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Columnist
Trash talk and Twitter at the Illinois Ohio game
By Lindsey Willhite | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/13/2010 9:59 PM

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INDIANAPOLIS _ With roughly six minutes to go in the first half Saturday, Ohio State's Evan Turner slashed to the hoop through three Illinois players and didn't receive a foul call while the ball flew out of bounds.

As Turner waited for the ball so he could inbound it from the baseline, someone behind him yelled he couldn't expect to get every call.

Turner proceeded to turn his head -- after getting the ball from the official -- and offer a retort before he looked to throw the inbounds pass.

That's the same Evan Turner who, after Ohio State prevailed 88-81 over Illinois in double overtime Saturday afternoon, declared the Illini's trash-talking flew way out of control.

"They were just running their mouths too much," Turner said. "They were hitting shots and (being) front-runners, and they were running them entirely too much. That's all I'm saying."

Actually, it wasn't.

Turner revisited the topics on at least two more occasions at Conseco Fieldhouse -- and then utilized his Twitter account to take it further.

"It definitely got me going," said Turner, who posted an abnormal triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 turnovers. "For them to start running their mouths, that really, really annoyed me.

"I knew what type team we had. I knew what we had was way tougher than what they had, and definitely I wasn't trying to lose."

Illinois coach Bruce Weber refused to comment on the trash-talk topic, which Illini fans know to be a comment of its own.

Illinois guard Demetri McCamey, who swapped words with his high school teammate after the first half closed, just thought it symbolized the game's intensity and meaning.

"It wasn't no disrespect or us saying we're going to lay down or they're going to lay down," McCamey said. "It's March Madness. It's college basketball. That's what happens when two teams are going against each other and two top players are going against each other. There's going to be trash-talking and things like that."

(bb) Troubled bubble: For the second time in four years, Illinois finds itself at the mercy of the NCAA Tournament committee.

The 2007 Illini, who sneaked into the field with a No. 12 seed, built a resume that's the opposite of the current bunch.

The 2007 team had an excellent RPI entering the Big Ten tournament (33) and finished the season with an 8-3 run, but managed just one win over a ranked team all year.

The 2010 team carries an RPI that rarely gets rewarded (70 as of Saturday night) and lost six of its last eight games, but these Illini own five wins over Top 25 foes.

"I'll be honest, I thought (2007) we'd be in for sure," Weber said. "I think we're a better team this year, but we haven't proven it consistently enough and that's where the doubt is."

"I'm just sitting back and relaxing," said junior point guard Demetri McCamey. "It's out of our hands. I think we proved a lot this weekend and made up for the last couple weeks.

"I believe, personally, we're one of the top 65 teams in the country and I think we deserve to be in. But it's not up to us."