Column: Ho-Hum, Illinois wins once again

By Lucas Deal

The Illinois basketball team returned to the Assembly Hall after its disappointing trip to Arizona on Wednesday night and defeated Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI for short), 87-59.

The Illini played well and it was a decent game, but I have to admit, after the level of competition the Illini have played recently, it was a bit of a letdown.

Support the Daily Illini in College Media Madness!

Help the Daily Illini take back the top spot in the College Media Madness fundraising competition! See the current ranking here.

learn more
donate now

It was almost, dare I say, boring.

That energy, that excitement we all felt encompassing the Assembly Hall during the second half of the Maryland game was gone, replaced by half-hearted cheers and groans from all the tired students worn down from classes and finals.

    Subscribe to our sports newsletter!

    From the football field to the tennis court, stay up to date on all things Illini sports from the the best student sports journalists in the Midwest.

    The game last night was a game; but it was only a game. It wasn’t an “event.” When I was a freshman, all Illinois basketball games were “events.” Now, not so much.

    The thing is, I can’t seem to figure out why.

    My sophomore year, when we were rolling over teams (Big Ten or otherwise) by 40 points every night, I was still thrilled to watch the game. Home games were always a plus, but even road games were fun to watch.

    Last season was the same way. We weren’t quite as invincible as 2004-2005, but we were still good. I still scheduled my days around making sure I would have time to watch the game. It didn’t matter who the opponent was. When the Illinois basketball team had a game, I was going to be damn sure I could watch.

    This season, for the most part, I’ve been the same way. But after the Maryland and Arizona games, last night’s game just didn’t do it for me.

    It’s killing me that I don’t know why.

    Maybe it’s because it’s the last week of classes, or because it’s finally starting to get cold, or maybe I’ve simply become so used to these courtside seats I’ve forgotten what it’s like to watch games from the stands. I have no idea, but last night just wasn’t the same.

    And I mean no disrespect to IUPUI – honestly, I don’t – but they’re no Maryland or Arizona. They’ll never be.

    It’s just that after last week, I don’t know, I kind of feel like I can’t take these smaller games seriously anymore. I know we have to play them, we have to use them to get better and on some rare nights, we’re going to lose to them. It’s just that I can’t get into them.

    That excitement level isn’t there.

    Does that mean that I’m spoiled? That I’ve become so accustomed to watching us take on other big-name schools that anything less leaves me disinterested?

    I don’t want it to be that way. I don’t want to be bored by watching us play. I don’t want to fall into the terrible trap of “looking ahead.” It’s just that when I look into the present (technically, last night’s game was the past), I’m not pumped anymore.

    I expect us to win pretty much every night.

    I guess that means I am spoiled.

    And yet, when you think about it, being spoiled by success isn’t such a bad problem to have. I mean, you’ve got to be good for it to become a problem.

    I guess now I know how Duke feels.

    Lucas Deal is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]