Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I've been pretty unhappy with the Big 10's performance in the ACC/Big 10 matchups the last few years also. According to wikipedia, at the time of this post, the ACC is 34 and 19 making the Big 10, of course, 19 and 34. Pitiful. The best performances are by the Dukies, who are 6-0, while Wake is 5-1 and N.C. St., Clemson, and Florida St. are all 4-2. Only the Tar Heels are under .500 in the ACC, thanks to the Illini's win last night.

Now Randy might know more about the Illini program and, I agree, with Randy that last night was a quality win for the Illini. But they're not going to do anything close to what they did last year.

UNC will prove to be a tough team in the ACC and the Big Dance come March and UofI handled them. After a draw during the 1st half, the Illini looked really good to start the 2nd half--with intense defensive pressure and good outside shooting with 3's by Randle, McBride and Smith. But when they went cold shooting from the outside--which is bound to happen at some point--UNC came storming back by getting the ball to Hansbrough inside and spotting up for a few 3's. But the Illini held fast in the Dean dome and won the game.

Illinois is pretty good again this year, but if Dee Brown continues to shoot poorly and they face teams that can beat them inside, they'll be in trouble. Plus, they're depending on less proven players while losing some important seniors, including some off the bench (Remember that without Ingram, they would have never been in the game against UNC last year). While they'll be good and might be undefeated before the conference schedule starts on 1/5, they won't get out of January without a conference loss or two. They just aren't the same team they were last year without Head and Williams. And the 15 point 2nd half comebacks are a thing of the past.

Oh, and here's a list of Big 10 records in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge:

Minnesota 3-3
Michigan 2-2 (a pox upon their house)
Indiana 2-2
Wisconsin 2-4
Illinois 2-4
Iowa 1-3
Purdue 1-3
Penn St. 1-3
Ohio St. 1-3
Northwestern 1-5


*Would probably be 4-2 if the '01 game against Virginia wasn't called because of the floor conditions.