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12/21 News & Notes

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Old Dec 21, 2012, 08:04 AM   #1
Dan's Avatar
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 35,048
Groce's first chance to brag

"I've heard about it from the moment I got the job in late March," said Groce, who Thursday afternoon raced from practice to a press conference in shorts and an orange T-shirt, despite plunging temperatures, howling winds and a rain that was just beginning to turn to snow.

"Our guys are excited to play. You can tell there's more pep in their step at practice. I thought we've been really good the last two days and today was even better than yesterday."

Illinois has the experience, Mizzou the wins

How will the Illini handle their desperation to win one before the seniors depart, and will experience be an advantage? And what, if any, impact will the Tigers' lack of familiarity have on their performance?

Mizzou coach Frank Haith couldn't help but inject his thoughts this week when first-year Tigers Keion Bell and Earnest Ross were asked if they understood what they would experience.

"You ask them, but I'd never seen that," said Haith, who coached his only Braggin' Rights game last season. "So a neutral court game with that kind of atmosphere, surely they wouldn't have ever seen that either."

Braggin' Rights: In their words

Lucas Johnson

What would you tell Coach Groce about the Braggin' Rights?
It really is hard to let a newcomer know what to expect when it comes to the Braggin' Rights game. It is truly a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. I'm not sure of another event where you have exactly half of the stadium yelling and cheering for every play. When the Illini are playing well and making good plays it can feel like you are playing in the friendly confines of the Hall. On the other hand when things are not going our way, St Louis can have the dark and deafening feel of the Breslin Center on a cold February night. My advice would have to be that the game is never over and the momentum can switch in a heartbeat and that this game means EVERYTHING to Illini Nation!

Your take on 12-0?
It is truly hard to say anything bad about this team so far. They play hard, they compete on every play, they have shot it fairly well, and they are fun to watch. They have had a great opening to the season, and now the real season begins. They are gonna have to lean on their senior leadership in the upcoming months as the Big Ten can be a grueling schedule for any team. They need to know that they are making Illini Nation proud.

Jim Rossow
Braggin' Rights notes: A senior moment

The Illinois senior class is 0 for 3 against Missouri. First-year coach John Groce has heard the players talking about it, but he’s making sure their focus is geared toward Saturday’s opportunity and not about revenge for past defeats.

"The one thing I will say, regardless of what their record is previously, I've got news for them: It ain't changing," Groce said. "It has really no effect on Saturday night's game. This is a separate game than the other three they have played."

Marcus Jackson
Sean Harrington: Scouting Mizzou

Keys to scoring on Missouri

Missouri will do a lot of switching. Most of the time the Tigers will switch everything 1-4 and sometimes 1-5. Lots of movement and screens will confuse them. Slipping the ball screens will lead to open shots and dives to the rim. Screening your own man also will confuse them on screening actions. Both defenders will stay with one guy.

Because of all the switching there will be mismatches. It will be important to exploit these mismatches. Guards need to drive to the rim when being defended by bigs, and guards need to get the ball into the post when they are being defended by guards. Make Oriakhi run the floor. Bigs can beat him in transition.

Watch for Missouri to play some 2-3 zone. The middle is wide open against the 2-3 zone.

Most important is to play under control. Missouri wants to speed teams up. There will be open shots early. Don't be afraid to take open shots but make sure they are not forced or too quick. These shots will be available any time during the possession.

Braggin' Rights game feeds a need

We need a game that has alternately served as referendum, Broadway play, harbinger and outlier. We need Norm Stewart stomping at midcourt at the old Arena in 1993, spewing bile with no time on the clock and the Fighting Illini at the line in a game the Tigers won (or stole) in triple overtime.

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Old Dec 21, 2012, 08:27 AM   #2
RichBradIllini's Avatar
Location: Peoria
Posts: 376
From the StLToday article:

"We need Stewart refusing to send his team onto the court because he was convinced the Illini’s Lou Henson had exercised his prerogative as the “home” coach to give the Tiger players leaden balls for the pregame shootaround."

Lou...you are the man.

Thanks, Dan. Some good stuff.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 11:33 AM   #3
Location: O Fallon
Posts: 55
Originally Posted by RichBradIllini View Post
From the StLToday article:

"We need Stewart refusing to send his team onto the court because he was convinced the Illini’s Lou Henson had exercised his prerogative as the “home” coach to give the Tiger players leaden balls for the pregame shootaround."

Lou...you are the man.

Thanks, Dan. Some good stuff.
Lou is the man!


Last edited by jbmay83; Dec 21, 2012 at 11:34 AM. Reason: add comments
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 12:00 PM   #4
Kramer116's Avatar
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,955

Braggin' Rights: In their words

Thu, 12/20/2012 - 1:00pm | Jim Rossow
What an awesome read, loved it.

Great to see the passion our former players still have for the Illini, even those who may be a bit maligned by our fanbase.

Once an Illini, always an Illini.

Hall of Fame:
"We will win. It is important" - Josh Whitman

Hall of Shame:
@TomCrean: I am doing great. I have been thinking about you alot since last weekend. A whole lot. How are you doing?
"W.I.N.(T.) Whatever is necessary today" - Tim Beckman
"It's not ideal but for now, I don't think it'll put a dagger in the heart of the program" - Paul Kowalczyk
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 09:17 AM   #5
Posts: 13,108
Warren Carter

"The way your Christmas meal tastes is determined by if you win or lose the Braggin' Rights game,' Needless to say I was eating GREAT every year.
Love it.
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