So, How We Doin'? Notre Dame

Nov 29, 2021

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I don't have an ounce of feel for this team. This might be 2006 and it might be 1999. I seriously have no idea.

I want to believe that all of the mess we've seen so far is related to all of the external factors. Kofi's suspension. Belo's concussion. The flu bug. Trent's shoulder injury followed by his knee injury.

But then I think about the Cincinnati game - a game where everyone was healthy - and I wonder if I'm just leaning too far into the excuses. Remember this?

That's a thing that happened to the Curbelo-Frazier-Grandison-Hawkins-Cockburn + Williams-Plummer-Payne-BBV lineup. The only player missing was Luke Goode with back spasms. Our A-lineup did THAT. Seven for FORTY against a team (Cincinnati) that lost at home to Monmouth yesterday.

So I have no idea how to feel. I sat there on Friday night during the UTRGV game and wondered what was happening and then I'd cover it up with "no Trent, no Belo, no Grandison, so of course this is happening". But then I'd realize that it was UTRGV and we let them do this:

Open threes, short jumpers, and layups. Nine consecutive shots drained by one of the worst teams we'll face this season. That's pretty far beyond "we were missing Trent, Belo, and Slim", right? There's something majorly wrong, right?

It's not that it can't be fixed. It might very well be that the IUP exhibition game - where Belo got his concussion and Trent hurt his shoulder - was this moment that (temporarily) moved Illinois from the 11th-best team in the country to the 63rd-best team in the country. Once Belo returns to 100% and Trent returns to the court, perhaps we simply see the 11th-best team in the country again.

But now there's a flu bug going around, and we're playing Notre Dame, and if we're without the same players from Friday night plus BBV, I just don't see how we beat Notre Dame. Yes, even "just lost to St. Mary's and Texas A&M" Notre Dame.

(By the way, Wisconsin won that tournament, and I swear to God if they're better than us this year I'm not going to know what to do with myself. They're supposed to be 11th in the Big Ten this year. As of this moment, KenPom has both Illinois and Wisconsin going 11-9 in the Big Ten this season. I can't handle that.)

I think what I'll do with my prediction here is blindly hope. I'm going to hope that the rest from the K-State game until now has helped Belo and that tomorrow night is S2E1 of The Kofi & Belo Show. Season One set up the character development. A lot of buzz around Season Two. Suspensions and injuries prevented the season premier from being aired until after Thanksgiving. But now it's time for the first episode of the new season. Hope it's a good one.

Illinois 68, Notre Dame 63


ktcesw on November 29, 2021 @ 01:00 AM

I am concerned that Belo's selfishness, more than anything, is having a negative impact on the team. I am NOT talking about his turnovers but, rather, his decisions to take big shots, in big moments, of games. That has to impact team chemistry! I am not concerned that others will scream about this. I am simply stating my opinion.

mitchstevens on November 29, 2021 @ 06:07 AM

IBFan on November 29, 2021 @ 08:38 AM

I don’t know if it’s selfishness or just a desire to win and coupled with trying too hard, not 100%, and some over the top hype, recipe for disaster. Or it could be selfishness. He’s still very young and could be he is struggling with how to be him-crazy level of creativity- and play solid, fundamental basketball. I think he figures it out soon

IBFan on November 29, 2021 @ 08:55 AM


More worthless than worrying about TOP in football. We were up 28-0 on kitties and saw post saying that NW was going to win TOP and we would struggle in 2nd half. Why because there offense is in better shape than our defense? Because defenses don’t rotate more personnel or can’t sub out if winded? Rant over

IlliniJoe81 on November 29, 2021 @ 09:05 AM

Impossible to predict how we're going to do when we don't even know who's going to play and how healthy they are if they do play.

accy88 on November 30, 2021 @ 09:06 AM

As for the Cincinnati game. I have this to say.

2004 Season - 26-7, Big Ten Championship, Sweet Sixteen

And this: December 9, 2003, IL 51 - Providence 70

Every team has a few "off" games and a few "really on" games. It remains to be seen but I predict IL had one of those games and Cincinnati had one of those games. You decide which category each team was in.

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