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Thirteen In A Row

Final Score

Illinois - 68
Penn State - 50

Here's the Boxscore

I couldn't believe they actually put this game on ESPN, so I was able to watch most of it. I feared Penn State would look ridiculous with half the stadium empty, but surprisingly there was a pretty good crowd. Unfortunately, the Lions didn't give them much to cheer about.

Right from the beginning it looked like Penn State was playing in slow motion. They were slow to rotate in the zone. Slow to run the floor. Slow slow slow. The Illini on the other hand looked like a tournament team to me. They absolutely ripped the zone apart with crisp passing and slick inside play. I was very impressed by them, and if they make the tournament, I will personally pick them to go to the sweet 16 in my office pool. I think they are coming on nicely of late.

Penn State, on the other hand, looked terrible. I'm starting to think Geary Claxton is a detriment to the team. I know, he leads the team in scoring just about every game. It doesn't matter. Time and again I watched him dribble into triple coverage and try to throw up a shot while two of his teammates stood wide open. Until he learns how to pass it out and stop taking on the entire team by himself, Penn State is going nowhere. When you think about it, they were playing better back when he had a broken hand.

Brandon Hassell only played 13 minutes. Over the course of the season he has seen his minutes taken away and given to Bogetic, and it's easy to see why. He doesn't rebound. He can't score. He can't play defense. As far as I can tell, all he does is dunk.

This game featured probably the worst basketball play I've ever seen. In the second half, Mike Walker stole a ball around mid court. Two Lions streaked toward the basket creating a 3-on-none fast break. No defenders were even pursuing the play. Walker passed the ball ahead to Hassell. All he had to do was catch it, maybe dribble once or twice, and ram it home. But instead the ball bounced off his hands and rolled out of bounds. That's when I turned the channel. I couldn't watch the carnage anymore after that.

Dear God, please let this season be over. I can't stand to watch. I don't want to blog about basketball anymore. Let's just forfeit the last two games and not show up for the Big Ten tournament. It's not fair to these poor kids, especially the seniors. If it seemed like they cared it would be a different story. But the fact is they don't. It was evident in their play against Illinois. But don't just believe me. Listen to the head coach himself.

I think we're frustrated. We're worn down. I was very proud of our effort after the Ohio State game and I told the guys it didn't seem like we had any bounce to our step (today) and I don't understand that. We basically had Thursday off and practiced pretty well yesterday, which was positive, and I was excited about having a good practice yesterday. We had good energy this morning in shoot around. Then we come out today, I just felt like we didn't have any energy or zip whatsoever.

Or how about our so-called "senior leader", Mike Walker?

We definitely didn't have as much energy as we did against Ohio State. I don't think there are any excuses for it. That has been kind of a theme for us throughout the season: not showing up with energy. We haven't had the answer for it.

This team gave up on the season about a month ago. If you're not going to try, don't bother showing up. Save your school and its alumni the embarrassment.