Illini losing ground in rivalry with Indiana Hoosiers

Illini losing ground in rivalry with Indiana Hoosiers


Overshadowed this week by UNC-Duke, the best rivalry in college basketball and Syracuse-Georgetown, the greatest in the Big East, is Illini vs. Hoosiers, a great rivalry in itself.

The all time series was tied at 83 entering tonight. However, Illinois was 5-1 in their last 6 versus IU. And that one loss in Bloomington last year was extremely fluky to say the least. After tonight, with Indiana winning 84-71, you can see the rivalry going more the way of #23 Indiana.

“Indiana just kicked our butts tonight,” said Illini guard D.J. Richardson who led the Illini with 19 points.

The Illini haven’t beaten a ranked team on the road since 2010.

If you don’t know how fierce this rivalry is, you needed to hear the IU students yelling while they waited to enter the Assembly Hall student section. They reopened the Eric Gordon wound, and ripped Bruce Weber for his lack of job security. Inside, they taunted Weber with chants of “shut up Bruce!” Stay classy you kids in Bloomington!


Meyers Leonard had a huge first half with 15 points, but got into major foul trouble in the second half and scored just one bucket in the second 20 minutes.

There’s no doubt that Leonard and Cody Zeller are the best big men in the Big Ten, but Zeller clearly won the second half match-up and the overall battle as he was the game’s high scorer with 22. Amazingly, he did it on just 5-9 from the field. He went 12-14 from the line.

The Hoosiers are also known for their three-ball game. Matt Roth is first in the Big Ten in three point field goal percentage, Jordan Hulls 2nd, and Christian Watford 6th.

In addition to Zeller’s 22, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford had 18 points, while Hulls added 15.

Both groups of fans seem to especially hate the officiating tonight. Even the Indiana fans, even though they had a very decided advantage in this category. Illinois was  12-15 from the line, while Indiana finished 35-42. That’s a huge discrepancy!

“The fouls in the first half they were legit, the second half, I’m not so sure about to be honest, but you have to adjust,” Weber said after the game.

Weber saw three of his players foul out tonight, including Nnanna Egwu who “accomplished” the feat in just 13 minutes.

“I think he leads the country in fouls per minute, but he has great spirit and he wants to win more than anybody,” Weber said of Egwu.

“You have to execute under pressure, that’s one of the greatest forms of toughness you can have,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

“But you have to be able to play through contact as well.”

The Hoosiers are now 19-6, 7-6 in conference play. Illinois falls to 16-8, 5-6 in conference.

“Our defense had been pretty solid. And a week ago Tuesday we hold somebody (Michigan State) to 41 and their lowest field goal percentage, and I don’t think we did anything different, it’s tough to go on the road and they’re one of the best offensive teams in the country,” Weber said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

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    The problem with the game on Thursday night was that Illinois thought they would come in and push Indiana around on their own home floor (witness the pushdown of Zeller by Leonard and undercut of Sheehey.) The refs were bad but only in the sense that they should have called a lot more fouls early in the first half and then all those second half fouls wouldn't have been called. They let the Illini think they had carte blanche with the physicality and then when realizing the game was about to turn into a free forall they clamped down. Of course all this does is confuse the players from both teams. Inconsistency once again in the Big Ten, what a surprise. It didn't help that the Illinois/ Michigan State game you referenced was widely panned on ESPN and several sports channels as being pathetic in its physical play. Obviously they weren't going to let that happen again. It looked more like a hockey game than a basketball game. By getting caught up their usual effort to control the outcome of games, the Big Ten has once again devolved into a basketball/football/hockey hybrid. In the end their "pre-selected" conference champion, Ohio State, will not benefit come tournament time because most of the "home cookin" won't be there. Illinois complained about the free throw discrepancy but can you imagine any team like Illinois being allowed to go into say Columbus Ohio or East Lansing Michigan and get away with the sort intimidation tactics they tried? If there is a swing in the Illinois/ Indiana series, keep this in mind; Indiana will be a lot better next year than this. They add a great recruiting class with three really outstanding players being added while losing none of their best players from this year. Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell will transform this team from good to exceptional. To get some idea of Ferrell, think of Isiah Thomas and you get the picture.

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    "Stay classy you kids in Bloomington"

    Why would you single out the IU students? Have you not been to any other college basketball games in the past ten years? The Paint crew in West Lafayette chant "IU Sucks" at every home game whether they are playing IU or not. The Orange Crush is pretty vicious as well. The boorish behavior by students at college basketball games has gotten way out of hand, but let's not just limit it to Bloomington. Perhaps it seems worse due to IU having the largest student section in the country?

  • Oh I couldn't agree more, the mich st kids had chants wishing robbie hummell to get injured again. The only reason I mentioned IU is cuz the story is about the rivalry/game, the only matchup between the two this yr

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