Good God That Was Fun February 7, 2010
When Brandon Paul stole the ball and flipped it to DJ for the breakaway dunk, bringing Assembly Hall to Wake Forest-y decibel levels and sending me running around my living room looking for someone to chest bump (fortunately for her, my wife was asleep – yes, asleep – on the couch), something felt vaguely familiar. It was fun.
Last year was kind of fun, overachieving and whatnot. Chester Frazier remains my favorite Illini player this decade, and watching his defensive intensity will us to victories was ugly, yet moderately fun.
But watching Demetri McCamey go from “will it ever fully click?” to “will he be back next year?” in 20 games has been fun. Hiding behind a door frame with one eye on the television, hoping DJ’s free throws go in is fun. BP3 breakaway dunk + McCamey 3-pointer + DJ breakaway dunk is FUN. I could get used to this (again).
I don’t want to make too much out of this game, but so many things seemed to fall into place tonight. Starting with the rotation. From the boxscore, here’s the minutes played tonight. I think this would be damn near perfect for the rotation the rest of the season:
McCamey – 39 minutes
Tisdale – 34 minutes
Richardson – 32 minutes
Davis – 29 minutes
Paul – 21 minutes
Cole – 19 minutes
Griffey – 12 minutes
Jordan – 10 minutes
Keller – 4 minutes
McCamey-Richardson-Paul-Davis-Tisdale = our best 5. Cole is 6th man and brings the intangibles while getting close to starter minutes. Griffey is next and gives you a versatile big to sub in. Jordan gives you a defensive sub, Keller gives you energy and an offensive spark. Sounds like a plan.
The path to the tourney now seems fairly clear: Win out at home and win our first round BTT game and we’re in. 20-13 (11-7) is probably enough. Add a win at Michigan and we’re a lock. Add a few road upsets and we can start talking seed. That would be fun.
I’m getting ahead of myself. We start this stretch at Wisconsin on Tuesday, which has to be a loss. Emotional win at home over a top-5 team and then a quick turn-around to a road game at Wisconsin? Yeah, that won’t end well.
But after that, I think we can take two of three in the Ohio State/at Purdue/at Michigan stretch. And then I think we could maybe even take two of three in the Minnesota/at Ohio State/Wisconsin stretch. We have the hottest player in the Big Ten right now (18.7 ppg and 8.7 apg the last three games), and if he plays like he did tonight, 12 Big Ten wins seems possible, if not likely.
Sounds like fun.