Shaw, who looked good in the non-conference season, has been buried on the bench as of late, and in the case of Henry, has proven that he is not afraid to take shots once in a while. Even Weber himself has said that he wants to get Henry and Egwu more minutes on the floor. Well, I have a solution for this: THEN PLAY THEM! It is understandable that Tyler Griffey, who lost his starting spot that he held earlier in the season, has been relegated to bench duty, because Griffey has lost confidence. After all, Griffey was one of the best players during the Illini's trip to Italy earlier in the summer, but Joseph Bertrand has since earned a lot more playing time, as has freshman Tracy Abrams, who is coming into his own as a player. The recent events haven't stopped the catcalls and chatter for Weber's job, as was evidenced at the 'Hall on Sunday when the Illini fell to the Badgers. But, after all, the Illini are 15-5 overall and 4-3 in the league, mired among several other teams in the middle of the pack in a very competitive Big Ten race. After the game at Minnesota, the schedule gets a whole lot tougher over the next couple of weeks, as Michigan State and Northwestern come to Champaign, followed by road trips to Indiana and Michigan. Over the course of the next month, teams will continue to beat themselves up, which, in turn, will change the standings even more than they are now. So, it's anybody's guess who will be the top 4 seeds when the Big Ten Tournament begins in March at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It's just too early to tell right now.
Different week, same result for the Fighting Illini women's basketball team, as once again they were in a ballgame, but ultimately fell, losing 96-84 to Ohio State on Sunday in Columbus. Jolette Law, who continues to press on despite all of the unfortunate luck that has befallen her team, tries to keep her team motivated, but that is a very hard sell. Karisma Penn led the Illini with 23 points, and the 84 points was a team high for the season. However, the Illini fell to 6-14 overall and still remain winless in the conference at 0-7. The Illini will get a chance to get that elusive first Big Ten win of the season on Thursday evening when they travel to East Lansing to battle the Michigan State Spartans at the Breslin Center (5:00 pm CT, BTN). Something has got to give to get this program back on the track, and it is becoming more obvious that Law is not the answer to this puzzling question.
New Illini football coach Tim Beckman will unveil his first recruiting class with a public event to take place on Wednesday, February 1 at 4:30 pm. The new coaching staff will welcome fans to the Assembly Hall, and the unveiling will take place at 5:30 as the new class is announced on the video scoreboard. The event is free and open to the public, and parking for the event is free as well.