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Our father knows us very well, so when we went home for the holidays, he bought us the best gift we can remember receiving: A Illini jersey T-shirt of Jamar Smith. Who's Jamar Smith, you ask? Oh, you'll know very soon. He's the Illini's freshman shooting guard whose 3-point touch is like a tip-in. We mean that almost literally; the quickness and accuracy of his release resembles nothing less than a tip-in from a normal player. Before you even realize he has been passed the ball, it's on the way to the hoop. It's the damndest thing, and we're absolutely obsessed with the guy.

Which is why you, like us, should be watching ESPN2 tonight, as the undefeated Illini's Big 10 season kicks off at the Assembly Hall against fellow top 10 resident Michigan State. The Illini's 14-0 start has shocked even us freakishly loyal fans, but tonight is the real test. And once we finally came down from that Rose Bowl last night, we found ourselves revving back up, bouncing around the apartment, hopping up and down, punching the walls, all fired up. And anything that gets us moving around while doing the site all day, well, that's probably positive for leg circulation.

We realize we've probably just doomed Jamar to an 0-for-10 night with this post, but hey: It's Big Ten basketball, and that cheeky, dopey jokey stuff we usually pull around here, well, not today. We're too busy tossing fake jumpers of burger wrappers into the wastebasket, wearing our jersey. If you'll forgive us ... I - L - L!!!

Conference Kickoff [Illini Wonk]