Who Are The Illini? We’re About To Find Out

My June 23 column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) If only Illinois had played that way against the other NU.

On Tuesday night in Lincoln, the Fighting Illini shucked Nebraska 71-51 in a dominating performance from start to finish that couldn’t have been more polar from the way they played last week in a 68-54 home loss to Northwestern during which Illinois never led.

With their backs pressed to the wall, Illinois conjured up a desperately needed victory over the Cornhuskers that snapped a three-game Big Ten skid for Illinois and bumped the team’s record up to 15-5, 2-4.

But it also posed the burning question: Who are these Illini?

Are they the team that whipped Gonzaga, Butler and Ohio State and rose as high as No. 10 in the national rankings? Or are they the team that lost 5-of-7 games, started out 1-4 in the Big Ten and was manhandled by the likes of Northwestern and Purdue?

We might not be able to say just who this schizophrenic Illinois basketball team is, but this we can be sure of: We’re going to find out soon.

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