Saturday, January 12, 2008

Next up: Illinois

Man, who in the Big Ten had a rougher 2007 than Bruce Weber? First, one of his players gets in a car crash and leaves another player for dead. Then, he loses Eric Gordon to Indiana. Then, Weber's late snag of Top 100 shooting guard Quinton Watkins to replace Gordon gets ruled ineligible. Now, with Chester Frazier hurting again, the Illini have dropped four straight to fall to 8-8, and 0-3 in the Big Ten. They look weak, but the Hoosiers can't underestimate them.

I think Illinois has a brighter future ahead (especially now that shooter Alex Legion has transferred in), but right now, the Illini are searching for answers, and their offense is having problems moving the ball, and finding shooters to knock down any open shots.

Indiana has to go after the passing lanes, and keep track of Trent Meachem and Calvin Brock. I don't think Randle and Pruitt can do enough damage inside all on their own to beat us at home. It's like when opponents used to play Indiana a couple of years ago, and they'd just leave one guy on Marco Killingsworth, and let him run out of steam. Randle's got such potential, but he's not as quick since he came back from injuries. I think Lance Stemler particularly could match up with Randle pretty well, and Stemler seems to be shooting a little better lately.

I'd also like to come to the defense of AJ Ratliff here. The guy's going to be rusty shooting in both shooting and playing defense without fouling, coming off his layoff, and I suspect we'll see the "microwave" effect off the bench again soon. In any case, I was pretty impressed by Ratliff's passing, and I suspect the other stuff will come soon. Now, if we can just get Gordon and Crawford to quit handing the ball to the other team. These freshmen are great, but they are freshmen.

Today, I watched Kentucky take down Vanderbilt (How was Vandy 13-0? They turn the ball over and couldn't keep UK off the offensive glass), watched UCLA take apart Washington State (Collison makes UCLA a lot better), and Roy Hibbert sink a last-second three to beat UConn at Georgetown. You gotta guard everyone.

Go Hoosiers!


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