Southern Indiana-Illinois Court Vision: Live Blogging, Commentary & Analysis


Illinois wins another close exhibition game, 76-67.

Bruce Weber wanted better execution after the unimpressive victory against Lewis and simply did not get it tonight (based on what I saw in the second half).

The Illini hardly looked like a top-15 team, committing 23 turnovers, 12 of which came in the second half.

So should Illinois basketball fans be worried?

While some will simply scoff at these exhibition games as meaningless, such an attitude that “We will be fine” didn’t work out well at the end of last season, now did it?

By no means am I trying to sound the panic alarm, but Illinois needs to wake up.

While some offensive struggles were expected when incorporating so many new players, the inconsistent approach to the game and at times apathetic attitude on defense are causes for some concern.


I’m ready to pick up the live blogging after missing the first half of the USI-UI game while wrapping up my seventh-grade basketball practice.

I will provide some bullet points for the rest of the game.

Illinois led 41-40 by the time I got the game stream up on

Second Half, Out of Under-16 Timeout

  • Illinois comes out with D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Jereme Richmond, Tyler Griffey and Mike Tisdale.
  • Richmond with a very aggressive offensive rebound on a missed Richardson three.
  • Richmond makes one of two free throws.
  • Brandon Paul compounds overdribbling with a sloppy pass that is stolen for an USI dunk and tie game at 47 with 14:14 to go.
  • Tisdale will get two free throws following an USI technical for hanging on the rim. Tisdale hits both freebies.
  • Richmond bringing the ball up for Illinois and handing off to Paul in the half-court.
  • Richardson drags his feet when reversing the ball from the top of the key.
  • Illinois with 6 turnovers in first 7 minutes of second half.
  • Paul with a nice closeout on a partially-blocked USI three.
  • Tyler Griffey with a nice rebound and stick back after Richmond forced a baseline drive and got caught in the air.
  • Richmond is slow to close out and catches a break as an USI player blows by and misses a reverse layup.
  • McCamey with a nice drive but overshoots a gimme layup.
  • Mike Davis misses an open jumper on the rebound. He has struggled with his mid-range shot in both exhibition games.
  • Brandon Paul with active hands, swiping the ball away and then getting on the break for a layup and 53-47 Illinois lead with 11:45 to go. Nice control of the body there, stopping to let the defender pass and then laying the ball up and in. Demetri McCamey mastered that move last season.

8:24 p.m.

Under 12-timeout: Illinois leads 53-47 with 11:45 to go in the second half.

  • Illinois comes out with Joseph Bertrand, Brandon Paul, Richmond, McCamey and Davis.
  • Paul with a nice pull up off the screen and roll game but misses.
  • Davis and Richmond can’t tip in Paul’s miss.
  • Richmond is a bit slow on a closeout as USI hits a corner three.
  • Paul misses a baseline runner but sticks with play, getting the offensive rebound.
  • Mike Davis hits a nice turnaround jumper from the baseline. Good shoulder fake to the middle and move to the baseline there.
  • Crandall Head in for Paul.
  • Bertrand skies for a rebound of a missed USI three after McCamey was slow to a closeout.
  • Richmond with a nice backdown move and face-up jumper for a 57-50 lead with under-10 minutes to go.
  • Bertrand picks up two quick fouls.
  • Meyers Leonard is in for Richmond.
  • USI’s C.J. Trotter hits a tough jumper over Head.
  • Bertrand lines up and misses an open three from the wing.
  • Mike Davis with a nice job of sticking with the play, having his shot blocked after a high low feed but recovering the ball to lay it in for a 7-point lead with 8:02 left.
  • Richardson comes in for McCamey.
  • Richardson with a nice baseline drive and bank shot.
  • Bertrand picks up his third foul since coming in.

8:32 p.m.

Illinois leads 61-52 with 7:16 left. The Illini are on a modest 14-5 run.

  • Richardson is a bit slow on an USI inbound play that leads to a jumper.
  • Crandall Head with a nice drive, but is called for an offensive foul before banking in a layup.
  • Leonard showing the ability to defend the perimeter.
  • Brandon Paul skies for a rebound off a missed USI three.
  • Richardson passes up an open three and misses a forced two.
  • Crandall Head with a bad decision, turning the ball over when running a pick and roll lob to Leonard. That was a lazy pass.
  • Leonard gets called for an offensive foul, swinging his elbows, after a defensive rebound. Leonard picked up a similar foul call against Lewis.
  • Mike Davis forces a quick jumper and bricks it.
  • Brandon Paul rips down another rebound and hits a top-of-the-key three in the secondary transition to put Illinois up 64-56 with 5:17 to go in the second half.
  • USI takes timeout after three.
  • Tyler Griffey, Mike Tisdale, Brandon Paul, Demetri McCamey and Bill Cole are in the game.
  • Tisdale uses his length to alter an USI shot.
  • Paul with a good decision, dribbles middle and hits Tisdale in the post. Tisdale misses a hook.
  • Paul responds to an USI three with a wing three to keep the Illini up 67-59 with 4 minutes left.
  • Illinois picks up its ninth foul but USI is called for a lane violation on the front half of the bonus.
  • Brandon Paul with a sloppy pass to the top of the key that McCamey tried to tap down low.
  • USI misses a dunk on the break and picks up a technical foul afterward.

8:44 p.m.

Illinois leads 67-59 with 3:38 to go in the second half. The Illini haven’t looked all that great. Brandon Paul has hit two threes to keep this an 8-point game and is playing the best ball out of all of the Illini in the second half.

  • Mike Tisdale gets two free throws following the USI technical and hits them both. Four of Tisdale’s 6 points this half have come from the foul line.
  • Tisdale with a quiet 18 points.
  • Tyler Griffey misses an open three in the screen and roll game with Paul. Took too long to get set there. Griffey hasn’t played with much confidence in the exhibition games.
  • McCamey misses a hanging layup but is fouled. McCamey makes both free throws.
  • McCamey fails to box out a much smaller USI player, resulting in an offensive rebound and foul on Bill Cole. USI hits one of two free throws to cut the score to 71-62.
  • Illinois has struggled to contain the dribble at times in the second half.
  • Mike Davis and D.J. Richardson are in for Griffey and Cole with 2:23 to go.
  • Tisdale misses a half hook following a nice post feed from Brandon Paul.
  • Illinois fails to box out on the weak side, resulting in an USI stick back. Mike Davis failed to get his body on another body.
  • Illinois turns it over. Paul tries to save a weak reverse pass from Davis but can’t.
  • Illinois leads 71-64 with 1:30 left. It’s USI ball.
  • Illinois with 23 turnovers, 12 in the second half.
  • Tisdale rattles home a three from the wing with 47 seconds left to put Illinois up 10 (74-64).
  • Tisdale with a good, hard foul on the other end, putting USI on the line rather than giving up a dunk.
  • Illinois falls asleep on an inbound pass (second time this half), resulting in an USI layup.
  • Paul misses the front end of a one and one.
  • USI air balls a three, but UI fails to box out. Luckily, Illinois converges and blocks the follow-up shot.
  • Davis hits the front and back end of a one and one with 11.7 seconds left.
  • USI misses a three and Illinois wins 76-67.

8:56 p.m.

Illinois wins 76-67.

Mike Tisdale leads the Illini with 21 points.

Barring a couple of careless passes, Brandon Paul was really key for the Illini in the second half, hitting two big threes, playing under control within the offense, getting some big boards on the defensive glass and having some active hands.

With that said, Illinois’ execution wasn’t any better than the Lewis game.

Illinois coughed up the ball way too much and looked a bit listless on defense at times, especially in terms of second-chance opportunities.

In my opinion, Illinois has been severely outworked by inferior opponents in both exhibition games. Such effort after missing the NCAA Tournament in 2010 is mind-boggling, even if it is the exhibition season.

Quite frankly, Illinois has a lot of work to do before the season opener on Monday night.