I forgot my freaking ear buds. So now I have to sit here typing this while listening to Missouri fans celebrate in the background. And that's just a precursor to the next 365 days where I'll have to deal with coworkers and the guy at the bank and everyone else noticing my Illini gear and commenting on this game.
See, nobody really understands how this works. The litmus test to determine whether you live here or not is this: people who don't live here and experience this always say things like "we own Missouri in St. Louis". Like the overall record means anything. It really doesn't. It's a weapon that we possess, but this series was named "Braggin' Rights" and that's exactly how it works. For 365 days, Missouri fans - MISSOURI FANS - will have braggin' rights. The gold and black fans who didn't show up today because they just lost to Charleston Southern at home which left the Missouri end more empty than the Illinois end - those fans get to brag about how they're better than us. Because they are. Missouri is better than us at basketball. Missouri. Under Cuonzo. With our castoffs. Better.
And now I have to sit here and listen to their happy conversations. Right now I'm listening to three Missouri bloggers at the other side of the TV table talking about parts of the game all giddy and happy. SEE HERE'S THE THING I DON'T EVEN THINK THE BALL WAS TIPPED and whatever else they're talking about. Because I forgot my noise cancellation apparatus, I have to listen to them while trying to type. Now they're talking about what they're going to lead with in their stories. Kill me now.
It's just so insane, right? Just step back from it all and think about the facts. If some random college coach is here and he has to pick a lineup from these two teams, and, I don't know, it's some kind of auction where both point guards walk out to center court and then that coach picks one of the two players, he picks four of five Illini players, right?
Ayo and Pinson walk out - he takes Ayo.
Trent and Mark Smith - we've seen first hand which one is better.
Da'Monte and Dru Smith - yes, he's taking the Evansville transfer.
Giorgi and Mitchell Smith - absolutely Giorgi.
Kofi and Tillmon - I think the choice is Kofi.
So how do we lose a game - for the most part, get completely destroyed - by a less-talented team? "Coaching" is the only answer at this point, right? This wasn't bad luck or bad officiating or anything else - Cuonzo Martin out-coached Brad Underwood. This one seems 100% cut and dried.
I tweeted at one point about how physical Missouri was on defense. It was somewhat similar to our defense the last few years where we were top-10 in the NCAA in fouls (different scheme, but that type of "dare the officials to call 25 fouls this half" thing). The officials were calling said fouls, and Missouri had 16 fouls in the second half alone at that point to six called on Illinois, and it didn't matter. They were hounding and hounding and hounding and we fell apart. When I tweeted that, I believe we were 4-19 from the field in the second half. So what if we went to the line here and there? They completely put us in a sleeper hold and we eventually went limp.
I just don't understand how that can happen. How Cuonzo, guy who infuriates every Missouri fan I know with his gameplanning, can completely destroy us like that.
OH GOD. Now some Missouri bros with floor seats are taking "flex" photos at mid-court. 18 year-old kid, 134 lbs dripping wet, in full flex, hoodie over his head, flexing those 7 inch biceps AND HE GETS TO GO HOME TO HIS MOM'S APARTMENT IN CREVE COEUR AND BE HAPPY WHILE I WON'T SLEEP TONIGHT. I absolutely, positively hate everything.
I'm taking photos of all of this but I don't really want to be that guy who posts pictures of random strangers just enjoying their team's win so I don't think I'll publish them. But I swear there's someone with a remote control somewhere in this arena and these bloggers and those kids and the giddy Missouri fans over there are all being controlled just to make me miserable. As someone tweeted me during the game, THIS IS THE BAD PLACE.
+ I think a lot of this is very simple right now. There were four big games in December, all against "M" teams. Miami, Maryland, Michigan, and Missouri. We had to go 2-2, really should have gone 3-1, and could be the team we all thought we could be if we went 4-0. Instead, we went 1-3.
Why did we go 1-3? We can't place the basketball in the round cylinder. Let's just look at our three point shooting:
Four important games, 12-56 from three. 21.4%
Game set match. That's it. Why even keep typing. We can't shoot, so the season is probably lost. We're going to go a seventh consecutive season without an NCAA Tournament bid.
+ Maybe we should talk about that. Losing both Miami and Missouri are absolute tournament deathblows. I think both teams will finish under .500, so they're going to be such bad losses come Tournament time. That means that 11-9 is probably on the wrong side of the bubble. So we have to go 12-8 to get in.
Those pre-BTT records:
10-10 means 19-14 going into the BTT - that's out unless there's a run to the semifinals. Lindenwood doesn't actually count in the committee's eyes so it's really 18-14.
11-9 means 20-13, and then you have to hope that Miami and Missouri go on a run. Win a BTT game or two and maybe you get in.
12-8 is probably the "in before the BTT" record. You'd be 21-12 and even with a first round loss 21-13 still gets in as long as some of the wins are on the road against NCAA Tournament teams.
Here I am again, post-Missouri, talking about what it takes to get in and thinking that it's probably unlikely.
I can't do this anymore. I'm going to stop writing and go home.
This is so, so, so, so, SO depressing.