Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Thoughts from Tuesday night

1) Illini looked very good against Texas Southern. Dee and Augie again just looked on a totally different level than anybody else on the floor. Jamar continued to look good, although I was shocked he missed as many free throws as he did. I was most impressed with Jamar's willingness to take the ball to the basket and his distribution of the rock on the fast break. Marcus Arnold stepped up and showed a nice ten-foot jumper, his game seems to be built around being in the right place at the right time and sticking the short jumper. I still think he's going to struggle against the taller, more athletic teams. Shaun Pruitt looked very good again, he uses his body well and when he turns and does a drop step in the post, it's almost an automatic two points. Randle played a bit better but missed all of his shots outside of 2 feet. McBride stuck some threes and his form looked good, but didn't do anything inside the three point line. Frazier hustled and looked like he got the message on not taking bad outside shots against a zone. Carter I thought played better and is impressive offensively. Overall, team looked like it was well-prepared to play against a zone defense.

2) Thought the Bucknell 74, Syracuse 69 score was very interesting. Looks like the Bison might be a pretty good team again this year.

3) The Jeremy Pargo watch continues, he played 44 minutes in a huge win over Michigan State, scoring 7 points and adding 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Gonzaga looks like they are for real this year, Adam Morrison with a huge 43 points and 7 boards. Hard to believe Michigan State already has two losses. For those that think Paul Davis stinks, how do you feel about 26 points (including 12-12 from the line), 13 rebounds and 3 steals in 53 minutes?

4) I thought Arizona looked much better against UCONN than they did against Kansas. Ivan Radenovic had a huge game with 20 points and 9 rebounds. The Wildcats have some players inside with Radenovic and Kirk Walters, the pieces seem to be in place for Lute Olson this year even though they've started out kind of rough. Loved seeing Olson get fired up at Jim Calhoun last night.

5) Texas beat Iowa in the final of the Guardians Classic. No surprise, when the coaching is about even, that talent will win out. Texas is a very, very talented team. Brunner was held to 6 points on 2-11 from the field. Taking him out of the game is the key to beating the Hawkeyes this season. 18 points and 10 boards for LaMarcus Aldridge.

6) Oregon beat a 3-1 Pacific team 84-62. Balanced scoring for the Ducks with 17 for Malik Hairston, 16 for Bryce Taylor, 14 points and 10 rebounds for Marty Leunen, and 14 points/6 boards for Cincinnati transfer Ivan Johnson.

7) Wyoming beat Northern Colorado with Brandon Ewing scoring 11 points and adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists in 34 minutes.

8) North Carolina crushed Cleveland State 112-55. The Tar Heels were led by Tyler Hansbrough's 18 points (and 8 rebounds), Reyshawn Terry (16 points/8 boards), David Noel (13 points/7 rebounds) and Marcus Ginyard (12 points). Bobby Frasor started at point guard and had 8 points on 3/4 shooting from the field.

9) Wichita State destroyed Texas Pan American, 97-66. The Shockers were led by sophomore guard Sean Ogirri's 22 points in 22 minutes.

10) Rutgers beat Delaware State 49-42. 6'9" center Jimmie Inglis had 21 points and 7 rebounds.

11) Notre Dame beat Hofstra, 69-50. Luke Zeller put up 6 points and 9 rebounds for the Irish.

12) Kentucky easily handled West Virginia, 80-66. Maybe John Beilen's not the second coming of John Wooden?

I thought Randle played his best game of the year and hopefully gained a little confidence. He definitely played more than "a bit better". He had 6 points, 5 assists, 3 boards, 2 blocks, and a steal. The other night, similar stats by Julian Wright earned him the praise of being called a "stat sheet stuffer".
PPFan, I agree Randle had his best game last night, but I'm not sure that's saying much. I liked the way he looked defensively more than anything last night. But unless I was watching a different game, he had several open looks on his jumper and clanged them all.

Brian Randle is in his third year in Bruce Weber's program, and he's been named a captain. Shouldn't he be further developed by now than Julian Wright?
Some kids never learn to can work with them as much as you want. I think Randle will always be a below average shooter...just the way it is.

I agree...Jamar should not miss 3 free throws in a game...he needs to slow down and take his time. But his drive down the middle was very impressive...he got there in a hurry. Much quicker and much more athletic than reported...what were Bossi and Telep watching??

Gonzaga is very good...they have alot of players that can score. One of my picks for the Final 4. Michigan St. also played very well...but they will struggle when Ager doesn't shoot well. Not much depth that I was impressed with. Davis is still soft (albeit highly skilled)....Gonzaga's big man scored at will.

Arizona can be good if they will pass the ball to the big men...we will see.

Wichita St. is a very solid team...well coached...I think Friday will be a toughgame for Illinois.

Frasor is UNC's starting Quentin thomas must be terrible.

I agree IHN, I expected an improved shot in his third year here. I do see improvements in his form, but the results aren't quite there yet. Also, he was not able to work on his shot at all during the summer following his freshman year and during his rehab from a broken hand. He has missed almost a years worth of time in which he could have been working on his shot instead of rehabbing an injury.

BTW, by my count, he only took two jumpshots last night. He did clang both of them, but you make it sound like he was clanging jumpers all night.
Randle had one jumper go in and out. It looked like a nice shot in rhythm. He played better. Remember he had the shoulder injury after his freshman year and the hand injury last year. He will become a better shooter, but why does he have to be? Can't he just defend rebound and pass?

Randle is in his third year in the program and he is farther along than Wright, especially defensively. Last year you told me that didn't matter because Wright was so much more talented. Hmmm?

Where athleticism hurts West Virginia is on the second game of back to backs. Everyone knows this. That said, it was a close game in the scond half (3 points?) until Kentucky pulled away.

I agree that Arnold will struggle against more athletic teams, but hopefully he won't try and do too much.

The Jeremy Pargo watch is almost over, because the Zags will soon play all of their games after everyone goes to bed. Thank god for my DVR.

Oregon is playing well....we'll see.

The players know about Wichita State, but I'm worried about Rutgers on Saturday. They play slower, and will make us be efficient on offense.
Brad, great comments. I don't think Randle ever has to be a "great" shooter, but it would be nice if he could at least be serviceable. For one thing, he's not an NBA player someday without at least a serviceable jump shot. The more NBA guys Weber can say he developed, the better he can recruit. Secondly, we'll continue to see a lot of zone as long as Randle is in the game. And where that hurts the Illini potentially is on the defensive end, if Randle has to be subbed out and Carter or Smith comes in. Bottom line, for Brian to be the player we all want him to be, he needs to have some semblance of a jump shot. Yes, he was in rhythm when he shot last night, which makes it all the more disconcerting that he threw up bricks.

If Arnold can play the way he did last night, he'll be a solid big off the bench with the ability to provide 10-15 minutes per night. Still, I cringe at the thought of Augie ever getting in foul trouble. If I'm playing Illinois, I attack Augustine inside all game long. Illinois has not played a team with a good big man yet, so will be interesting to see how Rutgers (2 pretty good bigs) and North Carolina (Hansbrough = stud) fare.

The more I look at North Carolina's personnel, the more I think it will be an interesting matchup. Bobby Frasor will be looking to prove some people at Illinois wrong. Hansbrough's a beast, who could statistically put up better numbers than Augie. UNC's front line is big and athletic with Hansbrough, Noel and Terry. I suppose Pruitt will start out on Hansbrough (and likely get in immediate foul trouble) and Augie will start out on Terry.

Oregon will be a tough game b/c it's a long trip and Oregon will play a style that could wear on the Illini after such a trip and playing a physical Georgetown team two nights earlier.

Georgetown has a nice frontcourt with the 7'2" Hibbert matched with versatile forwards Brandon Bowman and Jeff Green. We'll see how good a defender Brian Randle is when he's matched up against Bowman and Malik Hairston in consecutive games.

Basically, there are 4 "losable" games on the pre-conference schedule that I see: Wichita State, North Carolina, Georgetown and Oregon. Xavier is a decent name but will get trounced in the United Center. Mizzou is always dangerous but looks bad this year. How Illinois does in these 4 losable games will go a long way in telling how good they are likely to be during the conference season. I know Brad thinks Rutgers offers a challenge but I'd be really suprised to see the Scarlet Knights stay within 10 of the Illini.
Looked like he had a shot that went in and out from 15 feet, off of one dribble. Soft shot, not a brick. What did I miss?

Since Bobby Frasor wants to prove Illinois people wrong he will be ready. That's good, because Chater and Jamar will have a chip on their shoulder the entire season to prove people wrong.

You told me that if we don't beat UNC by 15 it's poor coaching. What's changed?
Brad, I think what's changed on UNC is that their young guys are further along than I expected them to be. Frasor is playing much better than I thought he would, they're starting three freshmen and their big lineup isn't necessarily one that Illinois matches up well against. I cringe at the thought of David Noel vs. Brian Randle, the way Brian has been playing defense with his hands so far this season. I think that the UNC front line could be a recipe for Illini foul trouble if they pound it inside.

I guess I don't count "in and outs" as pretty shots, since they didn't go in! Call me crazy (I've been called worse). I like Brian Randle and love his potential, but he's far from a complete player at this point and I hope he's a heckuva leader in the locker room/off the court for him to be a captain at this stage of his career. I know he's an intelligent guy and a good student, hopefully he doesn't overthink the way Nick Smith used to sometimes.

Just did some research on Georgetown, which is 2-0 after decent wins over mid-major Navy and James Madison. Roy Hibbert is off to an enormous start, averaging 21.5 points 6.5 rebounds and 3 blocks in only 21 minutes per game. He's shooting 79% from the field so far. That frontline of Bowman, Green and Hibbert could be one of the best the Illini see all season.
Of course going in is what counts IHN. Some of us would just like to know where these phantom "bricks" came from?? I remember him taking two jump shots, one was in and out, the other you could classify as a brick. You make it sound like he took 10 jumpers and bricked them all.
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