Following Bill Self seemed like a tall order, but Bruce Weber did it swimmingly in his first two seasons with the Illini. After two deeps runs in the tourney including one all the way to the Finals, Weber had Illinois more exciting than it’d been since the days of Kendall Gill and Marcus Liberty. After beginning the season with fairly high expectations, the wheels have come off in a big way for Weber and his Illini during a tough Big-10 schedule. The result seems to have had Weber begging for his job for weeks now, and the matter of his firing seems all but a foregone conclusion. It’s a safe bet that Weber will bounce back and win again, but it seems an equally safe bet that it won’t be at Illinois.
Hindsight will likely file this away as a scrappy team that played over their heads at times, and one that played just well enough to frustrate you on most nights. Clearly these Terps have been undermanned all season and the results have been frustrating, especially when they simply don’t have the legs to finish games. What has happened as a result though is devolution of fundamental principles of basketball as the team is beholden to Terrell Stoglin to keep them in games, yet therefore also subject to his whimsy and at times his selfish tendencies, which seem to take everyone else out of sorts and out of the offense altogether. For now we can write it off as making the best of an otherwise impossible situation, but as Stoglin’s confidence and ego continue to grow, so do his bad habits and the likelihood that he’ll carry them into next season. Whether or not a parting of company for Stoglin and the Terps will be in the cards after the season remains to be seen, but may ultimately be the best possible scenario for both parties moving forward.