Tubby Smith heading to Minnesota and Steve Alford heading to New Mexico. These moves seem like they will elevate the programs in the Big 10 to even higher levels.

Simeon vs. St. Joes Super Sectional Final

Here is video of Demetri McCamey of St. Joes, going up against Derrick Rose of Simeon.

Billy Gillespie to Kentucky?

So it is now official, Kentucky's coach Tubby Smith is going to Minnesota to coach the Golden Gophers next year. So who will Kentucky take as coach of one of the top tier programs in the country next year?

I don't know for sure, but I do know that the hottest coach in the NCAA over the past few three years has to be............

BILLY GILLESPIE, currently coach of the Texas A&M team.

Let's see how the Aggies do in the stretch run in the tourney. I have them making the final four in my bracket. There was already speculation that Gillespie was headed to Kentucky prior to the announcement that Smith is leaving, so this rumor will only gain steam.

If anyone knows of a better candidate for Kentucky, please post a comment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sweet Sixteen Bracket

While I did not post my bracket earlier, I do have a bracket and feel good about my chances at this point. My final four:

Florida, seems to be coming on and would be surprising if they don't make it this far as defending champ.

Kansas, really on a roll with NBA talent playing for Bill Self, the strongest team in the tourney.

Georgetown, seems like the strongest 2 seeded team, and we all know that it is never all one seeded teams to make it.

Texas A&M has been a solid team all year, and as a 3 seed, this makes sense to me. I'm not sure that Ohio State will get knocked out, but Tennessess is fairly impressive and might stop the Buckeyes.

Final Game: Kansas versus Georgetown

National Champ: Kansas, and Bill Self can keep his job at Kansas for several more years.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Illini Fade in Loss to Virginia Tech Hokies

Ahhh, so predictable this year, the last 5 minute fade to lose the game again. Virginia Tech must feel very fortunate to win this game, after Illinois had it in hand, with a lead of 52-42 with 4:33 left in the game. The problems at the end seem all too familiar to the Illini this year:

-No one on Illinois wanted to take a shot with time running down
-Poor passes created turnovers and easy shots for Hokies
-Illini miss free throws down the stretch when they need them
-Too much time on the clock to close out the game, and the four corners does not work anymore

Well, tough way to end the season, but I guess it was quite an achievement to make the NCAAs this year with this team.

Warren Carter, good luck in Europe next year, hope you can make a good living playing basketball after a nice senior season.

Rich McBride, good luck trying to make a living playing basketball, maybe someone in Europe needs a three point shooting specialist or something.

Marcus Arnold, you really did come on at the end of the season and give us some quality minutes, good luck in your future endeavors.

Brian Randle, please see your doctor for a complete physical during the off-season and work on getting yourself in shape for a critical senior season. Do yoga, stretching exercises, whatever it takes to get ready for next season. Please do this, because we hate to see you in pain, and need more offense.

Shaun Pruitt, you really expanded your game this year, rest up for next season. If Oden leaves for the NBA, you could be the big man in the conference next season. When you are not lifting weights, please see a shooting coach to help you with free throws and try shooting 100 or more per day. With the number of times you go to the line, you need to make at least 80% of them.

Chester Frazier, please see your doctor for a complete physical exam during the off-season. You are in great shape, and we look forward to more progress in your game as a junior. Keep working on your shooting, because your defense and hustle are awesome.

Trent Meacham, good job this year, not bad for a walk-on/scholarship player. Please teach your teammates how to shoot free throws in your spare time.

Calvin Brock, very nice improvement this year, you really gave the team quality minutes on defense, rebounding, and some scoring as well. You should get more minutes next season, maybe a starter.

Jamar Smith, hope to see you back next year. You could be an NBA star if you work on it, so don't give up on yourself.

Brian Carlwell, get well, hope to see you starting next year. You need to get healthy, then work on firming up your game on both ends of the court.

Rich Semrau, hope you have recovered from your illness by now. As you can see, being a starter next year is a real possibility, especially if you can shoot the basketball.

QWat, D-Mac and the Big Guys, looking forward to some help on the offensive end next season. You all have a chance to start on this team as freshmen in the fall.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chief Illiniwek Final Performance 2/21/2007

The Chief lives on, with this youtube video of his last performance.

Dick Vitale picks Illinois in NCAA Tourney as Sleeper

Check this out Illini fans. Dick Vitale has big expectations for the Illini in the West Regional, thinking they can upset Virginia Tech and Southern Illinois, before losing to Kansas. Link

Dick Vitale also shared his bracket with the world, and believe it or not, he picked North Carolina to win the Championship, rather than Duke! At least he picked an ACC team.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Get Your Brackets Ready!

Still trying to fill out your brackets? Not sure that I know anything more than anyone else, but I do like the following teams to make the final four:

-Florida, kind of a no-brainer since they have been there before and have everyone back.
-Kansas, basically an NBA team, with Self's job on the line due to previous chokes!
-Georgetown, the class of the Big East, solid defense and offense.
-Texas A&M, seems like this team has a lot of heart, and played well all year in Big 12 conference except against Bob Knight.

It is a coincidence that my final four teams are coached by guys named Billy, Bill, John and Billy.

Some dark horse? teams: Tennessee (5 seed), Washington State (3 seed), Southern Illinois (4 seed), Gonzaga (10 seed), Kentucky (8 seed)

Wishful thinking team: Illinois (I have them winning two games at the most)

Good luck everyone with your brackets!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Seth Greenberg, VT Coach talks about Illini

Interesting view of the Illini basketball team from Virginia Tech's coach, Seth Greenberg. Link

Expand the Tourney Field?

There is too much talk about expanding the field from 65 to a higher number, which is ridiculous. The reason some teams don't make it is there are too many weak teams getting automatic bids by winning their conference tourney. If there is a problem with too many deserving teams being left out, I have a solution. If a conference tourney champion is not ranked in the top 65 based on the RPI, they would not get an automatic bid, but could be considered for an at-large bid. This process would eliminate the pretenders, and produce a bracket that is completely solid in every round, including the first round.

Jay Mariotti explains why blogging is so popular

Even though I grew up in the Chicago area, I don't recall ever knowing anyone who subscribed to the Chicago Sun-Times. It was the type of newspaper that you might read if it was handed out at the train station, or was sitting on the seat next to you on the El Train. Well, in his column today, columnist Jay Mariotti gives you a first hand account of why blogging is so popular, and why newspapers like the Sun-Times are not!

Mr. Pomeroy, meet the NCAA Selection Committee

OK, will someone please explain this to me. There is a guy that lot's of people pay attention to named Pomeroy who ranks teams using statistics, like a RPI ranking. If you check the Pomeroy rankings currently, you will find the following: Link

Illinois 24
Virginia Tech 26

Yet, Virginia Tech is seeded 5, and Illinois is seeded 12 in the West Regional. Maybe this explains why every year there are so many upsets in the 5/12 matchups?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

We are in (the NCAA Tourney)

So after all the worrying about the bubble, we are in the tourney field after all, a 12 seed facing Virginia Tech in Columbus, OH. Columbus is not that long of a drive from Champaign, so we should have good fan support there.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Illini making NCAAs

With 18 hours to go, Joe Lunardi has the Illini barely in, one of the last four teams in the tourney. This could change, but reflects his most recent analysis. Link

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tired Illini have no offense in loss to Badgers

The Illini kept it close most of the game, but could never make a run in the second half, probably due to exhaustion, with their third game in three days.

It took awhile for the Badgers to get their offense going as well, other than Alando Tucker's shooting in the first half.

Warren Carter was about the only player who could create some offense for the Illini today, with most of the others happy to pass up on shots. Very few opportunities to score in the paint, and they did not want to rely on the three point shots either.

The strength of this team is their defense, which held back Wisconsin's offense most of the game, and made for some boring basketball for Billy Packer and the national TV audience.

It will be interesting to see how the brackets line up tomorrow night.

Bruce Weber for President (or at least Coach of Year in Big 10)

Bruce Weber has done an awesome job as coach at Illinois this season. He has a team heading into the NCAAs with 23 wins (and counting) and has had to deal with all the injuries, DUIs, Chief controversy, negative Chicago media, recruiting competition with Sampson, etc. etc. etc.

Bruce, great job this year, please stay at Illinois and ignore the media and negative comments out there from the Illinois fans.

Illini Win in OT against IU Hoosiers

That was quite a game for the Illini to pull out in overtime. Their defense was really tough against IU, which is one of the better offensive teams in the B10 this year.

Weber is an awesome coach the way he has this team playing at this point in the season. Maybe they can play Wisconsin tough tomorrow and get to the finals. Seems like the Illini should be in the tourney with 23 wins, but I guess you never know with all the teams on the bubble. It would be nice to win the conference tourney to get rid of any thrill/nervousness on Sunday at bracket time.

The Illini beat the Hoosiers with their defense today. Even though Randle hardly scored, he was guarding Wilmont, who is one of the Hoosiers big outside scorers, and Wilmont scored 2 points on 1-10 shooting. The entire Indiana team struggled offensively, shooting 31% from the field, and a big part of this was Illinois' defense. McBride did not score until a free throw at the end, but did seem to play well on defense and passing the ball on offense.

Nice games by Pruitt and Carter, as usual. Meacham was probably the player of the game with his ability to hit some free throws at the end. The Illini have to be one of the worst free throw shooting teams, ever.....

Thursday, March 1, 2007

NBC5 Report on Jereme Richmond

Nice video of Illini Recruit Richmond, can't wait until he is at Champaign.