For the first time this season, the Illini men played a game in which they did not compete. They had no chance of winning. They were merely a convenient Washington Generals, playing patsy to the delight and for the benefit of 17,000 Badger fans.


Rayvonte Rice reminded the Illini beat reporters that Wisconsin still has to come for a return game. He implied that things might be different next time. We should all have learned by now to avoid underestimating Rayvonte Rice.

So is it possible that this year’s Illini could beat this year’s Badgers?

Sure.

The formula is simple: They miss about 60% of their shots, and we make about 50% of ours.

On Wednesday, Illinois hit 25 of SEVENTY-NINE field goal attempts, including 20-of-60 from inside the arc.

The Illini “won” the rebounding battle 48-to-35.

Both stats are misleading, yet indirectly indicative of the outcome. Some number of those rebounds — and some number of those shot attempts — occurred simultaneously, during repeated feckless attempts at tipping a missed shot toward the hoop.

Shannon Ryan caught on. She asked John Groce and Rayvonte Rice about the tendency, without coming out and defining it, or calling it really stupid and worthless.

Meanwhile, the Badgers squared up and/or used the backboard to down two-handed jump-shots and five-fingered lay-ups at a rate of 56%, including 42% from three.

That’s all you need to know about this game. That’s why Illinois found itself in a twenty-point hole, and then a thirty-point hole. Fundamental basketball.

Two bright spots: Joe Bertrand was 7-of-10 from the field, for 18 points and 9 rebounds.

The Rice family, in general, will not be downtrodden by this loss.