Is the Fighting Illini flying under the radar?

IllinoisFightingIllini - The I and word

 

John Groce - IlliniAfter finishing 17-15 last season and not even making it to the NIT, Bruce Webber was let go from his head coaching duties and John Groce was the replacement.  Groce has been coaching since 1993 where he has been an assistant coach until 2008 when he took the head coaching job at Ohio University.  He led the Bobcats to the NCAA tournament twice and last year he led them to the Sweet 16 where they lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels 73-65 in overtime.  He was at Ohio U for 4 years and accumulated an 85-56 record (34-30 in the MAC).  Groce left Ohio to become the University of Illinois head coach in March of 2012.

The Illini started the season with  12-0 record, the best start for a first-year coach at U of I.  The team won the 2012 Maui Invitational by beating Butler University.  Groce’s top priority at Illinois is getting the players to buy into “T-n-T” or what he calls “Toughness and Togetherness“.  Coach Groce demands hard work and emphasizes the importance of every practice, game and loose ball.  To motivate the team, he has every player wear wristbands with the date “3-19-13” on it, which is the first day of the 2013 NCAA Tourney.

After the perfect start, the Illini lost two of the last three games with a 68-61 loss to Purdue on Wednesday.  The team has a .500 record (1-1) in Big 10 play and we was wondering how good they really are; the Ohio State were coming to town on Saturday.  The Buckeyes won six of the last seven games between the teams.  Coach Groce and his team cleared all doubts when the No. 11 Illini whooped the No. 8 Buckeyes 74-55.Fighting Illini beat Buckeyes

 

 

The way things are looking, I rather they keep flying under the radar and come up fighting on center stage of the NCAA Tourney.  I think they will make a lot of people believers.

Written by AG2 

Complete schedule
Regular Season
Date Opponent Result / Time Record
Nov 9 Colgate Won 75-55 1-0
Nov 12 St. Francis (N.Y.) Won 89-64 2-0
Nov 17 @Hawaii Won 78-77 3-0
 Nov 20 vs. USC Won 94-64 4-0
Nov 20 @Chaminade Won 84-61 5-0
Nov 21 vs. Butler Won 78-61 6-0
Nov 25 Gardner-Webb Won 63-62 7-0
Nov 28 Georgia Tech Won 75-62 8-0
Dec 4 Western Caro. Won 72-64 9-0
Dec 8 @Gonzaga Won 85-74 10-0
Dec 11 Norfolk St. Won 64-54 11-0
Dec 16 Eastern Ky. Won 66-53 12-0
Dec 22 vs. Missouri Lost 73-82 12-1
Dec 29 vs. Auburn Won 81-79 13-1
Jan 2 @Purdue Lost 61-68 13-2 (0-1)
Jan 5 Ohio St. Won 74-55 14-2 (1-1)
Jan 9 Minnesota 9:00 PM  
Jan 12 @Wisconsin 2:15 PM  
Jan 17 Northwestern 8:15 PM  
Jan 22 @Nebraska 8:30 PM  
Jan 27 Michigan 6:00 PM  
Jan 31 @Michigan St. 7:00 PM  
Feb 3 Wisconsin 3:30 PM  
Feb 7 Indiana 7:00 PM  
Feb 10 @Minnesota 6:00 PM  
Feb 13 Purdue 9:00 PM  
Feb 17 @Northwestern 7:30 PM  
Feb 21 Penn St. 8:15 PM  
Feb 24 @Michigan 6:00 PM  
Mar 2 Nebraska TBA  
Mar 5 @Iowa 7:00 PM  
Mar 10 @Ohio St. TBA
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