Sparty was Sparty on Tuesday night, getting run out of the gym in Bloomington, so the only thing left that is out of Michigan's hands is a matchup between two teams, in a place you hate...that will likely cause you to in some way root for a team you have wished painful death upon for the bulk of your life. The rest is in the hands of the Wolverines.
#13 Michigan is heading to Champaign for a Thursday night battle with the Fighting Illini. Illinois has dropped 9 of their last 11, and is spiraling to a point where Bruce Weber has found himself on the hot seat. At the same time, Michigan comes in carrying the burden of history on its backs, going 0-13 over the last 17 years in Champaign, and will have to deal with a wounded animal in Illinois, who needs to win out and win a couple of games in the Big Ten tournament to make the NCAA's. Michigan will also have to contain Meyers Leonard, a 7'1'' rebounding machine that has broken out for 43 points in his last two games.
You should anticipate having to deal with the frustration of Leonard keeping possessions alive after Illini misses. Mix in one or two 3-4 minute Michigan scoring droughts and an emotional Illinois team playing for its seniors and for the beleaguered coach, and well, we're looking at another great night of frustrating Big Ten hoops.
It's a recipe for...well, it's a recipe for something.
Be there, 7pm, ESPN