So, How We Doin'? Arizona

Dec 11, 2021

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I just let the dog out and it's warm. 64 degrees at 12:15 am on December 11th in Champaign. This was supposed to be "Arizona players get to Champaign and freeze while walking from the hotel to the bus". 64 degrees? What's the deal with 64 degrees?

Actually, scrolling through the forecast page here, that's something that might still come true. It's supposed to drop 30 degrees between now and 10:00 am. So maybe the Arizona players will, in fact, have frozen hands when the game starts. Advantage, Illinois.

("Advantage, Illinois" he says when his team has three guys from Puerto Rico and one guy from Jamaica. And I could keep going. Grandison is from Oakland. Payne from Florida. Hawkins from Sacramento. Trent from Florida. Man, we really are a warm climate team. I think Podziemski is the only guy from a climate colder than Champaign.)

This has been Weather Thoughts With Robert for a game being played indoors.

I'm not sure I have a feel for this one (just cut-and-paste that into every one of these "basketball SOC" posts this winter). I'm afraid to trust, I think. Once Curbelo is back (and once Curbelo is back to being Curbelo), I think I'm always going to be heistant with this team. Cincinnati really did a number on me.

Of course, I might have done it again with my tweet late in the UTRGV game. "Done it again" referring to the Penn State game last season. Let's recap.

Last season we lose that awful game at Missouri. Then we go to Rutgers and blow double digit lead as Rutgers comes roaring back to win. I spend three days bunkered in a hotel room on the east coast waiting for the Penn State game and then drive back to State College. The game starts and... Illinois is suddenly down 19-4. December had seen a loss to Baylor, a loss to Missouri, a loss to Rutgers, and then it's 19-4 Penn State. I tweeted the following during the timeout after 19-4:

From that point forward, onward and upward. We outscored Penn State 94-62 the rest of that game. Had two blips in mid-January against Maryland and Ohio State plus Sisoko breaking Ayo's nose at MSU but from 19-4 Penn State until the end of the BTT, we went 18-3. Heh - just thought about it: if you count Drexel and The Game We Will Not Mention, we were down 19-4 to Penn State and then went 19-4 the rest of the way.

I'd like to think that I did the same thing during the UGRTV game on November 26th. We lost to Marquette, we were blown out by Cincinnati, we struggled to put away Kansas State, and then we were tied with UTRGV with something like 2:49 on the clock. Tied. With the artist formerly known as Texas-Pan American.

So I tweeted this:

From that point forward, we outscored UTRGV 12-3 to close out the game, we beat Notre Dame by 10, Rutgers by 35, and won at Iowa 87-83. Woke up from the nightmare, I guess.

So do we keep the good vibes rolling tomorrow? Even without Curbelo? Facing #11 Arizona?

I think I'm going to just blindly say "yes" and then go to bed. Arizona has been solid so far, but they've played exactly one road game (at 1-8 Oregon State who, uh, lost a lot from their Elite Eight team last year). This is Arizona's first true road test. First true road environment. First sold-out crowd. First time they'll have that "I can't even hear myself think" moment.

So I'm going with a win. Gonna be a battle, but the season spun on the last 2:47 of the UTRGV game. That was the turning point, and this momentum will continue with a win over #11.

Illinois 81, Arizona 77


Altenberger with cheese on December 11, 2021 @ 09:34 AM

People are comparing this to Wake given the high ranking of AZ, but I keep thinking this feels like the Seton Hall game when we were down big at half and came back — beating Tommy Amateur. Expect an electric atmosphere and a hard fought win.

purcy51 on December 11, 2021 @ 10:42 AM

That was a double OT game was it not?

Altenberger with cheese on December 11, 2021 @ 10:58 AM

1 OT. Down 17 at half. Marcus had 24, Damonte’s father 21, and Cory 15.

Dan Allen on December 11, 2021 @ 09:46 AM

From your prediction pen to God’s ears, Robert! Hope you are dead on this time. Go Illini!

Altgeld88 on December 11, 2021 @ 09:17 PM

What's the deal with 64 degrees?

lol. It happens. Fond memories of my first finals week, Dec. 1984. For a full week it was that warm. Then the mercury dropped like a stone.

IlliniJoe81 on December 11, 2021 @ 09:45 PM

I don't think people realize just how good Arizona is.

Altgeld88 on December 12, 2021 @ 08:13 AM

They do now ;)

This one seemed to be a toss-up in advance. It set a bar for how the boys need to play if they're going to make a run at the BT title and in March.

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