Hey Jealousy

Feb 9, 2022

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I'll say it.

That was a fantastic crowd. Just incredible. Better than any crowd in the State Farm Center this season. That's not a shot at the crowds in Champaign - fans have been extra loud this season after a year where they couldn't be there. But this crowd tonight was next level.

First off, I'm guessing Purdue sells what - three times more student tickets than Illinois? The Paint Crew is a weird name (why choose the current coach?) but the volume was amazing. Students basically extend all the way to the top at both ends. Reminds me of when the Assembly Hall had Krush seats on the floor and then thousands of student tickets extending up to the concrete lid. So much volume coming from one spot. And for Purdue tonight it came from two spots.

I found myself quite jealous when the game started. I know it was a big game - 3 vs. 13 - and so this was probably one of the louder Purdue crowds in years. ESPN in town, snow on the ground outside - felt like an old school battle at the top of the Big Ten where you walk in and it smells like Big Ten basketball. There's not much like watching your top-5 team dominate in person.

So maybe "jealousy" isn't the right word. I think I'm just mad that Covid took that away from us last season. We had the top-5 team, and the crowd would have been just as overconfident from the opening tip as this Purdue crowd was tonight. Yet we didn't get some #3 Illinois vs. #5 Iowa battle in the State Farm Center. There were no fans at all until the Big Ten Tournament (and then it was only 25% capacity).

Maybe the title should be "hey bitter" because that's what I am. The State Farm Center would have been like this last year - 41% louder simply because the team is #3 in the country - and we were robbed of it. Post title: "Hey, we got jobbed." (No, then everyone would think I'm talking about the officials tonight when the officials were fine.)

I should probably address the photo at the top. Sorry, I forgot. That was my view from my seat. And you know what? It honestly wasn't annoying at all. Basketball is played at the two ends. All I missed from sitting behind the camera was the opening tip. Everything else happened on either side of her head.

And the Bob Uecker seat was my own fault. I forgot to apply for a credential until Saturday because I'm stupid and dumb. So I'm guessing that on the seating chart all that was left were the old Wrigley Field "obstructed view" seats. I was in the building and it was fine.

But I was totally jealous of the Purdue crowd the whole time. I found myself wishing that 2022 was 2021 and Illini fans could have been at Illinois 76, Michigan 53 (I know, it was in Ann Arbor). College basketball rolls in waves, and I wish the Ayo + Kofi wave had crested while fans could be there.

Hmmm... I just re-read this and it sounds like I'm denigrating this team. I'm not. It's more of a 2001 followed by 2002 kind of thing. 2001 we were a 1-seed. 2002 a 4-seed. One step below (but still amazing). Purdue has their 2001 team now. With fans going crazy. We had our 2001 team in 2021. Without fans so the only sound you heard was the squeak of sneakers. I'm just wishing for a wave crest this year. And I should probably address what I mean by wave crest.

Purdue had a great team in 2018/19. The Carsen Edwards team that lost to Virginia in the Elite Eight on that insane buzzer beater to send it to overtime. That loss is a pantheon loss for Purdue fans because that was going to be the team that got them over the "no Final Four since 1980" hump.

And they all knew they'd take a dip the next year. 2018/19 was a crest. After Edwards (and guys like Ryan Cline) graduated, they fell back to 16-15 the next year. That's just when our wave started to rise. We beat Purdue 63-37 in Champaign and then 79-62 here in West Lafayette that season.

In 2020-21, our wave nearly reached #1. We were ranked 2nd in the final poll before the Tournament after going on that insane 14-1 run to close the season. And we beat Purdue, too - 66-58 in early January (no return trip to West Lafayette). They rebounded from 16-15 the previous season to go 18-10 (13-6 in the Big Ten). Things started to click for their freshmen and their wave started to really build. Now, in 2022, their wave is cresting again. Took three years to get it back but now they're gonna take another swing at getting opposing fans to stop mentioning their Final Four drought.

For us, our wave is still high with Kofi in town. It's just probably 4-seed high, not 1-seed high. It's fine. It's great, actually - it says that we have a program again - but it's a step below 2021 (say it with me - "and then in the Tournament, anything can happen").

I'm jealous that Purdue gets a crowd like this for a crest like this. Which is just me saying that I'm still so mad that Ayo had to be a first-team All American in front of empty arenas. He deserved cheers like Ivey got tonight. It just sucked that he couldn't have those moments.

So yeah, "hey jealousy" is right. Purdue's crowd was amazing. I'm so jealous.

+ I'm not sure I can handle all of these Trent Frazier Down On The Court moments. It happened in the K-State game and he was carried off (missed a few games and then returned). It happened tonight (rocking back and forth holding his knee). I was seriously ill. Several people tweeted at me that the replay showed a knee collision, not a twist or hyperextension, and that calmed me down. But until I saw those tweets, I thought I was going to puke. If Trent Frazier's career ended with a knee injury at Purdue I'm not sure I could follow sports anymore.

It's kinda funny - I didn't see him come back in the game. When he did, he was behind the camerawoman's head. So I was scanning the bench thinking "oh God I took my eyes off Trent for five seconds and now they've taken him back to the locker room so he can be fitted for an air cast" and then he appeared from behind the camerawoman's head. Such a massive sigh of relief.

I'm not sure what Robbie Hummel said on the broadcast, but I'm guessing seeing someone down on the floor holding his knee at Mackey sent him to a very bad place. So, so glad that Trent is OK.

+ When Purdue hit that three (while Trent was laying on the court), I was looking up their second half shooting stats. I believe that when that three went down, they moved to 15 for 20 in the second half. FIFTEEN FOR TWENTY. I can't remember giving up a run like that in any recent game.

In fact, while walking out I was trying to come up with the last time we were woodshedded like this. I landed on the Michigan State game in early 2020 (like, January 2nd, 2020). I need to look up that score.

Michigan State 76, Illinois 56. Still a game at halftime (36-30 Michigan State) and then taken to the woodshed in the second half. Ayo had 18, Alan Griffin had 17, and nobody else could score. Kofi had 5. Trent 6 points. Feliz 2.

This one felt like that one. Michigan State started the second half on a 15-3 run that night and it was over quickly. Tonight, Purdue began the half 37-18 in only the first 11:45 of the second half. If you're scoring at home they were on pace for 63 points in the second half at that point.

One more time in case you missed it.

37 points in 11:45. On pace for 63 points in one half. Purdue. Against us. Tonight.

It was at this moment that I tweeted this:

I'm guessing you'd have to go back years to find a team scoring 37 points in 11:45 against us.

+ I tweeted this after the game, but I found it very odd that we emptied the bench with two minutes left and Purdue kept the starters in. I'm not really going for the "Painter sucks" take here - I was mostly just confused. They were obviously staying aggressive with 30 seconds left, dumping it down to Zach Edey so he could try to score on Brandon Lieb.

My opinion here is probably shaped by the fact that in the last two games (Wisconsin and Indiana), we had possession at the end (with the shot clock still on) where we just dribbled until the shot clock expired. Purdue had the same scenario tonight, we had the end-of-the-bench guys in, and their coaches were pushing them to try to score. I know that can get "we're classy and they're not", but I'm not really going for that either. Maybe I can explain it this way.

Iowa went for the screw-you dunk in February of 2020. Game was over, they throw a full-court pass to get an exclamation point dunk. An obvious "taste it, Illinois" moment (their prerogative). The coaches had the dust-up in the handshake line, Fran instructed his team to stop shaking hands, and we haven't lost to Iowa since.

This wasn't that. This didn't seem to be Purdue going for "taste it, Illinois". There were no player celebrations like the Iowa players that night. This was just... odd. This, to me, seemed to be something more like college football where margin of victory matters and Cincinnati is calling timeouts and trying to run up the score late on East Carolina because they need to do everything they can to convince the committee that they belong in the playoff. This felt like that.

So does Painter believe scoring margin matters? They removed scoring margin from the NET rankings after the 2020 season but maybe he's not aware of that? It has to be something like that, right? Underwood emptied the bench with 1:37 left. Purdue then went to Ivey for a layup with 59 seconds left and then Edey was fouled attempting to score with 13 seconds left. I feel like, what, 98% of college coaches would have Ivey and Edey on the bench in the final minute up 15?

Really odd. Only thing I can come up with is that Matt Painter still thinks scoring margin matters when the committee is seeding you.

+ It's almost 3:00 and I need to leave here at 8:30. So let me wrap this up.

That sucked.

Purdue is a tier above us this year and I HATE that. I believe we were their last opponent inside the NET top-20, so it seems likely that they run the table and win the Big Ten. That super sucks.

All of that tweeting I do about "it has been XXXX days since Illinois lost to so-and-so" and we had a nice run through 2020 and 2021 without losing Purdue and now swept in 2022. Ugh.

RJ Melendez is a dude.

Matt Painter possibly thinks that scoring margin matters when it comes to seeding?

This crowd was amazing and I hated it.

I need to apply for press passes earlier than 3 days before a game.

I'm glad Trent is OK.

I don't like the feeling in my body when Purdue is on a 37-18 run in less than 12 minutes and the crowd is going insane it feels gross.

Beat Northwestern.


ktcesw on February 9, 2022 @ 12:12 PM

Now tell us how you really feel, lol. No, I loved this! Thanks!!

Ellisrt1031 on February 9, 2022 @ 12:21 PM

Lived in Lafayette 82-95. Their crowd was like that almost every year. Well maybe not quite like that but close. Loudest place I have been in. I attribute it to the arena with a lower ceiling, the general Indiana butt hurt of their Fandom, and at least during the Keady years when I was there the consistently high quality of play. We might have been comparable in the Final Four years at certain games but not consistently.

Altgeld88 on February 9, 2022 @ 03:29 PM

I was in Champaign '84-'90 and watching BT basketball closely before that for many years. I still recall how impressed I was with Keady and his teams annually in the '80s. We often had better talent but his teams got it done consistently, as you note.

Also, I've never been to a game in Mackey but I've seen nearly all of the top college basketball venues over the years. The steep bowl and low, flat ceiling at Mackey impressed me more than nearly every other arena I've visited. I could sit in that empty arena, as I've done several times, and just imagine how loud it gets. I adore the AH but Mackey seems to afford a greater home court advantage.

Dman68 on February 9, 2022 @ 09:03 PM

I lived in West Lafayette between 93 and 95 as an Illinois grad. I went to games at Ross-Ade and Mackey would play them there. When I lived there, I would get some good natured ribbing from Purdue fans who would tell me I would eventually convert. After moving away, I have been to a couple more football and basketball games over there when Illinois plays but the last few times I went, their fans seem to chirp a little more. At the 2005 football game, I had a fan tell me that he lived in Florida and that Zook was not a good coach for us. At the 2013 basketball game when their unranked team beat our ranked team, a Purdue fan in his 70s came up made a comment while I was exiting Mackey. Told me we were overrated (we beat them later that year in Champaign). The game this year on MLK saw a lot of "chirpy" Boiler fans in our place. Although not the most obnoxious fans in the Big 10, I am not making anymore trips to that campus.

IlliNYC on February 9, 2022 @ 12:41 PM

On the starters in at the end: I think Painter is trying to teach them how to finish games, play to the end. They’ve had trouble blowing leads/not finishing games.

Also, I’m not sure Purdue is a tier above us. They were tonight, but they got away with bad defense—we missed, what, 6 open threes? 7? In that second half.

JPYoung on February 9, 2022 @ 02:51 PM

Their ceiling is higher than ours. Ivey is going to be the best player on the floor almost every night. They are a terrible matchup for us too. Multiple bigs that can give Kofi fits and long athletic wings. Plus depth that matches ours. We have no real advantages against them.

San Joaquin on February 9, 2022 @ 04:29 PM

Agreed. Matchup against Purdue tough. Wisconsin the opposite. All 3 are 10-3 in league and I think we beat Purdue 1 in 5 and Wisconsin 4 in 5.

IlliNYC on February 9, 2022 @ 07:55 PM

No doubt they're a bad match-up, but their defensive issues are still there. Need to hit open shots and make them pay.

jdl on February 9, 2022 @ 02:41 PM

Scoring margin is gone from NET but the efficiency differential is still in there. Not sure that's what Painter was going for, maybe he just was sending his team a message about not letting up? Agree it was a little odd but no big deal.

Purdue and Illinois are pretty similar but they have Ivey and we don't.

San Joaquin on February 9, 2022 @ 04:32 PM

Agreed. Reminiscent of the Illinois-Arizona games in 2001. Was at the first of the three in Maui. Two top, top teams but they shaded it with Gilbert Arenas.

sudden_valley on February 9, 2022 @ 03:03 PM

Good thing the Krush plans ahead better than you!

ATOillini on February 9, 2022 @ 03:39 PM

Generally speaking it does appear Purdue is a tough matchup for us. But….you’ve reminded me of something here. I still maintain that the 14-1 finish last year left us both physically and emotionally drained just as the tourney started. That run included several close games, tons of discussion about potential #1 seed, etc. Just thought it was a bad setup.

I understand Big 10 regular season champs and Big 10 tourney champs has quite a bit of meaning. That’s fine. But count me as someone who considers that a prelude to what really matters….March Madness. Just one man’s opinion.

And as a reminder, the Flyin’ Illini finished second in the conference that year. Just sayin’.

We can beat Purdue. The 37-18 in under 12 minutes beat down was a painful aberration. If handled correctly could be a good teaching tool.

accy88 on February 9, 2022 @ 05:06 PM

You are totally correct about last year. We finished the season playing 11 games in 30 days. No college teams ever play that many games in that time frame. A number of B1G teams did. B1G did not flame out because they were over rated, they flamed out because they were all tired. Look at the games the B1G lost right at the end. Their legs were gone. If UI had 10 days off before the tourney like Loyola, UI would have beat them by 15.

And if UI comes in 2nd, it will be for the same reason the Flyin' Illini came in second; injuries. And just like the Flyin' Illini, when we hit the tourney, at full strength, we can make a deep run.

ATOillini on February 9, 2022 @ 06:37 PM

I agree. We have tourney potential!

IBFan on February 9, 2022 @ 03:50 PM

Trent is ok.

When he went down I immediately stopped caring about the score or outcome of the game.

A “w” for me.

Beat the Kitties

AGig21 on February 9, 2022 @ 04:02 PM

I thought the same in regards to the starters still being in the game. Also, I'm thinking the mins Trent has logged so far (and most recently) showed in this game. Prior to the knee injury, he looked a step behind and we know the shots were not falling which tells me his legs may have been tired. Jacob needed to remind himself during one of the timeouts he is no longer in a shooting slump. we had open looks, didn't knock them down. They had open looks and literally knocked all of them down.

firet92 on February 9, 2022 @ 06:15 PM

We won't see them til the S16 at the earliest in the tournament. They seem to be our worst match up.

1978fan on February 9, 2022 @ 06:31 PM

What about the B1G tournament prior to the NCAA?

danny on February 9, 2022 @ 06:30 PM

In the tourney, the earliest you can play a team from your conference is the Elite 8. Unless that has changed in the last couple years but don’t think it has.

jdl on February 11, 2022 @ 05:51 PM

they had to change the rule with the bigger conferences. I think if a conference has more than 8 teams in, obviously you can't avoid possible earlier match ups.

ILLhaveaBrewski on February 12, 2022 @ 08:38 PM

Boilers were tired vs Michigan. Painter should have rested his guys those 2 minutes.

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