Rushed Reactions: #7 Illinois 57, #10 Colorado 49Posted by WCarey on March 22nd, 2013
Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after the Round of 64 NCAA Tournament game between #7 Illinois and #10 Colorado in Austin.
Three Key Takeaways.
- Colorado dug itself a hole in the first half. A major reason why the Buffaloes were unable to win this game was because they played terribly in the first half. Colorado should get credit for clawing back into the game – and briefly taking a lead – but it needs to be acknowledged that the first half was owned by Illinois. When Andre Roberson hit a jumper to trim Illinois’ lead to 24-21 at the 7:06 mark of the first half, that was the last time Colorado scored in the opening frame. The Illini went on a 13-0 run to finish the half and went into the half with what at the time seemed like a comfortable 16-point lead. The Buffaloes only shot 34.8% from the field in the first half and committed eight turnovers, which led to 15 points for the Illini.
- This was a game of pretty absurd runs. Illinois went on a 13-0 run to finish the first half. Colorado went on a 23-2 run to begin the second half. Illinois went on an 18-5 run to end the game. Usually it is pretty crazy when a game has one of the aforementioned runs, but this game had three of them and they occurred back-to-back-to-back. Both teams definitely deserve credit for fighting back from trends in the game that were extremely undesirable. Following the game Colorado coach Tad Boyle stated, “We ultimately just did not have enough,” which shows just how taxing the 23-2 run to get back into the game was for the Buffaloes.
- Illinois needs to play a lot better if it wants any shot of upsetting Miami on Sunday. The Illini were able to play with the fire and still get by Colorado, but if they want to pull the upset of a very good Miami team Sunday then they need to put forth a much more consistent effort. If Illinois allows Miami to go on a 23-2 run and only manages three field goals in one half, there is a very good chance it will be blown out by the Hurricanes. Guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson are Illinois’ most important players and they were just a combined 8-of-26 from the field and committed a combined seven turnovers against Colorado. Miami has very strong guard play, so both Paul and Richardson are going to need shoot better and take better care of the basketball if the Illini want any chance of pulling the stunner.
Star of the Game. Brandon Paul, Illinois. Paul was just 3-of-12 from the field on the afternoon, but his very strong free throw shooting is what clinched the victory for the Illini. Paul finished 9-of-10 from the charity stripe and made 5-of-6 in the last 1:06 of the game. Paul’s strong performance from the line put the game out of reach for Colorado. D.J. Richardson was also considered, as his 11-point performance in the first half was a huge reason why the Illini were able to build a 16-point halftime lead.
- “I thought our players showed extreme heart in coming back from the 16-point halftime deficit.” — Colorado coach Tad Boyle, acknowledging the fight his team showed in making it a game in the second half.
- “The future of Colorado basketball is in great shape.” — Boyle after talking about how the Buffaloes will return seven of its nine contributors for the 2013-14 season.
- “Obviously this time of the year is about surviving and advancing. We feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to be able to play on Sunday.” — Illinois coach John Groce, recognizing that getting the win is the most important thing in the tournament.
Sights and Sounds. Both Illinois and Colorado brought plenty of fans to Austin. The reactions of each fan base were fun to keep track of in a game of such absurd runs. When Illinois went of its runs, Colorado’s fans were deflated. When Colorado went on its run, the Colorado fans were extremely loud. During the first half, it was announced that La Salle had defeated Kansas State. The Illinois fans reacted favorably to this news, most likely because Kansas State is coached by Bruce Weber — the former coach at Illinois. It was interesting to see that Illini nation still holds some venom directed towards Weber.
What’s Next? Illinois advances to the Round of 32 where it will play #2 seeded Miami on Sunday.