Where do you start? How about 35% (20-57) from the field, 13% (2-15) from three-point range, and 57% (15-26) from the charity stripe. No matter how you cut it, shooting percentages like this will not win games at the Big Ten level.
Illinois lost a rare home game to Miami of Ohio, 61-58 in overtime. Illinois was led in scoring by seniors Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle with 24 and 14 points respectively. After that, scoring was almost non-existent, with the next highest scorer being Calvin Brock with 7 points. However, Brock managed to find the net just once in seven shots.
The 2007-08 Fighting Illini men's basketball team certainly can defend, that's something we all know. But at this point in the season, with a record of 6-4, it's safe to say winning games will require continued defensive success and creating enough turnovers to overcome any offensive failings.
For all those Weber bashers, save it right now. Illinois is going through a tough period for now and it's one Illinois basketball fans aren't used to. Weber, like any coach, will and should support his troops. But let's be honest, it's just not there right now. The key word is "now." While most of you have not seen the current group of players that are committed to Illinois (Stan Simpson, DJ Richardson, Brandon Paul, Jereme Richmond and Joseph Bertrand), but know each of these young men all can play and they bring a high level of basketball skill to the court. The can run, defend, shoot, score, and most of all they're top-notch recruits. Sure, it's very frustrating to try and figure out what's going on right now, but again, it's only temporary. Let's give Weber and his staff credit for being able to land this fine group of talented players.
The message: don't panic. Weber didn't forget how to coach as this is the same guy that recently won multiple awards for coach of the year, in the conference and nationally. And while the current group of newcomers have shown flashes of promise, at times they show their youth and that's OK, for the near future. Until the youngsters become more consistent, Illini fans will have to grit your teeth. Hopefully, one of the guards will become more consistent and they all learn that free throws are free points for them, if they can take advantage while on the stripe.