I hate the Hoosiers as much as any team in sports, but there are two important points to think positively about after the Illini’s 64-62 loss at Indiana:
1) No One Can Win Big Ten Road Games That Matter – The Big Ten, year-in and year-out, is the toughest conference in the country partly because every school has an on-campus arena that’s packed on a nightly basis. Even though the conference has one less member than the ACC, Big 12, and SEC along with four fewer members than the Big East, the Big Ten has led the nation in men’s basketball attendance for 29 straight seasons. As a result, every team in the Big Ten has struggled on the road. Illinois has lost at Indiana and Iowa, Michigan State has lost at Illinois and Wisconsin, and Indiana has lost at Michigan State. Wisconsin sits atop the conference at 4-0 right now, but the Badgers’ only Big Ten road game so far has been a 2-point squeaker past Minnesota (a Gopher team, by the way, that got pummeled at home by Northwestern). I foresee a more negative outcome for Wisky against Ohio State tonight in Columbus. The point is that if last night’s game was played in the Assembly Hall in Champaign rather than the Assembly Hall in Bloomington, the Illini would have probably won by 2 points instead of losing by 2 points. It’s not great that Illinois hasn’t been able to do well on the road, but at least everyone else in the Big Ten is in the same boat.
2) My Schedule is Free for the Rest of the Season – Illini Nation can blame me for the loss. I was at a work function last night, so I wasn’t able to watch the game. I’ve missed only two games this season: the Iowa game and yesterday’s Indiana game. Those happen to be the only two games Illinois has lost this season. There’s no way that this is a coincidence. Luckily, there’s also absolutely no way that I’m missing another game for the rest of the year, so we should be fine.