People don’t click links after losses. They don’t want to re-live the sorrow.
So I’ll just mention a couple of things you might not have known from watching the Michigan State game on TV. And if you learn something worthwhile, you can tell your friends. This article features no traumatic rehashing of what might have been.
Jaylon Tate played Sunday’s game with a 100°+ fever. It was higher Sunday morning, and higher still on Saturday. There was a contingency plan to have him hospitalized if the medical staff hadn’t been able to bring it down. So it’s surprising that he played at all, and astonishing that he played a full 19 minutes.
It’s not surprising that Jaylon missed all his shots from the floor, failed to assist a single bucket, and committed four fouls. But Illinois didn’t lose because of Jaylon. They lost for the simplest of basketball reasons: Ball not go in bucket.
Open this image in a new tab to see Malcolm Hill’s pained expression at missing yet another shot.
Illinois shot <29% from the floor.
You move on. Ideally to a post-season tournament that begins with N but does not end with T.
I’d wager you’ve seen the last of the pre-game fireworks. They left a terrible amount of smoke in the arena, for the Indiana and Michigan games. The DIA recognized as much.
The DIA then consulted with the pyrotechnicians in charge, and changed the combination of explosives. So this time, the smoke went straight up to the catwalk.
But then, about five minutes into the game, it descended into the arena. By that point, I’d already congratulated Mike Thomas on the smoke fix. At halftime, I asked his wife Jeni to retract the compliment.
Hey, they tried.
I spied Bruce Douglas, Doug Altenberger and Anthony Welch in attendance on Sunday. I assumed there must be some kind of reunion.
During Tuesday’s Hall of Fame nomination press conference, Lou Henson was asked about the Flyin’ Illini. That makes sense. They were his Final Four team at Illinois. (He had one at New Mexico State, as well.)
Lou chose to speak about his 1984 team, instead. He thought that team had a shot at a national championship. And of course, they did. They got jobbed at Kentucky, which forced the NCAA to change its entire tournament, eliminating home court advantage. (Illinois more recently prompted the video review policy in the tourney, after getting jobbed in Austin, TX.)
I recently discovered a full 1984 Illini game on YouTube. They beat Len Bias and Maryland in the Sweet Sixteen. Those were the days, yo.
I tried to find out about future NCAA plans for YouTube distribution. Last week’s game at Wisconsin, for example, went up immediately, because it’s a CBS property. (CBS and NCAA are thick as thieves, as you know.)
Would other Illini games follow?
NCAA media specialist Cameron Schuh referred me to NCAA specialerist Nate Flannery, who asked me which game I was talking about, and whether I could share a link. Then he asked me for a link to the Wisconsin game I’d referenced. I haven’t heard from him since. So I suggest you EagleGet those games before something happens to them. (UPDATE: as of Monday noon, Flannery responds that the NCAA does not control the above linked YouTube channel. He did not yet respond to my query about future plans for distribution of full game videos.)
Welch said there was no reunion, just coincidence. He added that he came to see a great basketball game, noting that he’s a Michigan native (Grand Rapids).
Larry Smith and Kenny Battle sat together for a second consecutive game. Afterward, they visited with Byron Irvin, of the Irvin Family. Mac Irvin Fire coach Mike Irvin was also expected for the MSU game, but I didn’t actually see him.
IZZO AND WEBER
After dispatching his media responsibilities, Tom Izzo hung out in the #SFC tunnel, visiting with Paris Parham and a handful of non-coaching persons. Michigan State continues to offer the only open locker room in the Big Ten, and Izzo himself is accessible, and personable.
He was thankful (i.e. he said thanks) when I asked about his 2012-era support of Bruce Weber, and whether he’s stayed in touch with Weber during this most recent trying time (Kansas State is now 13-15 on the year).
That super annoying whoop-whoop sound you heard as Illinois shot free-throws? Kinda like a cartoon parody of an American Indian war call? That was Gavin Schilling’s mom, Lisa.
I complained about it to my fellow cesspoolers while watching MSU @ Michigan on Tuesday. It was so annoying I had to mute the TV. When I heard it at #SFC, I realized it was coming from the MSU family section. From that point, I kept an eye on them. And despite the fact that I sit at the opposite end of the court, I recognized Lisa. I met her when Jay Price brought Gavin for an unofficial visit.
This visit may have been overlooked because it occurred on the same day Mike LaTulip verballed to Illinois. I broke that story, and it seemed to cause some amount of sensation. But the REALLY astounding thing about that day (and the article it produced) is that there are multiple pictures of Jalen Coleman-Lands sitting with Jerrance Howard, Gavin Schilling, Mike LaTulip, Mike Shaw, etc.
I had no idea.
I didn’t even ask for Jalen’s name that day, because he was obviously very young. (I don’t pick on recruits before junior year, unless they’re presented to me by the people who want to publicize them.*) So I have only now, by searching for that article, discovered that Price had him on campus as well. Bravo Jay Price.
Anyway, I remembered really liking Lisa. She was a strong woman, smart and determined. I told Jason Lener as much when I recommended that she be banned from the State Farm Center.
I didn’t find the sound nearly as annoying on Sunday, in person. I know where the visiting families sit at Crisler Arena, so I suspect Lisa was directly behind ESPN’s play-by-play and color team. Their microphones amplified the experience.
Still, it was pretty annoying.
I hope Lisa and I can remain friends, even though I recommended her banishment. I expect we can. After all, I’m great friends with Kathi LaTulip, whatever the Internet thinks.
*I’ll never forget the time Kevin Farrell Sr. persuaded me to take a picture of his son. I had no idea who “Yogi” was. I’m pretty obtuse about these things, frankly.