2018-19 Big Ten Hoops Preview Part 1

2018-19 Big Ten Hoops Preview Part 1 Comment Count

Alex Cook October 15th, 2018 at 4:04 PM

It's been about a decade since I started following the Big Ten closely, and I've started to realize some things about my hobby (for lack of a better word). I'm the type of normal, well-adjusted adult that sits down at home after a day of work and decides to spend my finite leisure time watching, like, Illinois vs. Minnesota. I could be doing anything else: watching the best basketball players in the world in some meaningless February NBA game, watching a college basketball game between two good teams in a different conference, or doing something different altogether from watching basketball.

Instead, it's like a compulsion. Get home, relax for a bit, and then when 7:00 rolls around, flip over to BTN, listen to the familiar jingles on the broadcast, and then let Jon Crispin whisk me away to the Bryce Jordan Center or whatever. I could be doing anything else with my free time (short of actually stepping away from one of my screens - let's not get too carried away), but I often choose to watch a crappy Big Ten game. It's not good. It's usually not fun. But I do it anyways.

The league has been in decline for the last few years. Thad Matta's back gave out on him, Bo Ryan retired, Rutgers became our giant anchor dragging across the ocean floor, so on and so forth. Only four teams made the NCAA Tournament last season. Michigan, fortunately, is still good; as long as John Beilein is in town, the Wolverines will play a pleasing style of basketball that stands in contrast with most of the league - really most of the rest of college basketball, period. But, especially now that the Big Ten has moved to a 20-game conference schedule, featuring December matchups against league foes, we have to pay attention to the other thirteen schools.

Well, you don't have to pay attention to them. I can do that for you. If this dour intro hasn't completely soured you from reading the rest of this post - which is to say, reading about the five worst* teams in the league according to my extremely powerful POWER RANKINGS - then your brain might be broken just like mine. If that's the case: enjoy.

*I don't know if this is just the BTN propaganda machine altering my perception of reality or what, but the more that I learn about these teams and write about them, I inevitably find myself feeling optimistic about them (except for Rutgers and Illinois, who will doubtlessly be terrible). So I guess you can consider this a disclaimer that even if these previews have a positive slant, you should realize that most of the teams in the bloated middle will probably be bad.

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Unverified Voracity Decommits From Rutgers, Becomes Unimaginably Powerful

Unverified Voracity Decommits From Rutgers, Becomes Unimaginably Powerful Comment Count

Brian September 11th, 2018 at 12:43 PM

[Bryan Fuller]

Not many throws but they were pretty good. PFF B10 QB grades from last week:

Do not read the replies, which are all #TalkinBouttheBuckeyes. Unfortunately the PFF news isn't all good. Their list of Michigan's top five offensive players against WMU drops off pretty rapidly and implies that if any OL scraped over a 70 rating it wasn't by much:

In the past 70 has been "this person isn't terrible"; if they've still got the same scale they're attributing much of Michigan's success to WMU dorfs. Which is accurate.

Quick! Who does Rutgers have committed at running back? Recruiting services should probably give a running back who decommits from Rutgers six stars:

Imagine being Rutgers and watching two Heisman-quality RBs you had committed play in the Big Ten, a conference you would like to join but cannot.

[After THE JUMP: George Perles features, which is never a good thing.]

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UNVERIFIED VORACITY THINKS THIS IS AN INDOOR VOICE

UNVERIFIED VORACITY THINKS THIS IS AN INDOOR VOICE Comment Count

Brian June 11th, 2018 at 11:41 AM

Dives. Washtenaw County dive bars surveyed. Self-recommending header picture is above. Also:

It turned out that the day that worked best for us to embark on the trip was a random Tuesday at the end of May. “Are dive bars open on Tuesdays?” I texted my friend. “They are if they want to be considered BEST OF WASHTENAW COUNTY,” he responded.

The penguin is in Saline, FWIW.

I guess this is all but official? We've been waiting for an official confirmation, or at least more than one person reporting, on this for a while now:

As a result we haven't talked about a piece of news since we were waiting to post their respective Exits. /shakes fist at transfer gray areas

Assuming this turns out to be true—and given the way Harbaugh has talked about the RB and WR groups since spring it's almost certainly true—that's two highly ranked guys out the door. Crawford's departure is probably the result of a plunge down the depth chart that saw him omitted from any spring discussion; that plunge down the depth chart is not a surprise given his flatly terrible play in 2017.

Walker flashed promise as a Brandon Minor-esque rage back in limited carries last year and would be an unfortunate loss. He'd publicly struggled with the transition to Michigan but seemed to get things on track last year; it would be really disappointing if he couldn't manage it, and Michigan could help him enough to do so.

Neither departure is likely to have much impact on the field this year; Michigan returns its top two backs and every WR outside of Crawford. Walker's presumed absence could bite next year.

FWIW, I wouldn't start getting worried about O'Maury Samuels yet. Harbaugh's mention of Tru Wilson as the #3 guy on the depth chart was immediately followed by a Samuels mention and a reference to his hamstring holding him back this spring. Meeanwhile, the WRs:

"I feel like our wide receivers have come along," Harbaugh told reporters during the 'Best of the Midwest' event. "Coach Mac has done a great job coaching them. Tarik, Donovan have probably done the best job of anybody in spring practice. Nate Schoenle, Oliver Martin, Nico Collins also did extremely well. Nico was slowed a little bit by a shoulder. Was going for a ball when we were working with pads and hurt his shoulder. He fought through that. I think he's got some real good upside. Those four guys there probably had the best spring."

Those four guys are actually five guys and Crawford is not amongst them. The lines are not hard to read between.

[After THE JUMP: FULLBACK TALK]

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Unverified Voracity Pissed Off People In Practice

Unverified Voracity Pissed Off People In Practice Comment Count

Brian March 9th, 2018 at 1:39 PM

38814464450_13f2f6e0ed_z

i can see it [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Jordan Poole annoyed everyone into being mean. That's Ace's take on the season, no doubt, and uh…

"It was just aggressive," Jordan Poole said last week in Ann Arbor, before the team left for the Big Ten Tournament in New York. "Guys were leaving with cuts, fights (were) breaking out. It was pretty high-intensity games in open gym. I think that's when we knew our identity was going to be tough." …

So what changed? Multiple players mentioned the freshmen as bringing a certain kind of mindset as soon as they arrived on campus.

Hibbitts singled out Poole. "He didn't want to get quote unquote 'bullied' or anything like that," Hibbitts said. "He held his own and wasn't backing down from anybody."

…it might not be wrong.

Figuring out Detroit. I have not been able to figure out how much flexibility the committee has to intervene in a situation like the one burgeoning in the Midwest this year, with Xavier, Purdue, Cincinnati, Michigan, and MSU all in as protected seeds. A ton of brackets have Xavier as the #1 in Detroit and Purdue #2 behind them. Joe Lunardi had a conference call recently in which he asserted that the committee was likely to slot teams in strictly by distance:

"If the Committee goes strictly by mileage, Xavier and then Purdue and/or Cincinnati will end up in Detroit ahead of one or both of (Michigan or Michigan State)," Lunardi said on a conference call Thursday. "And I said earlier, the Committee could wiggle. They could choose to put Xavier or Cincinnati in Pittsburgh, which is about a 20-mile difference to try and open up a Detroit slot. They just have not done that in the past. They go one team at a time, look at mileage — I call it drop and slot — and then move on to the next team on the list."

Lunardi also asserts that Michigan State will be ahead of Michigan on the seed list, which is an extremely frustrating situation to be in if it does in fact come to pass:

If they're on the same seed line you'd think that would be a situation where head to head would break a tie for Detroit placement. But I'd brace yourselves for Not Detroit.

One reason there's such a logjam. Jason Lisk took a look at protected seeds over the past decade:

…the breakdown of actual top seeds by geographic region (as generally defined by where the regional finals are held) is as follows:

West – 14%

Midwest – 36%

East – 27%

South – 23%

The East (if we consider the Carolinas as representing the southern edge of the East Region) and the South (if we include the South to go from Georgia and Florida in the East, to Texas and Oklahoma in the West, and Kentucky to the north) are pretty balanced in terms of the teams and hosting sites.

There are too many teams fighting for protected slots and too many regionals in an area with no top-end teams. Lisk runs down the bracketing procedure if you just go by distance, and it boots both MSU and Michigan from Detroit:

#1 Virginia goes to Charlotte

#2 Villanova goes to Pittsburgh

#3 Xavier goes to Detroit (Cincinnati is 263 miles to Detroit, 273 to Nashville and 288 to Pittsburgh)

#4 Kansas goes to Wichita

#5 Duke takes the 2nd Charlotte spot

#6 Purdue takes 2nd Detroit spot

#7 Cincinnati takes Nashville

#8 North Carolina takes 2nd Pittsburgh spot (slightly closer than Nashville but still a 7+ hour drive, so now that option is closed to Michigan and Michigan State

#9 Michigan takes 2nd Nashville spot (ahead of either SEC contender)

#10 Auburn then has to go to Dallas 700 miles away

#11 Michigan State then goes to 2nd Wichita spot 900 miles away

#12 Tennessee takes 2nd Dallas spot 840 miles away, foreclosing Texas Tech and Wichita State from being relatively close enough for fans

This is a worst case scenario for locations and assumes Michigan is the top 3 (which they are on Torvik but aren't on the Bracket Matrix). It vastly preferable to MSU getting an undeserved slot over a Michigan team that beat it by double-digits twice. But it's still pretty doofy.

NIT is a four letter word. Jaaron Simmons was taken aback recently.

"We've got to keep winning games so we keep playing in the postseason," Beilein told his team. "NIT, NCAA."

Beilein and Simmons made eye contact. Simmons laughed.

"What are you laughing at?" Beilein asked, a smile creeping on his face.

"Coach," Simmons said, "I ain't come here to play in the NIT."

Also of note: Simmons is still calling Zavier Simpson "X." Can we still call him X? Amongst all the letters X is the coolest.

Livers should be good. Via the Daily:

And while instant reactions seemed grim, it seems the injury is not as bad as it may have initially seemed. Livers came back to the bench midway through the second half, though he did not play the final 19 minutes of the championship bout.

“I could (have gone back in),” Livers said. “Duncan (Robinson) was just playing good.”

After the game, Livers vowed to be ready for the NCAA Tournament. Aided by the extra week off, he will, at minimum, have 10 days to regain his health in preparation for the Tournament.

That kind of injury could have been anything from a rolled ankle to a Dread High Ankle Sprain. Looks like it's the former.

Report reports that reports are good. A couple months ago, Illinois announced it would undertake a feasibility study for hockey, sponsored by various agencies that want to promote hockey. The unsurprising conclusion:

Ice hockey would 'flourish' at University of Illinois, study shows

A study on the feasibility of an NCAA men’s ice hockey team at the University of Illinois reached a clear conclusion: Go for it.

The study that launched in June found the interest level and talent in the state would help a hockey program thrive at Illinois.

The university has not decided if it will add a team but is seeking information on funding from campus and community stakeholders. Athletic director Josh Whitman told reporters Thursday that implementing a varsity program would require raising “north of $50 million” and called it “probably one of the more ambitious projects.”

That is the laziest possible takeaway from a shoddy "study" riddled with typos, unjustified assumptions, and self-contradictory assertions. But if you only read the front page, yeah, that's what it says. Not what it shows. Frustrated Illinois fan Steve The Illinois Fan actually read the thing and brings up various issues with the report in a Medium post.

Penn State was the best-case scenario for a startup program: huge fanbase, limited basketball tradition, massive program benefactor. They've created a program that generates 1.7 million in ticket sales annually… and it's still only a break-even proposition when you include the women's hockey boat anchor that Title IX lashed to it.

Illinois has zero of these advantages, and frankly it's hard to see them being anything but a basement dweller if they did start a program.

Iowa and Nebraska remain the Big Ten schools at which hockey makes the most sense. Both schools are smack dab in the middle of the USHL. Both have (or will probably have) private rinks of the appropriate size literally across the street from campus, obviating the need for a massive startup donation. Both have large local fanbases and basketball programs that don't often reach the NCAA tournament.

People In Charge Of Things Are Just In Charge Of Them, Part Lots. Pittsburgh's athletic director let Jamie Dixon return to his alma mater TCU without a fight, hired a search firm headed by his old boss, who also happened to be the old boss of flailing Vandy head coach Kevin Stallings. Stallings had managed one NCAA bit in the previous four years, that an 11 seed at 19-13. Pitt immediately cratered; Stallings was booted after just two years.

Miraculously, that AD had already gotten out ahead of the posse:

So Pittsburgh (presumably) paid six figures so the search firm could recommend an old buddy, and the hire has now produced a disaster in two years. Barnes, by the way, moved on to Oregon State in December of 2016, and spent only 18 months as the athletic director in Pittsburgh. It was a costly tenure, and one for which the school now gets to pay the final bill while Barnes is thousands of miles away.

Once you get to a certain level of rich, other people at that level will crony your ass so that no level of incompetence is too high. See Dave Brandon.

Etc.: Football hires Ron Prince as an analyst. New York doesn't care about you. Steve Kerr also thinks amateurism is stupid.

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2017 Power Five Preview: 57-64

2017 Power Five Preview: 57-64 Comment Count

Alex Cook August 1st, 2017 at 11:48 AM

For 2017, instead of previewing conferences division-by-division, I decided to rank the 64 Power Five teams and count down from the bottom.

I created a ranking system based heavily off of Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings: half of the ranking comes from the S&P rankings from the past five seasons among Power Five teams (1/3 of that number is 2016’s ranking; 1/3 is the average from 2014-2016, 1/3 is the average from 2012-2016); half comes from two component parts of his 2017 S&P+ projections, weighed evenly – recruiting impact and returning production – and ranked 1 through 64. The ranking itself skews towards emphasizing where the teams were according the 2016 S&P+. I think it serves as a decent way to sequence these previews.

Here we go:

64. PURDUEpur17

#7B1G West, #14 B1G

3-9 (1-8) in 2016

After Joe Tiller retired following the 2008 season, Purdue gave Danny Hope and Darrell Hazell four years each as the head coach before firing them: Hope’s mediocre 22-28 record looks pretty decent in comparison to Hazell’s 9-33 mark in West Lafayette (he was let go following a loss to Iowa last October). The Boilermakers have finished last in all three seasons of the Big Ten West’s existence; they’ve beaten Illinois twice and upset 6-7 Nebraska for their only three wins in that span. Over the four-year Hazell era, only Kansas was comparably bad among Power Five programs.

Purdue lured Jeff Brohm from Western Kentucky this past offseason, and it was a great hire. Brohm has geographically proximate roots, won double digit games in his last two seasons with the Hilltoppers, and his WKU offenses lit up the scoreboard with fireworks in the passing game. From a stylistic standpoint, he’s far more Tiller than Hazell. Staid Big Ten cavemanball was an approach that failed miserably with the last regime, so the Boilermakers went back to their turn-of-the-century roots, in a sense, with Brohm.

The short-term future is bleak. WKU had a great foundation when he stepped in… Purdue does not. David Blough showed flashes of promise from the quarterback spot, but led the country in interceptions last season. The defense returns eight starters (including Glenn Robinson III’s younger brother, DT Gelen), but conceded 38.3 points per game last season and lost their best player, DT Jake Replogle.

Brohm was a great choice, but the degree of difficulty for his first Power Five gig is very high. Perhaps he’ll bring success to West Lafayette eventually – 2017 will be rough.

63. RUTGERSrut17

#7 B1G East, #13 B1G

2-10 (0-9) in 2016

It’s a minor upset that Rutgers didn’t finish last in these rankings, but the Scarlet Knights staked a credible claim as the worst Power Five team in the country last season (they were, according to S&P+). They went winless in Big Ten play and somehow managed to get shut out by Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State, tallying an aggregate 224-0 margin of defeat against those four teams. Of course, the 78-0 bloodletting at the hands of Michigan in Piscataway will endure as the definitive memory of the 2016 Rutgers football team.

It’s difficult to even mention Rutgers in the context of this preview without making mention of the Big Ten’s horrible decision to promote them to the Power Five in the first place; a scarlet and black ball-and-chain will remain on the ankle of the league long after the cable subscriber revenue stream (which was Rutgers’s main draw in the first place) dries up. They weren’t that bad of a program at the time they were added – mostly due to Greg Schiano – but the hilariously inept mismanagement of Kyle Flood dragged Rutgers back down to their historical norm.

Chris Ash, former Urban Meyer DC and branch of the Bret Bielema coaching tree, had an awful offense in his first season as head coach; he hired former Minnesota HC Jerry Kill as the offensive coordinator to right the ship. Kill – whose well-documented health issues forced him to leave Minnesota – will have to choose between a half-dozen uninspiring options at quarterback. At least electric scatback Janarion Grant returns from injury. Rutgers draws Illinois and Purdue from the West so they could improve on their 2-10 record, but will be one of the worst Power Five teams again.

[57-62 after the JUMP]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Just Wants It To Be Saturday

Unverified Voracity Just Wants It To Be Saturday Comment Count

Brian November 22nd, 2016 at 2:24 PM

Rivalry bleah. I find myself completely unmoved by all the rivalry stuff this week, from OSU trying and failing to remove Ms from their campus to Markley spelling out "FUCK OSU". I don't care that Rivalry Game Is Personal For Player, whether it's Mike Weber or Mike McCray. Rivalry Game is personal for everyone on ever roster. Rivalry Game is personal for me. It is personal for everybody.

Does your rivalry item accelerate the pace of time? No? Not interested. Anyway, here's some stuff that does nothing to accelerate the pace of time.

Four minutes of Bo and Woody.

Ohio State things. JT Barrett had a typical JT Barrett bad weather game against MSU:

It was another classic game in this the “Year of the Running Quarterback” as Barrett posted a 55.9 passing grade but made up for it with a 92.6 effort on the ground. He was clearly affected by the wind, with passes floating all over the place and one throw that was dangerously close to a disastrous turnover, but the Buckeyes relied on him heavily to make good decisions in their run/pass option game and he came through with 122 yards on 20 carries. Even on a day where he finished 10-for-22 for 86 yards, Barrett showed that he can still provide enough value in the run game to keep Ohio State in games.

Under Barrett, OSU's passing game falls apart in crappy weather with a consistency that's undeniable at this point. This weekend's weather... partly cloudy, tiny percent chance of precipitation, 9 MPH winds. Subject to change five days out, but doesn't look like we'll be getting Bad Weather Barrett.

OSU made up for it by running for almost 300 yards against a makeshift MSU defensive line minus Malik McDowell. If Michigan cannot significantly outperform MSU, they will lose. You'd expect they would, but if you're in a believe-it-when-I-see-it state when it comes to Michigan shutting the OSU offense down, I don't blame you.

OSU had extreme issues protecting the passer against Penn State, giving up pressure on almost 50% of their dropbacks. Those issues were mitigated shortly thereafter, but one dollar says those are still lurking. Adjusted sack rates:

  • Penn State: 21st
  • Northwestern: 79th
  • Nebraska: 42nd
  • Maryland: 15th
  • MSU: 121st
  • Michigan: 1st

OSU's offense is 67th at preventing sacks. Their run stats are all terrific save for explosiveness—Barrett and Weber are not big play threats and Samuel doesn't get enough touches to make up for it—and that's what'll come down to. Passing downs should be a major advantage for Michigan... if they exist.

Time for a change? Ross Fulton notes something about the Michigan defense you may have noticed watching Mike McCray try to shut down huge swathes of space:

The Buckeyes’ best matchup is Samuel to the edge and as a receiver against Michigan’s linebackers and safeties. Brown often prefers to put Peppers to the formation strength.

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So Meyer and his staff need to use alignment to target the edge away from Peppers – where the Wolverines are left dependent on the less athletic Will linebacker Mike McCray for edge support. And the Buckeyes need to provide Barrett sufficient time for Samuel to work option and out routes from the slot – or routes from the backfield – against man coverage.

I would not put it past Don Brown to make a change here. McCray was exposed in all that space against Lorenzo Harrison and would be again against Samuel; he can get better, but it's not a great matchup. I also wonder if Michigan is going to stick with cover one and a bunch of man coverage—OSU does see many people play man against them for obvious reasons.

Brown's been great so far this year but this is the game he was hired for. Much rides on his ability to stay one step ahead of Urban Meyer.

In one graph. Impossible to defend:

Meanwhile even Power 5 schools raking in piles of cash are seeing a large proportion of their athletes on little to no scholarship money:

All of the colleges Allison was considering provide scholarship assistance up to the NCAA limit in the sports they sponsor. But a closer look at athletic-aid distribution at one of those institutions, North Carolina State University, shows how scarce the dollars are for many athletes.

More than 200 of NC State’s 558 athletes last year had 20 percent or less of their costs covered by athletic aid. Outside of football, basketball, and the four other sports that can [ed: I this is actually "must"] award full athletic scholarships, just 27 Wolfpack athletes were on a full ride.

Power 5 autonomy has not seen these gaps close. The money just keeps rolling in, and going somewhere. Not to the people who earn it, or even the people who are potentially incurring piles of debt to be athletes.

Basketball WTFs. One of these events is weirder than the other:

  • Northwestern hammers Texas 77-58 in a neutral site game. Barking Carnival runs down the good, bad, and ugly, with "everybody driving the ball," "everybody shooting free throws," and "everybody passing the ball" in the latter category.
  • Illinois loses to Winthrop at home. Winthrop is one of those good-but-not-that good low major teams you should be scheduling to prop up your RPI, but you have to, you know, win those games to prop up your RPI.

Which is weirder? It's got to be Northwestern. Illinois has not been good under John Groce, who is Big Ten basketball's Darrell Hazell. Groce was hired after a brief MAC tenure ended well—you probably remember. He was hired on the strength of three games.

One of the reasons Big Ten basketball is rather good is that there's a much deeper pool of head coaches to poach. Indiana plucked Tom Crean after seven years at Marquette including five tourney appearances; Michigan grabbed John Beilein after five years at West Virginia. Maryland got Mark Turgeon after he took Texas A&M to the tourney four straight years. Thad Matta was at Xavier, coming off three consecutive Kenpom top-25 teams.

There are various head coaches who moved up from MAC-like leagues. Fran McCaffrey had three straight tourney bids at Siena, with his final two teams ranking #67 and #59 in Kenpom and has more or less worked out at Iowa. The rest are guys at Minnesota, Penn State, etc. Illinois should be hiring like Michigan and OSU, not Minnesota and Penn State.

Speaking of Illinois, here's a crazy Illinois stat. Via Illiniboard:

I’ve mentioned this stat 131 times but one more won’t hurt: in those eight years, in the Power Five conferences, every single school has had at least a Sweet 16 appearance in basketball or an eight-win football season (with a solid bowl game) except for two: Illinois and Wake Forest. Colorado WAS part of that group, but Colorado just won their ninth game on Saturday and is headed to a great bowl – perhaps even a New Years Six bowl. And, as someone reminded me on Twitter, if Wake beats Boston College this weekend (and they probably will), they’re a bowl win away from eight football wins.

I didn't think I was getting into what I ended up getting into when I started this here blog but the all-time I've Made A Terrible Mistake By Starting This Blog champion is Robert at Illiniboard. Keep him in your thoughts the next time you consider rooting against Illinois for Gary Moeller or something.

Administrative leave is not a good sign. Barney Farrar, the gentleman mentioned in Laremy Tunsil's text, is placed in the plane of Limbo:

OXFORD - Ole Miss has placed assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations, Barney Farrar, on administrative leave, according to a report from Rebelgrove.com.

The website reported Farrar did not accompany the football team to Texas A&M last weekend and that he's not expected to travel with the Rebels to Vanderbilt this weekend.

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork declined to comment on the situation, as did a university spokesman. Attempts by The Clarion-Ledger to reach Farrar were unsuccessful.

Something less than good is coming down the pipe for Ole Miss.

Etc.: Nebraska and Minnesota seek to throw the $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy down the memory hole. Michigan was the only Big Ten school to flat-out say no to Friday games. Remembering Bo. The program from his memorial service, including the Lloyd Carr speech. (Guess who's on the first page!) Rivalry Game Personal for Mark Donnal. Rivalry Game Personal for DJ Wilson. 2K classic keys. Ten Year War 2? Peppers profiled. Fake tickets are bad.

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This Week's Obsession: Illinoising

This Week's Obsession: Illinoising Comment Count

Seth March 10th, 2016 at 12:00 PM

In case the Big Ten Tournament isn't entertaining you right now…

The question:

Lovie Smith is the best Illinois football hire since…

Brian: I have no idea. I don't know who Illinois hires or does not hire.

Seth: /giphy zook

global.slack-imgs

all orange and blue teams are the same.
/giphy thatsracist

BiSB: Maybe just "Did Illinois do a good or bad?"

Seth: Did giphy do a good or bad?

Brian: I'm assuming a bad because Illinois.

BiSB: Giphy did a zook.

------------------------------

Brian: But on the other hand, it seems kind of good?

I mean, Bill Cubit had a two year deal. He was already a lame duck. Maybe better to just pull the ripcord right now and get a head start on the Whoever's Next era. And, I mean, Lovie Smith was an NFL head coach for almost a decade. I'm not sure he'll do great, but amongst football coaches who would take the Illinois job in March he's got to be at the top of the list.

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Adam: Probably can't be worse than this:

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[After the JUMP we take Illinois seriously.]

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Ace:

screen_shot_2016-03-07_at_2.37.40_pm_1024

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[Or not]

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