Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jayhawks get familiar foe in next round: Illinois

Kansas players Travis Releford, left, Mario Little, Elijah Johnson and Tyrel Reed erupt off the bench after a three-pointer from teammate Markieff Morris against Boston University during the second half on Friday, March 18, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Kansas players Travis Releford, left, Mario Little, Elijah Johnson and Tyrel Reed erupt off the bench after a three-pointer from teammate Markieff Morris against Boston University during the second half on Friday, March 18, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.



KU vs. Boston University

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Kansas defeated Boston University in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 18, 2011 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 72-53 victory over Boston on March 18, 2011.

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— One of the first times University of Illinois men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber talked publicly about Kansas University coach Bill Self was during a mock funeral in Champaign, Ill., in 2003, after Self had left UI for Kansas, making room for Weber to take over.

Tired of hearing about the coach that got away, Weber attended an early-season practice dressed in all black and told his players Self was gone and that it was time to stop the mourning.

Sunday, when the two match up in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at 7:40 p.m., the game will be a funeral of sorts for one team’s season.

For Weber, Sunday’s showdown won’t be about the coaches. None of his current players was recruited to Illinois by Self. And Weber has no real ties to the KU program, either.

“It’s been such a long time,” said Weber, now in his eighth year at Illinois. “Bill did a tremendous job at Illinois. Everywhere (he’s) been (he’s) been (a) very good coach. I’m just worried about Kansas, their players and seeing if we can match up with them.”

The Illini enter Sunday’s game at 20-13 overall and on the heels of a 73-62 rout of UNLV — and another former UI coach, Lon Kruger — Friday at the BOK Center. In that one, Illinois shot 60 percent from the floor and was led by 22 points from senior forward Mike Davis and 17 points from senior guard Demetri McCamey.


okjhok 10 years, 1 month ago

So how is Illinois a familiar foe? When was the last time KU played Illinois?

utahjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Exactly what I was thinking. They're anything but familiar and I don't give a crap about the ILL.

This is personal now, which is just what the tourney committee wanted. Well, they got their wish. We've got to show up with a lot of intensity and punch these pretenders in the mouth early. They still have a chip on their collective shoulders about Coach and it's our duty to defend him! He gave them his best and they've pissed and moan ever since. Now, it's payback time.

I want to hear a brief summation of how to handle the ILL? Care to comment jaybate, '75, 100, shaw, etc?

Paul Mitten 10 years, 1 month ago

Are you serious? I distinctly remember the two times that Roy's Kansas faced Bill Self's Illinois. Once, KU was the 4th seed and Ill was the 1st seed and led by Frank Williams and Luther Head, and the second time, the seeds were flipped and KU was absolutely stacked, whereas Illinois had a bunch of talented but raw players who would in time become great players.

The first time, we got blitzed, and the second time, we paid them back. Bring back memories?

utahjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Yea, I remember. The first time, Bill roughed us up and we couldn't make charities.

But in the end, different time, much different era. This team has no relation to any of that from nearly 10 years ago now. Familiarity would be playing a conference foe or at least someone we had played in the last few years. No familiarity.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 1 month ago

And no discussion of the team?

It should be a tough game, especially if UofI plays smart - which hasn't been a given this year. McCamey can be a great leader on the floor, and they have a lot of size across the frontline and coming off the bench. It could be a very tough game.

Cmill1221 10 years, 1 month ago

That quote sound sooooo strange with out the (he's) and (a). I said it out loud like 5 times and still am wondering.

Bleufer 10 years, 1 month ago

I've watched Illinois a fair amount this year. It will be interesting watching the match ups, esp if U if I is clicking on all cylinders likes against UNLV.

McCamey (vs Taylor?) - McCamey can hit the three or get to the rack when he wants. He's pretty quick with some nice moves (pseduo-Sherron)

Tisdale - He can step out and hit the three. Nice inside moves, but he seems little (e.g., not much thickness) when compared to the twins. He's crafty and might get the twins in foul trouble.

Davis - A solid player... can score from outside and can drive. He's a good rebounder. Reminds me of B. Rush (better rebounder, but not as gifted scoring).

Richarson and Paul are good (quick, will knock down open shots) but I think our senior guards do what they always do... play like seniors

Cole and Griffey - they are kind of quiet on the floor and I really haven't paid much attention to them

Richmond - who knows if this guy will play. Good player but might be suspended/transferring

I think McCamey and Davis are the biggest threats (but don't count out Tisdale). If they are on, look out. I don't know how the Illini will handle the twins+TRob. They do have height, but not the mass we have. Illini are the traditional grind-it-out Big 10 team (want to keep score below 70), but they can get up and run if needed. It'll be fun. RCJH!!!

yovoy 10 years, 1 month ago

I've seen them play a few times this year as well, and to be honest it's THEM that needs to worry about limiting us. Even when they are "on" they aren't world-beaters. When they are "on" they're a good team. UNLV made them look much better than they are. They will have to play a 40-min game against a team that can score AND defend AND play fast AND play slow.

We have multiple players at multiple positions, that can play both ends of the floor - advantage: KU

Sure Tisdale can step out and SHOOT a 3, but I haven't seen him hit it with nearly the consistency that he used to earlier in his career.

I'm not saying that I'm not worried, but I'm not trying to hear any fluff about what a "problem" they might be. They are like any other team: they can be dangerous, but if we play anywhere near the way we are capable of we will beat them.

Woody Cragg 10 years, 1 month ago

This is likely one of the butt-ugly games necessary that I've been talking about. May well be game of attrition, with the best bench carrying the victor through. Like Mills Lane used to say, "Let's get it on!" If this one is that way you'll know you're alive when it's over. Can't like Christmas! We gotta hit some otside shots like last night or they'll collapse in the paint. They'll play some zone so ball reversal to create the lanes is critical. No doubt we've seen that before & probably will again. No sweat for these guys. Are used to big games & this is the biggest so far.

yates33333 10 years, 1 month ago

I've seen Illinois play four or five games, and I have never seen them play as good as they did again UNLV. Either UNLV is in a slump or not as good as I assumed or Illinois is peaking and at the wrong time for KU. Play hard and with intensity Jayhawks. You will need to.

BTW Illinois doesn't like to be pushed and pressed hard. Rough 'em up!!!

JHWK 10 years, 1 month ago

Totally agree, yates. We get all their games in Chicago, and I didn't see them play a complete game all year until the Tourney. They had some brilliant games they couldn't finish, and that's their reputation, until UNLV.

KU has a favorable matchup at every position, but as Holland showed us yesterday, a hot shooter can change the balance quite dramatically. McCamey is the heart of the team, and if he's able to get to the rack, we will have trouble. I do think after watching TT and EJ's footwork yesterday that they are up to the task if the bigs are able to give good help at the top of the key, and switch on screens the ILLINI did yesterday. Good stuff!!

Let's all hope the jitters are gone and we get solid D from all 10 guys who hit the floor. It feels like the Twins are ready to explode, and I would love to see one of those games where our quick passing and movement on the offensive end enabled a lot of great inside work to wear Tisdale out early, then have the speed at our perimeter decimate their guards, providing us with a tremendous show of our guards finishing strong at the rim.

Rock Chalk!!!!

ku98 10 years, 1 month ago

If we pick up our defense like we did in the 2nd half yesterday, we'll be able to get some rebounds and run the fast break and get easy scores.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 1 month ago

agree..but if we play the way we did in the first half as we did yesterday..not going to be a happy ending.

TanMan 10 years, 1 month ago

Agree, it all starts on D end (see 2nd half against Boston U)

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 1 month ago

Bruce Weber obviously has a dark side, referring to the mock funeral issue. I hope he respects the tragedies that have taken place in the Jayhawk family in recent times. Surely he won't be crass enough to make light of funerals (ala Matt Tait's reference in this article) in any way surrounding this matchup. Some people could be offended by the dark humor.

Ron Franklin 10 years, 1 month ago

IS this this the game Withey will win for us? Coach has told him all year that he will be needed to win a game.

Send in the goon.

Give their footer a double helping of extreme muscle ball.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 1 month ago

"For Weber, Sunday’s showdown won’t be about the coaches. None of his current players was recruited to Illinois by Self."

Really? After eight years, there are no players left that Bill recruited! We might want to check for 4 year red-shirts on their roster. You never know!

Maybe an editor needs to proof content from time to time up there.


Selbyville 10 years, 1 month ago

I have a feeling this will be a nerve racking game. Illinois has a great squad, they were very underwhelming this year but you have to expect them to give us their best tomorrow.

Sparko 10 years, 1 month ago

This was a made for TV second round game. Illini has no excuse for having had such a poor season. Four seniors. They are now beginning to play ball, but a real argument could have been made for them to be in the NIT. Saved from that deserved fate, they are playing hard. And Weber has never lost a chance to be petty. They will be amped up and undeserving--Kansas needs to play harder and smarter from the start. Get someone on Davis and keep him there.

Cmill1221 10 years, 1 month ago

I go to unlv and let me tell you they are horrible!!!! They play ok defence but have no big men and have the worst offence I have ever seen. They shoot around 50 3ptshiite a game. It's bad. So If you see that Illinois blew them out and are a little nervous don't read into that, unlv is soooooo bad!

utahjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

I second that..........I see a lot of Mountain West basketball. The MWC is a sub-par conference for the most part with SDSU and BYU as exceptions, although the Y is a little overrated. UNLV looked absolutely pathetic and Kruger showed zero heart, which was reflected in their players. I would have bet that Iowa State would have drilled this UNLV team.

With that said, ILL is a solid team that has obviously underacheived all year. That makes them dangerous.

The one (or more) who guards McCamey needs to stay in front and play for the charge -- there have been tons of block/charges going charges lately and McCamey's build is built for running over folks if he even slightly dips his shoulder on a drive. They also can't leave him because he can stroke the 3.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 1 month ago

I too have watched the Illini quite a bit. The thing that I fear is their potential. Obviously asking 30 games into a season if they'll ever play up to their potential means they probably won't, however, there's that potential.

Bleufer had a pretty good scouts take on the team. Neutralize McCamey and they're a very average team. Richmond is a very good freshman who was suspended for breaking the athletic code. No word on the Trib this morning whether he'll be playing or not.

Finally this from the Trib, Illinois hasn't won two straight games since early January.

utahjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

So wissox, what's made them inconsistent? Looks like they split with most B10 teams in conference, played well at home and poorly on the road. That's odd with a fair number of seniors -- maybe speaks more to overall lack of talent than maturity.

How do you control McCamey?

Steve Gantz 10 years, 1 month ago

They lack "toughness" it seems. I don't even know how to define that. Even at home they looked bad at times. I was kind of surprised they even got in the the tourney the way they had been playing, and then of course, I pick UNLV!

Chris Shaw 10 years, 1 month ago

I thought Bleufer did a nice analysis above and I agree with Yates about Illinois being pressured.

Yes, Illiniois may be big with their starting frontline, but their not deep. They only play 7 guys and Davis and McCamey played 39 and 35 minutes respectively last night. Richards and Head come off the bench for the Illinois and it's unknown whether their big-time freshman Jereme Richmond (Averaged 22 minutes and almost 8 points a game) will play. He's been suspended, but I bet you Weber brings him back for the KU game.

If it's me, I have the Twins, T-Rob, and even Withey attack the hell out of Davis and take it right at his chin and get him in fould trouble. I'm not too worried about Cole or Tisdale although Tisdale can knock down the outside shot (Hopefully no repeat of Eglesedder or whatever that UNI guy's name was).

As for McCamey, I think just carouel and contain him the best you contain. You let him beat you, but if you start rotating over and helping on him, he will find the open man and beat you. IMO, get Davis in foul trouble, keep an up tempo pace, and contain McCamey and KU should be in good shape.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 1 month ago

Man, that is some terrible typing on my part. Forgetting words and "Contain"? I meant "Can".

utahjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Agreed, Withey will be needed to put pressure on their front line.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 1 month ago

If they keep attacking Davis, they'll have him curled up in a corner crying for his mama, wonderfully gifted player, but can't handle the pressure.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 1 month ago

Come on West Virginia! I got you in the Sweet 16. I need some wins because I have some major upsets that need to happen in the round of 32.

bbhawk234 10 years, 1 month ago

Illinois Talking trash? Heard that a tweet had a couple players say this will be their second year out by a 9 seed. I cannot confirm but has anyone else heard this?

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