7:40 p.m. - We're about 20 minutes away from tip-off here in Champaign. Just so eveyone knows, the temperature down here isn't much better than up in Madison. It was about 15 and very windy today. Hopefully the wind dies down before we have to get on our plane tonight.
Quick story from yesterday's travels. I was talking to the pilot at Wisconsin Aviation before the team arrived and he told me that his son was a fan "of our big 7-footer with the nickname." I said, "Brian Butch?" and he responded, "Yeah, that's the guy. My son asked if I was flying 'The Polar Bear.'" I assured him he would be on the plane.
After we landed, and I heard this second-hand, the pilot was in front of the plane wishing everyone good luck. Brian came and went but about three people later, Greg Stiemsma was walking out of the plane. The pilot then said, "Hey 'Polar Bear,' keep up the good work." He's not the first and won't be the last to get the two mixed up.
7:55 p.m. - Long day today, as most 8 p.m. starts on the road are. Our first event of the day was shootaround at 10:30 a.m. We woke the guys up at 9:45 and got on the bus at 10:15. We only shot unil about 11:15 a.m. We then had breakfast followed by study table. Scouting report started at 3 p.m. and pre-game meal was at 4. The bus rolled out from the hotel at 6:15 p.m. and now we're about five minutes before tip off. For the guys, there really wasn't too much time to kill. But for us with very little reponsibility, there was a lot of bad ESPN programming (and a nice one-hour workout). A VERY slow internet connection also mucked up the works today.
7:58 p.m. - Always get a very good seat at Illinois. They sit the media right behind the benches and I always get the seat at the end in the first row. That ends up being right behind our bench. I'm sure I'll get lots of good insights back here.
8:10 p.m. - Some empty seats in
the upper areas tonight. Not as many red shirts as we've seen in other
places on the road. Illinois wins the tip. Pruitt gets fouled going to
the hoop. He makes one. Hughes misses. On the other end, Pruitt gets an
offensive board but is called for a charge. Brian misses a jump hook
off the glass. Pruitt travels. Marcus with a turnover. Meacham misses a
three and Marcus rebounds. Hughes scores down low for UW's first points.
8:15 p.m. - Meacham with two free throws but Butch scores down low. Pruitt answers with a dunk on their end. Michael rims out a three. Pruitt scores again down low. Brian misses and the ball goes out of bounds off us. Illinois ball after the TV timeout. Illinois leads 7-4 with 14:39 left.
8:18 p.m. - At least Illinois isn't wearing their orange jerseys like they did a couple of years ago. In the arena it was clear who was who but I guess the folks watching on TV had a hard time. Deflection by Pop and steal by Michael. Shot clock violation on UW. Illegal screen called on Illinois, their fifth turnover. We return the favor as the ball goes out of bounds.
8:21 p.m. - Tisdale gets fouled going for a dunk and he makes one. Randle looks like he hurt his shoulder so the refs call time (he would not return).
8:23 p.m. - J-Bo splashes a three off an offensive rebound. Illinois turns it over. So far, from the student section I've heard "Soulja Boy" and "Do the Hambone" directed at Bo. Brock hits a jumper but J-Bo is fouled shooting a three. He'll go to the line after the TV timeout. Illinois leads 10-7 with 11:31 left.
8:29 p.m. - J-Bo hits all three and we're tied. Pruitt misses and Brock fouls Marcus who is trying to post up. Marcus misses and Joe picks up a foul. Illinois turns it over and Michael hits a three in transition, giving UW a 13-10 lead with 9:42 left. Illinois calls TO.
8:33 p.m. - Illinois misses a
three then Marcus is fouled on the offensive end. Hughes splashes a
three but Pruitt scores down low. Brian misses but gets his own
rebound. Flowers with a nice look down low to Marcus who gets fouled.
He hits both FTs. Pruitt powers his way to a basket and is fouled by
Butch, his second. UW leads 18-14 with 7:50 left.
8:40 p.m. - Pruitt hits his FT. J-Bo hits a runner, which counts, but is then called for a charge. Illinois misses and J-Bo splashes another three. Illinois has a couple shots but Marcus swoops in for the rebound. Greg then hits a jump hook to put UW up 10. Brock drives the hoop, scores and gets fouled. Brock hits his FT. Hughes with a tough hoop inside. Frazier answers with a three. Greg misses on another hook try. Up and down and now Bruce Weber is called for a technical. J-Bo hits both.
8:43 p.m. - Meacham misses a three and Krabbenhoft called for a foul on the rebound. Brock misses his FT and Tim Jarmusz, who had checked in for Joe, grabs the rebound. Pop (Trevon) is fouled on the offensive end and will shoot a one-and-one after the TV timeout. UW leads 29-21 with 3:35 left.
8:48 p.m. - Illinois has played 10 guys in the first half. Pop makes one. Pruitt scores down low. Tim misses a good look from three. But he gets his hand on a pass, causing a TO. Pop drives in for a hoop on the other end. J-Bo called for a foul on a Meacham drive. Meacham misses from the line. Pop misses a baseline jumper. Illinois with a miss. Good passing from Mike to Marcus to Greg ends with Greg getting fouled. Greg makes both.
8:53 p.m. - Pruitt fouled down low. Pruitt makes both. Marcus misses a three and Frazier misses a half-courter as the buzzer sounds. UW leads 34-25 at half.
8:57 p.m. - Some stats at halftime: J-Bo has 13 points and Trevon has 10. For Illinois, Pruitt has 14, the only player with more than five points for the home team. Illinois has 10 turnovers, compared to just three for UW. Four Badgers (Butch, Stiemsma, Krabbenhoft and Bohannon) have two fouls. Lots of free throws, as the Badgers are 10-of-11 from the line while Illinois is a respectable 8-of-12 (Pruitt is 4-of-5).
8:59 p.m. - My first trip to Assembly Hall without the Chief at halftime. They still play the song, but no dancing. "We love you chief," from one of the students.
9:14 p.m. - Pair of misses from
three, Pop and Mike, to start the half. Butch with a steal. Brock
called for a hand-check on Joe. Marcus misses down low but Butch with a
block on defense. Mike streaking down the floor and is fouled,
non-shooting. Marcus splashes a three on a pass from Joe. Meacham
splashes a three off an out of bounds play but Butch answers down low.
Illinois misses and Mike hits a transition three. Illinois calls TO
with UW leading 42-28 with 16:46 left.
9:18 p.m. - UW is 6-of-12 from three right now. Offensive foul called on Alexander for an illegal screen. Illinois comes out with some fullcourt pressure and causes a TO which leads to an easy bucket. Joe misses down low but Mike with a steal. He finds Marcus down low, who hits the bucket and gets fouled. He'll shoot one after the TV timeout. UW leads 44-30 with 15:41 left.
9:25 p.m. - Marcus hits his FT. Illinois with a turnover, No. 14 on the day. Brian called for an offensive foul while posting up. Illinois drives the lane and turns it over but Marcus misses a three. McCamey scores on a drive. Alexander called for a foul on Marcus posting up. Marcus drives the lane and scores. But McCamey returns the favor. Pop misses a jumper and McCamey is fouled on a three. He hits two.
9:28 p.m. - Krabbenhoft is fouled down low by Meacham. J-Bo misses a three then fouls McCamey who is driving. Tisdale misses down low as does Joe. UW with a steal but blows the layup. McCamey misses a LONG three and Mike is fouled going to the basket. He'll shoot two after the TV timeout. UW leads 47-36 with 10:48 left.
9:39 p.m. - Michael makes
one. Illinois with turnover No. 17. Krabbenhoft called for a foul while
posting up, the second Badger to pick up a foul while posting up.
Illinois misses and Tim grabs the rebound. Joe called for a charge.
Marcus with a steal. Great high-low from Brian to Marcus for a bucket
down low. Mike fouls Meacham who will shoot one-and-one. He makes both. Michael drives for two. Pruitt is fouled and hits two FTs. He's 6-of-7 tonight. Marcus breaks the press and hits Butch for an easy two. Pruitt called for an offensive foul. Frazier called for a hand-check and Pop goes to the line for one-and-one. That natives are getting restless here about the officials. Trevon hits both. Michael called for a foul going for a rebound, bringing us to the TV timeout. UW leads 56-40 with 7:40 left.
9:41 p.m. - That was a long time between posts because I had some wireless issues. Hopefully it doesn't happen again. UW has three players in double figures (J-Bo, Pop and Marcus) and Michael has nine.
9:48 p.m. - Frazier at the line. He hits one. One student just yelled, "Hey Tim Donaghy, I thought you were in prison" in the direction of tonight's officials. Marcus is fouled and makes one. Meacham drives in for two and he's fouled. He makes the FT. J-Bo comes in for Tim J. Trevon just made a no-look lay-up over his head but he comes up limping. Alexander is fouled by Marcus going for a dunk. He hits one. Butch grabs the rebound and he's fouled. He misses both. McCamey drives in for two and it's a 12-point game. Butch misses but follows his own shot for two. McCamey hits a three and Illinois calls TO. UW leads 61-50 with 5:42 left.
9:51 p.m. - Trevon checks back into the game. J-Bo misses a runner. McCamey on the drive for two and it's getting loud in here. Marcus splashes a BIG three! Good defensive possession by UW ends in a Pruitt travel. TV timeout with UW leading 64-52 with 3:51 left. (Very big stretch here as Illinois had cut it to nine before Marcus made the three and UW had the big defensive stand).
9:55 p.m. - Marcus is 5-of-7 in the second half and has 14 points since the break (16 overall). UW breaks the press and Marcus is fouled. He makes one. McCamey stumbles and calls TO. 65-52, UW with 3:31 left.
9:57 p.m. - McCamey for three. Joe can't find anyone and calls TO. UW leads 65-55 with 3:01 left, 17 on the shot clock.
10:02 p.m. - McCamey has 18 points, all in this half. Trevon fouled going to the basket. Pop makes both. Frazier with an offensive rebound and he gets fouled. He makes one. J-Bo drives the hoop and hits an acrobatic lay-up. McCamey misses and UW rebounds. 1:38 left up by 13. Trevon with a pretty up and under for two that should clinch it. Frazier is fouled by Marcus, his fifth. UW leads 71-56 with 57.8 left.
10:05 p.m. - Frazier hits one. Trevon travels and Tanner enters the game for him. Illinois misses and UW wins 71-57.
9:27 a.m. (Thursday) - Another solid road win last night, making us 8-2 on the road this season and 6-1 in the league road games. Couple stat geek notes. The six conference road wins ties a school record. The other two times that has happened were in 1912 and 1914. The eight road wins overall are tied for fourth-most in school history behind the 1915-16 team (10-1), 1903-04 (9-4) and 1904-05 (9-8). The 1998-99 team also won eight road games (8-5).
Very efficient on offense last night. Only eight turnovers which led to getting 11 more shots than Illinois, who turned the ball over 20 times. Good shooting percentages all around (46.0% from the field, 50.0% from three and 75.0% from the line).
Our plane landed back in Madison around midnight last night. Again, the first thing coach said in the locker room was that no one would miss class today. He had told me that when we got back from Iowa after that long bus trip we had perfect attendance that next day. we are not practicing today so we will have tomorrow here and Saturday in Columbus in order to prepare for our lone meeting with the Buckeyes.