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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:46 PM   #1
IlliniCrusader
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1. Indiana
2. Michigan
3. OSU
4. Minny
5. MSU

6. Illini: There are currently three undefeated teams in the Big Ten: The Indiana Hoosiers, the Michigan Wolverines and, you guessed it, the Illinois Fighting Illini. Who knew? John Groce has Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and the unheralded leftovers from Bruce Weber's sad trombone sound of a 2012 season playing open, up-tempo, carefree basketball. They're spreading the floor, having fun and lo and behold making shots. It should be noted that 44.5 percent of the Illini's shots are 3s, and they are making 42.2 percent; that is probably not a sustainable shooting pace. But right now, you better believe Illini fans are loving it.

7. Wiscy
8. Purdue
9. NU
10. Iowa
11. Nebraska
12. PSU
http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebaske...ings-big-ten-9
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:49 PM   #2
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I'll take it. I think right now their 4-6 (Minny, MSU, and Illinois) are pretty interchangeable. If anything MSU should be last in that group based on their body of work thus far. I wasn't feeling this way before the season started, but I think we are a clear tier up from Purdue, Northwestern, Nebraska, Penn State, and Iowa. At this point, probably Wisconsin too. But we know they are no easy out come big ten time. In fact, none of those teams are likely to be "easy" wins.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:50 PM   #3
champaignchris
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Those "unheralded leftovers" comprised top 10 or 15 recruiting classes in 2009 and 2011.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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I can't wait for the start of Big Ten play...

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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:55 PM   #5
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Those "unheralded leftovers" comprised top 10 or 15 recruiting classes in 2009 and 2011.
I checked the rivals archives the other day because I was curious to see what that class was ranked. That class was ranked #4 on the page I saw. I don't remember them being THAT highly regarded, but I saw what I saw. FWIW, UAB had the #10 class with Demarcus Cousins committed. So I'm guessing that page was outdated.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:57 PM   #6
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Those "unheralded leftovers" comprised top 10 or 15 recruiting classes in 2009 and 2011.
And of that 2009 class, who are the remaining leftovers?
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:58 PM   #7
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Bruce Weber's Sad Trombone would be a helluva screen name. Just sayin.

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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:04 PM   #8
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Bruce Weber's Sad Trombone would be a helluva screen name. Just sayin.
Agreed and more widely accepted than Bruce Weber's Rusty Trombone.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:10 PM   #9
champaignchris
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And of that 2009 class, who are the remaining leftovers?
Tyler Griffey, Jo Bertrand, DJ Richardson, and Brandon Paul. All fairly major contributors, to put it mildly.

The 2010 recruiting class was also a top 10-15 rated class, but none of them are left on the roster.

The whole "Bruce can't recruit" thing was passe at the end. The problem was, his recruits weren't performing for him.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:12 PM   #10
Illiniwek06
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Originally Posted by champaignchris View Post
Tyler Griffey, Jo Bertrand, DJ Richardson, and Brandon Paul. All fairly major contributors, to put it mildly.

The 2010 recruiting class was also a top 10-15 rated class, but none of them are left on the roster.

The whole "Bruce can't recruit" thing was passe at the end. The problem was, his recruits weren't performing for him.
Oops, my bad. I was confusing the 2009 and 2010 classes.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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I'll take it. I think right now their 4-6 (Minny, MSU, and Illinois) are pretty interchangeable. If anything MSU should be last in that group based on their body of work thus far. I wasn't feeling this way before the season started, but I think we are a clear tier up from Purdue, Northwestern, Nebraska, Penn State, and Iowa. At this point, probably Wisconsin too. But we know they are no easy out come big ten time. In fact, none of those teams are likely to be "easy" wins.
At this point, yes we are clearly ahead of Wisconsin. But until they actually finish in the lower division I'm not going to count out the Badgers. Eleven years in the B1G and Bo Ryan has NEVER finished below 4th place in the league!

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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:21 PM   #12
aberger
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Tyler Griffey, Jo Bertrand, DJ Richardson, and Brandon Paul. All fairly major contributors, to put it mildly.

The 2010 recruiting class was also a top 10-15 rated class, but none of them are left on the roster.

The whole "Bruce can't recruit" thing was passe at the end. The problem was, his recruits weren't performing for him.

I think it was the exact opposite.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:24 PM   #13
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I am so sick of Wisky

7. Wisconsin. OK, so, let's make it clear right off the bat that I don't really expect Wisconsin to languish in this low, un-Wisconsin-like tier of the power rankings for all that long this season. Things will even out, Illinois will occasionally miss a few shots, and Wisconsin will climb upward. But right now, it's hard to put them anywhere else. Virginia fully deserved that win in the Kohl Center Wednesday night, and the Badgers have not held serve against equal or better competition (Florida, Creighton) to date.

So basically, he is saying that Wisconsin is really better than Illinois and he is just waiting for the Illini to choke so he can move the Badgers up ahead of us.

When Wisconsin is decent they are ALWAYS over rated, and when they are bad all I ever hear is how they really are better than how they are playing. Wisconsin makes me want to
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:27 PM   #14
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7. Wisconsin. OK, so, let's make it clear right off the bat that I don't really expect Wisconsin to languish in this low, un-Wisconsin-like tier of the power rankings for all that long this season. Things will even out, Illinois will occasionally miss a few shots, and Wisconsin will climb upward. But right now, it's hard to put them anywhere else. Virginia fully deserved that win in the Kohl Center Wednesday night, and the Badgers have not held serve against equal or better competition (Florida, Creighton) to date.

So basically, he is saying that Wisconsin is really better than Illinois and he is just waiting for the Illini to choke so he can move the Badgers up ahead of us.

When Wisconsin is decent they are ALWAYS over rated, and when they are bad all I ever hear is how they really are better than how they are playing. Wisconsin makes me want to
Meh, see GHD's post a couple above. I don't take too much of an issue with the writer's view. And when was the last time Wisconsin was actually bad? I feel that I actually always underrate Wisconsin, and they always end up in the top third of the B1G and in the tourney. That said, with the loss of Gasser, maybe this will be the year that this trend falters.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:28 PM   #15
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It should be noted that 44.5 percent of the Illini's shots are 3s, and they are making 42.2 percent; that is probably not a sustainable shooting pace.

not sure i agree with this. why can't we shoot 42% for the year? according to the ncaa stats for this season, (which don't reflect games past 11/25 for some reason) we're 30th in the country in 3pt%. (in case you're wondering Ohio State is #1, shooting a whopping 47.8% from 3) so it's not like we're way out in front of field here.

most of those 3's are coming in the flow of the offense and are open looks. he says we can't keep it up? i say we can. i guess we'll find out.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:46 PM   #16
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At this point, yes we are clearly ahead of Wisconsin. But until they actually finish in the lower division I'm not going to count out the Badgers. Eleven years in the B1G and Bo Ryan has NEVER finished below 4th place in the league!
Take it to the bank, they aren't top 4 material this year and IMO will struggle to finish in the half.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 02:51 PM   #17
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It should be noted that 44.5 percent of the Illini's shots are 3s, and they are making 42.2 percent; that is probably not a sustainable shooting pace.

not sure i agree with this. why can't we shoot 42% for the year? according to the ncaa stats for this season, (which don't reflect games past 11/25 for some reason) we're 30th in the country in 3pt%. (in case you're wondering Ohio State is #1, shooting a whopping 47.8% from 3) so it's not like we're way out in front of field here.

most of those 3's are coming in the flow of the offense and are open looks. he says we can't keep it up? i say we can. i guess we'll find out.
Is it just me or does it seem like Ohio State shoots 50% from 3 every year? Part of it is good recruiting but part of it is coaching. Hats off to Matta for keeping a staff together that is consistently recruiting and developing great shooters.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:03 PM   #18
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It should be noted that 44.5 percent of the Illini's shots are 3s, and they are making 42.2 percent; that is probably not a sustainable shooting pace.

not sure i agree with this. why can't we shoot 42% for the year? according to the ncaa stats for this season, (which don't reflect games past 11/25 for some reason) we're 30th in the country in 3pt%. (in case you're wondering Ohio State is #1, shooting a whopping 47.8% from 3) so it's not like we're way out in front of field here.

most of those 3's are coming in the flow of the offense and are open looks. he says we can't keep it up? i say we can. i guess we'll find out.
I agree.

All these guys had to make 11,000 3's this summer. I don't think it's a fluke.

We'll probably have down game or two, but I think we'll end the season shooting around 40%, if we're without injury.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:28 PM   #19
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Two of our 8 victories came on last-minute threes, one against lowly Gardner-Webb (but not as lowly as DePaul ;-) and one in overtime at Hawaii. One of our victories was against Division II Chaminade. One was against a USC team that isn't very good right now. One was against a Georgia Tech squad picked for ninth in the ACC, and they looked like winners at our place for 33 minutes. Two others were against Colgate and St. Francis.

We should be delighted with our start so far, and excited about how we are playing, but we need to rein in the irrational exhuberance (I just made that up...;-).

IF we keep improving (as I expect we will), we can definitely become an upper division B1G team. But let's remember that Purdue is one of the few B1G teams that went on the road and won a game in the B1G/ACC challenge, and they were being written off not too long ago. Things tend to be very fluid in the early going.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:30 PM   #20
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I agree the shooting won't sustain during B1G play, but I don't think it dips that much. When we have 4 guys that can shoot the 3 on the floor at all times, then someone is going to be open and able to make a shot.

Looking at individual averages, the only guy shooting out of his mind compared to last year is Griffey. Paul is doing a lot better as well, and DJ is actually shooting worse for his career but a little better than last year. Most of our 3s are coming from those guys, so as long as Griffey sustains this, the team will sustain it.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:34 PM   #21
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I agree.

All these guys had to make 11,000 3's this summer. I don't think it's a fluke.

We'll probably have down game or two, but I think we'll end the season shooting around 40%, if we're without injury.
I think the question with our shooting is whether our players got that much better, or if the system allows them to be better. If you look at the 3PT% of our guys from the past few seasons you'd have to assume our percentage as a team will decrease. However, if you scrap the last few seasons and only consider our new offense, I don't see why we couldn't keep our percentage high.

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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:43 PM   #22
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It should be noted that 44.5 percent of the Illini's shots are 3s, and they are making 42.2 percent; that is probably not a sustainable shooting pace.

not sure i agree with this. why can't we shoot 42% for the year? according to the ncaa stats for this season, (which don't reflect games past 11/25 for some reason) we're 30th in the country in 3pt%. (in case you're wondering Ohio State is #1, shooting a whopping 47.8% from 3) so it's not like we're way out in front of field here.

most of those 3's are coming in the flow of the offense and are open looks. he says we can't keep it up? i say we can. i guess we'll find out.
+1..this is a well above average shooting team and the amount of stress Groce put in on shooting during the offseason is clearly paying off now...
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:45 PM   #23
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I think the question with our shooting is whether our players got that much better, or if the system allows them to be better. If you look at the 3PT% of our guys from the past few seasons you'd have to assume our percentage as a team will decrease. However, if you scrap the last few seasons and only consider our new offense, I don't see why we couldn't keep our percentage high.
Demetri McCamey shot 45.1% from three for the season in 2011. Our team shot 38.7% from three that season. By contrast, Ohio shot under 35% from three for the season last year, IIRC. Whether we will be able to shoot 40% from three against the much better quality B1G defenses we will face in conference remains to be seen.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:50 PM   #24
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Our opening 4 game B1G schedule is just brutal and will tell a lot of how the B1G season will go. @Purdue, OSU, Minny and @ Wisky. All within 10 days.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 03:51 PM   #25
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Things Eamonn Brennan has said about Illinois this year.

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Worst-case: What happens when you add a dearth of young talent, experienced players who pretty much gave up on their last leader and a new coach asked to bring it all together? There is no one answer. Frankly, anything is possible, and while that includes the aforementioned revival from Paul and Richardson, it could just as easily lead to Paul looking around, deciding he's the best player on his team by a lot (not that he would be wrong) and posting yet another incredibly inefficient, borderline-greedy offensive season.

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebaske...case-big-ten-2
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Illinois, meanwhile, retained the veteran backcourt of Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, and had some talented guys left over from a team that basically just quit on Bruce Weber last season

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebaske...gins-maui-ends
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John Groce has Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and the unheralded leftovers from Bruce Weber's sad trombone sound of a 2012 season playing open, up-tempo, carefree basketball.

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebaske...ings-big-ten-9
Maybe I am just too big of a homer but I never thought last years team quit or the Paul played particularly selfish. That combined with some unflattering coaching search articles has left me taking what he writes with a grain of salt.
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