Illini Basketball

Snowy Centre

Jim Ferry made an interesting point in his postgame Q&A session. Illinois has two NBA players, he said. Which is nice, he said.

But that’s not the reason his team lost.

Ayo and Kofi combined for 53 points, and did it pretty efficiently — Kofi on 11-of-13 shots in the paint, and Ayo on 50% shooting from farther away.

But it was laziness, he didn’t quite say, that lost the game for his interim Lions. Little Things, he said, as if talking about Da’Monte Williams, were the difference. But big things (guarding your man, rebounding) and not fouling left and right were also the difference.

Ferry pointed out that the stats were fairly even, and everybody performed well offensively.

But Illinois attempted 28 FTs while the home team attempted SEVEN.


It’s almost as if Brad Underwood got angry after the Rutgers game, and Mentioned It to his team. Yes, the game at Penn State was the complete Bizarro 180° reversal of the game at Rutgers. Just like last year!

But let’s get back to that initial observation: Ayo & Kofi combine for 53 points, and that wasn’t the difference in the game, according to the guy who lost it.

It’s an important point to keep in mind. If opposing teams are willing to let Ayo get his 30, and Kofi his 23 while they focus on Mulcahying the rest of the team into submission, Illinois should be worried.

So yeah, that’s why all of you and all of us knew Jake Grandison would be the guy proffered as postgame spokesman last night. And oh my those offensive rebounds.

The supporting cast of this Tale of 2021 has yet to be written into the script. We know the leads. We know the ensemble. We don’t know who’s going to provide the comic relief, as it were.

No, sorry, that’s obviously Curbelo.

We don’t know who the Ervin Small is going to be. The guy who disrupts the other team, because they weren’t expecting him, nor the fight he brought to the contest.

Good on Jake for being that guy last night. It will be Adam Miller in February. It might be Coleman Hawkins playing the (taller) P.J Bowman role in a crucial March game. Last night it was Jake, and you should feel good about that, because Jake is a good guy.