Summer conversations: John Groce (part II)

The team this year seemed to be really mentally strained come February. How as a coach to you face that? How do you prepare your team to deal with that?

That's a great question. I told those guys that I'm one of those people that believes in controlling the controlables. You can't control the past, good or bad. That's gone. People keep asking me about last year, and I haven't watched enough of last year to be able to critique last year. I saw a couple games on TV, and not even the whole game. So for me to say yay or nay -- that's totally unfair.

But I know right now we're going in a direction where we establish and develop a culture where we finish everything. Whether that's academics, whether that's something off the court, whether that's finishing a game, finishing a possession with a rebound, executing on a given offensive possession, finishing the half, finishing a four minute war... finish finish finish. I just think it's a mindset. Being a finisher is a mindset.

Right now, are we where we need to be in that area? No. But in the spring, that's why we came up with our motto: T-n-T. Toughness and togetherness. It's what we need more than anything else. Part of that is what I think you're talking about, where we've got to be able, when we get popped in the mouth, to stay right here and handle adversity and fight. I call it having fight syndrome instead of flight syndrome.

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2015 Illini Football Schedule

DateOpponentTime/TV
Fri, Sep 4Kent State8:00pm BTN
Sat, Sep 12Western Illinois11:00am BTN
Sat, Sep 19at North Carolina11:00am
Sat, Sep 26Middle Tennessee State 
Sat, Oct 3Nebraska 
Sat, Oct 10at Iowa11:00am
Sat, Oct 24Wisconsin
(Homecoming)
2:30pm
Sat, Oct 31at Penn State 
Sat, Nov 7at Purdue11:00am
Sat, Nov 14Ohio State 
Sat, Nov 21at Minnesota 
Sat, Nov 28Northwestern
(Soldier Field, Chicago, IL)
 
All times CT. Game times & TV listed when announced.

2015-2016 Illini Basketball Schedule

DateOpponentTime/TV
Sun, Nov 8Illinois-Springfield (Exh.)
(Springfield, IL)
 
Fri, Nov 13North Florida
(Springfield, IL)
 
Sun, Nov 15North Dakota State
(Springfield, IL)
 
Wed, Nov 18@Providence
(Gavitt Tipoff Games)
 
Sat, Nov 21Chattanooga
(Springfield, IL)
 
Mon, Nov 23Chicago State
(Springfield, IL)
 
Fri, Nov 27UAB
(Niceville, FL)
8:30pm CBSSN
Sat, Nov 28Iowa State or VT
(Niceville, FL)
 
Wed, Dec 2Notre Dame
(B1G/ACC Challenge)
 
Sat, Dec 5Western Carolina 
Wed, Dec 9Yale 
Sat, Dec 12UIC
(Chicago, IL)
 
Sat, Dec 19South Dakota 
Wed, Dec 23Missouri
(St. Louis, MO)
 
All times CT. Remaining schedule listed when announced.