History for Illinois and and pretty much every team tells us that there's a pretty wide range of possibilities for our results this year. I think the bell curve for teams like us is pretty flat, as well. Every year there's a number of teams that surprise and every year there are teams that disappoint. Pessimists want to call themselves "realists" when in reality they just like to always select on the left side of the bell. Selecting in the middle doesn't make you a realist. It just means your valuing different parts of the evaluation differently.
The key for the program is not playing better on the right side of the mean/expectation when the expectations are set so low, because we have been (i.e., the collective program) responsible for setting those expectations. Also, it is not just hitting the right chemistry one year, certainly we kind of did that in 2012-13 and 2008-09 under 2 different coaches. The key is consistency, and that consistency is IMO totally unrealistic without strong recruiting, which we know currently is not going well.
Groce overachieved in his first year (2012-13) but overall tenure was pretty much an NIT/bubble team, and we all thought that was not acceptable. It is not as unrealistic as many present to expect taking an NIT team/bubble program and making it a consistent NCAA tournament program. It should not take 3+ years to reach at least the previous level (NIT/bubble).