Friday, February 16, 2007

You Can't Spell "I Have No Idea What the Hell Is Going On Here" Without ILLINI

It's been an interesting year in Big Ten hoops, to be sure. But lost in the Greg Oden hoopla and the improbable success of Badgerland, there remains an unanswered question:

What the hell is going on at ILLINI?

In the last year, all of these things happened in Champaign:
  • Bruce Weber fails to recruit a point guard. Big mistake.
  • At the same time, Weber loses Eric Gordon to the Hoosiers. Kelvin Sampson obviously went over his alotted wireless minutes to get that one.
  • After non-conference losses to Maryland and Arizona, Weber publicly throws his team under the bus, calling it a "disaster."
  • His team responds by dropping three of its first four conference games, including an excruciating "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" loss against MSU.
  • Two of his players are involved in a serious car accident, leaving one in the hospital in critical condition. Police reports indicate that, following the accident, Jamar Smith (the driver) DROVE THE CAR TO HIS APARTMENT with the injured Brain Carlwell still in the passenger seat, then left him in the car (and, for those of you who aren't living in the midwest, it's been unbearably cold for about two weeks now). By the way, Carlwell is now in fair condition, but will miss the remainder of the season.
Smith's Car: A visual reminder of the ILLINI's season...

  • This morning, I wake up to find out that Chief Illiniwek is dead.
  • For what it's worth, Lunardi moved them out of the field of 65 this week (they almost certainly need to win three of their last four, plus one in the Big Ten tournament, to get in).
And that pretty much brings us back up to speed. Earlier this year, there were a few who were calling for Weber's ouster, but it seemed overly harsh (we detailed the "good coach/lousy recruiter" angle in our ILLINI preview). Now? Maybe they were on to something. After all, if you are the disciplinarian coach of an undisciplined team, you've pretty well failed. In any case, there is no more dysfunctional or confusing team in the conference this year than Illinois. I just thank God it isn't Iowa for once.


Irish Hawk said...

As bad of a season as it has been - multiple injuries, Chief Illiniwek, the car accident - they are still 4th in the conference and will have 20 wins. I will be pissed if they don't make the tournament. If they don't it will be b/c they don't have that one great win - their best win is Indiana at home. I will be mad if they put a team in the field that finishes worse in the conference.

I think it is premature to call for Weber's head at this point. This has a been a season where anything bad that could happen did.

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