Illinois Basketball: Should Bruce Weber Stay or Should He Go?

Sean McDermottContributor IIIFebruary 19, 2012

A frustrated Bruce Weber watches his Illini lose again. Weber is currently on the hot seat.
A frustrated Bruce Weber watches his Illini lose again. Weber is currently on the hot seat.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After Illinois' horrendous play in Saturday's 80-57 loss to the lowly Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-13, 4-10 in Big Ten), should Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas buy out Bruce Weber's contract?

The answer is yes. 

At one point in the season the Illini were viewed as a considerable threat to take the Big Ten title with a 15-3 record and key wins against Gonzaga and Ohio State.

Since January 10, the Illini have gone on a downward spiral, going 1-8 and falling to the bottom of the Big Ten conference.

With frustration and tears in the Illinois locker room and the revealing emotional press conference by Weber after a loss to Purdue, now is the time for a coaching change.

Nine years, six NCAA tournament appearances and a 209-96 record. A very nice resume, but Weber has overstayed his welcome.

Since Illinois' magical 2004-05 season (where they lost the NCAA final to North Carolina), the Illini haven't made it past the second round in an NCAA tournament.

For a basketball program to go from powerhouse status to mid-major status is unacceptable. The regular season record is there, but Weber and his men have choked when it comes to March Madness.

The Illini and Weber need to part ways.

Yes, the Illini are still alive in the NCAA bracket (according to writer Jerry Palm) but it's for the best for both parties.

Watching Weber on the tube I've noticed the passion is gone. Weber just seems run-down and sick of the orange and blue. I believe the firing of Weber will rejuvenate Weber and the U of I.

Two people AD Thomas should highly consider as the new face of the orange and blue are VCU's Shaka Smart and Butler's Brad Stevens. Both men have turned mid-major schools into reappearing threats in the NCAA tournament.

If Thomas could sign either of these coaches, the Illini will become a top-tier basketball program once again.

Bruce Weber is a great coach; it's just time for a change. Thomas, hear the voices of Illini boosters: buy out Weber's contract now.