Illinois and Ohio State: Things Look A Little Different Now
There might not be much use to actually doing a real preview to this game. For one, if the team is so emotionally fried that they get blown out at Nebraska, I don't think it particularly matters what your game strategy is.
What I am more concerned about is the players getting their heads on straight, lifting the scrutiny off of them individually and maybe minimizing the damage that has already been done.
I don't think it is lost on the players that their coaches likely will not be back next year. Most of them are faced with the task of simply playing well for the rest of the season and trying to make the most of it. Some of them are going to have to contemplate whether they want to come back at all, or whether to jump to the NBA or transfer.
I don't want those players to feel like they are being driven away. I know some people, for whatever reason have decided to "blame the players" for the slide, and sure they have a lot to do with it. They are the ones taking the shots, making the turnovers et cetera. And sure some of the wins and the losses of this season due to the close nature of them, can be credited to specific mistakes by specific players.
But please, don't kid yourself, Bruce Weber and the Illini did not find themselves in this position because of Brandon Paul's shot selection, or bad inlet passes to Meyers or anything else we might complain about.
The system worked once, and then it stopped working, at a certain level it is just as simple as that.
One of the reasons that I am still optimistic for next year, regardless of the coach, is that there is a lot of talent on this team, and especially in the freshman class. Provided of course, you can convince them to stay. And I for one don't want to take part in running them out of town.
So I will continue to follow the games, hope the players find success, and hope the rest of the season isn't quite so emotionally draining.
Here's to hoping.
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