“The Contest” vs. Illinois

That unpleasant image above is from last year’s home contest against the Illini when 100 members of Illinois’ student section, the “Orange Krush” somehow duped PSU’s Athletic Department into buying them a block of seats behind one of the basket, claiming they were from a branch campus…As if people from a branch campus were going to drive for an hour or two to watch shit-tastic basketball.  The whole time, right before tip-off the Illnois students were dressed in blue, applauding the players and pretending to be ardent PSU supporters…Until they revealed their orange shirts to the stunned silence of the thousand or so PSU fans in attendance, and the team ended up getting trumped on national television.   This fiasco led to the creation of a national embarassment for the program and plenty of angry e-mails and phone calls.

Flash-forward to today: Illinois is now basement buddies with us, thanks in part, to us beating them earlier this year (You know, back when we were undefeated in the Big Ten and things looked brighter than your ultra-competitive neighbor’s house during Christmas)  but mostly in part to the fact that they too, suck right now.  Despite that however, they managed to pull seemingly out of nowhere, a 24-point shellacking at Minnesota (Yes, THAT Minnesota) on Wednesday night, boosting their record to a whopping (11-14, 3-9 ) which stacks up right with our own (11-12, 3-8) record.

Apparently the odds makers took note of Illinois’ most recent victory, because they are a 3.5 point favorite tonight.  As tempting as it might be to take the bait, I’m not going to do it.  Yes, the Fighting DeChellises are sucking incredibly once again (or is it “incredibly sucking”?) but that upset over Michigan State still has me in that Lloyd Christmas mindset (“So, you’re telling me there’s a CHANCE?”) when it comes to home games and since we’ve already beaten Illinois once, you have to figure the players KNOW they can win as opposed to just thinking they can.

For the sake of competition, Rants From The District is going to take Illinois to cover the spread.   Either he’s going to take a significant lead on me in the contest or we’re going to be tied once again because here are the current standings:

HHV 7-5

RFTD 8-4


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