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Big Ten tournament news and notes

By Jeff Mayfield          Send a link to a friend

[March 12, 2007]  Hello, Lincoln! Just wanted to give my LDN friends a shout-out from the Big Ten tournament in Chicago. But first things first. Big-time CONGRATULATIONS to the Railers, Neil Alexander, Eric Ewald and the rest for a dramatic 50-49 victory over Bloomington! Good luck, Railers, versus Peoria Richwoods at Redbird Arena. I think I speak for the whole platoon when I say we'd all sure like to make another trip to Peoria!

Life is good

As almost of all of you know, I live in an "orange" world. And because I do, any Illini victory over anybody is a great victory. However, for the universe to stay in balance, it is simply imperative for Illinois to beat Indiana any time they play and every time they play. So, Friday night's 58-54 thriller in overtime at the United Center was music to my ears. For all you people who think that the Illini have been whining too much this season... how do you like us now?!!! This just in, Illinois just beat your No. 3-seeded Hoosiers!


In my day I could whine as well as the next person. However, I have always been one who says the best way to make a definitive statement to another team about anything off the court is to take care of business on the scoreboard. That's exactly what Illinois did in their precious win over Indiana. I don't hear too much about recruiting today. I don't hear too much about the Illini having too many excuses today. I don't hear too much about the refs being for us or against us today. All I see is 58-54 final for the good guys. Read 'em and weep... End of story.

Game balls

If I were in charge of our game ball ceremonies, this is what I would do. I would give Chester Frazier the game ball for the 66-60 win over Penn State. Frazier scored a career-high 21 points on Thursday night, and simply put, the Illini don't win without his explosive performance.

In the Indiana game, I'd have to give out many game balls. I'd give one to Shaun Pruitt for his 16-point, 12-rebound performance. I'd hand one to Warren Carter for his 17-point, seven-rebound contribution. And I'd give one to Trent Meacham for his huge eight-point addition, including a critical 5-for-6 at the charity stripe. I could also give one to Rich McBride for a solid defensive effort once again. I could even see giving one to Chet Frazier for his gutsy, gritty play. And I'd probably save the most special game ball of all for Bruce Weber. After all the grief he's endured this season. People questioning everything he does... nothing he contributes ever seems to be good enough. Well, guess what... all the guy does is win. He can be my coach as long as he wants to be!

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Controversy swirls

Toward the end of the Indiana game a very interesting play occurred. Chet Frazier was in the process of launching a 3-point shot when a whistle was blown. One of the refs was emphatically trying to wave off the made shot while the Orange fans were wondering why they were trying to not put the points on the board. Strong opinions and even stronger insults were coming from fans of both teams while the officials huddled to confer. Knowing Illinois' past history with controversial rulings, I figured there was no way you'd ever see those points on the Illini ledger. I hoped to be wrong on that.

For those of you still wondering what the heck happened there, let me share the Big Ten's official response -- part from the basketball rule book and part from the lead official, Ted Hillary.

Try For Field Goal/Act of Shooting
A.R.117. A1 is in possession of the ball and in the act of shooting when A2 is fouled by B2 before the release of the ball. RULING: Assess B2 with the foul committed against A2. A1's try for the goal shall count when successful. Administer the bonus free throw or award the ball to Team A at designated spot nearest to where the foul occurred."

Statement from referee Ted Hillary:

"We had a player from Illinois (Frazier) who was in the act of shooting and we had a foul by a player from Indiana (Keeling) underneath the basket. As long as that player (Frazier) is in the act of shooting, the basket counts and the ball does not have to be released. We went over to the monitor to see if it was a 3-point attempt. The basket was going to be good."

Statement from Jeff Mayfield:

"Thank God for Rule 4, Section 67!!!"

[Jeff Mayfield]

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