Illini Wonk
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
  The Fighting Illini vs. the Panthers
In case you haven't heard, the Illinois Fighting Illini have a Sweet 16 game against the Panthers from Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 6:27 p.m. on Thursday night. The Illini will have to ignore Bruce Pearl (which is tough to do considering how loud, obnoxious and ugly he is) and focus on beating the lowest remaining seed who is still in the tournament thanks to two straight upsets of top-25 teams.

For a complete scouting report on the Panthers, see the interview that Big Ten Wonk had with Chris West of the Chris West Basketball Journal. In Chris' opinion, the Panthers are coming off the best game that UWM has played all year and of the game with Illinois he says it’s a bad match-up for UWM.

After that, Illini Wonk did his usual Google News search looking for information on the Illini. Save yourself the grief and DON'T do likewise. Most of the articles were about how midwestern buffoon Illini fans should just forget the whole "Pearl thing" and "behave ourselves" Thursday night. Oh yeah, and there were a few articles about the racist Chief Illiniwek as well. Illini Wonk's advice if you want to avoid heartburn is too not pay any attention to any columnist or sportswriter outside the state of Illinois until after the season is over (you may also want to avoid some windbags from the Windy City while you're at it).

Rather than wasting your time with those overpaid high-school dropouts, read the latest offerings from Mark Tupper (who predicts a 79-65 win for the Illini) and John Supinie. Then check out a column of the year nominee in the category of humor from Peoria Journal-Star sports editor Bill Liesse. If that's not enough to satisfy your need for Illini news, you can try the official game notes.

UPDATE: illinitalk has a preview of the game and other news.
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