Lightning - 4; Kings - 1
This is starting to get very frustrating. I understand the team is suffering from injuries, but in the last two games, they've had almost no one show up. The PK has been downright awful now for a couple of months, and they don't seem to be doing anything about it. Now Garon may be hurt, but then again, after the goal he gave up in the first period, I'm not sure how much that's going to hurt. Avery failed to convert a penalty shot, and their power play was downright pathetic. Just like last season, this team can weather injuries to some guys, even stars like Demitra and solid defensmen like Miller. But this team cannot survive without Lubo. If he misses significant time, the Kings might be done.
Illinois - 60; Indiana - 62
Valiant effort against a good team on the road. Once again they were undone by poor shooting and ultimately foul trouble, as Dee and Brian Randle fouled out. But Indiana is good. The whole Big Ten this year is very strong, and there's no shame in losing to the #11 team in the country on their home court. And there were some silver linings. For starters, Sean Pruitt had 17 points and 7 rebounds, both tops on the team. Randle added 15 as he attacked the basket a lot more in the second half. Chester Frazier looked pretty strong as well on the defensive end. The Illini really need Randle and Pruitt to provide offense, because teams have been keying on Dee and James Augustine. Not only do those the team need someone else to put points on the board, they need someone to take the defensive pressure off of the seniors.
Remember that Bruce Weber was 3-3 in his first six conference games with the 2003-2004 team before they took off and won their last ten conference games. I don't think they'll make a run like that again, mostly due to the strength of the conference, but if this team can make it click, and I think that what we saw out of Pruitt and Randle is an indication that they can, this team can be very good this year.
And not to Indiana fans, when you're the favorite, and you beat a team who's barely ranked ahead of you, on your own floor, by two after almost blowing a 15 point lead, after two of their best players have fouled out, well, rushing the floor makes you look like something less than a team with a storied tradition and 5 national championships.