Monday night was the first night I actually sat down and watched the Florida Gators play, and I’m mad that I had not watched them earlier. I knew they were good (obviously), but I didn’t know they were that good. Yes, Ohio State couldn’t hit a 3 pointer to save their life, but the Gators picked them apart. The fact this is probably one of the best teams college basketball we will ever see is a fact that most of us will realize too late. I’m glad Bill Simmons talked about this because I’m not sure if I would have made the connection. Even Nance and Packer spent most of the night talking about how tired Oden was instead of what we were seeing in Florida.
Now, what does this have to do with the Illini? It made me think back to our run in 2005 and how we were a team. When Carolina beat us, it was talent beating team. Yes, the Illini had talent, but they played like a team better than Carolina. If we hit a couple threes late and if the ball bounced our way a few times at the end, we aren’t thinking about what could of happen. Yet, I digress. As much as I would have liked to see Ohio State win for Big Ten pride, I’m also glad that the Gators team that stuck together for two years won. It makes me feel good about the future of Illini basketball.
How? Weber has shown that with the right kind of talent and personnel, he can win. Florida had strong recruits, but they brought it together as a team. Remember, before the 2005-06 season, they were not even ranked. So, yes, they had talent, but it was not fully realized until Billy Donovan put it all together and his team bought into his system. I think Weber works best with this kind of setup.
There has been a lot of pressure for Weber to land that big recruit. And, for his sake, I hope he does, but I’m not sure if that is the best thing for the program. I think we definitely need talent on the team – mostly 4 star recruits and the occasional 5 star – but I’m not sure if that is necessarily what Weber needs to make a team successful. I hope the pressure subsides for a while and gives the Weber to get his feet back underneath after such a tough year and get ready to make another run in a few years. I guess the biggest fear for most people is that we have a Mike Davis or Tommy Amaker on our hands. We will end up keeping Weber for 6 or 7 years and realize in the end that we didn’t get much from our coach. At some point you have to cut ties, but I think Weber has earned a lot of trust in the Illini Nation, so I would hope that we back off for a while and see what happens. The coaching is there, but I think Weber is still trying to figure out this whole “recruiting in the Big Ten” thing. I have to believe that within time, he will get ther.
Seriously, that is it for this year…