Since the NCAA insists that their stupid play-in round is now actually the 1st round, and the real 1st round is now the 2nd, I would like to declare that we've already gotten last year's monkey off our back and advanced to Round 3. Woo-hoo!
Had to sweat it a bit for 25 minutes of that game, but down the stretch we perpetrated the most vicious terrier massacre since Fish Called Wanda.
Self said we were tight in the 1st half, but actually no one looked tighter than him. Even in the 1st we were making jumpers, which suggests to me we weren't really tight. We just didn't respect the opponent. Once we focused on defense in the 2nd half everything else fell into place. (By the way, how does it help the team for Self to keep telling them NOT to be tight? Just drop the subject already.)
One interesting subplot was Selby. At one point early in the 2nd I noticed him on the bench and began to wonder if he was now out of the rotation entirely -- did he even play at all in the 1st? But Self put him in down the stretch, and while he wasn't exactly great -- hurt us defensively, I think -- he finally got a short jumper to bounce in, made a big layup, and made that key fast-break assist to Brady. Maybe the kid's got his mojo back.
But since I've been so horrifically wrong in my brackets so far, I should probably revise my earlier dismissal of the Illini. I've never seen them play nearly as well as they did in dismantling the Rebs -- the ESPN crew said the same. If this underachieving team is finally going to play to potential (preseason Top 20) we could have a fight on our hands. Considering that they were really more dominant than us last night, our players should approach this game with an underdog mentality -- we have something to prove.
Update: here's that highlight: