Now that was a bad week for Illini basketball.
When coach Bruce Weber confessed to worrying about winning rather than building a foundation to the program following the loss to Purdue Wednesday, no one knew rock bottom wouldn't be reached until three days later during a 36-4 run by Nebraska, a team that entered the weekend in last place in the Big Ten Conference with a coach who isn't expected back next season.
The Illini took Sunday off before returning to the practice court Monday. After losing eight of the last nine games, it doesn't get any easier. Illinois (16-11 overall, 5-9 in the Big Ten) plays at No. 6 Ohio State (22-5, 10-4) Tuesday (6 p.m., ESPN).
The Buckeyes fell out of first place in the Big Ten with a loss at Michigan Saturday.
Q: Will a move be made early?
A: Don't expect athletic director Mike Thomas to make any announcements before the end of the season. He's continued to say he will assess the program when the season is done, and Thomas would put himself in a difficult spot in the future if he forces a move earlier.
Barring some kind of miracle run, a coaching change is expected. Let's be clear on that. Nevertheless, it's hard to see how a move during the season would do anything for the program.
The Illini don't have a staffer with any head coaching experience on the Division I level besides Weber.
Weber showed a stiff upper lip by attending the game between Chicago prep powers Simeon and De La Salle Saturday night following the 80-57 loss at Nebraska.
Q: Did the Illini quit on Weber?
A: There's no other way to explain it, even if Weber said it was just the pressure of the moment or selected players spent a few minutes denying it outside the locker room. How could else could the Illini, who have two wins over top 10 teams, trail Nebraska by 32.
That must have been a coach's worst nightmare. Players didn't close out on shots, granting the Huskers wide-open looks. The Illini didn't attack on offense.
By the end of the game, center Meyers Leonard sobbed on the bench. So much for those NCAA hopes. Even CBS bracketologist Jerry Palm took a swing.
"Has a team ever quit on itself like Illinois has this year? They'll fire Weber, but the next guy will run all those cry babies off,'' Palm said on his Twitter account.Subconciously, there must have been a hangover from the comments by Weber earlier in the week. Accountability has been a long-term problem, and it's too late for a big fix.
Q: What were the players saying?
A: The school made only guards D.J. Richardson, Tracy Abrams and Sam Maniscalco available after the game. Leonard and guard Brandon Paul haven't been cleared for interviews since the loss to Purdue. Paul didn't start against Nebraska.
Richardson said he met with every teammate, and there were no hard feelings after Weber's comments following the loss to the Boilermakers.
"Coach said and did what he had to do,'' Richardson said. "We have to change. He's been saying it for months.
"Coach keeps apologizing. He says it's his fault. He teaches and shows us. We have to go out on the floor and produce. It's our turnovers.''
John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnSupinie.