Bring on the Bearcats!
After beating Northwestern St. last night for their 13th straight win to start the season (the Illini's best start since their last trip to the Final Four in 1989), the Illini will now face the Cincinnati Bearcats tonight in Las Vegas.
Since last night's game wasn't televised, I only have the written reports and box scores to go on (I also saw a few highlights on Sports Center, including a long three-pointer from Deron Williams to end the first half). ESPN.com points out that Illinois never trailed
in the win. CBS Sportsline carried the same AP report with the headline Northwestern State can't keep up with top-ranked Illinois
A look at the box score
shows that the Illini's defense returned to form. They held Northwestern State to 51 points on 35.8 percent shooting and converted 20 turnovers into 23 points. None of the Demons scored more than seven points.
In Mark Tupper's review
of the game, he wrote "Defense is what Bruce Weber wanted, and defense is what he got Thursday." On his blog, Tupper has more thoughts on tonight's matchup, which he has dubbed the the brawl in a phone booth
John Supinie of the Peoria Journal-Star wrote
about the Illini's goal to go into conference play undefeated and said the only thing that stands between them and that goal is the Bearcats.
I'll have more thoughts about tonight's game later today...