1. Hitting the Jackpot
Out of necessity, Bruce Weber gave 12 minutes of playing time to Jack Ingram in last Saturday's win over Michigan. Ingram stepped up with a solid effort that isn't going to land him on Sports Center, but provided a solid effort in the paint while every other big man except for Aaron Spears was plagued with foul trouble. Ingram scored two points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists. Ingram isn't likely to ever be the leading scorer for Illinois, but he should be a more utilized option when the rest of the "bigs" don't want to box out and grab rebounds.
2. He's Not a Player, He Just Krushes a Lot
I know Batesy already discussed it on here, but watching Fred Brown in amongst the Orange Krush was about as fun as watching the game on Saturday. Mr. Brown's enthusiasm for his son and the rest of the team was contagious at the Assembly Hall. According to the fans who watched the game on CBS, the notoriously cranky Billy Packer was downright pleasant. Maybe seeing one parent's enthusiasm for the game warmed the analyst's heart? Who am I kidding? Billy will be riled up about something else come this weekend.
3. Maybe He'll Move the Raiders to Memorial Stadium
Am I the only one who thinks Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis has a subscription to The News-Gazette? Davis has had a history of liking head coaches with ties to the Illinois program. He hired former Illinois head coach Mike White to coach the Raiders in the mid 1990's. When the Raiders were looking for a coach this off-season, Davis reportedly offered the job to former Illinois assistant and current Dallas Cowboys assistant Sean Payton. When things fell through with Payton, Davis turned to the brother of current Illini head coach Ron Turner and hired Norv Turner to coach the Raiders. Coach K must have sold Davis the land he bought in Mahomet back in 1995.
4. Congrats to Eugene Wilson
Former Illini Eugene Wilson won a Super Bowl ring as his New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Wilson was fortunate enough to win a championship in his rookie season. Wilson didn't have his best game in the big game, but he was a valuable contributor all season long and the Pats defense definitely benefited from having Geno on board.
5. Is it Baseball Season Yet?
With all the harsh weather we have experienced in Champaign-Urbana, I find myself looking forward to spring and Illinois baseball. However, due to spring in Illinois arriving in about the first week of May, Big Ten baseball is often played in cold winds or rained out. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to heading out to Illinois Field and covering Fighting Illini baseball for the Illini Board.
I already have my first question prepared for head coach Richard "Itch" Jones:
"Coach, at Southern Illinois you went by "Itchy", but when you came to the U of I, you started going by "Itch". What's the deal with that? Did you lose a ‘y' somewhere around Salem?"
I know the name of this column is "The Starting Five", but every team needs a sixth-man to come off the bench and make some noise. This column is no exception.
6. Breaking News Out of Lubbock, Texas
Well, it looks like Texas Tech head coach Bob Knight will not be suspended for his grocery store argument with a school administrator. Who had 2 ½ seasons in the Illini Board "How Long before Bob Knight Gets into a Heated Argument with the University Chancellor at a Salad Bar?" pool? Contact Kedric or Brumby to pick up your prize.
Thanks, you've been great. Be sure to tip your waitress.