Hoops thoughts for the weekend

Originally Published: February 4, 2005
By Jay Bilas | Special to ESPN Insider
How good is James Augustine? Is Texas Tech an NCAA Tournament team? How tough is Michigan State? ESPN analyst Jay Bilas examines those questions and more ...

How is it that James Augustine has become the facile response to the question of a weakness for Illinois?

Bank on this -- Augustine could start for any team in America. He is a long and athletic lefty with really good footwork, good skills in the low post and solid post defense. He also has great second and third effort on the glass. Augustine averages over 10 points and 7.7 rebounds per game (fourth in the Big Ten), and averages 3 offensive boards per game. He blocks shots, hits his free throws, runs the floor and scores inside, making a league-leading 64 percent of his shots.

Just because Illinois has truly exceptional guards doesn't mean Augustine can't play. He can.

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst