Ohio State Defeats Illinois 83-67

Written February 21st, 2012 by Eric

The student section was rocking the #Hop2theRafters t-shirts.

Coming off their fifth loss of the season, the Buckeyes looked to bounce back at home against the struggling Fighting Illini. Unfortunately for Illinois, they simply did not have the horses to keep up with the intense Ohio State attack, and fell 83-67 in Columbus. Meyers Leonard of Illinois led all scorers with 21 points, while Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 19. William Buford and Aaron Craft rounded out the OSU double digit scorers with 17 and 11 respectively – a solid game from the Buckeye’s leaders.

The Buckeye Nuthouse was proudly sporting shirts that read “Retire #32″ tonight. The shirts were in honor of Dennis Hopson and his excellent career for the Scarlet and Gray in the mid-80′s. To see the students supporting OSU history so enthusiastically was amazing, and I’m proud of the passion that they have shown for Hopson.

The Buckeyes came out of the gate very determined to earn the win tonight. The team played with amazing energy and intensity from the outset. Their passes were sharp and crisp, and placed where only the intended recipient could recieve it. Even better, the Buckeyes were finding open shooters and making great shot selection. The best was William Buford’s shot fake from above the charity stripe that turned into a pass to an open Aaron Craft for three, putting Illinois down by double digits and forcing Bruce Weber into an early timeout.

Thad Matta mixed up the bench rotations in a big way. Instead of having Shannon Scott come in solely for Aaron Craft as we have seen all season long, Scott came in and played the two for Lenzelle Smith. That allowed the Buckeyes to have a pair of good ball control point guards in the game. We also saw Sam Thompson come into the game for Buford early and get quality playing time, including an amazing one handed tomahawk ally-oop from the aforementioned Scott.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Illinois Part 2

Written February 21st, 2012 by Eric

Happy Mardi Gras! The Bucks are back in Columbus for their rematch with the Fighting Illini! The game tips at 7:00 PM EST on ESPN.

Keep your eyes open on this game. Our own WVaBuckeye put together a set of shirts for the Nuthouse to help promote the #Hop2TheRafters cause

While you wait, go checkout our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 6:30 PM EST.

Go Bucks!

Pregame Glance II: Illinois

Written February 20th, 2012 by Joe Dexter

Game Number two of the season series between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Illinois Fighting Ilini rolls on tomorrow night on ESPN/ESPN3 at 7 PM ET. The Buckeyes look to put two losses in their last three games behind them.

Meanwhile, the struggling Illini look to a repeat performance from Brandon Paul the last time these two teams met.  After a in depth look at Bruce Weber’s fighting Illini earlier in the year, It’s time to get you updated on what’s happening lately.

Can Brandon Paul Do It Again?

It’s Ugly in Urbana:

For Buckeye fans squirming in their seats the last few weeks, remember that at this point of the year, Illinois fans have become accustomed to long, drawn out losing streaks at the end of the season.

Head coach Bruce Weber is yet again on the hot seat, after his squad has lost 8 of the last nine ballgames since beating Ohio State in heroic fashion earlier this season.  Their only win was a one point squeaker against Michigan State. Since that point, the Spartans have shot to the top of the conference standings, while the Orange and Blue are competing with Penn State and Nebraska for last place in the conference.

Of course, by definition, you’re not really fighting for it when you lose to Nebraska by 23.  A continuing sign that the wheels are falling off in Urbana.  In Lincoln, the Illini were statistically out of competition with 9:30 to go in the ballgame.

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Pregame Glance: Illinois

Written January 9th, 2012 by Eric

The Bucks continue their road tour by taking on the enigmatic Fighting Illini in Urbana-Champaign. Here’s the data:

The Fighting Illini

School: University of Illinois
Location: Urbana and Champaign, Illinois
Founded: 1867
Student Population: 41,495
School Type: Public
Division: NCAA
Conference: Big Ten Conference
Stadium: Assembly Hall
Seating: 16,618
Built: 1963
Head Coach: Bruce Weber
Year: 7th

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B1G Basketball Preview: Illinois

Written October 17th, 2011 by Eric

Coupled with our individual player previews, and given that the Ohio State bye week is so cleverly timed, we wanted to take the opportunity to break down the Big Ten teams going into this season. Up first is the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Last Season:

DJ Richardson will need to step up for the Illini this season.

Illinois had a reasonably successful year, making the NCAA Tournament as a 9 seed and beating UNLV in the first round. Unfortunately, they ran into a top-seeded Kansas team who was not about to get upset by a 9 seed in the second round two years in a row.

In the Big Ten, Illinois was a middle-of-the-road team with a 9-9 record in conference. That put them in a tie with Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, so it’s not like they weren’t in good company last year. Illinois ended up being seeded 5th in the Big Ten conference tournament, and fell in their first outing to Michigan 60-55.

Key Player:

With the graduation of Demetri McCamey and Mike Tisdale, the Illini are going to be looking to DJ Richardson to pick up the slack. Richardson was fifth on the team in scoring last season with 284 points and was known for his wicked three-point shooting. His 55 makes from beyond the arc was good for second on the team last season.

If Richardson can make people forget about the positives that McCamey brought to the Illini the last few years, Illinois will be in great shape moving forward. Read More

Ohio State handles Illinois 89-70

Written February 22nd, 2011 by Eric

It's been a while since Lighty got any Face Time. He earned it tonight.

A month after their first meeting in Champaign, the Fighting Illini finally returned the favor in Columbus.  Sadly for Illinois, they weren’t able to pay-back the result, falling to the Buckeyes 89-70.  Ohio State returned to their pre-Wisconsin form, destroying a team with solid shooting and excellent defense for the first time in the last four games.  David Lighty’s 21 points led all scorers, while Jared Sullinger notched his 13th double double on the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The big surprise for Illinois was star player Demetri McCamey sitting on the bench to start the game.  The move was made by Bruce Weber to try to get more effort out of his team and hopefully drive a spark off the bench.  Interestingly, the switch was made moments before the game began and was a complete surprise to the Illini players.

Early on, it looked like a good move on Weber’s part.  The Illini showed great effort in the early minutes, fighting hard and making things hard on the Buckeyes on offense.  The strategy did have the unfortunate effect of taking Illinois’ best shooter off the court, leaving them with limited scoring options.

Even worse for the Illini was William Buford’s start for the game.  Buford came out hitting 4-5 of his shots from the floor – the only miss from three point range – scoring 8 quick points from several points on the court.  It was clear that the Buckeyes were working hard to get him open and let him score the ball.

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Pregame glance: i-LL! i-n-i!

Written February 21st, 2011 by Jay

Nothing is quite so bubbly as Champaign

The Ohio State Buckeyes are now in the thick of crunch time in Big Ten season play.  While Ohio State has effectively punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament already with a stellar 25-2 record this season, other teams have found themselves dropped in the bucket of bubble teams, fighting for a spot in the Big Dance.  The Fighting Illini of Illinois are one such team, and having already picked up one L against the Buckeyes this season, our rivals from Champaign will be fighting (as their name suggests) to avoid a second L when they visit Columbus on Tuesday night.  Short of a Big Ten Tournament championship, nothing would bolster Illinois’ tournament resume more than a victory over Ohio State at this point.

Ohio State’s first game against Illinois occurred exactly one month ago on January 22nd, and at the time was a hugely anticipated game for the Buckeyes.  Entering the game at 19-0, the away contest at Illinois was predicted by many to be the first game that Ohio State would drop.  While it got dicey at times, the Scarlet & Gray pulled out the victory.  Eric’s recap of that game can be viewed here, and the other essential info on this year’s Illini squad can be viewed in the prior game’s preview here. Read More

Pregame glance: Illinois

Written January 21st, 2011 by Jay

The Buckeyes travel to the Land of Lincoln on Saturday for what will no doubt be their most significant challenge to date on the season: A matchup with the #22-ranked Fighting Illini of Illinois.  Having gone against some of the weaker teams thus far in Big Ten conference play, Ohio State will need to be at the top of their game to overcome the Illini on the road.

Bring in the Funk, Bring in the Nois

School: University of Illinois
Location: Urbana and Champaign, Illinois
Founded: 1867
Student Population: 41,495
School Type: Public
Division: NCAA
Conference: Big Ten Conference
Stadium: Assembly Hall
Seating: 16,618
Built: 1963
Head Coach: Bruce Weber
Year: 6th

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