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What would you consider a successful season for Illinois Div I teams?

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  • What would you consider a successful season for Illinois Div I teams?

    Wrestling fans and posters from across the country tend to over-predict how well their teams will/should do. I think part of this is ordinary optimistm & hope, as well as seeing things through the shade of glasses of their favorite team. Also, almost everyone is guilty of picking out your favorite individuals' or team's best performance and then thinking that your guy or team should always produce like that.

    With that in mind, I'm curious what some of you guys and gals would consider a successful finish for Illinois teams at the 2008 NCAAs. In my mind, successful is probably somewhat above the average of a great finish and a poor finish. There are approximately 90 NCAA Div I teams.

    Univ of Illinois--after two years in the wilderness (i.e. not in top ten), I would think that if Illinois could finish in the top ten then Illinois fans would consider that "successful." Sure they have the potential to finish close to top-five, but that would take almost everything going right. We've also seen how far a team can drop when almost everything doesn't go well. I think most polls have Illinois ranked in the mid-teens. I won't be surprised if that doesn't go up for at least part of the season. But I would say that a finish in the top ten would make for a successful season.

    Northwestern-- after a 4th place finish last season and three returnees who are potential finalists, Northwestern is ranked top five in many polls (tournament team). However, with Herbert on sabbatical I think that those polls are a bit optimistic for the Evanston boys. Fox has many close matches, Tamillow is in a weight with many returning AAs and some other great wrestlers, and Lang, though he is probably Northwestern's best chance to place high, is also in a weight with lots of highly talented competition. Precin certainly has AA potential, but there are nearly 15 guys at 125 with solid AA potential. With that in mind, I would say that if Northwestern finishes top 10, they will have had another successful NCAA tournament.

    Northern Illinois-- Last year, NIU finished tied for 44th at NCAAs. Without as many big guns as Illinois and NW, it will be difficult to score a lot of points. If Castillo and Burk both do well, and with a little help from a few other guys, it is possible for NIU to sneak into the top 30 or so. Certainly some will say if this happens and if so-and-so does something else, then they could finish higher. But that's the case with all 90 teams. I would say that a finish in the top 35 will make for a successful finish to the season.

    OK, other opinions?

  • #2
    Keep in mind, I'm only a fan of the Missouri Tigers, so my fan-colored glasses don't apply to any of the Illinois school. After MU, I have certain individuals and teams that I'd like to see do well (Jimmy Kennedy and Cornell fall under these categories.) U of I does not generally fall under that category, and the fact that I cheer on Poeta and Kennedy is an aberration. (I have many reasons for not liking Illinois, so please don't try to dissuade me from that stance.) So, as a wrestling fan, this is what I think that the fans of the Illinois teams - maybe not for this season, but in general - should be looking for.

    - U of I: A top 3 Big Ten tourney, a top ten finish. With the athletes Illinois gets, I always befuddled by their performances at NCAAs. They have the facilities, the recruiting, etc. I never understood how they continuously fall apart at NCAAs. Like I said, I'm not a fan, but I see a lot of kids who I really like in HS go to Illinois, and I'd like to see them succeed.

    - Northwestern: If they continue to recruit the way they've been recruiting, they should continue to battle for the Big Ten title, and place in the top 5. I hope that the financial support that their club has received will continue on, because it has clearly made them a better team.

    - Northern Illinois - top 3 in MAC, top 25 in NCAAs. Again, they bring in some decent athletes, so this is completely plausible. Also, if I was a NIU fan, I would want to see wrestlers who can finish their matches stronger. As long as I've been watching college wrestling, for about 10 years now, NIU wrestlers often seem to be so winded by the third period.
    Chicks Heart Fights

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    • #3
      [B]
      - U of I: A top 3 Big Ten tourney, a top ten finish. With the athletes Illinois gets, I always befuddled by their performances at NCAAs. They have the facilities, the recruiting, etc. I never understood how they continuously fall apart at NCAAs. Like I said, I'm not a fan, but I see a lot of kids who I really like in HS go to Illinois, and I'd like to see them succeed.
      O.K. bluestater, you say a top 3 finish in the Big 10 and a top 10 finish at NCAA's. I would say top 5 in the Big 10, but close enough and I agree that is a successful year. Then you go on to say how you are "befuddled by their performance and how they continuously fall apart at the NCAA's." Well here are Illinois' finishes in the Big 10 and NCAA's since 2000. I don't see where they "continuously fall apart at the NCAA's".

      2000- Big 10 3rd... NCAA 6th, which equals a successful year.
      2001- Big 10 2nd... NCAA 5th, which equals a successful year.
      2002- Big 10 5th... NCAA 10th, which equals a successful year.
      2003- Big 10 5th... NCAA 9th, which equals a successful year.
      2004- Big 10 3rd... NCAA 7th, which equals a successful year.
      2005- Big 10 1st... NCAA 6th, which equals a successful year.
      2006- Big 10 2nd... NCAA 23rd, which equals a successful Big 10, but also a "falling apart".
      2007- Big 10 7th... NCAA 19th, which equals a poor year.

      So in the last 8 years I would say Illinois has really only had one BAD year (2007), based soley on the Big 10 and NCAA tournaments. Let's not forget how well Illinois did in the dual season (2nd in the Big 10) in 2007. We could talk about how young they were last year or we could talk about expecting a little more in some other years, but let's not.... so basing it solely on their performances at the Big 10 and NCAA tournaments I would say that U of I has had a pretty good 6-3/4 seasons out of the last 8 years.
      Last edited by BARR; 11-26-2007, 12:08 PM.
      "When I step on the mat I try to score points & entertain the fans". Offensive points scored 2205.. Offensive points against 32.. Never put on his back.. 97 pins.. 24 TF.. 26 MD.. 16 Dec.. 17 FFT.. 2 ID.. 90% of wins by bonus points.. 93% of wins at State by bonus points.. final 115 matches offensively outscored opponents 1472-2.. never taken down in any state series match in IKWF or IHSA.. some say that's not dominating.. some say not a good mat wrestler.. I disagree.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here are my thoughts for the programs....

        U of I.... I think that a top 5 in the Big 10 and a top 10 in the NCAA's would be a successful season. I know many don't, but I also take into consideration their dual meet season. Illinois is generally very good in duals.

        Northwestern.... They are generally not as good in duals, but they do have a very good tournament team. I would think that a top 5 in the Big 10 and a top 10 at the NCAA's would be a successful season. Of course with the recruiting they have been doing, I could see raising those expectations. They haven't been as consistant as Illinois, but they are putting themselves in the thick of things for the next few years and very probably for many to come.

        NIU.... top 3 in the MAC and top 30 in the NCAA's would be a successful season.
        Last edited by BARR; 11-26-2007, 12:04 PM.
        "When I step on the mat I try to score points & entertain the fans". Offensive points scored 2205.. Offensive points against 32.. Never put on his back.. 97 pins.. 24 TF.. 26 MD.. 16 Dec.. 17 FFT.. 2 ID.. 90% of wins by bonus points.. 93% of wins at State by bonus points.. final 115 matches offensively outscored opponents 1472-2.. never taken down in any state series match in IKWF or IHSA.. some say that's not dominating.. some say not a good mat wrestler.. I disagree.

        Comment


        • #5
          OK, maybe I hadn't paid enough attention to Illinois before 2006, but why have they been so poor the past last two years? They have the athletes, the facilities, etc... everything I mentioned before. Why do they do so well during the regular season, as you mentioned in your next post, but have finished 19th and 23rd at NCAAs? That's just my opinion, but the only reason that you take part in duals and tournaments is to get ready for the end of season tournaments. If you didn't do well at the big show, you didn't do well.

          Quite honestly, outside of Poeta and Kennedy, I don't really care if Illinois DNPs. It just always surprises me how staunch all of their supporters are on this board, especially after the last two NCAA finishes.
          Chicks Heart Fights

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          • #6
            I can't speak for everybody, but I am a big supporter of Illinois because I am a fan of many of their student athletes and I think the coaching staff is a total class act. I also think that this being "illinois"matmen might have something to do with people supporting U of I.

            Now I don't know why they took 19th and 23rd the last 2 years, but based on the last 8 years I would say they have done a pretty good job down at U of I. At the beginning of last season they really weren't expected to do that well because they had a very young and unproven team. They had no returning AA's and a few first year starters.

            In 2006, I have no idea what went wrong at the NCAA's. They had a seasoned team with guys that had been there and performed very well. I personally chalk it up to a bad tournament. Those things happen. Let's not forget that those same athletes had the same coaches that got them there to be seasoned and perform well before 2006.
            Last edited by BARR; 11-26-2007, 12:35 PM.
            "When I step on the mat I try to score points & entertain the fans". Offensive points scored 2205.. Offensive points against 32.. Never put on his back.. 97 pins.. 24 TF.. 26 MD.. 16 Dec.. 17 FFT.. 2 ID.. 90% of wins by bonus points.. 93% of wins at State by bonus points.. final 115 matches offensively outscored opponents 1472-2.. never taken down in any state series match in IKWF or IHSA.. some say that's not dominating.. some say not a good mat wrestler.. I disagree.

            Comment


            • #7
              Let me ask you bluestater... why are you such a staunch supporter of Missouri?? They haven't been lighting the world on fire over the last 8 years. They also get good athletes and have good facilities... right?
              "When I step on the mat I try to score points & entertain the fans". Offensive points scored 2205.. Offensive points against 32.. Never put on his back.. 97 pins.. 24 TF.. 26 MD.. 16 Dec.. 17 FFT.. 2 ID.. 90% of wins by bonus points.. 93% of wins at State by bonus points.. final 115 matches offensively outscored opponents 1472-2.. never taken down in any state series match in IKWF or IHSA.. some say that's not dominating.. some say not a good mat wrestler.. I disagree.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BARR View Post
                Let me ask you bluestater... why are you such a staunch supporter of Missouri?? They haven't been lighting the world on fire over the last 8 years. They also get good athletes and have good facilities... right?
                Because I graduated from there, and I was their team manager. I have not ever been nor will I ever be a fair-weathered fan, and I don't want Illinois fans to do that. I am willing to admit when Mizzou didn't live up to what they could do. A few years ago, they took 2nd at Big 12's and brought a ton of kids to NCAAs, and then they didn't do so hot at NCAAs. I can look at that year and say it wasn't a good year. I very rarely see this out of Illinois fans.

                And for the record, I rarely speak up about Illinois because THIS is what happens. If you say one bad word about them, you are railroaded.

                I am also unclear on why you are focusing on the past eight years.
                Chicks Heart Fights

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bluestater View Post

                  And for the record, I rarely speak up about Illinois because THIS is what happens. If you say one bad word about them, you are railroaded.

                  I am also unclear on why you are focusing on the past eight years.
                  I consider myself a split fan-- I root equally for Illinois and Missouri. That only causes problems when they wrestle at NCAAs, at which time I tend to root for whoever has the best chance of doing well.

                  Bluestater, I don't think you are getting railroaded at all. You made a negative statement and arbitrarily used (some) information from the last two years. BARR simply enlarged the data base to include a few more years. In fact, if you go back a few more years in the Johnson era (say a total of ten years), Illinois ranks amongst the leaders in AAs, NCAA champs, etc. It is amazingly hard to finish at the very top more than a few years.

                  In 2005-07, I would argue that Illinois overperformed during the season, so that their NCAA performance appeared disappointing. The year before, 2006-07, they certainly appeared to have a top six team, and, well, things went terribly wrong at NCAAs. I think that horse has been beaten to death.

                  I'm glad you pointed out that Mizzou has likewise fallen short on a number of occasions. I've followed Mizzou pretty closely since 2000 and they've had their share of disappointments at Big V tournaments and NCAAs. It's just that when a team (Mizzou and Illinois) is ranked in the 2nd - 15th range (out of 90 schools), basic probability indicates that there are greater odds that a team will finish lower rather than higher (Because there are 75 to 88 teams that can gain on you, but you can only gain on 1 to 14 teams). I get the impression that the vast majority of wrestling fans feel that their teams underperform at nationals. Heck, Minnesota fans thought they would have 7 finalists last year-- they ended up with a grand total of 1.

                  I realize that most folks have a gut reaction to various institutions. I tend to react to the academic prowess. (I also tend to root for any school not named Iowa or Oklahoma State--they've won so many time in the last 80 years and their fans are so obnoxious.) I think that Mark Johnson and Brian Smith have done an outstanding job at their respective institutions (and I give Smith a far better grade at reaching out to fans) and I root for both teams.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bluestater View Post
                    Because I graduated from there, and I was their team manager. I have not ever been nor will I ever be a fair-weathered fan, and I don't want Illinois fans to do that. I am willing to admit when Mizzou didn't live up to what they could do. A few years ago, they took 2nd at Big 12's and brought a ton of kids to NCAAs, and then they didn't do so hot at NCAAs. I can look at that year and say it wasn't a good year. I very rarely see this out of Illinois fans.

                    And for the record, I rarely speak up about Illinois because THIS is what happens. If you say one bad word about them, you are railroaded.

                    I am also unclear on why you are focusing on the past eight years.
                    I am not trying to railroad you. I got interupted on my last response, that is why it was short. I actually like Mizzou and root for them quite a bit.

                    As for the last 8 years... it was easy to pull those results and I don't think you can base things one year at a time, so I chose to go back a few years. I didn't feel like going back any further.

                    I just think people tend to forget how well Illinois has done over the last decade and only focus on the last 2 NCAA's. That's all.
                    "When I step on the mat I try to score points & entertain the fans". Offensive points scored 2205.. Offensive points against 32.. Never put on his back.. 97 pins.. 24 TF.. 26 MD.. 16 Dec.. 17 FFT.. 2 ID.. 90% of wins by bonus points.. 93% of wins at State by bonus points.. final 115 matches offensively outscored opponents 1472-2.. never taken down in any state series match in IKWF or IHSA.. some say that's not dominating.. some say not a good mat wrestler.. I disagree.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bluestater View Post
                      Because I graduated from there, and I was their team manager. I have not ever been nor will I ever be a fair-weathered fan, and I don't want Illinois fans to do that. I am willing to admit when Mizzou didn't live up to what they could do. A few years ago, they took 2nd at Big 12's and brought a ton of kids to NCAAs, and then they didn't do so hot at NCAAs. I can look at that year and say it wasn't a good year. I very rarely see this out of Illinois fans.

                      And for the record, I rarely speak up about Illinois because THIS is what happens. If you say one bad word about them, you are railroaded.

                      I am also unclear on why you are focusing on the past eight years.
                      You aren't being railroaded because you said something bad about Illinois. You are being railroaded because you said something that has no basis.

                      I don't know what forum you have been reading, but there have been countless posts out here that have ripped on coah Johnson and the job that he has done over the past couple of years. Debate becomes lively and sometimes heated when well informed collegiate wrestling fans begin to call less knowledgable posters out on their lack of perspective, ignorance of history, ignorance of what it takes to be successful at the D1 level, etc.

                      You say that you have never been a fair-weathered fan. Given that this is forum focused on wrestling in the state of Illinois, would you expect anything less than to run into many die-hard fans of the Fighting Illini? You say that you are able to admit when Mizzou doesn't live up what they are supposed to. Great. If I did a poll out here of Illini wrestling fans and asked them if they thougt that the Illini lived up to their potential the last two years, what do you think the outcome would be? Are you suggesting that we are all blinded by such foolish loyalty that we could not admit that the last two years were a disappointment? If so, you are very foolish. To a man, I think every Illinois fan was terribly disappointed with the '06 and '07 results and expected much more. Does that need to translate into an indictment against the entire program and the entire coaching staff, who had built up quite a successful track record before then? History shows, going back to the beginning of coach Johnson's tenure, that a bad showing as the one in '06 is not the norm.

                      You don't have to like the Illini to post out here, but don't act so surprised when your opinion is not the norm. Also, don't be surprised when someone calls you on any inaccuracies or fallacies in your reasoning when it comes to the Illini, because chances are you are going to run into a few people out here who know quite a bit about what they are talking about. That's why we're called fans.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I copied this from the U of I website. It may not be Okie St. or Iowa type numbers, but it is still pretty impressive.

                        Johnson by the Numbers


                        It is impossible to ignore the success that Mark Johnson has had during his 14 years at Illinois. In 1993, he took over a program that had posted two winning seasons in 10 years and has since transformed Illinois into a national power, having posted 13 straight winning seasons and 11 Top-12 finishes.
                        • Illinois won the 2005 Big Ten Championship for the first time since 1952.
                        • Last season marked the third year in a row the Fighting Illini have brought home the Midlands Tournament team title. The Illini join Iowa and Iowa State as the only teams to accomplish the three-peat.
                        • Johnson has led Illinois to 11 consecutive Top-12 finishes and nine Top-10 finishes in the last 12 years at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
                        • Matt Lackey became the seventh NCAA Champion for Johnson at Illinois when he won his title 2003. He joins Adam Tirapelle (2001), John Lockhart (2001), Carl Perry (2000), Eric Siebert (1998), Ernest Benion, Jr. (1995) and Steve Marianetti (1995).
                        • In the last 15 years, Illinois has had 39 All-Americans, 22 of which came over the last six seasons. The five All-Americans in 2005 and 2004 ties the school record set in 1948.
                        • Illinois has had 119 Big Ten placewinners during the Johnson era, including Big Ten Champions Alex Tirapelle and Pete Friedl in 2005 and Alex Tirapelle and Mark Jayne in 2004.
                        • Over the last 15 years, UI has had an impressive 104 NCAA qualifiers, including 10 in 1995, 2000 and 2006, and nine in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

                        NCAA Individual Champions
                        (During the Mark Johnson Era) 1. Iowa 232. Oklahoma State 193. Iowa State 9 4. Illinois 7 Minnesota 7

                        NCAA Top-10 Team Finishes
                        (During the Mark Johnson Era)
                        1. Iowa 132. Oklahoma State 123. Iowa State 114. Minnesota 10 Oklahoma 10 6. Illinois 9
                        "When I step on the mat I try to score points & entertain the fans". Offensive points scored 2205.. Offensive points against 32.. Never put on his back.. 97 pins.. 24 TF.. 26 MD.. 16 Dec.. 17 FFT.. 2 ID.. 90% of wins by bonus points.. 93% of wins at State by bonus points.. final 115 matches offensively outscored opponents 1472-2.. never taken down in any state series match in IKWF or IHSA.. some say that's not dominating.. some say not a good mat wrestler.. I disagree.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You aren't being railroaded because you said something bad about Illinois. You are being railroaded because you said something that has no basis.

                          It has plenty of basis - my experience with Illinois fans is the basis. I guess since it's not a shared basis, you think it's false, but I guess that's your right.

                          I don't know what forum you have been reading, but there have been countless posts out here that have ripped on coah Johnson and the job that he has done over the past couple of years. Debate becomes lively and sometimes heated when well informed collegiate wrestling fans begin to call less knowledgable posters out on their lack of perspective, ignorance of history, ignorance of what it takes to be successful at the D1 level, etc.

                          I guess you are including me in that "less knowledgeable" group because I can't state the record of a Big Ten team for the past eight years. I've never excelled at rote memory, so I guess that makes me ignorant. Sorry.

                          You say that you have never been a fair-weathered fan. Given that this is forum focused on wrestling in the state of Illinois, would you expect anything less than to run into many die-hard fans of the Fighting Illini? You say that you are able to admit when Mizzou doesn't live up what they are supposed to. Great. If I did a poll out here of Illini wrestling fans and asked them if they thougt that the Illini lived up to their potential the last two years, what do you think the outcome would be? Are you suggesting that we are all blinded by such foolish loyalty that we could not admit that the last two years were a disappointment?

                          Once again, that is my experience with Illinois fans.

                          If so, you are very foolish. To a man, I think every Illinois fan was terribly disappointed with the '06 and '07 results and expected much more. Does that need to translate into an indictment against the entire program and the entire coaching staff, who had built up quite a successful track record before then? History shows, going back to the beginning of coach Johnson's tenure, that a bad showing as the one in '06 is not the norm.

                          Only men can understand the nuances of performing well in wrestling? Then I better deactivate my Illinois Matmen membership.

                          You don't have to like the Illini to post out here, but don't act so surprised when your opinion is not the norm. Also, don't be surprised when someone calls you on any inaccuracies or fallacies in your reasoning when it comes to the Illini, because chances are you are going to run into a few people out here who know quite a bit about what they are talking about. That's why we're called fans.

                          I'm not surprised; as a matter of fact, I'm used to having an opinion that is not the norm. It's what happens when you go to school out of state. Apparently, I don't qualify as a fan, but somehow, I'll still cheer on my team, and my favorite wrestlers, all without your approval.
                          Chicks Heart Fights

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                          • #14
                            Fantastic. Illinois is wonderful. Where do I sign up for the booster club?
                            Chicks Heart Fights

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                            • #15
                              Conquistadors, Barr, and Nelson are dead-on. Its only natural for people in the state of IL to cheer for their state university, even if they are underperforming. Heck, I'm still a Bears and White Sox fan even when they are underperforming and unenjoyable to watch.
                              Bluestater,
                              You must feel like everyone is always trying to get you. It seems like the majority of the time that you post about IL wrestling, you begin it with,"I am not a fan U of I wrestling, for my own reasons, so please dont jump all over me and try to change my stance." I am pretty sure there are fans on this board that cheer on a variety of teams. No one cares that bad where your allegiances lay. I also think that for the most part, wrestling fans in IL respect Mizzou's program. No one is hatin one you for not supporting the Illini, just using facts to explain why they havent left their staunch position of supporting U of I wrestling.

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