January 12, 2010


If last week's ginormous clusterf**k against Michigan was enough to make you tune out the rest of the basketball season and start counting down the days until OMG PAUL JONES and Kevin Newsome duel it out in the Blue-White Game, then I don't blame you one bit. Quitting is not an option however, for the 50 PSU basketball fans such as Yours Truly. That's why tonight's game at Illinois (9 PM ET, BTN) couldn't come at a more convenient time when we're all trying to cling to any remote sign of hope that the Fighting DeChellises can still qualify for some type of postseason tournament...

For those of you who aren't acquainted with history, PSU currently owns a three-game winning streak at Illinois' Assembly Hall. That's right, the same Assembly Hall that has been a nightmare for just about every other opponent playing there has become 'Bryce Jordan Center West' for PSU. Not to mention, PSU is a last-second defensive lapse in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament away from owning a five-game overall win streak against the Illini..But hey, four out the last five isn't anything to scoff at.

Explaining how PSU has managed such an improbable feat against such a respected basketball program as Illinois though, would be like trying to explain how Iowa's football team has won seven of their last eight against PSU: There is no rational explanation. Perhaps it's a mental block for the Illini, particularly in the last few minutes when the game's outcome is in doubt (PSU's average margin of victory in its last four wins: 2.75 points), giving ample opportunity for some Talor Battle man-crushing heroics, and what do you know: Illini blogger Hail To The Orange seconds my observation:
The Illini have had a tendency to play lots of nail biting close games lately, and this is a recipe for disaster against Talor Battle. Get in front of the Nittany Lions early with the size and scoring advantage of Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis, and then put that team away early. Don't let Battle beat you, and don't let him be the difference.

The line on this game is Illinois (-9) which is a total sucker's bet for the 99.9999% of the American population that doesn't follow PSU hoops. The rest of us know better than to even speculate on how this game is going to turn out. On paper, the Illini should use their superior scoring talent led by Demetri McCamey and their quality post players in Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis to kill us on the perimeter and in the paint. However, if paper meant everything, Illinois would have won every game against us save for last year's meeting at the BJC.

With that being said however, there's a good chance that one of the nation's most improbable road winning streaks will come to an end tonight. Thus, it would only be fitting to pay a final homage to the fast times at Assembly Hall:


Illinois was ranked 6th at the time and had only lost three times at Assembly Hall during the decade. Naturally, the Illini raced out to an early double-digit lead against the hopelessly over-matched Fighting DeChellises. I conveniently received a call from a friend of mine who was back in town to join him at the bar, which I did, thinking that the game was dead and buried. About an hour later, I was rubbing my eyes to make sure my beer goggles weren't deceiving me when I saw a TV in the corner silently showing a clip of Travis Parker's game-winning putback and subsequent non-buzzer beater by Illinois. The reaction from one member of Illinois's "Orange Krush" student section after the refs waved off Illinois's winning shot led to one of the greatest lines ever uttered by a SportsCenter anchor: "BELIEVE IT, SPARKY. BELIEVE IT."

←This was taken from a PSU Scout.com board member. I forget who created this, but whoever it was, reveal yourself and take a bow, Sir/Madam.


PSU was coming off a road win at Northwestern, but that was Northwestern. There was no way Illinois was going to lose back-to-back home games against us, right? Right?


38-33. It was easily the most boring game of basketball played in the shot clock-era, and I was fortunate enough not to watch it. However, PSU did manage to win somehow and Illinois never once made it to the free throw line. Since there's no highlight reel for such a crappy game, we'll just replace it with this:

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1 comment:

  1. Yes, Illini fans. It is fact that all your base are belong to Ed.