Illinois 64, Maryland 57 POSTGAME

Pittsburgh
Just to add on to the above - Hill's missed jumper was 6 seconds into a new clock when we were up 11 with 1:21 left. By the general rule of thumb - that's time for sitting on the ball.

Cosby's missed 3 was 4 seconds into the clock when we were up 12 with 4:17 left. Not completely inadvisable to shoot an open, high percentage shot then, but with the way he was shooting it was completely inadvisable to shoot a 3 when we could have burned another 3 seconds.
I was actually more ok with Malcolm's shot than Cosby's. When you have a game like Hill was having and you get an open look you take it in this offense. Cosby on the other hand wasn't hitting and hasn't been hitting so probably would've been better to pull it back but I understand that they have the ultimate green light despite what has been going on with Cosby and Starks.
 
O'Fallon, MO
After last night's 17-20 on FT's, we moved back into 2nd in the nation %wise. I can't help but think this will help us somewhere down the line. BTW we made 7 more FT's last night than the Turtles.:)
It certainly helped us last night. We made 7 more FTs than them and won the game by 7 points. If you look at the box score, the difference at the FT line was the difference in this game.
 
Great win but same stuff as the other games. Thankfully Maryland made their own mistakes the last 6 minutes. Wins a win and love the intensity from the guys.
I wouldn't really say that considering we were up multipe scores a good chunk of the game. Maryland made like four three pointers late to make the game seem closer than it was. Besides, ins't that what most games consist of? Usually one tam just makes more mistakes and loses.
 
I was actually more ok with Malcolm's shot than Cosby's. When you have a game like Hill was having and you get an open look you take it in this offense. Cosby on the other hand wasn't hitting and hasn't been hitting so probably would've been better to pull it back but I understand that they have the ultimate green light despite what has been going on with Cosby and Starks.

This is where I am at as well. Hill's shot was nearly point blank and within the flow of what was happening at the time. It is the kind of shot he will make more often than not. Cosby has not proven he can make the shots and, when playing in slowdown mode, should have thought twice about taking that shot. Maybe they both should have thought twice but Hill's shot seemed more like a no brainer to me.

As far as the debate about slowing the game down and milking possessions at the end, I am generally on board if up enough to make it work. What does bother me is that I think Groce's teams tend to wait just a little late to initiate the offense at the end of the shot clock. It seems that a lot of times, it is at 5 or 6 seconds. I would rather see them start at the 10 second mark, be a bit less rushed, and maybe get a better look.
 
I didn't realize that Maryland had as many transfers on their roster as they do--6.
Of those 6, four (Wells, Smotrycz, Pack and Graham) played significant minutes.
 
We are 121st the country in FTA's, so not terribly bad or good. We have made 60 more FT's than our opponents for the year, now that is real good. :)
Antiquated stats are bad. :) And MD has made 52 more FT's than their opponents HAVE ATTEMPTED. :eek:

We are #275 in FTA/FGA, i.e. FT rate. We get 20.1% of our points via FTs, that's #213. Using Kenpom data here, so it ignores games vs non-D1 teams.
 
All the crazy people who were saying all these negative things towards JFG after the 0-2 start (both road games), did you watch the Maryland game, because yes the boys played well, but JFG coached one heck of a game! The zone, m2m, zone press, man press variations just threw Maryland out of sync. Great job coach!
 
They are on sale at GameDay Spirit. $22.99
Just looking at the boxscore from last night (http://scores.espn.go.com/ncb/boxscore?gameId=400595451) and noting some pretty interesting things.

Minutes distribution: Hill 39, Egwu 38, Tate 31, Cosby 30, Nunn 30, Starks 20, Black 8, Morgan 4.

Notable here are Hill and Egwu's very very heavy usage and Black and Morgan's relatively minimal usage. I doubt Hill and Egwu can sustain 38 minutes a night, even if we play zone which makes Egwu's job somewhat less taxing on defense. Was thinking before the game yesterday that Morgan would spell Egwu 10 minutes at the 5, which did not happen. In fact, he spelled Egwu only 2 minutes and the other 2 minutes he played alongside Egwu.

Black similarly at the 4, thought he needed to give 20 minutes so that Hill could rest a little and play more minutes at the 3 with Rice out. What happened instead was that Groce played Starks at the 2 alongside Tate, so that Nunn or Cosby could sit and get a rest at the 2/3, and Hill remained at the 4 for the huge bulk of the game. If Starks can play the 2 effectively alongside Tate, that reduces the need for Black to be ready for significant minutes at the 4, but hopefully Black makes his case soon.

In any case, I think Black will need to be prepared for more minutes at the 4 just to give Hill a rest, even if Hill doesn't have to play the 3. And Morgan (and Colbert?) similarly will need to be ready for more minutes at the 5 because Egwu can't sustain 38 minutes a game playing how hard he did last night.

It looks like we'll be playing only 8 (or 9) guys until Rice gets back, so guys numbers 7 and 8 really need to be ready for more than 12 minutes a game combined.

Some other notes:

* I love Tate's line. 31 minutes, 2 for 3 from the field (both layups), 6 for 7 free throws, 4 assists, 1 turnover. I know Groce's offense runs best with an explosive scoring PG, but man - Tate is fun to watch. He makes the offense run so smoothly, he is quick and decisive with the ball, he makes beautiful passes, and he is showing that he can score off the dribble now if he is ignored. Loving his maturation. Hoping he continues to add strength and shooting - if he stays at it, he could be really good.

* Cosby 1 for 8 on 3s. JTFC. His 5 rebounds were good and his defense was largely OK, but lord is he a problem. I was hoping that with Rice out and getting the ball in his hands more often with Tate setting him up, we'd see him finally get in rhythm and bust out of his slump. Still hoping, but so far no dice.

* Starks 1 for 6. Had a nice game aside from shooting. Really really really needs to curb his shot selection. Off balance fadeaway 20 footers with a defender in his face aren't good shots, even if he makes 1 every once in a while. He shoots well when he creates an open 15-17 footer for himself. He needs to focus on those and actually open 3s and he would shoot pretty well. Very happy he's now not our primary PG anymore- think he'll do better in an SG role as a secondary ballhandler. Tate pushes the ball, gets into the lane, and finds the open guy (easy passes, dumpdowns, skip passes, etc.) much better than he does in all facets of the driving and passing game.

* As a team, we actually shot pretty decently aside from Cosby and Starks. With them we shot 36% from the field and 30% from 3. Excluding them, we shot 45% from the field and 42% from 3. Not sure what the solution is. I think Starks needs to improve his shot selection. As far as Cosby goes, I think he just has to revamp his shot or whatever. We can try to replace their shooting volume with more shots for Nunn, Black, Egwu, Hill, Tate etc. but aside from Nunn (and possibly feeding Egwu more in post if he's single covered) I don't see any obvious candidate to get more shots.

* Got great rebounding from Egwu (9) Hill (7) Cosby (5) and Nunn (6). They all stepped up in Rice's absence. They all did a good job cleaning up defensive rebounds and Hill's 3 offensive boards were big (as was Egwu's beautiful snatch and putback down low in the first half)

* Nice to see Nunn get 2 steals. He played fine last night. Could have been more of an offensive presence but I feel like he'll get his feet under him with Tate playing PG. He will certainly get his share of catch and shoot 3s, where he is best on offense, and hopefully will also start feeling comfortable driving soon. Had a nice bucket toward the end of the game where he turned back to his strong hand under the basket, but the defense really wasn't expecting him to shoot so they didn't really contest.

* Egwu's 4 blocks - importance can't be understated. He was a defensive beast, and great on offense too. Hasn't had a game like that on both ends in forever (ever?)

* We caught a big break with Layman playing only 19 minutes. He is very good and him going out early in the first half with 2 fouls was a big blow to Maryland.
 
Great analysis Hassi. Adding to the Tate eval-Egwu seems to be more active on offense when he and Nunn are in the game.
 
As far as the debate about slowing the game down and milking possessions at the end, I am generally on board if up enough to make it work. What does bother me is that I think Groce's teams tend to wait just a little late to initiate the offense at the end of the shot clock. It seems that a lot of times, it is at 5 or 6 seconds. I would rather see them start at the 10 second mark, be a bit less rushed, and maybe get a better look.
I agree with you completely on this. Slowing it down can make a lot of sense, trying to do so with mathematical perfection is too difficult. Instead of thinking in terms of 35 second chunks, be happy to burn 30 seconds and start the play sooner. You'll have a better chance of making the extra pass that creates a good shot instead of a so-so shot. That's what I feel we took was the so-so shot last night and that is why I thought our percentage in the final minutes was lower.
 
Thankfully Maryland made their own mistakes the last 6 minutes.
They had one turnover in the last six minutes, but so did we. Otherwise, they played pretty good in the last six minutes, comparatively:
Code:
          IL     MD
FG/FGA    2/8    5/10
3P/3PA    0/3    3/5
FT/FTA    8/8    5/7
 
Antiquated stats are bad. :) And MD has made 52 more FT's than their opponents HAVE ATTEMPTED. :eek:

We are #275 in FTA/FGA, i.e. FT rate. We get 20.1% of our points via FTs, that's #213. Using Kenpom data here, so it ignores games vs non-D1 teams.
Impressive. Maryland has 5th highest FTA's in country. Last night they shot 8 less than their average of 26 FTPG. Home cookin and our zone cut down on FTA's. haha
 
One of the things that stands out to me from last night that was a wrinkle JFG threw into the 2-3 zone was putting Egwu out top. I've seen teams do this with a 1-3-1 or go big across the board (Syracuse), but I honestly didn't expect Groce to throw that at Maryland. Egwu is pretty mobile for a big guy, and he doesn't have to make up much ground to close on a shooter.

Of course, Maryland got an offensive rebound on one occasion over Tate or Nunn underneath (can't remember who), but I still found it interesting. I love the fact that Groce is coaching his pants off in the face of everything that's happened. It would be pretty easy to throw up his hands and say woe is us.
 
Iowa City
One of the things that stands out to me from last night that was a wrinkle JFG threw into the 2-3 zone was putting Egwu out top. I've seen teams do this with a 1-3-1 or go big across the board (Syracuse), but I honestly didn't expect Groce to throw that at Maryland. Egwu is pretty mobile for a big guy, and he doesn't have to make up much ground to close on a shooter.

Of course, Maryland got an offensive rebound on one occasion over Tate or Nunn underneath (can't remember who), but I still found it interesting. I love the fact that Groce is coaching his pants off in the face of everything that's happened. It would be pretty easy to throw up his hands and say woe is us.
Its nice because he is actually practicing everything he has preached to his teams while the coach here. All of his speeches have been about fighting in the face of adversity. Teams start to tune out coaches who talk about one thing and then do the other.
 
Is there some way to get Cosby to stop pulling up his shot from his left side? I seriously can't understand how his form led to 40% 3-PT two years ago.
It may be a mental issue with him now. Bigger stage of the Big 10 may have put more pressure on him.

Remember feeling the same way about Alex Legion. He was suppose to be "lights out."
 
New York
I was actually more ok with Malcolm's shot than Cosby's. When you have a game like Hill was having and you get an open look you take it in this offense. Cosby on the other hand wasn't hitting and hasn't been hitting so probably would've been better to pull it back but I understand that they have the ultimate green light despite what has been going on with Cosby and Starks.
Independent of the time left, I like Malcolm's shot much better. Cosby had been ice cold. It was a good shot for Malcolm. But completely insane to take anything but a layup at that point in the game. If we burn the rest of the clock and get nothing there, we're up 11 with 50 seconds left. They come down and get a quick 3. If they don't foul, we're up 8 when they get the ball back with 15 seconds left. So they have to foul. The way we shoot free throws, I'd rather slow burn that possession and make them foul. The *only* way you want to shoot when you're up 11 with 1:20 left is if you have an uncontested layup, and even so, you'd almost rather just burn the clock. When Cosby shot, we still needed to score to win the game. It was a shot that he shouldn't have taken that early in the clock, but we still needed a bucket sooner or later. When Malcolm shot, if we just stalled out the rest of the game, they're forced to foul or we win.

Btw, I wasn't thrilled with Nunn's layup when we were up 8 with 1:04 left either. We had 27 seconds left on the shot clock. If we burn another 24 seconds, we're up 8 with 40 seconds left. Instead, we go up 10, 10 seconds later Trimble hits a 3, and we're up 7 with 54 seconds left. If Nunn missed that bunny, could have been a disaster.
 
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All the crazy people who were saying all these negative things towards JFG after the 0-2 start (both road games), did you watch the Maryland game, because yes the boys played well, but JFG coached one heck of a game! The zone, m2m, zone press, man press variations just threw Maryland out of sync. Great job coach!
I think we all saw it man. Question is why has it taken so long to make these adjustments? Same as last year, he stays the course win or lose until he is literally painted into a corner and forced to make a change. He keeps surprising himself every time he makes an adjustment because he's usually successful when he is actually forced to do so. He has a tendency, like most of us, to formulate a plan and stick with it too long even when it clearly isn't working. When conditions change you have to be adaptable, and John Groce has not been willing to be very flexible so far with his planning. When he has been flexible and adaptable, he has been successful, and his boss should be pointing this out to him at the earliest opportunity.
 
Iowa City
Am I the only one that thought Mark Turgeon looks a lot like Jim Calhoun?
 
New York
I think we all saw it man. Question is why has it taken so long to make these adjustments? Same as last year, he stays the course win or lose until he is literally painted into a corner and forced to make a change. He keeps surprising himself every time he makes an adjustment because he's usually successful when he is actually forced to do so. He has a tendency, like most of us, to formulate a plan and stick with it too long even when it clearly isn't working. When conditions change you have to be adaptable, and John Groce has not been willing to be very flexible so far with his planning. When he has been flexible and adaptable, he has been successful, and his boss should be pointing this out to him at the earliest opportunity.
For Groce, it's not resistance to change - it's about not having his players lose confidence in themselves. He wants to give his players every opportunity to prove themselves before he demotes them. And then when he demotes them he praises them for grabbing their new role with vigor. He's extremely careful to keep players bought in to the system/team, and pulling the chair out from a player when he's having difficulties is not his way of achieving that. Yes - it seems he has a pattern of sticking with guys too long, but maybe it's that same sort of approach that keeps all his guys happy playing within the team as the end of the season rolls around, knowing that coach has their back.
 
Quad-Cities, IL
Hopefully in the next three or four games we will see more of Black, Morgan and even Cobert to relieve NE. The added minutes for starters will hurt the team later this season. Playing Starks a little at the 2 will free up minutes for the KN, AC and Black to give Hill a little time to recoup during a game. Odd question also, can Illinois remove a redshirt designation this late in the season.
 
New York
Hopefully in the next three or four games we will see more of Black, Morgan and even Cobert to relieve NE. The added minutes for starters will hurt the team later this season. Playing Starks a little at the 2 will free up minutes for the KN, AC and Black to give Hill a little time to recoup during a game. Odd question also, can Illinois remove a redshirt designation this late in the season.
Yes, Groce can play Finke at any point he chooses. Redshirt not official till after the season is over. But he said yesterday he's not reconsidering that now. It is a legitimate question though. If Egwu is forced to play 38 minutes a game because Morgan isn't getting it done, and Finke is substantially better at the 5 than Morgan in practice (I thought Morgan was ok last night), and we're heading into a final stretch where NCAA tourney is a possibility, I could see him at least thinking about it.

Agreed that Egwu can't play 38 minutes a game. Max is probably 32, which means we need 8 minutes from Morgan/whoever at the 5. Last night we got 2.
 
Independent of the time left, I like Malcolm's shot much better. Cosby had been ice cold. It was a good shot for Malcolm. But completely insane to take anything but a layup at that point in the game. If we burn the rest of the clock and get nothing there, we're up 11 with 50 seconds left. They come down and get a quick 3. If they don't foul, we're up 8 when they get the ball back with 15 seconds left. So they have to foul. The way we shoot free throws, I'd rather slow burn that possession and make them foul. The *only* way you want to shoot when you're up 11 with 1:20 left is if you have an uncontested layup, and even so, you'd almost rather just burn the clock. When Cosby shot, we still needed to score to win the game. It was a shot that he shouldn't have taken that early in the clock, but we still needed a bucket sooner or later. When Malcolm shot, if we just stalled out the rest of the game, they're forced to foul or we win.

Btw, I wasn't thrilled with Nunn's layup when we were up 8 with 1:04 left either. We had 27 seconds left on the shot clock. If we burn another 24 seconds, we're up 8 with 40 seconds left. Instead, we go up 10, 10 seconds later Trimble hits a 3, and we're up 7 with 54 seconds left. If Nunn missed that bunny, could have been a disaster.
MH was having a career game, saw a wide-open 8-foot shot and took it. He's a soph, and his coach preaches the green light. He can be forgiven. If he makes that shot, it's a dagger.

AC's shot was ill advised. He was 1-7 from 3 before that shot, and he's shooting about 18 pct from 3 against high majors this season. Terrible decision.

Loved KN's layup. Showed confidence and a killer mentality. JG loved it, too. He jumped up in the air and pumped his fist after it went in. Plays like that will strengthen KN's resolve going forward. Loved that he played to win and not simply to lose. If he'd taken an 18-foot shot in that instance, that'd have been a poor decision, but it was a layup, not a 3 by a guy who's been ice cold from 3 all season. KN is also a soph, basically still a kid. Nice to see him playing loose and confident.