Brumby's Big Ten Season Predictions

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini are heading into the Big Ten season undefeated, and there is already talk in the newspapers (the Chicago Sun Times) about the Illini going undefeated. Brumby gives his Big Ten predictions for the Illini. Does he see them going undefeated through conference play?

Ohio State – January 5
The Buckeyes may be the surprise team of the Big Ten so far this season, and a lot of that has to do with the coaching job that has been done by Thad Matta since he has replaced Jim O'Brien. The one player that will give Illinois fits is Terrence Dials, but Illinois' guards will still control the game, and Powell & Augustine will provide enough to slow down Dials.

Illinois by 12

Purdue – January 8
This is the scene of the famous black out that had orange shirts filling the upper seats in Mackey. It is also the scene of Nick Smith and Luther Head saving the day for Illinois. Expect a slow, grind it out game with Illinois beating down the very undermanned Purdue team with a late second half run.

Illinois by 17

Penn State – January 12
As long as no one gets a hang nail, Illinois should treat Penn State (without the Crispin brothers) like they are the Illini's red headed step child. This has all the signs of a beat down, and that is what will happen.

Illinois by 32

@ Northwestern – January 15

This will be a slow down game, and the Wildcats will frustrate the Illini throughout. Vuku will have a big game as he stretches out Augustine on to the perimeter to defend him while Powell is guarding Thompson. Northwestern will just not have the talent, and Illinois wins in the end.

Illinois by 8

Iowa – January 20
The Hawkeyes may be the second best team in the Big Ten, and they will have a lot to prove. You can be sure that Bruce Weber has printed out the article from CBS Sports Line about the Iowa guards maybe being as good as the Illinois guards as some motivation. The Krush will be forced to be on their best behavior for this one, but they will still be rabid. Look for a high paced and high scoring game as Iowa loves to play fast, and they will run. Illinois wins thanks to superior defense, and better guard play. Pierre will turn the ball over about 8 times.

Illinois by 12

@ Wisconsin – January 25
Winning in Madison is a foreign thing to this group of Illini. In fact it is foreign to almost any Illini. Wisconsin may not have Devin Harris, but they are still a good team, and they will hold their home court.

Wisconsin by 5

Minnesota – January 29
Minnesota has been surprisingly average this season. Considering I expect a new level of suck to extend from Minneapolis this year, being surprisingly average is good for Dan Monson's crew. The problem is that being average will not get you anything but a beat down in Champaign.

Illinois by 21
@ Michigan State – February 1
This will be the marquee game of the night on ESPN with the 6:00 CT start time. Michigan State will be up for it, and they will try to force Bruce Weber to take the Tom Izzo in Assembly Hall pose, but it just won't happen. Michigan State is not the same defensive team we are all used to under Tom Izzo, and they have not been for two to three years. The Spartan defense will not be enough to stop the Illini, and Paul Davis will cramp up in clutch time, allowing Illinois to get that key road victory in the Big Ten.

Illinois by 3

Indiana – February 6
The Mike Davis Farewell Tour stops in Champaign, IL. The Hoosiers lose. Bracey wonders what his career would have been had he chosen to go to Tennessee instead of Indiana. Hoosier fans pine for Steve Alford.

Illinois by 24

@ Michigan – February 8
Tommy Amaker's team is full of injuries, and it still will be then. Tommy Amaker's look of the polo shirt underneath the suit coat still has not been accepted as reasonable fashion. The Wolverines just aren't good enough.

Illinois by 12

Wisconsin – February 12
CBS is in town, and Illinois is looking to avenge its only loss of the season. James Augustine has a break out offensive game against the Badgers shocking everyone, including himself. Bo Ryan wonders how he could look more like Bucky Badger, while Bruce Weber smiles as he has Fred Nkemdi run out the clock at center court for the Illinois win instead of letting Deron Williams throw and alley oop to Luther Head.

Illinois by 14

@ Penn State – February 16
Illinois walks carefully off the bus, trying to ensure they will not get hurt. Illinois double checks the benches for splinters, so they do not get hurt. Illinois walks carefully back on to the bus, ensuring they will not get hurt. The mantra for today's game will be "It's Penn State. Just don't get hurt."

Illinois by 18

@ Iowa – February 19
Iowa is looking for revenge, and despite there being a large amount of orange in the stands, the Hawkeyes will have a home court advantage. Horner, Pierce, and Haluska are too much as Pierre only turns the ball over 6 times. Iowa grinds out a victory in another high paced game to pull within one game of Illinois for the conference championship.

Iowa by 2

Northwestern – February 23
The Wildcats have the unfortunate job of being the team to play Illinois after a loss. They get beat down.

Illinois by 24

Purdue – March 1
In Gene Keady's last game at Assembly Hall, he loses. The Gene Keady Farewell Tour stops in Champaign, and Gene is not a happy man. He will show numerous different faces, but the pose that he will take quickly is one of anger as his team gets dominated by his former assistant coach's team. Matt Painter jumps out of Gene Keady's pocket to shake Weber's hand, and thank him for allowing him to get the Purdue job.

Illinois by 14

@ Ohio State – March 5
Ohio State will be playing for the third seed in the Big Ten Tournament, while Illinois will be playing for the first seed. Illinois will win the game in a struggle. Terrence Dials again makes Illinois his personal practice squad. Illinois' guards are just too much as Luther Head scores 26 to solidify his place as the Big Ten Player of the Year.

Illinois by 6

Final Record: 14-2


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