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Illini basketball

The Cosby Show

Hell, you all knew this title was coming. I only hope I got here first. I assume every article covering the Brown game will bear the same moniker.

Given Bill Cosby’s recent troubles, it’s probably for the best that Aaron stole some limelight on Monday night. We can all hope that Aaron has a season so inexplicably phenomenal that it obscures Bill from headlines. Kinda like what Osama bin Laden did for Gary Condit.

 

Anywho, there’s not much to say about this game that hasn’t been said already, perhaps many times, in the early going of the 2015 season:  Slow start, Cosby & Starks not up to billing in first half, team looks listless on offense/incompetent on defense, recovers in second half/blows patsy visitor out of the water.

Aaron was the savior, as far as “buckets” is concerned. Jaylon Tate and Rayvonte Rice were the saviors, where “assisting buckets” was concerned. Ray quietly had a double-double of 15 & 10, plus three assists, two blocks and two steals.

So we’ll call it The Cosby Show, because even Ray (the perceived ballhog) reveled in Aaron’s catching fire. When Aaron got hot, Ray looked to get him the ball.

Let’s also call it The Cosby Show to give Aaron his due: Cos put on a show.

It was not a good game, at all, for the first twenty minutes.

For optimism’s sake, let’s recall the ’89 team. Games were usually close in the first half. Few games were close at the end (especially when Kendall Gill wasn’t injured).

But let’s not dismiss the horror of Brown v. bored without noting that non-shitty teams may prove more difficult to overcome, especially if Illinois spots them 20 points in lay-ups.

John Groce said the team worked on post defense this week. There’s still plenty of work to do. The back screen is the obvious tool for opponents scouting an advantage over Illinois.

See for yourselves (and open images in new tab for higher resolution):

The best news from this game is that Rayvonte Rice is a great passer. If you’re keeping score at home, that means you can finish filling in the Rayvonte Rice column. We already knew he was great at everything else.

Unfortunately, Ray is not real. He is an imaginary fantasy, borne of decades (eleven now) of desire to punctuate an Illini season without an asterisk. You’ll wake up tomorrow, still fantasizing about Ray’s prowess, only to realize it was a dream

No wait, he is real.  I have pictures!

Ray is a highlight reel, but he’s just as great without cameras. Whether it’s effort, skill, or raw athleticism; Ray got it. Look out Kenny Battle, all-time-favorite status is up for an argument.

What’s more, Ray is a good citizen, and interested in learning. I read on Loyalty the other day that Ray might have a future in coaching. Then I read that Mike LaTulip is the future coach on this team. It seemed like a pre-post-racial comment to me, but I must admit, I’m a near-elderly person at this point, so I may be too easily offended about that sort of thing.

Point is, Ray is smarter than you know. He’s usually a terrible interview because he’s so good at coachspeak. But don’t let that confuse you. Ray is bright. That’s why he’s so good at basketball.

Now, who’s buying in Vegas? Let’s meet up at the Orleans.

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