Illini's win against No.5 Michigan State

Was it the Illini I knew?
(by 'Jacob' Dong-il Shin)

It was fun! We pretty enjoyed the game. On February 6, 2010, seats in Assembly Hall looked completely filled with screaming, orange-clad fans, making Illinois basketball look different today. I heard the fans were in line before dawn Saturday waiting to get into the ESPN GameDay taping at the Hall. (When was the last appearance of the Illini Men's Basketball Team before the national audience?)

Daniel and I planned to be in the line. Maybe we are allowed to bring in posters for the morning taping at there. But it was still too cold in the early morning. My family just stayed home. No matter where we were then, it was lucky to witnessed the Illini's super-win against a top-five team, No. 5 Michigan State. Illinois's 78-73 upset of the Spartans sent the crowd in the Hall and viewers here in Champaign a frenzy.

Michigan State missed a great guard named Kalin Lucas on the game, and his appearance would have made a difference. Perhaps, but nothing could detract from what the Illini accomplished, because Demetri McCamey, believed to be an undervalued player in college hoops this year, was too much for the Spartans. He scored 22 points and 11 assists! He did what he had to do all the time when he was needed in critical moments. Team play did quite well today enough for the NCAA tournament consideration. Illini is now the third in the Big Ten.

Illini Men's Baketball was not a winning team, when I was a student here. I don't have any wonderful memory of the Illini games back then. Also, I don't play basketball any more, since I am feeling like the court game is too fast and well exposed to big injuries at my age. However, watching today's game was still fun!

Before an ESPN audience in the College GameDay,  Illini looked very confident enough to get back into the conversation for an NCAA bid.

No winning spirit in Illini team!
(by Daniel Hobin Shin)

As people might know, I am from Korea. There are so many reasons I am proud of that. One is the winning spirit of Korea. At 2002 World Cup event, for example, when Korea was in roll of soccer, Korea Team moved up to the semi-final. How could it be possible then? Maybe it was because head coach Hiddink was there then. I think, however, the miracle was only possible because the fans and players were full of a winning spirit. Korean fans cheered so convincingly that it dazzled the opponent teams. It made them feel 'lost'.

When I came here and saw the fans and players of the Illini basketball teams, I was very disappointed. They worked hard. Some enjoyed, of course. However, they looked like they don't have a winning spirit. In the game against Michigan State, I sat and watched a whole game, but they didn't look like a winner. Illini won, but I was not happy in part.

The game was not bad. The Illini played really well against the fifth best college basketball team in the States. Some players were in trouble, and Michigan State players were close to winning. Fortunately to us, they weren’t able to turn the table. The tension was killing. In the end of the game, my heart was beating so fast with worries when the Spartans almost turned over the game. I thought it would burst out of my body. Then when Illini team was safe again there was a large sigh of relief and a immense cheer in me.

I have to say that Illini had poor offense. They were often blocked by the strong Spartans. They also couldn’t get through the defense. I have no idea aobut how Illini managed to defend the Spartans. I think Illini still has so many things to be learned.

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