If you don’t like to read coverage of your favorite team’s agonizing losses, you missed Monday’s brow-furrowing about learning how to win and its alternative, accepting failure as your lot.
Brad Underwood reiterated the point tonight, after his team found itself on the less bad side of basketball failure. Or perhaps it was a glorious win.
How do you look at it?
Maybe the Illini defense was responsible for holding the Wolverines to 3-of-18 shooting from the arc. For the sake of argument, let’s say it was.
For the sake of arguing more, because we like to argue, let’s say Illinois collapsed AGAIN in the closing minutes, because they did.
Michigan turned up the heat defensively, the Illini coughed up the ball, and a ten-point lead evaporated. But this time, Michigan lacked the moxie to rip victory from the jaws of collapse.
Brad Underwood allowed Kofi Cockburn to play, even in the closing minutes. Cockburn hit most of his free-throws. He batted his opponent’s shots. He rattled Wolverine bigs, and the littles who might otherwise have penetrated the lane.
No other freshman played for Illinois.
Did Illinois turn the page with this win? Well, if you believe the analysis from the Maryland game (which you didn’t read) then yes. Illinois did the most important thing Wednesday night. It’s that simple. And now, they know how to do it.