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A Happy Saturday in Illinois Athletics

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Illinois Athletics had a happy Saturday:

For the past month, Illinois athletics seemed to be in a bit of a rut. Despite the football team’s successful season, a close bowl game loss painfully reminded the fanbase of what could have been. Additionally, Ryan Walters dipped for in-conference rival, Purdue, and took two key assistants with him. On top of that, what seemed to be the top target on Illinois’ QB board followed suit and committed to the Boilermakers after reportedly being on-campus at Illinois. Illinois basketball was fresh off a drubbing to the weak and insufferable Northwestern Wildcats. Which basically added gas to a fire of heaping garbage. Brad Underwood and crew seemed off. They were 0-3 in conference play, and looked disheveled both on and off the court.

Prized recruit, Skyy Clark also took a leave from the team. Clark was a big time recruit, and though he may not have been performing up to the fan’s standards, Illinois put a lot of eggs in his basket to be really good for at least one year. In all, everything was looking bleak except for Shauna Green and the ladies basketball team

Saturday January 7th.

If I am going to be honest with you, I have been working night shifts and have spent the last week waking up around 4pm to go to work. Needless to say, a very dreary time going to bed when it’s gray out and then waking up to a gray sky. However, Saturday proved to be a more pleasant day with the Illini news.

To start, Illinois beat number 14 ranked Wisconsin at home, 79-69. Coleman Hawkins and Terrence Shannon looked like the players we saw in November. And despite winning big time matchups against UCLA and Texas, Illinois looked like they were scrambling and running an improvised offense 85 percent of the time. That was not the case on Saturday. Illinois looked decisive, crisp and looked like they had fun. Let’s be honest, no one looked like they were having fun on the court the last month. The Illini may have caught a break with Tyler Wahl out with an injury, but a win against a top 15 team will do. Illinois looked good against a very stout defense, and hopefully this is the win that always kicks Brad Underwood’s teams in the right direction.

Illinois Football also joined the club with some good news. Four star Chicago Wide receiver, Malik Elzy announced his commitment to the Illini on national television. Elzy is the highest rated prospect to commit to Bret Bielema. Elzy will add some talent and firepower to a very thin core of wide receivers. Also, having the block I hat picked on national TV while Michigan, Wisconsin and Notre Dame hats lay bare on the table was an undoubtedly good feeling.

Oh, and Kerby Joseph, a former 7th string wide receiver under Lovie Smith, picked Aaron Rodgers off for the third time this season. He ended the Green Bay Packer’s playoff hopes.

What’s next?

Illinois Basketball will take on Fred Hoiberg and Nebraska tomorrow night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Illinois has struggled there the last two years, despite winning games. Nebraska is much improved, but Illinois will look to build on momentum. Let’s hope for a less stressful game than the past two years.

Illinois Football now awaits the return of more very important pieces to their team. Julian Pearl, Isaiah Adams, Tarique Barnes and Jordyn Slaughter have all announced their return.

 

I-L-L

Alex is the Owner of Armchairillini.com, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is a Resident Physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Northwestern Medicine and has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS sports and more.

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