Sunday, November 29, 2009

Las Vegas Hangover?

I loved the movie Hangover, but I'm not sure I would have wanted to live through that situation as any one of the film's characters. Hangovers are just not that much fun. Which brings me to my favorite college b-ball team, the Illini. After losing both games in Las Vegas over the Thanksgiving weekend, will they be able to bounce back at Clemson, or will they be suffering still? The Illini-Clemson match up is part of the annual ACC Big 10 Challenge event created by ESPN and the two conferences.

I'm expecting the Illini might struggle against the full court pressing defense of the Clemson Tigers, who also had a full plate of activity over the weekend. The Tigers were able to upset Butler tonight on a last second foul called in the game and related free throws.

Bruce Weber is still trying to figure out which players should be in his starting line-up and extended rotation. Rumor has it Bruce has had the Illini toying with a press of their own this season, as well as a zone defense. Freshmen DJ Richardson and Brandon Paul came up empty in Las Vegas and Paul did not start against Bradley University on Saturday night. The three junior starters, McCamey, Davis and Tisdale did not play consistently enough to get past Utah or Bradley, and need to step up their games. Weber might try to energize his squad by mixing up the starting rotation by inserting Dominique Keller or Bill Cole, both of whom played well in Las Vegas.

It's early in the season, so Illini fans should remain optimistic about their team, but the Illini are sure to fall out of the top 25 when the new rankings come out this week.

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