If you live under a rock, you didn’t realize that Illinois beat Duke convincingly on December 8 by a score of 83-68. Though it wasn’t a 20+ point embarrassment, the game was only tied twice. Once at 0-0 and once at 2-2, both within the first minute of the contest. The rest of the game was all Illini, as I predicted in my previous piece.
Ayo Dosumnu dominated that game from the tip and posted an All-American stat line of 18 points, 12 boards, and five assists. He was the most complete player on the floor and will be for pretty much every contest this season.
The best part about the offensive attack from the Illini was the depth in scoring. Six Illini were in double figures on the offensive end, with Adam Miller providing nine points and Andre Curbelo adding 12. THAT’S IMPRESSIVE.
Illinois Was the Better Team
It was obvious, regardless of the inconsistent officiating on both sides, that the Illini were the better team on the floor. I mean, Matt Hurt bricked so many shots it was almost impressive. He ended up shooting 50% from the field, but 0-6 from three-point land.
His deep balls usually led to offensive rebounds too because he was connecting with the rim so well. Like the sweet spot on a baseball bat, just impressive misses.
What a performance by him. DJ Steward made some shots finally and showed some nice flashes on the offensive end, but he couldn’t do it all himself. No one can against this Illini team. But if there’s one person in the Duke program that can try to nullify the pain of a mediocre ball club, it’s Coach K.
Duke’s Season in Jeopardy?
This guy came to the gym with two things on his mind: either beating Illinois or saying the season is in jeopardy if we lose. A guy that stated the NCAA cannot go another year without the NCAA Tournament wants to rid of the 2020-2021 season that his players and staff have worked so hard to compete in.
What a shame. It’s truly sad to see such an ambassador for the game completely give up after two home losses to Big Ten schools.
Don’t take this the wrong way, COVID-19 is to be handled very seriously. But we have seen countless professional and amateur athletic leagues complete seasons by making adjustments, and that’s what the NCAA is going to have to do with basketball.
Once conference games start, I’m hoping we’ll see less cancelations. But Coach K, come on!! I know you have a mediocre team, but you know you’re going to get crushed by the media for this. Just an awful take.
“We got our butts beat,” he said. “For the good of the game and the mental and physical health of players and staff, we need to constantly look at this thing. I think that’s a smart thing to do.”-Coach K after Tuesday’s Loss
I know he didn’t come out and say “we should cancel the season,” but if you’re human you can read between the lines and see his projection of the season based on his team’s recent success, or lack thereof. And if you think he’s ONLY implying that they need to focus on safety protocol and ensuring that all players, coaches, and staffs are healthy enough to compete in these games, then I think you’re wrong.
Projection from the Great Ambassador
Why? Because that is self-explanatory.
Everyone is thinking that. So he wouldn’t harp on that after a big loss at home, which he hardly has ever experienced (twice to Illinois, by the way). He’s just projecting anger; we’ve all done it.
Faking an injury is usually the route Coach K takes when his team is underperforming, and he needs a scapegoat. I’m glad he’s veered off that path and is now taking the moral high ground as an excuse. You can’t get mad at the moral high ground guy! It’s actually really smart.
So, credit to Coach K for having a subpar team, relative to Duke’s history, and trying to take the attention off of it by eliminating the season.
A Return to Prominence
This Illini team is special, and I really don’t hate Duke, but we all have friends that don’t root for their in-state team because they hopped on the Duke bandwagon when they were kids (which is completely fine by the way!!). And I know Illinois hasn’t been as prominent as Coach K’s Blue Devils, but I think times are changing. It’s time to come home.
We will welcome you with open arms. It doesn’t have to be hostile. We’re here for you. Let’s have fun together in the orange and blue. Come on home.