Last night Illinois suffered another tough loss at the hands of Purdue.
After the game, Bruce Weber seemed to affirm what many people have been grumbling about for the past few seasons: it's time for him to bolt from Champaign.
"The sad thing about the whole thing, and I guess it's my fault, is instead of creating toughness and developing a team, I coached not to lose all year," Weber said after the game, the most telling quote about the entire situation, pulled out by The Dagger.
In 2005, the Fighting Illini were on the top of the college basketball world. Runners up to North Carolina after a near perfect regular season, it appeared that the program was destined to remain "elite" in every sense of the word,
But since that season, Weber's teams have managed only two NCAA Tournament victories in four appearances.
They're currently well below conference foes Ohio State and Michigan State in terms of prestige, and with programs like Indiana on the upswing, and Wisconsin consistently sitting in the top four of the Big Ten standings, it's clear that Illinois is losing ground in the hierarchy of Midwest basketball.
Is it Weber's fault?
Fans would probably say so, pointing to the city of Chicago and its overflow of talented young players that the big state school should be plucking with ease. That's a whole separate conversation; one where Weber seems to be getting unfairly chastised here, but he also still is bringing in enough top 100 talent to win every 2-3 years. Missing out on Ryan Boatright, Derrick Rose, and Anthony Davis should not be the primary reasons this team isn't currently more successful.
It's just not working right now, and it's probably time the program go in another direction before things get real ugly.