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Each Monday morning during the Big Ten men’s basketball season, the 14 Big Ten men’s basketball coaches hold a Big Ten teleconference with reporters from around the country. We post the audio for each segment of the call here, and we do this every Monday afternoon.
Illinois is an intriguing team, returning all of its starters. And the Illini also have added two transfers in Ahmad Starks (Oregon State) and Aaron Cosby (Seton Hall) that John Groce says have made difference. But how will Illinois do without Tracy Abrams, who suffered a knee injury this fall that will force him to miss the season?
Earlier this week, Illinois basketball coach John Groce participated as the “celebrity contestant” for the “Shoot the Puck” contest during intermission of the NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Chicago Blackhawks. Groce and Illinois are fresh off a 20-15 season and an NIT berth in his second season. Watch the video in this post to see how he did.
John Groce let us know how displeased he was with his team’s play following Wednesday night’s 66-58 loss to Purdue in Champaign. That anger came to a head on Saturday as Groce lost his cool late in the second half of Illinois’ 78-62 loss to Michigan State.
After kicking off the Big Ten season with impressive wins over Indiana and Penn State, Illinois has now lost three straight, including Wednesday night’s 66-58 loss to Purdue in Champaign. Illinois coach John Groce addressed the media following the game and had some strong words, making it very clear how unhappy he was with his team’s performance.
In John Groce’s first year at the helm of the Illini men’s basketball program, his team relied on the deep threat. And that mindset — 280 made three-point field goals — helped the Illini reach the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2011.
Illinois is an interesting team with eight newcomers. Who will be a leader for a team coming off a 23-13 season that won a NCAA game? John Groce is looking to senior Joseph Bertrand, especially as a vocal leader. Among the new faces are three transfers from four-year schools: Rayvonte Rice (Drake); Jon Ekey (Illinois State); Ahmad Starks (Oregon State), though Starks was denied a waiver to play this season.
What has been anticipated for a few days became reality Thursday as Illinois named Ohio’s John Groce as its men’s basketball coach. Will it be a good hire? A bad hire? Who knows? It’s absurd to draw a conclusion on something like that on the day of an introductory press conference. But a few things are without dispute.