The annual "Braggin' Rights" matchup in St. Louis against border foe Missouri
is being called the first test of Illinois' season. I would disagree. I think the game against Arkansas
was a similar test with the difference between the two being that Missouri hit some late shots and Arkansas didn't. The similarity between the two is that Deron Williams took over down the stretch and ensured a win for the Illini.
Mark Tupper thinks the test was a good one for the Illini
, which is also exactly what coach Weber
is saying following their first final margin of the season that was less than double digits
. The most important aspect is summed up in a headline from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Illinois keeps rolling despite off night
The Illini are now 11-0 and almost certain to extend that to 12-0 when they face lowly Longwood
on Monday night. That would be the best start since their last final four season in 1989. Illinois SID Kent Brown has put together a lot of interesting information about the season thus far that you can read here
(pdf). Here's just a few of my favorite:
- The Illini have four players averaging 13.5 or more points this season
- The Illini have only trailed for 21.5 minutes of the entire season and never in the second half
- The Illini are ranked tenth in the nation for scoring (83), ninth for scoring margin (20.3), first in field goal percentage (52.5) and 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (41.3).