Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Illinois Won’t Make the Big Dance
Bubble Watch: Reasons Why Illinois Won't Make the Big Dance
Thus far, Illinois' season is comparable to one of the many talent shows across the world these days. The Illini came out strong with a killer dance number. They looked good next to the 6-year-old Suzys of college basketball and their ear-splitting renditions of Nickelback's “Far Away.”
A near slip up against UNLV's interpretive dance kept them alive. Then came acts like Georgia Tech's Ramblin' Wreck complete with opera singing pep squad and Oregon's Cirque du Soleil. The Illini eventually face-planted under pressure.
Still, all hope wasn't lost. They could spoil conference hopes, score a major upset or two and make their way through the Big Ten tournament just far enough to present a decent resume. It was a nice dream while it lasted.
Thanks to Illinois' last 10 games – during which they claimed an impressive single win – the lyrics to David Powter's “Bad Day” are getting louder with every passing game in Champaign, IL.
Nobody expects Illinois to complete the comeback kid story. Floyd Mayweather wouldn't even drop $500 on that bet.
Nebraska, the Big Ten media's predetermined doormat before the season began, has a better chance of participating in March Madness.
Being dead last in the current Big Ten standings should prove that Illinois has no chance at being invited to the ball barring a miracle of monumental proportions. The teams they'll face to end the season are all ready to provide more black eyes.
Just in case you need some more convincing, I've got five reasons the Illini should pack things up and start practicing for next year.
5. Rayvonte Rice Can't Carry The Team
A team can have a star, but he needs a sidekick or role players at the very least. Illinois has shown that Rayvonte Rice is their man. If another squad can shut him down or simply make him the one good aspect to Illinois' game, a victory should be theirs.
4. Lack Of Quality Wins
In what's arguably college basketball's best conference, it's not like Illinois didn't have the opportunity for major upsets. The Illini could've even taken down then-No. 15 Oregon last December and nearly came back to upset then-No. 15 Iowa earlier this month. Alas, it didn't happen.
Illinois' RPI isn't just dropping, it's getting ready to slam into the ground and bore towards the center of the Earth. Currently sitting at No. 86, a triple-digit finish isn't out of the question.
2. Key Losses
The Illini's three-point loss to Georgia Tech hurts. The one to Oregon looms larger as they hope to make a late run against a Big Ten gauntlet. A 65-64 win over then-No. 23 Missouri is the only top 25 win they claim.
1. The Streak
On Jan 8, the Illini traveled to Wisconsin and had to be scraped off the court, losing 95-70. After dropping eight straight games, Illinois must've been thrilled to get a win over Penn State. Unfortunately, the blue and orange lost the following Big Ten battle to Nebraska and six of its upcoming matchups feature current top 25 teams.