SOC - Loyola
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Just got back from the Abilene Christian/Texas game. And now I hate the Committee even more.
I just don't like narratives. I don't like storylines. Right now, Texas fans REALLY don't like narratives and storylines. Texas could have played Eastern Washington, Colgate, or Morehead State. Instead they played Abilene Christian. Abilene Christian players wanted nothing more than to beat Texas... and they beat Texas.
Loyola players want nothing more than to beat Illinois. I hate that we have to face that. If we had any of the other 8-seeds - Oklahoma, North Carolina, or LSU - I'd feel supremely confident tomorrow. We play Loyola, and I hate it. I think we all hate it.
It makes me think of all the UIC games the last 15 years. In 2010/11, UIC won only 1 game between December 2nd and January 29th. 1-13 during that span. The one win? 57-54 over #14 Illinois. They go 7-24 that season, often losing by 20+... but they beat Illinois.
I just hate this hate this hate this. Gonzaga's 8-seed second-round opponent is KenPom #41. Our 8-seed second-round opponent is Kenpom #9. I could go on and on and on with this. Our second-round opponent is the third scariest team in our region.
So I don't want to play this game. I don't want to go to bed because I have to wake up tomorrow and that's when the game happens. Just get me to 2:30 EDT tomorrow and tell me the score. Seriously, sometimes I hope I completely oversleep and wake up after the game is over.
Thought of a song that describes what I'm thinking. Farther To Fall by David Wilcox. It's a song about relationships. When they start to get really serious, it's more exciting but also more frightening. And he relates it to walking along railroad tracks, balancing on the rails, and then you get to a tall bridge. It's not harder to balance on the rails - you just have farther to fall. Some lyrics.
Balance is no harder after all
Out across this bridge so tall
Balance is no harder
It's just that you've got farther
Now you've just got farther to fall
Yeah, that's totally it. That's how I feel about tomorrow (and, should we win, will increasingly feel about the four games after that). It's not any harder. We just have farther to fall. I think I'm now afraid of heights.
Thankfully, I don't think our team is afraid of heights. There's going to be a game where we struggle (it happens), and I'm pretty sure that game will come against Loyola, and so I'm going to be pulling my hair out in around 11 hours. It's going to be a four point game with three minutes to go and I probably won't be able to stand. I already hate every feeling I'm going to feel.
But I do think we have the team to pull out a game like that. I'm so glad Ayo missed the shot in regulation against Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament because we're going to need him to hit one of those tomorrow. Just feels like it will be one of those "Giorgi fouled out, Kofi with four fouls, one-possession game as we approach the closing seconds, save us, Ayo" games. And I think Ayo will save us.
Illinois 63, Loyola 60