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Pregame: Illinois vs Gardner-Webb, Sunday, November 25th, 3:00pm CT, BTN

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Old Nov 24, 2012, 03:31 PM   #126
Groundhogday
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Originally Posted by Illini70math View Post
On the flipside, with our schedule we are a strong contender to get to 9-0 now, so we should be ranked before we go to play at Gonzaga on December 8th. If we are still undefeated after Gonzaga, then people will really start to notice.
If we beat Gonzaga in Spokane, that will certainly put us on the national radar. Big IF. Gonzaga is playing well this year and it is a tough place to play on the road.

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Perhaps more to the point, we are now in an excellent position to make the field of 68 for the NCAA tourney. We should be favored to finish the preconference at 12-2, so even an 8-10 record in conference would very likely make the field of 68. Certainly one BTT win should do it, imo.
I agree with this.

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Old Nov 24, 2012, 03:53 PM   #127
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New prediction

ILL-87
G-W-68

After looking at the bulldogs average ppg I think illinois dominates and is ranked 23 or 24...I like the coaches poll because the coaches pick and they know for real that illinois is legit.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 04:46 PM   #128
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This. Butler finished last year as the No. 114 team per Sagarin. That is Nebraska-PSU territory. From that team the lost Nored (defense-oriented PG), and Chrishawn Hopkins (starting SG kicked off team pre-season, best athlete on the team and best guy off the dribble.) They essentially replaced these two guys with Clarke and Duhnam. While Clarke is great, they really needed Hopkins to be his running mate, share more of the ball handling duties, and create some offense. Duhnam is just a freshman and a fairly limited shooter at this point in his career.

In a nutshell, Clarke is the only thing between Butler and a final Sagarin ranking that would put them at the bottom of the B1G.

(Edit: for comparison we finished last season ranked 63 per Sagarin, Ohio was ranked 55.)

Personally finishing in the top 150 out of a major conference when you are in the bottom 1/4 isn't that bad and there are 30 teams from mid majors who would be ranked below them if hey played in as strong as conferences. You could also say if these bottom feeders in major conferences played in much weaker conferences that their rankings would be much higher with a better W/L records. These ranking are almost like player rankings. A team ranked between 25-50 can lose to teams ranked between 100-150 especially ones in major conferences and playing on the road doesn't help either. We look at stats way to much.

Daniel, since Clarke is on he floor more than BP it makes sense that his usage rating is higher. I haven't look but would expect Rontei to be somewhere between 36-38 minutes thats 90% or more and BP around 30-32 minutes which is 80 % or less. In those 8- 10 minutes BP is out of the game I'm sure we are still throwing up shots at the same rate maybe higher than when he's in the game. Butler on the other hand rarely has Clarke off the floor, doesn't use as many possessions per game as us and I'd assume they play at a even slower pave when the rs senior is off he floor.

GHD, I had no clue Butler lost a player of that caliber. It could be the difference between them finishing in the top six/bubble territory of a very strong A 10 this year. Seriously, there are going to be some p'd off A 10 teams this year because I see a bunch of 20 win teams and half aren't going to be dancing.

Last edited by zoggle101; Nov 24, 2012 at 04:49 PM.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:04 PM   #129
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Its great that we can look forward to having a tourney team again. Lots of work to do in conference before that happens. What I am looking for is a team that gets better and better as the year moves ahead and I think this team can do it. Yes, we are going to take some lumps but I think we will surprise as well. The attitude is there this year and lots of positives so far.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:06 PM   #130
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GHD, I had no clue Butler lost a player of that caliber. It could be the difference between them finishing in the top six/bubble territory of a very strong A 10 this year. Seriously, there are going to be some p'd off A 10 teams this year because I see a bunch of 20 win teams and half aren't going to be dancing.
You aren't the only one to think that way.
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Let's call it what it is: The Bulldogs losing their starting guard is a significant blow, especially if Brad Stevens & Co., are set to make legitimate noise in their first season in the A-10. This Butler team had just about everything in place to make a run for the Atlantic 10 crown in its inaugural campaign, but the loss of Hopkins is major.

Chrishawn Hopkins

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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:07 PM   #131
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Are we trying to take away from the illini's win here?
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:09 PM   #132
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If Kellen Dunham isn't a good shooter I think someone needs to break the news to Stevens. If Stigall isn't shooter I don't know how he is on a D 1 roster. Kid might not strike fear in opponents but can strike daggers in their hearts. The kid from he metro east who I believe starts was athletic and played hard. I'm sure Stevens will have a couple more guys develop as the season progresses. Fromm not Richie had some good minutes.
Dunham will end his career as the points leader at Butler. Smeathers will be right behind. Stigall follows Archey, Horan, Hahn and Brandon Miller in a long line of excellent shooters from New Castle all trying to emulate the hometown hero....Alford. Clarke is arguably the best shooter in basketball presently (check GOodman's list of top 50 shooters) in a year of really good shooters.

Zoggle you have a pretty good handle on this. COach Groce is going to have lots of 3 balls flying up and the more you make the more freedom he will give you to take em. THe 3 opens the lanes for the bigs and the rolls to the bucket that usually end up with a pretty high rate of and 1's as the defense is trailing off the roll or rotating late to help.

Just retraining the fanbase as to how to watch this team will be a year long effort (or more if they are firmly entrenched in the rough and tumble BIG style of play) as it will be foreign to the fans but exciting to recruits.

back to GW.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:13 PM   #133
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Groce's spacing-oriented ball-screen offense is designed to prevent that defensive approach from being successful. The fundamental concept is that when the ball screen(s) are run, the defense has to make a choice between defending the basket and defending the perimeter.

Usually the defense picks its best option by helping off the weakest perimeter shooter. When this offense is run with four very good perimeter shooters, that is not an attractive option anymore. As long as we keep getting great outside shooting from all four non-post positions, we will be very hard to defend in this offense.

In simplistic terms, the two-man ball screen is very difficult to defend consistently using only two defenders (and telling your other three players to each guard his perimeter shooter). As long as the perimeter shooters are properly spaced, either one of them has to be left open to some degree (because his defender is helping on the ball screen) or the two non-perimeter defenders have to handle the ball screen all by themselves. If the ball screen is well executed, that is very hard to do consistently.

Your post man doesn't have to be a great low post threat in the traditional sense because the ball screen forces the post defender away from the basket.
ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL POST. Nailed it.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:15 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Illini70math View Post
Perhaps more to the point, we are now in an excellent position to make the field of 68 for the NCAA tourney. We should be favored to finish the preconference at 12-2, so even an 8-10 record in conference would very likely make the field of 68. Certainly one BTT win should do it, imo.
I was thinking much along the same lines but thought perhaps it might be premature to start saying it :laugh: but yeah, I agree, going 4-0 on the Hawaii trip rather than 2-2 probably enhanced our prospects of making it into the tourney notably, given all the givens of the conference sched.

Then again, as has been said many times, this past January we were 15-3 with a spectacular win over #1, and still managed to miss the tourney by March. So, who knows at this early date.

But I will say I'm cautiously more optimistic about it than I was a week ago.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:51 PM   #135
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I think it's pretty important that we have racked up six wins before playing our third home game. The road and neutral site games will be a factor at tourney time, even if one was against a division II team technically on their home floor.

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Old Nov 24, 2012, 05:58 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Illini70math View Post
Groce's spacing-oriented ball-screen offense is designed to prevent that defensive approach from being successful. The fundamental concept is that when the ball screen(s) are run, the defense has to make a choice between defending the basket and defending the perimeter.

Usually the defense picks its best option by helping off the weakest perimeter shooter. When this offense is run with four very good perimeter shooters, that is not an attractive option anymore. As long as we keep getting great outside shooting from all four non-post positions, we will be very hard to defend in this offense.

In simplistic terms, the two-man ball screen is very difficult to defend consistently using only two defenders (and telling your other three players to each guard his perimeter shooter). As long as the perimeter shooters are properly spaced, either one of them has to be left open to some degree (because his defender is helping on the ball screen) or the two non-perimeter defenders have to handle the ball screen all by themselves. If the ball screen is well executed, that is very hard to do consistently.

Your post man doesn't have to be a great low post threat in the traditional sense because the ball screen forces the post defender away from the basket.
It's a big IF to consider shooting the three this well. At some point we are going to hit a wall there. The question is whether we can do enough inside to keep those defenders honest.

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Old Nov 24, 2012, 06:01 PM   #137
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I think it's pretty important that we have racked up six wins before playing our third home game. The road and neutral site games will be a factor at tourney time, even if one was against a division II team technically on their home floor.
I find it humorous that v. Chaminade was a "neutral" court game. Sort of like playing the United Center in Chicago is a "neutral" site game.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 06:04 PM   #138
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I find it humorous that v. Chaminade was a "neutral" court game. Sort of like playing the United Center in Chicago is a "neutral" site game.
Chaminade won't count for RPI, so it's a moot point.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 06:44 PM   #139
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It's a big IF to consider shooting the three this well. At some point we are going to hit a wall there. The question is whether we can do enough inside to keep those defenders honest.
The best about the offense is the options is it presents.

As I and others have pointed out, if our passing was a little sharper and vision a little keener. The screener is open a fair amount of times crashing to the basket after the pick is set, which could allow a very close field goal attempt or a kick out to one of the perimeter shooters.

If our perimeter shooter are not hitting, they always have the option of a pump fake and taking it in for a layup or mid range jumper or kicking it out to another perimeter player once the driver draws help defenders.

In Sean Harrington's interview on Tay and Jay. He said he felt the ball screen offense was a better fit for these players since the reads and where the ball goes are much more defined and clearly laid out than the 5 man motion.

Pick roll is so effective, which is why it is the primary SOP in the NBA where the players are the top athletes and most skilled basketball players.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 07:29 PM   #140
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I think there is another major element here. We used to grouse about the lack of players that could create for themselves, yet we have seen an extreme increase in scoring with fewer assist totals than in past years. This is due in part to things like Tyler driving the baseline, Joe's unstoppable floater, and the increased aggressiveness from DJ, Tracy, and Brandon.

That sort of ability draws double-teams that allow for even more spacing.

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Old Nov 24, 2012, 11:37 PM   #141
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It's a big IF to consider shooting the three this well. At some point we are going to hit a wall there. The question is whether we can do enough inside to keep those defenders honest.
After how long do we realize we have some REALLY good shooters on this team? I guess after they shoot this well through the first few games of B1G schedule.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 12:28 AM   #142
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I find it humorous that v. Chaminade was a "neutral" court game. Sort of like playing the United Center in Chicago is a "neutral" site game.
Actually, I think Illini fans outnumbered the Chaminade fans in the Maui arena, so neutral site is pretty accurate.

United Center is also considered a neutral site, but also has more Illini fans typically.

Let's face it, there are lots of Illinois alumni to go to the various games compared to smaller schools.

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Old Nov 25, 2012, 12:45 AM   #143
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...We used to grouse about the lack of players that could create for themselves...
But, we have the same players...
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 02:34 AM   #144
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In Sean Harrington's interview on Tay and Jay. He said he felt the ball screen offense was a better fit for these players since the reads and where the ball goes are much more defined and clearly laid out than the 5 man motion.
I agree completely. When you have five guys who really understand basketball and can pass the ball well, the motion works great. If you have athletes who don't see the court particularly well and are not good passers, the ball screen offense is going to be much easier to execute. And as we have seen, the less players have to think, the more aggressive they can play.

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Old Nov 25, 2012, 07:41 AM   #145
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Groce, Illini ready for tough Gardner-Webb team

"By no means have we arrived, but we feel blessed to have played for that championship and to have won it."

Based on its results in a difficult early schedule, Gardner-Webb (4-3) is no pushover.

Gardner-Webb opened its season with a 76-59 loss at North Carolina. It beat DePaul 71-59 in Chicago. And after squandering a big lead and losing 65-56 at Iowa, it beat Howard and Austin Peay to claim the Mayan Division championship of the Cancun Challenge.

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Old Nov 25, 2012, 07:54 AM   #146
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I agree completely. When you have five guys who really understand basketball and can pass the ball well, the motion works great. If you have athletes who don't see the court particularly well and are not good passers, the ball screen offense is going to be much easier to execute. And as we have seen, the less players have to think, the more aggressive they can play.
It's hard to measure, but I think the psychological aspects do make a difference. In addition to not having to think as hard, it appears that everyone is eager to take the first good shot available. That makes a difference too because they do not seem to be worried if they take a shot they are going to get yanked because they didn't work for a somewhat better one.

Is it just me or is Paul's release quicker than last year? Last year it almost seemed like even as he was going up to shoot, he was still wondering whether he should be passing. This year it seems like he's just shooting. Could be just my perception.

Anyway, really looking forward to going to the Hall today, and that hasn't been true in a while.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 10:14 AM   #147
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It's hard to measure, but I think the psychological aspects do make a difference.
There's also a "senior factor." Sort of now or never and often times, senior year is the best.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 10:20 AM   #148
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Sort of like playing the United Center in Chicago is a "neutral" site game.
Or Kansas in the Sprint Center with the visitors getting 200 tix
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 10:22 AM   #149
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Hopefully A section shows up today. It always looks bad on tv when its half empty!
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 12:01 PM   #150
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ILL-85 GW-71...Let's go Illini!
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