Thursday, February 03, 2005

Factor Fear?

I've got to disagree with H-man on his "Losing is good for you" post. While it is the kind of sentiment I would expect from a Titans fan, it needs to be fleshed out a little more.

H-man says "how can your Illini know anything about themselves if they've never been in a fight?"

Well, they have. They went to overtime against Iowa and had to come back from a sizable deficit against Wisconsin at Wisconsin (which had the nation's longest home winning streak). the fact is they have been in fights. They have won them. What they have learned about themselves is that they kick ass. You never hear a coach say before a game "Our kids really need to learn what losing is like"? It's nonsense. Sure, after they lose the coach will say "It is a good experience for our boys to get humbled, it'll put some fear into them before the tourney". But, that doesn't mean the players or the fans should take that any more seriously than the hundreds of other jock cliches we hear every night.

Illini: Don't lose. Instead, go out and give 110% every night.


Blogger The Factor said...

Well said, Power.

This Illini team knows exactly what it feels like to lose. They all remember the sting of losing that dogfight last year with Duke. Every major contributor on this Illini experienced that sting first hand. The starting line-up was almost exactly the same. This team already has one tournament loss. They lost 7 fights last year. They've seen their adversity and they know they don't like it. That's why they've been busting their tails all year to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Why can't an undefeated team roll through the tourney? Is their some karmic or statistical tab that a team runs through the season that must eventually catch up with them? Why can't the Patriots win their third Superbowl in four years? Everyone said the Pats couldn't keep that long of a win streak going into the playoffs last year. Well, they did, and then they did it a few more times this season. This Illini team has the distinct advantage of being almost the exact same team as the one that rolled into the Sweet 16 last year. Only they're a year better and a year wiser.
Those almost-undefeated Stanford teams tanked the tourney, but they all played cupcake regular season scheds. They didn't have to go into someone else's house and break their 38 game home winning streak. Or tackle the #1 team in the league as a dog and dominate them. They came into the tournaments soft and silly. When you watch this Illini team play, you can see that they won't make that mistake.
Personally I don't care if they go undefeated. It's the fact that they go out there and play their hearts out every game knowing that they don't have a whole lot to gain from a few regular season wins. I don't think losing a regular season game can prove anything to the world or to the team that they don't already know. Now losing a tournament game will tell you a lot. This team has already done that and I don't think that they intend to do it again.

Special teams only come around every now and then. Why can't the Illini be one of them?

11:59 AM  
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