Sunday, February 19, 2006

Back in Business

Illini fans can come in off the ledge now.

That frightening two-game losing streak is a memory after the Illini beat Northwestern on Wednesday and pounded on Indiana today. Sure, these may not be the most impressive wins possible, but for the moment the Illini seem to be back in business.

And avenging an earlier loss to the Hoosiers is never a bad thing.

It also leaves the Illini right where they need to be - back atop the Big Ten standings, though Iowa has a game in hand in the win column.

The day's best highlight came when Brian Randle dunked over Marco Killingsworth late in the first half, sending Killingsworth to the ground in a heap, drawing a foul, and even managing to hang on the rim for a good two seconds without getting called for a technical. It was pretty much game, set, and match at that point, regardless of how early it still was.

Killingsworth played like a punk in these teams' first meeting in Bloomington, violently throwing his elbows and the ball around and even drawing the ire of Dick Vitale, who rarely gets mad at anybody. So it was particularly gratifying to see Randle stick his sack in Killingsworth's face. The best part? Randle said nothing. He just walked to the free throw line.

Indiana, meanwhile, is a lost team. I guess you could easily blame it on Mike Davis announcing his resignation this week, but they lost themselves long before that. The fact that the game never got uglier than it did was about the best you could say of the Hoosiers on this day. My how times have changed.

Indiana has rapidly gone from a Top Ten team to NCAA lock to a bubble team to a team that may not even finish above .500. At 13-10 now, it's no certainty.

When the vast sea of orange began chanting "N-I-T! N-I-T! N-I-T!" I almost felt bad for Davis.

But not really.


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