It started out as a Cub blog with cuss words. I'm still cussin'; it's the Cub part I'm a little squishy on these days.

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Illini Basketball
Bruce, we gave you tha keys, and THIS is what you brought home?

¿Dónde está mi dinero, las rameras?

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Monday, March 28

and his chin had dropped to the floor

With the Illini down by 15 with four minutes left, the man had just about seen enough. Just like the century-old Cub curse, the Illini just can't seem to find a way to beat the Arizona Wildcats. Sooner or later, the boys in orange figure out just who they're up against, and give the game away in the last. Typical, just typical, business as usual for Illinois sports fans.

The man got up off of the couch, intending to return the empty popcorn bowl to the sink, and he took the precaution of bringing the remote control with him. "The Quiet Man" was on AMC, and he'd figure to catch the end of it to try to take his mind off of his troubles, just as the titular character was trying to do in the movie. As he got off of the couch, Luther Head hit a three. Garbage points, said the man, as he headed to the kitchen.

The bowl clattered in the sink as Head hit another three. The man could already hear the sports reports tonight, where 'the close score was not indicative of the way the Wildcats dominated the Illini, especially in the second half'. But almost as soon as he thought this, the Illini held yet again, and the 5 foot 11 Dee Brown came up with a putback to put them within seven.

The man could not press the channel button. With days to think about it, he was able to reason that he couldn't because he didn't think he was watching a real game. Sometimes, his kids would play NBA 2K-whatever with "fouls" turned off, because they thought it was fun to reach in every time on defense, to strip the opponent every time down the floor, and win games with scores like 176-9.

As Head scored after a steal, Williams drove for a basket and then made a steal and fed Brown for another basket with 45 seconds left, the man felt like he was just watching another one of his kid's video games. Every time Arizona would come down the floor, the Illini guards would just reach in and take the ball away, just like if some big guy in the sky turned "fouls off".

After Jack Ingram deflected an inbounds pass, Williams hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 38 seconds to go. The man had not moved from his spot behind the kitchen counter, just leaning against it with one arm, while his other hand held his remote, his finger on the channel key, and his mouth wide open, his chin resting on the floor.

The most incredible four minutes in Illinois basketball history had just taken place, and the man said nothing, felt nothing, thought nothing. Was there any doubt Illinois would outscore Arizona in the OT? Even as the last second shot came up short, the man felt nothing. The game had been won five game minutes before, it was just that nobody had told the refs that yet.

Today, I'm thinking if I were an Arizona fan, I might be knocking at the door of the NCAA headquarters in Kansas, or whereever it is, gripping my shotgun in a menacing manner, demanding to know HOW in God's name there were no fouls called during that last four-minute flurry of activity? Certainly a team with that many NBA-caliber stars could hold onto the ball unless they were being brutally manhandled, hacked, mugged, FOULED?

I'm glad I saw it, I'm glad I froze, and couldn't pull the trigger on "The Quiet Man", and as I sit here, I think Louisville looks five times stronger than we do.

But who was Number 1 all year? Ca$h.