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This week’s Illini punching bag comes from Romeoville. Lewis University fields… well, courts… a pretty good basketball team, by Division II standards.

Led by Harvey-Thornton graduate Brandon Dagans, the Flyers notched 20 wins in 2007–08. But they were not scheduled for the purpose of challenging a young Illini team, still searching for an identity. Expect another 20 point win, and perhaps your last chance to see Stan Simpson in action this year.


Brandon Dagans averaged 16.7 points-per-game for Lewis last season.

Simpson and Alex Legion were back in practice this week, after spending time writing papers, studying for exams, and that other icky stuff that the Bruce Weber types still expect out of student-athletes. But Simpson, unlike Legion, is not immediately needed. He seems a likely redshirt candidate — especially because sitting a year would help get him acclimated to all this fancy book learnin’, and not living at home.

If this week’s crowd resembles last Sunday’s, you’ll have the opportunity to sit just about anywhere, and can by your tickets on the cheap — from a desperate old man, whose whose wife and grandchildren ditched the basketball plan for a bit of gardening and video games. You could also buy them here.

I spoke with Chester Frazier before Thursday’s practice. Although relaxed, he recognized that this Sunday’s game is about figuring out who the Illini are, rather than who the opponent is.

See you at the Hall, dressed in orange, Sunday at 4:30 p.m.