Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Illini get a W in First Game Since Being Ranked

Assembly Hall is rocking again this year, helping the Illini to a 67-49 win against Ohio State last night and making it seven wins in a row at home for Illinois. It was another balanced attack for Illinois, led by Mike Tisdale with 15 points, Demetri McCamey with 13, and two others in double figures.

Bruce Weber seemed to be making the right moves as well. In the first half he pulled an ineffective Tisdale and Dominique Keller stepped in with 12 points, while Tisdale returned to being the great big white hope in the second half.

This was the kind of win that has seemed to elude Illinois recently, as well as Big Ten teams ranked in the 20's. Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and others I don't care to research have been victims to the 20's curse so far this year, but the Illini came together for a big win over the Buckeyes. We finally saw some offense to go along with that suffocating defense that has been a staple of Weber teams.

It was a complete game and the Illini seem to have that intangible quality where it just seems like all the parts are working. Tisdale commented after the game that it seems like this year's team is a lot more "together" than the team last year. Weber said the Illini are still looking for that big road win to be serious contenders in the conference, but I'm sure they'll be more focused on getting that eighth straight home win when they host Wisconsin this weekend.

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