Illini Wonk
Saturday, September 24, 2005
  Dee Brown in SI Top Ten Point Guards
The caption reads: Brown was the Big Ten Player of the Year as a junior and flirted with the NBA before breaking his foot at a pre-draft camp. He was one-third of the Illini backcourt a year ago, averaging 13.3 points and 4.5 assists in Illinois' march to the title game. He'll shoulder the load this year after the departures of Deron Williams and Luther Head and could be an even bigger star. Click here for the photo.

Brown was also cleared by the Illinois medical staff to return to scrimmages, drills, conditioning and informal pickup games.
Friday, September 23, 2005
  Who will be in the Illini starting five?
With rising anticipation for the upcoming hoops season, Mark Tupper speculates on the starting five for the Illinois Fighting Illini and thinks Weber might have a difficult time with the lineup this year. According to Tupper, the only two certainties are Dee Brown and James Augustine (both of who happen to be nursing injuries and not practicing at the time). This blogger has a hard time believing that Brian Randle isn't also in the starting five, but after that it really does become open to speculation.

In light of that, here's our staring lineup for the first game against the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits:

1. Dee Brown
2. Rich McBride
3. Brian Randle
4. Warren Carter
5. James Augustine

Brown, Randle and Augustine are probably the only solid starters. McBride's starting spot is probably the most vulnerable, with Calvin Brock and Jamar Smith breathing down his neck. Carter is also far from a sure thing, especially if Weber decides to stick with the three-guard offense that served them so well last season. Blogger Brett Dawson of the Champaign News-Gazette is impressed with Chester Frazier and thinks he has a shot at being in the starting lineup.

What are your thoughts? Who are the starting five?
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
  Vitale: "watch out" for Illinois

Dick Vitale put out his Preseason Top 25 and Illinois is ranked #13. In the comment section he wrote: For those downgrading coach Bruce Weber's team, watch out. Guard Dee Brown is first-team All-Solid Gold, and the newcomers will help out. The Fighting Illini are Vitale's third Big Ten team in the rankings, behind Michigan State at #4 and Iowa at #12. Rounding out the conference is Indiana at #15.
Monday, September 19, 2005
  SI: The "I" Stands for Illini Wonk?
Sports Illustrated launched a web site last week to support their college sports magazine, SI On Campus. According to Online Media Daily, The Campus site also includes blogs. Check out their Blog Index: Illini Wonk made the Big Ten list.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
  Sherron Collins (non) Update
Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated wrote The Crane Jewel, a report on the recruiting battle for Sherron Collins of Chicago Crane. The article, of course, plays up the contest between Illinois coach Bruce Weber and the man he replaced, Kansas coach Bill Self.

It doesn't really break any new ground in the recruiting saga, but does bring some interesting insight into the recruiting methods of coach Self. For instance: The Crane coach added that Self thinks "Sherron is the missing piece to Kansas making the Final Four." And Collins said Self told him the Jayhawks "want a point guard like me to run the show."

How many point guards have heard that line and others like it? Illinitalk (thanks for the tip) has a nice recap that debunks some myths of past "battles."
  Illinois No. 11 in SLAM Preseason Rankings
The Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball team earned a ranking of #11 in the annual Slam Preseason Top 20, which will be in the September 15 issue of Slam Magazine. According to advance PR from the magazine, their Top 20 looks like this:

1. Duke
2. Texas
3. Michigan State
4. Oklahoma
5. Arizona
6. Wake Forest
7. Louisville
8. Villanova
9. Gonzaga
10. Boston College
11. Illinois
12. Kentucky
13. Stanford
14. Syracuse
15. Memphis
16. Maryland
17. West Virginia
18. UCLA
19. Charlotte
20. UConn
Thursday, September 08, 2005
  Just Hoops, Thanks
I've received a couple of emails about the Illinois Fighting Illini football team and have been meaning to get around to posting this disclaimer: what's football? Actually, I was going to post a long explanation of why I like basketball better, but Brett Dawson beat me to it on his blog. He sums it up thusly: college hoops is just better. Amen.

So, this is not the place to come for Illini football coverage (but you're still welcome to hang out during football season). If you're into that sort of thing, may I suggest the blogs of Mark Tupper and Dan O'Brien. You're also welcome to check the dozens of links to the right, but many of them are, like this blog, specific to College Basketball. Just remember, it's only about a month until Midnight Madness so enjoy the football season while it lasts. Hoops is coming!
A college hoops blog dedicated to the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team.
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