Junior point guard Tracy Abrams is a very big reason that Illini
basketball has held each of its first seven opponents to 63 points or fewer this season, something an Illini
team hasn’t done since the 2006-07 season. Abrams, from Chicago's Mt. Carmel high school, is a gritty defender and tough leader, reminiscent of another Illini basketball player who manned the same position-- Chester Frazier.
UI is now 15-0 in November under head coach John Groce. Overall, the Illini basketball program has won their last 26 games in the month of November.
“Without Tracy Abrams we probably don’t get it done. He willed us to a win. He’s a big part of what we do,” Groce said after the last Illini basketball game, a very ugly home win over Low-Major IPFW.
They take on Georgia Tech in an important road contest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in a couple hours. Illinois are slight underdogs to slight favorites, depending on who you talk to...
No one hates Northwestern
No one possibly could.
Well, the main purple flag waver in sports media today also happens to be the most hated man in sports media, but that’s a different issue. You can’t hate the school just because D-Money (CC @TheGoodDrJim)
went there. Well, University of Illinois
grads do in fact hate Northwestern. You can see it in the way Illini
people schadenfreude the train wreck that is the 2013 Northwestern football season. I’ve told my people not to take joy in what’s happened at NU
. (The local and national media declaring Northwestern BCS bound and Pat Fitzgerald
the next Nick Saban, only to see it come crashing all down into a college football
season that will have no bowl appearance).
So where does the hate come from?
The “Chicago’s Big Ten
Team” marketing campaign.
All Big Ten alumni bases in Chicago took offense to it, none more so than the University of Illinois. From there, the University of Illinois Alumni Association took a couple shots at Northwestern
and then things took off from there! When Tim Beckman
took over the Illini program, he put up a big N Cat logo with a line through it in the Illini football meeting room.
Then he made his team slogan W.I.N. or W.I.N.T. “Whatever is needed Today.” After Northwestern had “W.I.N. What’s Important Now” for many years. So we have a legitimate rivalry on our hands.
And the rivalry game will be played Saturday, in Champaign, 2:30 on Big Ten Network. Northwestern is 3.5 point favorites. It’s the LOL Bowl,
the Land of Lincoln trophy or LOL trophy game. And given how both of these teams are playing, the LOL contest will certainly have you ROTFL or LMAO. Here’s my game preview and prediction at this link.
But for this post I’ve listed as many Northwestern and Illinois alums in the national and local sports media as I'm aware of...
basketball Media Day was Wednesday which means it’s time to preview the season. The great thing about Media Days are the ability to bring up just about any topic and talk about anything. The bad side of Media Days are the press conferences are more cliche and predictable than at any point of the entire season.
Everyone is “just excited to get going” with a “great group of guys.” Everyone is undefeated on Media Day. That said Illini basketball tips-off with a scrimmage in six days, an exhibition in 13 days and the season opener versus Alabama State on Friday November 9th.
So here are five takeaways from Illini basketball media day, to help you preview the season. Aided by the help of two in-depth team season previews.
My own and that of David Kmiecik
, college basketball
nerd and the man with the most accurate NBA
on the planet. Enjoy...
College Gameday set up shop this morning at Lakeside Field on the Northwestern
University campus in Evanston
Tonight at Ryan Field, not be confused with the Fox Sports 1
anchor named Ryan Field, the #4 Ohio State Buckeyes, favored by a touchdown,
will take on the #16 Wildcats. Kickoff at 7pm on ABC with OSU alum Kirk Herbstreit and NU alum Brent Musburger on the call. Heather Cox will be on the sidelines.
I love College Gameday, but the best part of it, in my opinion, would be the signs.
I’ve led this post with a great sign about Kain Colter
. And posted a few in gallery. You can see a few more signs here.
NU will look to upset the Red Menace tonight, and have a much better outing than the last time College Gameday was on site for a NW home game. That was the infamous “we conveniently forgot about the lack of space in Wrigley Field, so we’ll have both teams go one way/the same way the whole time” game.
48-22 at the Friendly Confines as Mikel Leshoure ran for an Illinois
record 330 yards rushing. Here's to hoping the Cats don't have a repeat of that performance tonight; and cut shut down Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde.
, Northwestern sells the naming rights to their Athletic Director position. They've come such a long way in Evanston. Three decades ago, they were considering abandoning big time sports entirely to join the Ivy League. According to the Wall Street Journal.
"Our presence in Chicago is important to us, we are the state team, we need to bring ourselves closer to them for marketing purposes," said Illini Wide Receivers Coach Mike Bellamy- a former Chicago Bears player,
native of the SouthSide (prepped at Kenwood Academy) and Illini wideout who played with Jeff George in Champaign.
"And we have a large alumni base in Chicago and sometimes they can't make it down, so why not bring the game to them?" Bellamy continued.
On Saturday, the Illini were competing for sports fan interest against the White Sox
, a Fire match and the BMW Classic. And they still drew 47,312 fans to the lakefront in Chicago. That attendance is higher than what Illinois drew at home for their first two games this season; and a solid figure when you consider how very low expectations were heading into this year...
Chicago Tribune Fighting Illini
reporter Vaughn McClure is leaving the paper for ESPN
Atlanta. McClure, who was previously a Chicago Bears
beat reporter, will be covering the NFL
again; this time he’ll handle the Atlanta Falcons.
Before taking the ATL job, McClure was to handle the Chicago Bulls
beat once the NBA