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Illinois 89, St. Francis (NY) 64 POSTGAME

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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:30 PM   #51
Illini70math
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9 Observations on the St. Francis Game:

1. This was a very good game for working on our offense and defense. St. Francis is not a great team, but they are an athletic group that plays aggressively. The first takeaway for me is that our ballhandling is much better than last season. I think it is a combination of improved skills and an offensive system that is better suited to our player skills. They have a lot better idea of what they are supposed to be doing.

2. I guess we have to start with Tyler Griffey. It's still early, but TG certainly appears to be blossoming. There was a lot of talk in the preseason about which returning player might benefit most from the change in offensive system and philosophy. Many suggested it might be Tyler, and he looks like a good possibility so far. He is playing with a lot more confidence.

3. I guess all those folks who said that Tracy would never be able to play point guard really know their basketball -- not. OK, it was St. Francis, but they were quick and aggressive, and Tracy continues to develop. There is work still to do, but Tracy and Brandon are developing into the kind of lead guards this offense requires.

4. Until late in the game, our defense looked very good. After a quick start by the Terriers, we really clamped down and played strong defense. In fairness, St. Francis is not a great offensive team against a good defense. They were badly stymied by our defense in the latter part of the first half. Plenty of energy on defense.

5. Nnanna played much better tonight against a team that poses problems for bigs. He was shooting much better, and he can shoot well. Coach Groce thinks so, and he sees a lot more of Nnanna than any of us do.

6. The base 8-man rotation is looking very solid so far. Not every guy is extraordinary in every game, but I didn't see anyone in this game who looked out of place. The good news is that we have a number of guys who can score, and I think that number will go up as the season goes along.

7. Devin Langford got in the game with 4 minutes to go in the first half, and immediately managed to tie up the ball for a jump ball. His stat line was not spectacular for his 10 minutes, but he is having a positive impact on defense so far.

8. If we can get Mike LaTulip to loosen up and just let the ball fly, he might turn out OK! Alright, maybe he comes in the game ready to shoot, but hey, the kid CAN shoot. We'll see, but I like having him available. Mike Shaw also got in for 6 minutes and did some nice things.

9. I feel better after this game about facing some of the very athletic and aggressive teams we will see in Hawaii. Of course they will be more talented than the Terriers, but this was a good experience to build on. Our next game is huge. Beat Hawaii, and our chances of leaving Hawaii at 2-2 or better are good. That gives us a reasonable path to a preconference record of 10-4 (or better!).

Go Illini!
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:31 PM   #52
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Quote:
Groce: Guys were trying to eat clock with lead and not being very aggressive. Wants to improve that.

Groce: We're going to need both those guys (Langford, LaTulip).

Groce: Teaching LaTulip the 1 and the 2, normally doesn't do that with freshmen. He's bright, can handle it.

http://twitter.com/MarcusJ_NG
Quote:
Groce: Shot selection "really good." Personnel can make shots, so when you work to get open shots, you shoot well (makes sense)

Abrams: "It's fun. It's a fun game. ..I think it's a different level of fun this year. You just got to enjoy it."

http://twitter.com/WernerESPNCU
Quote:
"Taking more pride in taking care of the ball." - Groce on Abrams and Paul

http://twitter.com/Sturdy32
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:34 PM   #53
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I'll fifth or sixth the comment that it was a fun game. The announcers on the ESPN3 net broadcast mentioned a few times that Illinois scored 40 in the first half only once all last year and now has already done it twice this year. Hopefully the 18 and 20 point halves will now be the exception instead of the norm.

I think the predictions that Groce's system might fit the talent we have on the roster more than Weber's did is bearing out. Tyler Griffey, in particular, looked like a completely different basketball player.

I think Groce might have a touch of the crazy, but I think it's a good crazy. I predict that he will very quickly become one of the least liked coaches in the Big 10 among opposing schools' fanbases. Which can only be a good thing.

Everything about this team right now has me thinking the word that I've seen and heard so much in the press over the last 3 or 4 weeks... "refreshing." It looks like we have a good group of kids and a coach that meshes with them. I don't know if they'll win any more games than they did last year, but at the very least it should be better basketball to watch.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:35 PM   #54
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Groce said Griffey is most traveled guy on team: "My wife's jealous of Griff because she loves to travel."

Groce: "We haven't been popped in the mouth yet." It will happen, will see how they respond when it happens

http://twitter.com/WernerESPNCU
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:36 PM   #55
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So the earlier theories are correct: Langford and Latulip are Nos. 9 and 10 in the rotation. Langford gives Groce a long athletic perimeter player (with passing skills) and Latulip is a skilled guard. I wonder if Langford will also slide over to the stretch 4 occasionally.

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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:39 PM   #56
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Quote:
Groce: "First thing when I took the job, the wife saw the Hawaii trip ... and got real excited." He's not a fan of lots of travel

Groce: will give team some free time in Hawaii, team will visit Pearl Harbor. "This is not vacation. This is a business trip."

http://twitter.com/WernerESPNCU
Quote:
Groce: I didn't schedule the Hawaii game, not a huge fan of the long trip. Takes a toll mentally and physically on players.

http://twitter.com/MarcusJ_NG
Quote:
"This is not vacation. This is a business trip" Groce on Hawaii.

http://twitter.com/Sturdy32
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:42 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Groundhogday View Post
So the earlier theories are correct: Langford and Latulip are Nos. 9 and 10 in the rotation. Langford gives Groce a long athletic perimeter player (with passing skills) and Latulip is a skilled guard. I wonder if Langford will also slide over to the stretch 4 occasionally.
I was also hoping MLT could slide over as a stretch 4 at times. Can you imagine the matchup nightmare? The opponents 4 will be searching around the floor trying to find the guy he's supposed to be guarding while MLT is raining down 3's on them.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:50 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Groundhogday View Post
So the earlier theories are correct: Langford and Latulip are Nos. 9 and 10 in the rotation. Langford gives Groce a long athletic perimeter player (with passing skills) and Latulip is a skilled guard. I wonder if Langford will also slide over to the stretch 4 occasionally.
He will have to especially against bigger teams
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:57 PM   #59
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Imagine...... a team that plays unselfish ball, uses a deep bench, and runs at a fast pace. Love to see this reality here at Illinois. How can they not be successful?
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:01 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Illini70math View Post
9 Observations on the St. Francis Game:

1. This was a very good game for working on our offense and defense. St. Francis is not a great team, but they are an athletic group that plays aggressively. The first takeaway for me is that our ballhandling is much better than last season. I think it is a combination of improved skills and an offensive system that is better suited to our player skills. They have a lot better idea of what they are supposed to be doing.

2. I guess we have to start with Tyler Griffey. It's still early, but TG certainly appears to be blossoming. There was a lot of talk in the preseason about which returning player might benefit most from the change in offensive system and philosophy. Many suggested it might be Tyler, and he looks like a good possibility so far. He is playing with a lot more confidence.

3. I guess all those folks who said that Tracy would never be able to play point guard really know their basketball -- not. OK, it was St. Francis, but they were quick and aggressive, and Tracy continues to develop. There is work still to do, but Tracy and Brandon are developing into the kind of lead guards this offense requires.

4. Until late in the game, our defense looked very good. After a quick start by the Terriers, we really clamped down and played strong defense. In fairness, St. Francis is not a great offensive team against a good defense. They were badly stymied by our defense in the latter part of the first half. Plenty of energy on defense.

5. Nnanna played much better tonight against a team that poses problems for bigs. He was shooting much better, and he can shoot well. Coach Groce thinks so, and he sees a lot more of Nnanna than any of us do.

6. The base 8-man rotation is looking very solid so far. Not every guy is extraordinary in every game, but I didn't see anyone in this game who looked out of place. The good news is that we have a number of guys who can score, and I think that number will go up as the season goes along.

7. Devin Langford got in the game with 4 minutes to go in the first half, and immediately managed to tie up the ball for a jump ball. His stat line was not spectacular for his 10 minutes, but he is having a positive impact on defense so far.

8. If we can get Mike LaTulip to loosen up and just let the ball fly, he might turn out OK! Alright, maybe he comes in the game ready to shoot, but hey, the kid CAN shoot. We'll see, but I like having him available. Mike Shaw also got in for 6 minutes and did some nice things.

9. I feel better after this game about facing some of the very athletic and aggressive teams we will see in Hawaii. Of course they will be more talented than the Terriers, but this was a good experience to build on. Our next game is huge. Beat Hawaii, and our chances of leaving Hawaii at 2-2 or better are good. That gives us a reasonable path to a preconference record of 10-4 (or better!).

Go Illini!
As always, Harv, nice summary.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:02 PM   #61
classof2016
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I don't know why people doubted Abrams so much leading up to the season. The guy is a baller. Not only has his shot greatly improved, but he rebounds and handles the ball well. He's going to end up being a great player here; he's been rock solid so far this season. Bertrand and Griffey will be X-factors this year, and hopefully Paul and Richardson will continue to be leaders like Groce suggested. This team has me very optimistic, I can't wait to see how they play in Hawaii.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:02 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Groce: Guys were trying to eat clock with lead and not being very aggressive. Wants to improve that.

Groce: We're going to need both those guys (Langford, LaTulip).

Groce: Teaching LaTulip the 1 and the 2, normally doesn't do that with freshmen. He's bright, can handle it.

http://twitter.com/MarcusJ_NG
Does this mean I will never have to cringe when Illinois is leading by 8 with 4 minutes to go knowing the other team would go on a 14-4 run to end the game? That quote is music to my ears
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:04 PM   #63
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Illinois Basketball Highlights vs St. Francis 11/12


IlliniProductionsHD

John Groce - postgame - St Francis


Rob McColley

Last edited by Dan; Nov 12, 2012 at 10:14 PM.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:07 PM   #64
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Nnana played great tonight. Griffey shot lights out. Several times Egwu drew a timeout or at least a moment's hesitation when he would jump so high on inbounds plays. Hard to tell how good this team really is, but we'll see soon enough. Bring on the warm beaches of Maui!!
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:08 PM   #65
Illini70math
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Originally Posted by bleedsorangenblue View Post
Imagine...... a team that plays unselfish ball, uses a deep bench, and runs at a fast pace. Love to see this reality here at Illinois. How can they not be successful?
Don't let the euphoria get totally out of hand!

How can they not be successful?

1. When our threes don't fall at 43.6% like they have been in our first two games.

2. When we play teams that actually have as much or more talent than we do.

Over the long haul, Coach Groce should be able to recruit with anyone, but there will be a lot of games where this type of attack will not be so much fun. See the West Chester game against a weak opponent. When you only hit about 25% from three, you don't look nearly as good. Do that against a solid opponent like Iowa or Northwestern or Purdue or Minny or PSU, and we may not be having so much fun. Keep it real.

We are improving, but these are not great teams we are playing.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:08 PM   #66
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IMO, it looks like the TA runs this offense pretty well. I would like to see him as our permanent starting point.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:09 PM   #67
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By the way, just curious as to how Brian Barnhart's schedule is going to work. Will he be in Hawaii for the basketball game Friday, then fly back for the football game Saturday, then fly back to Maui? Seems like a rigorous schedule! If not, I wonder who will call the football game... Never heard anyone but Brian call a football game.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:11 PM   #68
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By the way, just curious as to how Brian Barnhart's schedule is going to work.
Steve Kelly will do play-by-play of the Hawaii game Friday night. Brian Barnhart will broadcast the Purdue football game then travel to Hawaii on Sunday.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:11 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by trevdv View Post
Nnana played great tonight. Griffey shot lights out. Several times Egwu drew a timeout or at least a moment's hesitation when he would jump so high on inbounds plays.
You gotta love when Egwu blocks like that :laugh::laugh:
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:11 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Illini70math View Post
Don't let the euphoria get totally out of hand!

How can they not be successful?

1. When our threes don't fall at 43.6% like they have been in our first two games.

2. When we play teams that actually have as much or more talent than we do.

Over the long haul, Coach Groce should be able to recruit with anyone, but there will be a lot of games where this type of attack will not be so much fun. See the West Chester game against a weak opponent. When you only hit about 25% from three, you don't look nearly as good. Do that against a solid opponent like Iowa or Northwestern or Purdue or Minny or PSU, and we may not be having so much fun. Keep it real.

We are improving, but these are not great teams we are playing.
Thanks for the reality check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrichisamazing View Post
IMO, it looks like the TA runs this offense pretty well. I would like to see him as our permanent starting point.
Abrams is going to be sharing the point guard responsibilities for this season, and it is a great idea not to make either of those guys shoulder the entire responsibility. Keep in mind that Abrams is still learning to play the position and he will have more than a few bad games before this season is over.

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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:12 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by classof2016 View Post
I don't know why people doubted Abrams so much leading up to the season. The guy is a baller. Not only has his shot greatly improved, but he rebounds and handles the ball well. He's going to end up being a great player here; he's been rock solid so far this season. Bertrand and Griffey will be X-factors this year, and hopefully Paul and Richardson will continue to be leaders like Groce suggested. This team has me very optimistic, I can't wait to see how they play in Hawaii.

Most of my "doubts" about Tracy have been (and still are) his health. I do believe that if he stays relatively healthy and keeps improving, we have a great shot at making the Tournament.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:12 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by trevdv View Post
By the way, just curious as to how Brian Barnhart's schedule is going to work. Will he be in Hawaii for the basketball game Friday, then fly back for the football game Saturday, then fly back to Maui? Seems like a rigorous schedule! If not, I wonder who will call the football game... Never heard anyone but Brian call a football game.
He is doing the football game then flying to Hawaii.

Oops, sorry Dan. I'm a slow typer.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:14 PM   #73
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Just saw the highlights, missed the game, but great to see they played so well.

I have been complaining for 3 years about Weber not playing Griffey much, and the kid has been an awesome shooter and very versatile the whole time, just needed a coach to recognize his strengths and use him as part of the team. Looks like his senior year could be his breakout year.

I do think Abrams can be a nice point guard for the Illini this year, with a year of experience and a new coach. He looked great in the highlight film.

Maui could be some fun this year.

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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:29 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Illini70math View Post
Don't let the euphoria get totally out of hand!

How can they not be successful?

1. When our threes don't fall at 43.6% like they have been in our first two games.

2. When we play teams that actually have as much or more talent than we do.

Over the long haul, Coach Groce should be able to recruit with anyone, but there will be a lot of games where this type of attack will not be so much fun. See the West Chester game against a weak opponent. When you only hit about 25% from three, you don't look nearly as good. Do that against a solid opponent like Iowa or Northwestern or Purdue or Minny or PSU, and we may not be having so much fun. Keep it real.

We are improving, but these are not great teams we are playing.
OK..... will lay off the kool-aide for now :laugh: It is just great to see a team that really does play unselfish, deep, and fast. I have been as skeptical as anyone about our prospects for this year. The B1G will be a juggernaut. Lets hope we can find a way to hold our own within it.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:30 PM   #75
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LaTulip reminds me of Joe Crispin. The kid has a lot of confidence for someone that's not supposed to be a player.
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