Exhibition Basketball

Nov 02, 2019

I have a backlog again. All day I've been "OK I can write once I work eight hours and then drive three hours to Champaign (from my work) and then go to the basketball game and then drive to my hotel and THEN I can write one of the six posts I need to write". So here's my plan. Here's the order over the next 48 hours:

  1. Write about tonight's basketball "game".
  2. Write the SOC.
  3. Sleep.
  4. Write the Curbelo LLUOI (yay).
  5. Go tailgate.
  6. Go to the game.
  7. Do some interviews after.
  8. Write about the game.
  9. Go back to the hotel.
  10. Write about the game some more.
  11. Write part of the basketball preview.
  12. Sleep.
  13. Write more of the basketball preview.
  14. Maybe write about the football game some more if we win.
  15. Check out of hotel, drive 2.5 hours home.
  16. Finish the basketball preview.
  17. Pick up my wife at the airport when she returns from her conference.
  18. Maybe go eat food?

The basketball preview will likely come out Tuesday morning, not Monday afternoon. It will be bigger than last year (it keeps creeping towards the football preview). Half-written by Tyler, half-written by me, edited by Nathan, formatted by Brumby, read by you. The plan was Monday, but... I don't think Monday is going to happen. But maybe?

OK, so the basketball "game" against Division II Lewis University. Let's just do a bunch of plusses.

+ If you weren't watching or following along, Lewis hit five of six threes and jumped out to a 21-9 lead (I think it was 14-2 at one point). And then they hit only three more threes the final 32 minutes of the game and Illinois rolled to an 83-50 win. But 21-9 was... not fun. The crowd is all "LET'S GO KOFI IS HERE CURBELO VERBALLED WE BACK" and then it's 21-9 Lewis University.

The game was never in doubt, obviously. It's a Division II school. But watching the team sleepwalk through the first eight minutes (I believe it was 1 for 10 with seven turnovers to start) was fairly concerning. Play like that, and we're coming back from Arizona with a 1-2 record.

But then we settled down, took the halftime lead, and the blew them out in the second half. Which isn't really saying anything. Northwestern would have blown this team out. Chicago State would blow this team out. But it was good to see the sleepwalking end and the domination begin.

+ The Illini had five players in double figures but Ayo wasn't one of them. He had the off night of off nights (1-7 from the floor, 2-4 from the line, 4 turnovers), but I've talked myself into that being a good thing. Get it out of the way before this early-season very important trip to the desert to play Grand Canyon and Arizona.

The five players in double figures: Kofi with 16, Trent with 13, Feliz and Giorgi with 12, and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk with 11. Yes, 11. Didn't play at all in the first half, only played eight minutes the entire game, and scored 11. How? 3-3 from three. Yes, that hulking dude from Belgium. 3-3 from three.

Ayo got a late assist (on one of BBV's threes I think?) to push him to four, but up until then, Kofi was leading the team with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists. And two of the assists were "hey, great pass from Kofi there", so it wasn't a "the guy who got the ball after Kofi made a shot" kind of thing. It was just Lewis, but if Kofi puts up 16-11-3 against Arizona, watch out, world.

+ The biggest concern (for me): Giorgi and Kofi playing together. It's not really a "concern" - I'll have to ask Tyler how it will work, because he's excited about some high-low possibilities - but I guess I'm not sure Giorgi can be Aaron Jordan (nor do we want him to be). They'd get in Underwood's offensive sets and Kofi is set up doing the pinch post stuff which means Giorgi is running around playing the Jordan or Kipper role. And I'm not sure I really like him there? I want him to be the pinch post guy like last year.

Actually, I think Tyler is writing about this in his part of the preview. So I'll just stop right here and then go read that on Tuesday to understand how it might work. Tonight, I wasn't a fan.

+ With Tevian Jones suspended (academics), it's weird to look over at the bench and see three wings in street clothes (Tevian, Jacob Grandison, Austin Hutcherson). There's really no true wing out there on the court right now. Alan Griffin is close, and I guess Da'Monte plays a wing-ish role, but if we're doing the 1-2-3-4-5 thing, all of our 3's are in street clothes.

+ Trent was 3-5 from three and man did that stroke look pure. I'm pretty sure he's going to set some kind of NCAA record and shoot 68% from three on the season. Even with the line further back.

OK, my eyes are already heavy and I still need to SOC. Much more basketball to come in the big preview.

(Probably on Tuesday.)


Bear8287 on November 03 @ 03:49 PM CST

So how much can you learn from an exhibition game? Probably not that much. Certainly the final score doesn't say much other than for a team that's expected to put points on the board this year, 83 is nothing to write home about.

(I think it was 14-2 at one point).

That's correct. The Illini sank the first bucket and then didn't get their second until about the 12:54 mark in the first half. One bucket in the first 7 minutes, isn't goint to cut it.

Two points in the first seven minutes and then 81 in the final 33... If the Illini scored at the final 33 minute's pace for 40 minutes then they're looking at something like 98 points for the game. So the Illini were sleepwalking for the first 7 minutes. Give Ayo another 15 points to bring him to 20 for the game and the Illini are at 98.

if we're doing the 1-2-3-4-5 thing

Don't see why the Illini would have to do that. It wouldn't surprise me to see Andres, Ayo and Trent on the floor with Giorgi and Kofi for a fair amount of time (assuming the bigs stay out of foul trouble). It seems that Dee, Deron and Luther paired with James and Roger worked out okay.

The basketball preview will likely come out Tuesday morning, not Monday afternoon. It will be bigger than last year

I'll look forward to it. Perhaps the most intriguing point of the exhibition game for me is, can Bosmans-Verdonk really shoot 3's? He seemed really comfortable stepping into those shots.

Speak Your Mind

Please login or register to post comments on the IlliniBoard.