COVID-19 Illini basketball

Covidton, Indiana

This is a column about Big Ten Basketball during the COVID era. If you think COVID is a made-up conspiracy, you’ll enjoy posting it on your Facebook page. Thanks.

Bloomington, Indiana is a blue dot in Confederate red Trump country. That’s true of 10 B1G campuses, including Illinois. Our bumpkins might not be as invested in the Lost Cause, but culturally they’re as tribe-conscious as a 13 year-old girl, trying to figure out what the cool kids are wearing.

Indiana stands out among our conference’s Oasis schools because Hoosierland was the world’s hotspot for infections during the hand-off from Delta to Omicron. It gets extra credit for being one of the B1G’s least reputable academic institutions (there’s certainly a causal relationship there) and for worshipping a man who blazed a White Grievance trail decades before complaining about absolutely every fucking thing was cool.

Arguably a bad person. Demonstrably one of the greatest coaches.

If you’re counting; Rutgers, Maryland and Northwestern’s campuses are sited in areas too wealthy and educated to harbor a burning animosity toward the wealthy & educated. Plenty of basketball-loving Republicans live near those campuses, but they tend to be descendants of other Republicans, the kind who worried about Russian aggression, and championed fiscal responsibility.

Michigan’s campus sits on the edge of the Detroit metroplex. Minneapolis might be too ginormous to be called a blue dot. They get half a point each, hence the 10-of-14 calculus.

Inhaling deeply, Andre Curbelo turns the corner versus Wisconsin.

Omicron ripped its way through all these towns over the last month. In Bloomington, a symptomatic media member worked the Purdue game, infecting at least 8 other working media. That news came from Indiana’s sports information department, which emphasized that Illini media should not show up if feeling bad. (A separate, private email between Illini Report and IU Athletics Communications revealed that IU staff was also infected. “These fucking people” was not communicated verbatim, but merely implied.)

Illinois media had a super-spreader event, too. Maybe it was the Meyers Leonard visit. That’s the hunch of one infected member. It seems like half of us got it.

I say “us” only to evoke a brotherhood. My N95 worked. #3xPfizer.

You can probably guess who did get sick because they kinda disappeared for a few days of coverage.

These Fucking People, cropped from the above image.

Meanwhile, Illini fans from the sticks continue to show up maskless at the SFC. They can change a serpentine belt, ergo they know more about viral pathology than your average respiratory therapist.

We know these idiots won’t lift a pinky toward the kind of altruistic self-sacrifice that stopped Hitler. But would they wear a mask, or even get vaccinated, if they learned that their choices might determine the 2022 Big Ten MBB Champion?

Ha-ha. No. Of course not.

Belo got COVID

Only one Illini game was rescheduled thus far because of COVID, but it’s certainly arguable that COVID cost Illinois a hugely important win. Andre Curbelo was feverish at College Park. Those of us who saw it in person could see, with every stoppage, that he was out-of-sorts, winded.

Trent was terrible that game, too. Was he battling something other than Terrapins? He’s had three airballs in the last two games, is that brain fog? Trent’s defense since Maryland has been solid, with Tuesday’s Brad Davison performance among his unawarded trophy collection. But what happened to his depth perception?

IUBB says it’s enforcing masking at Saturday’s game. I expect 15% compliance among the mouthbreathing fandom.

Race Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis will romp, perhaps effectively. IU guards will have a tough day against Trent and Da’Monte. Omicron will waft over thousands of would-be insurrectionists.

Illini Report encourages those of you who think it’s not real to continue thinking it’s not real.

Thanks. Bye.