Illinois 64, Maryland 57 POSTGAME

New York
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.

I get the feeling you'd say an open jumper for Malcolm when we're up 3 with 25 seconds left and no shot clock would be a good shot. It wouldn't be. Unless you have an uncontested layup, you make them foul you or you run out the clock when you're at a stage in the game where you can do so.

Happy Nunn was able to create off the dribble - we'll need him to get going. He got a very good look, but it was VERY early in the shot clock. If the look hadn't been quite as good, I'd have had a major problem with it.
 
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Even so, I'm baffled at how bad he's been. People who would know told me he was the 2nd best player on the team all summer and offseason.
Pretty good source you got there. It is a bit anomalous to be that good in the summer and lose both your individual mojo and the team dynamic all at once.
 
Washington, DC
Nunn's layup was genius. He started to take the ball out, as running the clock was all that mattered, but once he realized that the entire Maryland team envisioned the ball going out as well, he changed his mind in an instant and put the ball in. The shot was uncontested solely because he convinced them (and probably himself) that the ball was going out again.

KN took the sure thing, and that was the only thing to take in that circumstance. MH took a far from sure thing, whilst AC took a flat out bad thing.
 
Chicago
That's certainly what it looks like to me. His motion, and even general movements, are rigid and robotic. There's no fluidity to anything he does.

Even so, I'm baffled at how bad he's been. People who would know told me he was the 2nd best player on the team all summer and offseason.
Agreed. I was never a great bball player and lifting has always been way more important for me but I played 4 years of Competitive Men's league out in New England from age 24-28. The first year I was about 235 (6'6") and got man handled by a guy in the playoffs that was about 6'5" 275 and I let it get to me too much and came back at a thicker 262 the next year and my whole game changed and was worse. My vertical dropped by 3 inches, a lot of my shots were too hard or less smooth and my stamina was worse. I played at 240ish the following 2 seasons after that and it worked out way better for me from then on.
 
Great win! That's the kind of energy and determination they need to win games. Saw some good defense by , Malcolm and Nunn(NE is obvious). Liked the way Nunn hit the boards.
My problem with Starks is he's forcing too many shots. He'd be so much more valuable to the team if he'd stay within the flow of the game and wait for the good looks. This is where, Groce , has to reign him in. Go over his shots with him, point out the good ones and bad ones.
If pointing out the flaws and deficiencies of the team i've seen at times this year makes me a Groce, hater, then count me in. I comment on what I see on the court and I've seen a lot of bad bb from the Ilini this year.
They played with a lot of heart! Congrats to all. well done.
 
Orange Crush '89
Northern Illinois
I've been hard on Egwu all year, especially for his defense. So I have to give him props because he was tremendous last night. His defense was nearly as spectacular as Hill's offense.

I don't know how we are going to handle the rotation going forward. Hill and Egwu almost have to play less minutes, but we will burn that bridge when we get there.

I almost puked when Cosby hoisted those two late jumpers. WTF Aaron?
 
Belleville
How much was the slowdown in reality?

I am firmly in the "take the air out of the ball" camp, especially when you are shooting 36% for the game. When you are only making (roughly) 1 in 3 shots, you want to slow the game down (fortunately, Maryland was making about the same).

So I was curious as to how much we did "slow down" the game. I downloaded the PBP and counted possessions. Per the kenpom game summary there were 64 possessions, and I counted 64.

Here were the possessions in 10 minute blocks:

Qtr Poss
1 16
2 15
3 14
4 19

There were 5 possessions in the last minute of the game (with the fouling), so there were 14 in the first 9 minutes of the last quarter--in line with the rest of the game.

Illinois was up 13 (46 to 33) with 10 minutes left (went up to 16 with 8:18 left). Per the kenpom win probability graph, the Illinois winning %tage never dropped below 95% for the last 10 minutes. The game ended up at 7, following the end of game layup by Maryland.

Illinois scored their 48th point with 9:53 left, and Maryland didn't score their 49th point until there was 52 seconds left. Taking their time--because the game did not slow down that much--was a good move.

Which is why virtually all coaches--including the former coach at Illinois--tend to take the air out of the ball at the end of the game. When you limit possessions, you lessen the chance of the other team catching up. It doesn't work every time, but it works most of the time.

Dave
 
Great win! That's the kind of energy and determination they need to win games. Saw some good defense by , Malcolm and Nunn(NE is obvious). Liked the way Nunn hit the boards.
My problem with Starks is he's forcing too many shots. He'd be so much more valuable to the team if he'd stay within the flow of the game and wait for the good looks. This is where, Groce , has to reign him in. Go over his shots with him, point out the good ones and bad ones.
If pointing out the flaws and deficiencies of the team i've seen at times this year makes me a Groce, hater, then count me in. I comment on what I see on the court and I've seen a lot of bad bb from the Ilini this year.
They played with a lot of heart! Congrats to all. well done.
LOL good luck with that....DJ Cooper shooting at times well below 30% ending seasons 58-194 at 29% for example. Groce is one to point out on game film where the next pass should be or what a better choice is but he is not ever going to tell a kid to quit attacking...especially one he thinks is a key element to the team's success. Y'all can wish and scream "this is what he needs to do" but he is not wired that way. Attack, attack, attack...he never scales it back.
 
Well, think about it. We got to the point of up what, 16 with 6 minutes to go or something?

Scenario A - With 6 minutes to go, you can force there to be fewer than 12 possessions for each team just by taking 30 seconds off the clock each time you have the ball. Now, that means your opponent has to outscore you by at least 1.33 points per possession, which is huge. If you get any kind of decent looks or free throws, and grind out a basket every 3 possessions, you've got them licked as they'd have to score every single time, which is pretty rare.

Scenario B - OTOH, say you keep the pedal down for 2 minutes. With our shooting freedom, it's not hard to imagine adding 2-4 extra possessions in that stretch. If you add 4, now your opponent only has to outscore you by 1 PPP - not nearly as difficult. IMO, if you have scenario A available, it isn't worth the risk to try to "really blow the game open".

Thank you for this. I think people confuse optimizing for them being nervous vs optimizing to give the best chance win the game.

Another way to put it. Maryland had four possessions in a row where they got three points each possession. We still won by 7.... Why? Because we didn't turn it over and we took 30+ seconds off each time we got the ball.
 
Thank you for this. I think people confuse optimizing for them being nervous vs optimizing to give the best chance win the game.

Another way to put it. Maryland had four possessions in a row where they got three points each possession. We still won by 7.... Why? Because we didn't turn it over and we took 30+ seconds off each time we got the ball.
Also taking 30 seconds per possession makes it harder for the opposition to develop momentum and rhythm in their offense. Short offensive sets allow them to develop a great deal of offensive momentum and feel as if they have gained control.
 
We Ready
Merced CA
I like this is a transformation of not just the team, but of JFG too. Having proven quantities in Ray, Egwu, and Tracy, and adding "proven" quantities in AC and AS. I think it affected the Sophs. Call it the "mom and dad will take care of everything syndrome." The kids did not have to play to their potentional. The loses of TA and now Ray coupled with the reduced effectiveness of AS and AC have forced JFGs hand and now the youngsters cannot defer any longer. When Ray comes back, basketball will be more fun, playing with talented, battle hardened TEAMMATES.
 
Decatur, IL
One thing I liked about the zone was, for the most part, it kept Nnanna in position on defense to make a play. He tends to over help in man, taking him away from the basket at times when we needed him down there to block or alter shots.
 
Millsboro, DE
Made it out to the game last night and had a great time. This is the first chance I've had to think about the result, and a few things stand out in my mind:

1. I'd like to formally apologize to J Tate. After taking in his freshman year, I was pretty well convinced that his lack of size and scoring ability would hamper him to the point where he'd never be an accountable B1G pg. However, so far this year (specifically during the young conference season), Tate has been nothing but impressive. There is a feeling of calm that Tate exudes while the ball is in his hands. He seems stronger, quicker, and light-years more confident with his overall game and jumpshot than he was just a year ago. I don't think a single one of those crunch time free throws even sniffed the rim. Good on Groce for keeping the ball in his hands.

2. Malcolm's first 20 points were incredibly efficient. The versatility in his game was giving the defenders fits. While sometimes he can struggle going one on one starting beyond the 3 pt line, all the other aspects of his game are good and getting better. (19 yrs old!)

3. With Rice sidelined, it looked like Starks got way more minutes off the ball while Tate ran the offense. I truly believe Starks is a good shooter, but the level of difficulty on his attempts ruin any chance of an efficient offensive output. His shots are so far out of the flow of the offense, they almost always kill any kind of momentum we've built up. (Tons to be said about Cosby too, but I'm sure those points have already been hammered home). I'd love to see Nunn get more aggressive and take the lion's share of the extra shots at the 2.

4. Everything else: Egwu was amazing, Black played a solid relief role, and the champaign faithful were able to get up and make some noise in the second half without the students to help out. Not a pretty game for the most part, but it's a huge win that should serve as a confidence booster moving forward.
 
Belleville
Reposted to Fix Editing

Besides Malcolm last night, one of the keys was obviously Nnanna. There has been a lot of comment on this board about his shortcomings, but he actually deserves a lot of praise for his development as a player over the last 4 years.

Here are selected numbers from kenpom.com:



He's actually playing a bit less than last year, but his numbers are up across the board. Given his reputation as a full motor guy,
it's nice to see a guy who appears to work as hard as he has to improve does show a lot of improvement.

Dave
 

Attachments

N of I-80
One thing I liked about the zone was, for the most part, it kept Nnanna in position on defense to make a play. He tends to over help in man, taking him away from the basket at times when we needed him down there to block or alter shots.
+1. Agree with your assessment. Egwu definitely showed out last night.
 
One thing I liked about the zone was, for the most part, it kept Nnanna in position on defense to make a play. He tends to over help in man, taking him away from the basket at times when we needed him down there to block or alter shots.
No doubt. I don't recall a single time hollering for him to get back. It didn't seem that him going out to the 3 pt line provided any real benefit, yet last night he was a step or two closer to the basket and was able to get back to make a play several times. I like it, I hope they keep it up.
 
Besides Malcolm last night, one of the keys was obviously Nnanna. There has been a lot of comment on this board about his shortcomings, but he actually deserves a lot of praise for his development as a player over the last 4 years.

Here are selected numbers from kenpom.com:



He's actually playing a bit less than last year, but his numbers are up across the board. Given his reputation as a full motor guy,
it's nice to see a guy who appears to work as hard as he has to improve does show a lot of improvement.

Dave
Thanks for pulling those together. Wonder how all the enlightened ones saying they never want to see Egwu take another shot view the last 3 numbers on the last row.
 
Quad-Cities, IL
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.
I really think that Groce should reconsider the Finke redshirt because of the Rice injury. The playing time that wasn't available is now and I think just maybe there would be options for more bench points with his addition. Look what Hill and Nunn have done with their freshman experience. If there is not a huge contribution in Lincoln, Groce may have no choice but to reconsider his previous move. It would be quite understandable.
 
Thanks for pulling those together. Wonder how all the enlightened ones saying they never want to see Egwu take another shot view the last 3 numbers on the last row.
Keep in mind the 2015 numbers only have 3 conference games included and the others are full season stats. His stats will probably go down a bit due to the tougher competition of B1G play.

Unless he plays like he did last night, then all bets are off. :D
 
I get the feeling you'd say an open jumper for Malcolm when we're up 3 with 25 seconds left and no shot clock would be a good shot. It wouldn't be. Unless you have an uncontested layup, you make them foul you or you run out the clock when you're at a stage in the game where you can do so.

Happy Nunn was able to create off the dribble - we'll need him to get going. He got a very good look, but it was VERY early in the shot clock. If the look hadn't been quite as good, I'd have had a major problem with it.
I get the feeling you've never coached before. These are young guys who are going to make occasional errors in judgment, but you don't seem to understand that or the fact that they were playing in front of a raucous crowd in an emotionally charged game against a top-15 club in the country. Should MH have taken that shot? Probably not. But we were up 11 at the time, and he was having a great game, and if he makes that high-percentage shot we're up 13 with 1:19 to play and have the game locked up. He's 19 years old. He isn't going to play a perfect game, and he has a coach who encourages guys to shoot when they're open. These things happen. But if it hadn't been for him, we would have lost by double digits last night. I'm just glad JG has these guys playing to win instead of BW's philosophy of playing scared/not to lose down the stretch of games.
 
Decatur, IL
I like how the crowd has constantly complimented for last night. Thats says something about our fans. I was there, and it was loud, but it certainly could have been louder. No Krush and there was thousands of empty seats.
 
New York
I get the feeling you've never coached before. These are young guys who are going to make occasional errors in judgment, but you don't seem to understand that or the fact that they were playing in front of a raucous crowd in an emotionally charged game against a top-15 club in the country. Should MH have taken that shot? Probably not. But we were up 11 at the time, and he was having a great game, and if he makes that high-percentage shot we're up 13 with 1:19 to play and have the game locked up. He's 19 years old. He isn't going to play a perfect game, and he has a coach who encourages guys to shoot when they're open. These things happen. But if it hadn't been for him, we would have lost by double digits last night. I'm just glad JG has these guys playing to win instead of BW's philosophy of playing scared/not to lose down the stretch of games.

I've coached. I understand players are amped up, I love that Groce gives green light - but there is situational understanding of basketball. Just bc you have green light to shoot doesn't mean it's wise in all circumstances. Didn't kill us last night, thankfully. But I'd hope it's something Groce will gently correct since it can be a problem. Idea should be 1- until you are in mathematical position to run out clock and force fouls don't simply stall - instead work the ball around and try to find a good look, take a shot early in the clock only if it's a very good look. 2- once you're better served by killing 35 seconds than scoring, do that instead. Not so difficult to learn- just smart game management. Hopefully Groce can take a teaching moment on this from the win.

In general I was thrilled w hills play last night.
 
I've coached. I understand players are amped up, I love that Groce gives green light - but there is situational understanding of basketball. Just bc you have green light to shoot doesn't mean it's wise in all circumstances. Didn't kill us last night, thankfully. But I'd hope it's something Groce will gently correct since it can be a problem. Idea should be 1- until you are in mathematical position to run out clock and force fouls don't simply stall - instead work the ball around and try to find a good look, take a shot early in the clock only if it's a very good look. 2- once you're better served by killing 35 seconds than scoring, do that instead. Not so difficult to learn- just smart game management. Hopefully Groce can take a teaching moment on this from the win.

In general I was thrilled w hills play last night.
I'm sure JG has this all covered. A key point a lot of fans have conveniently overlooked is the team hasn't been in this situation very often this season. We've either lost recent games, won by large margins or won a back-and-forth affair (Mizzou). We haven't had a decent but not large lead requiring us to milk clock at the very end of a game in a long time. We took 2 shots that were ill advised, but we did more positives than negatives down the stretch. We took care of the ball and made our FTs.

I thought our more egregious error than MH's and KN's shots was our poor 3-point defense. We gave up 3 or 4 wide-open looks for 3s in the final 2:00 when we knew MD had to take 3s to get back in the game. Hopefully the coaches work with the guys on recognizing situations better and extending out the D to force the opponent to take 2-point shots.
 
New York
I'm sure JG has this all covered. A key point a lot of fans have conveniently overlooked is the team hasn't been in this situation very often this season. We've either lost recent games, won by large margins or won a back-and-forth affair (Mizzou). We haven't had a decent but not large lead requiring us to milk clock at the very end of a game in a long time. We took 2 shots that were ill advised, but we did more positives than negatives down the stretch. We took care of the ball and made our FTs.

I thought our more egregious error than MH's and KN's shots was our poor 3-point defense. We gave up 3 or 4 wide-open looks for 3s in the final 2:00 when we knew MD had to take 3s to get back in the game. Hopefully the coaches work with the guys on recognizing situations better and extending out the D to force the opponent to take 2-point shots.
Agreed. Re 3 point defense, same thing we did against Michigan allowing Dawkins and Irvin (?) a number of open looks at the end of the game that allowed Michigan to crawl back. Have to address that.