Illini Wonk
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
  It's game time!
The SEC is done. It's time for the Big Ten game of the season thus far. Live blogging will follow on this post.
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During the Kentucky/Tennessee game, Rick Majerus (former coach of Andre Miller) said Deron Williams is the best passer of the ball in college basketball and Luther Head is the best perimeter defender.

Almost game time
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Use the comments section to leave your thoughts on the game. Dick Vitale says his first words and they're full of praise for both teams. Saves his best words for Bo Ryan's home Big Ten record.

Tickets are going for $800-1,200. Press credentials for the game: 217 vs. a normal 120. 15-20 members of the press were turned away. Tip off!
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Luther Head controls the tip for the Illini...nice pass from Brown, Augustine is fouled and makes both foul shots... 2-0 Illini.
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2-2, but Wisconsin has the first turnover between two teams that don't have many. BLOCK by Augustine and coast-to-coast dunk!
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1:52 seconds until they showed Mike Wilkinson's girlfriend for the first time. He misses the second freethrow while she doesn't look.
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Willams layup...Dee Brown steal and assist to Luther Head 3-pointer. Illinois 9-3
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Luther Head with a blow-by lay-up. Vitale says he may be the player of the year in the Big Ten. Augustine gets called for an over-the-back for his first foul. Illinois is hot...4-5 from the floor, while Wisconsin is 2-5. Illinois leads 11-6. The early lead is important for the Illini, but Wisconsin has proved very capable of coming from behind at home.
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Both teams are shooting the lights out. Brown for three. Luther Head with a tough baseline lay-up. Wisconsin hangs in with a couple of threes...Illinois maintains a three-point lead.
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Nick Smith checks in with Rich McBride. Let's see if the subs can keep up the pace the Illini started the game with...McBride gets burned on his first defensive set.
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Deron is really looking for his shot. Misses one and then hits the second. Shot looks good. If he's shooting well, he's unstopable...McBride misses a wide-open three.

Vitale makes his first mention of Duke at the 11:15 mark of the first half.
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After a great spin move from Williams, Vitale compares him to Jason Kidd...Illinois gives up another easy three. Nick Smith can't stay with Wilkinson. Tie game.
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Brown with the steal and get's hacked on the lay-up with no call. Vitale says he was fouled as he's sitting under the basket. The three guards are looking good for the Illini, but the Badgers are getting too many open looks from beyond the three-point arc. Wisconsin is 6-9 from three-point land after starting 1-3. That's not going to get it done. Illinois ball after the TV timeout and with the game still tied.
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Wilkinson should have been called for a travel before he got fouled, and Head get's caled for a travel he didn't commit. Guard trio continues to blister the Badgers as Head and Williams hit mid-range jumpers (the lost art of college basketball isn't lost on this team).
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8-2 run from Illinois. Any thoughts from all of you online thus far?

Wisconsin players were laying on the floor twice without a travel call. Uh, refs?
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Ref update: Illinois has six fouls to Wisconsin's two. Can I get a call?

Leave your comments below...
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Williams called for....a carry? Another questionable foul call on Powell...his second. Jack Ingram with the air-ball. Chambliss closes his eyes and hits one from 25 feet. Another gift call to the Badgers on a rebound.
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Illini finally get the benefit of a bad call. Wisconsin get's called for a travel they didn't commit.

Brown shoots a three to get two-for-one. Probably too late. Stripped by Williams! Luther Head at the buzzer with...an airball? Ouch.

Illinois is on top by two at the half...only the fifth time during this streak of Wisconsin's where they haven't been ahead at the half. After 20 minutes we're pretty much right back where we started.
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Half time. Both teams shot 44% from the floor as the Badgers really closed the gap late in the first half. Wisconsin shot themselves in the foot at the free-throw line, but made up for it with their performance from behind the arc. Illinois had four times as many fouls called on them and have Augustine, Powell and Ingram with two. Weber was clearly saving the forwards for the second half as long as they kept the lead. If the Illini can get contributions from the big men (who looked pretty good on the offensive end when they were on the court) and the starting trio of guards continue to play well, I like their chances to end the Badger's streak in the Kohl Center.

What do you think? Leave your comments below...
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Illini start their same starting line-up. Start with Augustine from Williams. Two Points...After an offensive rebound for the Badgers, Augustine tites up Wilkinson...Tucker gets his first bucket ona nice jump-shot...Luther for three! Easy lay-up for Wilkinson...great dish from Williams to Powell...Tucker again...Augustine again as our big men start out tough.
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Augustine has one rattle out and Wilkinson banks one in over Powell, who might be laying off due to having two fouls. Time-out Illini. The game has started out a fast-pace in the second half, which should be to Illinois' advantage, but Wisconsin is hitting their shots. Illini Wonk can't believe that last one from Wilkinson stayed in. Chambliss needs to open his eyes once in a while.
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Luther Head lays off another three point shooter and the Illini pay for it. Then he misses a shot and get's burned on defense.

On the replay, Powell clearly got hit on the arm by Wilkinson after he caught the ball.
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12-0 run for the Badgers as they've hit 8 straight shots. Illinois needs to hang around for when they come back down to earth.
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One more Duke mention from Vitale at the 12:15 mark.
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Wisconsin is shooting better than 56%. Part of that is poor defense from Illinois, but they are making some pretty tough shots. You gotta think they can't keep this up all game...can they?
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Finally from McBride on the three-point shot. We need those from him...followed by a great defensive stand from the Illini...Deron Williams goes to the line and makes both...

Vitale still picks UNC to win the whole thing.
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Illinois goes on a 7-0 run of their own. You gotta admire their heart in sticking with the Badgers when they loked like they were gonna pull away....TIE GAME!
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JACK INGRAM!!!! for back-to-back threes! Ingram comes into the game averaging 3.7 points per game and shooting 29% from three-point land. We'll take 'em!
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Illinois' bench leads a 13-2 run that puts them back in the lead. Then Powell gives up two buckets to Wilkinson.
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Jump ball? Foul on Powell? These refs are playing to the crowd. We're going to have to win this one on our own.

Wisconsin has a swagger in their step that's scary. They're playing confident and hitting more than 55% of their shots. This is going to take a supreme effort by the Illini to pull out a win on the road.
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10-0 run from the Illini. This aint over...remember Michigan State. It comes down to free-throws.
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Illinois wins! What a performance. Illini Wonk is breathless. 20-0. Recap to come as soon as Illini Wonk gains some composure.
 
Comments:
Thanks for the updates. Great blog. Now to get ready for Mich St!!!
 
IW, great job tonight live blogging. Unfortunately, I think your comments were hurt by no one leaving their TV! I caught your first half work at halftime, but otherwise, and I think I speak for all of us who don't have wireless, I was in front of the tube.

Great game, great win. Get it done Saturday vs. Minny and let the chips falls next Tuesday in E. Lansing.
 
How were you able to type Wonk? I have only just now calmed down enough to type. WOW!

I think Vitale's comments about running the table in the Big Ten should they win in E. Lansing really overlooked the road games against Iowa and Ohio St.

To this point this was THE game for the Illini. A win next week at MSU and there is no doubt to me that any loss in the NCAA Tournament would be a clear upset.

I love your work and the Wonk Blog is a morning pre-work ritual for me. I can never get enough Illini Basketball.

For everyone who laughed at me when I said it before I will repeat..."Jack Ingram will win a big game for us this year". He didn't do it alone but we wouldn't have won it without him.
 
Great game by Illinois. I think they really showed some heart tonight coming back in a hostile environment.
 
Sensational win for the Illini this evening. They showed a lot of heart coming back in an incedibly difficult place to play. Great live blogging here. I am counting down the minutes until the game on Saturday, where I will be sitting - courtside. I can only imagine how incredibly loud the Assembly Hall will be after we beat a tough Minnesota team, and then they start introducing all of the former Illini. When Henson is introduced, the place should go insane. What a great night in Illini country. Too bad Dickie V is still an ACC apologist. Oh well, I will settle for the win.

On second thought, is anybody ever really a former Illini ?
 
Thanks for all of your comments. If you noticed, the amount of blogging fell off significantly late in the second half because Illini Wonk was jumping around too much. Mrs. Wonk had to settle me down on a couple of ocasions lest I awake the little wonklings.

I was able to keep up with the game because of a wireless connection and a lap-top. For those of you who don't have one, don't get it, because once you do, you'll never be able to live without it. Rest assured, that my eyes were rarely off the tube while the ball was in play.

Illini Wonk has been watching Illinois basketball for a long time and is hard pressed to come up with a bigger, more exciting win. The only one that comes close is the come-from-behind win at Minnesota in 2002 where Frank Williams hit the last second shot for a one-point victory and a share of the conference title.

Illini Wonk is envious of those who will be at the game on Saturday. When they introduce Lou Henson, the crowd will be deafening, but there also might not be a dry eye in the crowd. That day will be made even better by this win. Wow, is right!
 
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