I mean it doesn't get uglier than being outscored by FORTY on your home court in the second half of a rivalry game while holding a 15 point lead. I didn't even tryout for the high school basketball team and I can tell you that's not good strategy.
And while it would be easy to rip on Northwestern, probably better just to credit my Illini for their resilience. Winning on the road in the Big Ten is very hard. Brad Underwood has told us time and again on Red Line Radio and you see it again tonight. Yes, Illinois is the better team but you're still going to get the best effort every time you have to travel. Not just Illinois and the good teams. Basically everywhere is a bloodbath on a shitty Thursday night in January. That's why we love the Big Ten and that's why Underwood's the perfect guy for the job. He's tough and nasty and has the boys fired up. You can't do it any other way.
Tonight, that meant Kofi going off like a man amongst boys with yet another double-double. You have 3 other starters in double figures for the night while Curbelo registers 7 assists off the bench. I'm not trying to wax poetic but you love losing to Baylor early in the season because it prepares you for nights like this. You can stomach Missouri's failure because iron sharpens iron. Winning by 40 in the 2nd half is the kind of thing that might get you a big steak dinner or some shit on the way home. Maybe some extra meal money gets into the budget. Shit like that.
Which reminds me. My buddy from a neighboring big ten program threw a shutout in college back in 2008. It was against some shitty Ivy league school no offense. I think the final was 8-0. Pitching coach throws him $200 in an envelope on his way off the bus back to the hotel. Told him to use it on the boys that night so he goes to a Tampa strip club with a few teammates. They get busted by an assistant coach which is another story. But nobody got in trouble because it was dirty meal money and the assistant coach didn't know how to navigate the situation. So he just said fuck it and told the guys not to stay out too late and then he left. Pitcher ends up bringing one of the strippers back. The team bus sees her the next morning in the buffet line working the waffle machine. I can't make this shit up. He Bagwell'd the pullout. It was a real mess and nobody gave a fuck because 8-0 shutout.
I'm not saying Illinois needs to get some hookers and start playing all fast and loose. But tonight should be one of those nights where the bus pulls back into Champaign in a few hours and they all go out together. That's the beauty of being a college athlete and it's a shame they're not coming back to a max capacity KAMS.
I feel bad for the kids.
But not as bad as Northwestern.
53-13 in one half is TOUGH