Smile Politely

That’s more like it

The first string put a hurt on the hippies from Cal-Irvine.

Bruce Weber seemed brilliant for the first sixteen minutes. His defensive emphasis shone as Illinois held the Anteaters to single digits for most of the first half.

That’s the defensive news.

On offense, Brandon Paul played zone-breaker. He hit his first 5 attempts from three, and Illinois never looked back.

The Illini probably should have looked back because Irvine eventually made a game of it. In the clsoing minutes of the first half, Irvine took advantage of the second string and doubled their point total.

Irvine won the second half, repeatedly breaking Illinois down on the dribble-drive. Anteater point guard Patrick Rembert, exotically Korean Emil Kim and the spectacularly afroed Mike Wilder kicked-out to open teammates again and again.

So Illini fans got what they wanted, a big blowout win. And then again, concern crept back in the conversation.


An inbounds play that wasn’t: Jereme Richmond flashed to the basket. He strong-armed his defender, planting his feet in a wide base. He cried out to Demetri McCamey, four feet away.

The play that didn’t happen next will not go down in Illini lore, along with the Efrem Windmill.


Meechi eventually heaved the ball inbounds. The possession ended when he heaved again, this time a long and closely contested three-pointer which missed badly.

Tisdale manhandled: Mike Tisdale finished with 8 rebounds and 12 points, so the sky is not falling. But he got pushed around the lane an awful lot by burlier Anteaters.

Irvine coach Russell Turner said Tisdale won’t fare well against shorter opponents.


The ever-youthful Don Berardini brought #2 son Nick, who played basketball at Mizzou. They got to see Kevin Berardini notch his first official statistics as an Illini.

Don reports #4 son Danny has accepted a gymnastics scholarship from Oklahoma University. The Sooners offered more money, about 90% of Danny’s college expenses.

Plus, they seem to do all right on the competitive front.

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