The Big Ten season started last night for the Illini and let’s just say this…it was uninspiring. After laying an egg at Xavier, I expected us to win last night. We have a strong team, and Michigan was certainly beatable. Unfortunately, I saw some distressing things last night:
- Warren Carter continues to disappear at times during games. He made silly mistakes, had bad shot selection, and was the physical force that he can be. I have heard grumblings that the Illini need a court leader. That distinction could be for Warren Carter, but he doesn’t seem like he wants it. I’d almost like to see Jamar Smith take that role.
- Rich McBride is an awful shooter. I like his defense, but he just not be counted on to make shots. He came off the bench last night, and hit one shot. Wayne Laravee then commented, “I can’t stress this enough…but that was a big shot for McBride to hit.” He is a senior! He should be counted on for 12 points a night. He should already be in his rhythm. It is like he starts over every year.
- We got killed by their senior guards. Lester Abraham and Dion Harris scored at will, drove the lane without contention, and constantly created offense. At times, I thought our defense looked very good last night. Unfortunately, it was sporadic. If we can’t contain good guard play, we are in trouble in the Big Ten.
With Ohio State coming to town on Saturday, it will not get any easier. They had a tough time against Indiana on Tuesday, so they are not unbeatable. It will be interesting to see what Weber comes up with for the Buckeyes.