As long as there are games remaining, it's never too late to win a few more and change public opinion for the Illini senior class -- Mike Tisdale, Bill Cole, Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis -- as Illinois (18-12 overall, 8-9 in the Big Ten) hosts Indiana on senior day Saturday (11 a.m., BTN).

CHAMPAIGN -- Chester Frazier, the video coordinator with the Illinois basketball team, couldn't make many friends with his play during his first three seasons. Following in the shadows of Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head, Frazier didn't have the same talent level, even though he had the same heart.

The criticism dogged him, despite diving over chairs and playing through the pain of nagging injuries. Then he became a hero while helping the Illini to the NCAA tournament in 2009.

As long as there are games remaining, it's never too late to win a few more and change public opinion for the Illini senior class -- Mike Tisdale, Bill Cole, Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis -- as Illinois (18-12 overall, 8-9 in the Big Ten) hosts Indiana on senior day Saturday (11 a.m., BTN).

"We've struggled, but we've won some games we shouldn't,'' Tisdale said Thursday. "It's been up and down with us. We're trying to go out on a high note. Hopefully in the end, that's how people characterize us. We've got some games left. We've still got a chance to do something. Until then, I won't say much.''

People love a winner, McCamey acknowledged. The Illini have unfinished business, and their reputation still hinges on what happens in March. A recent upswing in play have them confident.

"We're still playing games,'' McCamey said. "Each and every game, you can build a legacy. We have to keep winning.''

The four seniors know what's on the line over the next few weeks. It's how they will be remembered for the rest of their lives. That kind of pressure wears on a guy, coach Bruce Weber said.

"I went up to (Cole) a week or so ago and said, 'Are you that tired and physically drained?' '' Weber said. "He's not giving us the stuff that he normally gives us.''

According to Weber, Cole replied, "Physically, I'm all right. It's the mental drain of it. It's taken a toll.''

The orange-and-blue world spins around these Illini, who can feel it on campus. McCamey said there was a buzz when they started the season hot, winning 13 of the first 16 games.

"It's a spirit on campus at the beginning,'' he said. "There was life. Everybody was having fun. Now, it's kind of dull.''

The fans will remember these seniors by what they do in March -- Illinois hasn't won a tournament game since 2006 in the school longest dryspell since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985 -- rather than December. These seniors want desperately to leave a positive memory, and they have a couple weeks to do it.

In the short term, a win over Indiana would clinch a spot for Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal game pitting seeds 4 and 5. A victory would also keep the Illini alive for an NCAA Tournament berth. In the big picture, these Illini not only need to get into the tournament but win a game to create the feel good vibe, such as Frazier's renaissance.

"They won't remember if you lost to UIC or Missouri,'' Davis said. "They'll remember the finish.''

What the Illini also remember are the good and bad times. The recalled the Orange Krush rushing the court last season following the GameDay win over Michigan State, but these Illini have been as frusrating to Weber as to the fans. Like one day when they were freshmen, when, following a loss at Purdue, Weber tossed a cooler during a post-game tirade caused by former Illini center Shaun Pruitt's attitude, Davis said.

Weber's antics had a reaction from the Illini.

"Tisdale was crying,'' McCamey said. "He'll remember that the rest of his life. Growing up in Riverton, you don't see that much emotion and pride and people throwing things and cursing.''

Over the years, Weber broke clipboards, cell phones and chairs, Tisdale said.

"It's amazing what kind of strength coach has,'' Tisdale said. "It's like The Hulk when he gets mad. He's broken more cell phones than I can afford.''

Some of the frustration probably stemmed from Davis and McCamey, who admitted they didn't listen like they should. McCamey could count on one hand how many times he visited Weber's office as a freshman.

"We got closer and closer,'' he said. "Now, it's more serious visits, going in there daily and talking to him. It's more mature and more business like.''

Regretfully, Davis felt like he knew everything after a strong sophomore year.

"Last year, I don't think I was the best listener,'' Davis said. "I think I kind of knew everything. I didn't listen to coach much. I thought I knew it all. This year, I listened to coach more, and my numbers are getting better.''

The only numbers that will help the Illini now come in the win column.

John Supinie can  be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.