Michigan 73, Illinois 65 (OT) POSTGAME

Well, on the bright side, the poor play today of RR, Nnanna and Starks makes me less worried about what we'll lose for next season.
This is absolutely true. NE gets in poor position constantly. Starks is a shoot first guy and Ray just had a bad day.
 
Isn't the coach ultimately responsible for wins and losses and performance? If players aren't performing, then you bench someone and get the message across of what is acceptable and what is not. Somehow he needs to find a way to get more out of his existing roster. Groce makes ALL of these decisions (the transfers, the lineups, the in-game adjustments or lack thereof, the practice time, the practice education, skill development, etc.)

He gets paid a lot of money to recruit good players for his schemes, develop those players, coach them, keep them out of trouble, and win games and elevate this program.
I'm just sayin at some point players have to make plays. A senior Egwu has to know that dump down is coming after the 4th straight time running the same play. A senior Rice has to see that double team and make the simple pass. A junior Cosby has to make an uncontested layup. The coach can only do so much in the game.
 
Champaign Area
This team has not been successful in a 2-3 zone (which is why Groce employs it very infrequently). What makes you think that they could successfully employ another zone with any efficiency? W

I don't know...perhaps they should be taught how to play a zone...any zone? Multiple zones. That is what coaches do. They teach. I speculate we do not play any zone well because we do not practice one enough. I think its time we start.

FWIW, we don't play MtM all that well these days either. :confused:
 
I don't know...perhaps they should be taught how to play a zone...any zone? Multiple zones. That is what coaches do. They teach. I speculate we do not play any zone well because we do not practice one enough. I think its time we start.

FWIW, we don't play MtM all that well these days either. :confused:
Maybe Groce wants to get better at his man to man.
 
I think UI will be a better team next year than this year. We'll be better at the 1, 2 and 4 and have improved depth at the 5 and 1. RR's position is the only one where we'll be weaker.

You know maybe MH plays the 3 next year if LB can make a frosh-soph jump and takes the 4 starting spot.

MH next year might be able to produce at an RR level, and maybe even more efficiently.
 
You know maybe MH plays the 3 next year if LB can make a frosh-soph jump and takes the 4 starting spot.

MH next year might be able to produce at an RR level, and maybe even more efficiently.
Agreed. If AC continues to struggle, we could very well feature a lineup of:
1: TA, Murray, Lovett or JT
2: KN
3: MH
4: LB
5: DP, MM, MF or ??

LB isn't as good offensively as MH obviously, but as a soph he could be a much better rebounder and a better defender than MH is today.
 
Golden, IL
Would have liked to see more of Nunn near the end.
Why? He was absolutely terrible in this game. Looked like he was sleep walking. Cosby, even when he's not hitting shots, is twice the player Nunn is right now.
 
Golden, IL
Nothing creates fan anger more than dashed expectations:

--If we'd played poorly in the middle of the game instead of at the end, the conversation here would be very different. Going into this game, Pomeroy gave us only a 47% chance of winning. The loss was so frustrating because we all assumed we'd won the game already.

--For some reason, everyone seemed to assume going into this season that we were a surefire tourney team. This, despite the fact that we were rated #38 in Pomeroy's preseason rankings (suggesting a bubble team) and we were picked in the middle of the Big Ten by virtually everyone outside the program. Yes, we added Starks and Cosby and Black -- two average starters from weak teams plus a freshman -- but we lost Bertrand, Ekey, and Abrams from last year's team, which meant losing much of our defensive prowess. If you aren't a top 25 team, you aren't a lock for the tourney due to the randomness of winning and losing close games.

I warned in the preseason that there was a strong chance we would miss the tourney this year, and that there would likely be an inappropriate amount of pressure on Groce if that happened. I stand by what I said then:



http://www.illinoisloyalty.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=1037488&postcount=1721

He's demonstrated over a period of time that he can coach, and the inconsistency of this year's team is magnified in our minds because it's human nature to only remember whatever happened most recently. So let's calm down and enjoy watching our fairly mediocre team struggle its way onto or off of the bubble.
This is a nice post. Illini fans, including myself, have really let expectations get out of hand. In retrospect, this team just doesn't have the necessary parts to be a Top 25 team. The expectations continue to roll out of control, though. There was a good portion of the board that expected Leron Black to average 12 points and 6 rebounds this year. The expectations on Aaron Jordan for next year are already wildly unrealistic.

A few other points:

* The vitriol being spouted at Ray Rice is just complete nonsense. He had a bad game scoring the ball, period. Nothing more than that. The assertion that he "didn't want to be there" is just plain wrong. He had 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Those stats do not match up to a player that was out there coasting.

* I really don't get the current love affair with Kendrick Nunn. He just hasn't been very good this year. He has been poor defensively and has turned into a mostly spot-up shooter. In the Michigan game, he was practically invisible. The clamoring for him to be on the floor at the end of regulation and in OT is puzzling.

* Our fanbase is really undervaluing Aaron Cosby right now. He's playing solid defense and is being aggressive on offense. The missed layups are frustrating, but he's at least getting to the rim. His shot will eventually start to fall, there's enough history with him to assume that. Until then, he's still making more of a positive impact on the games than Nunn is right now.

* The criticism of Groce's press conference is just flat out dumb. I haven't listened to it, but I don't have to. Groce handles himself publicly exactly the way I want him to. Would you prefer a Bob Knight who acts a fool and screams at his players on the sideline? Would you prefer a Bruce Weber who throw his players under the bus to the media? Give me a guy who is supportive and positive publicly and waits until he's in private with his players to get tough.

* While the criticism of Rice is way over the top, his decision making on the last play of regulation was terrible. The play was run to perfection and Hill was wide open. You have to make that pass.

* Starks just isn't getting the job done. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Tate is the better option right now and he should get the lion's share of the minutes at PG. I think Starks is playing out of position and being asked to do things he is incapable of. That being said, you have to play the guy who gives you the better chance to win. Tate has shown an ability to put the ball in the basket the last few games. With that addition to his skill set, he is the better player right now.

* I love Egwu because he plays with so much heart and hustles more than anyone on the team. His lack of basketball IQ, however, is maddening. I don't know if I've ever seen a player make so may mental mistakes. That said, he is, sadly, still our best option at the 5 this year.
 
Vermont
I'm just sayin at some point players have to make plays. A senior Egwu has to know that dump down is coming after the 4th straight time running the same play. A senior Rice has to see that double team and make the simple pass. A junior Cosby has to make an uncontested layup. The coach can only do so much in the game.
This is all true and well put. Still, to give up on a team with talent and moxie enough to correct these
mistakes and not put away beatable OSU is ludicrous. (This message, with slightly different wording,
may also appear in the "Illinois at Ohio State, Saturday, January 3rd" thread. Or maybe not.}
 
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This is a nice post. Illini fans, including myself, have really let expectations get out of hand. In retrospect, this team just doesn't have the necessary parts to be a Top 25 team. The expectations continue to roll out of control, though. There was a good portion of the board that expected Leron Black to average 12 points and 6 rebounds this year. The expectations on Aaron Jordan for next year are already wildly unrealistic.



A few other points:



* The vitriol being spouted at Ray Rice is just complete nonsense. He had a bad game scoring the ball, period. Nothing more than that. The assertion that he "didn't want to be there" is just plain wrong. He had 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Those stats do not match up to a player that was out there coasting.



* I really don't get the current love affair with Kendrick Nunn. He just hasn't been very good this year. He has been poor defensively and has turned into a mostly spot-up shooter. In the Michigan game, he was practically invisible. The clamoring for him to be on the floor at the end of regulation and in OT is puzzling.



* Our fanbase is really undervaluing Aaron Cosby right now. He's playing solid defense and is being aggressive on offense. The missed layups are frustrating, but he's at least getting to the rim. His shot will eventually start to fall, there's enough history with him to assume that. Until then, he's still making more of a positive impact on the games than Nunn is right now.



* The criticism of Groce's press conference is just flat out dumb. I haven't listened to it, but I don't have to. Groce handles himself publicly exactly the way I want him to. Would you prefer a Bob Knight who acts a fool and screams at his players on the sideline? Would you prefer a Bruce Weber who throw his players under the bus to the media? Give me a guy who is supportive and positive publicly and waits until he's in private with his players to get tough.



* While the criticism of Rice is way over the top, his decision making on the last play of regulation was terrible. The play was run to perfection and Hill was wide open. You have to make that pass.



* Starks just isn't getting the job done. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Tate is the better option right now and he should get the lion's share of the minutes at PG. I think Starks is playing out of position and being asked to do things he is incapable of. That being said, you have to play the guy who gives you the better chance to win. Tate has shown an ability to put the ball in the basket the last few games. With that addition to his skill set, he is the better player right now.



* I love Egwu because he plays with so much heart and hustles more than anyone on the team. His lack of basketball IQ, however, is maddening. I don't know if I've ever seen a player make so may mental mistakes. That said, he is, sadly, still our best option at the 5 this year.

/endthread
 
The A
The Egwu hedging thing HAS to be on the coaches. I can't believe that he would continually leave the basket at crunch time against the wishes of the coaches and still be on the floor.

WTF are the coaches thinking? It is obviously a flawed strategy!!
 
This is a nice post. Illini fans, including myself, have really let expectations get out of hand. In retrospect, this team just doesn't have the necessary parts to be a Top 25 team. The expectations continue to roll out of control, though. There was a good portion of the board that expected Leron Black to average 12 points and 6 rebounds this year. The expectations on Aaron Jordan for next year are already wildly unrealistic.

A few other points:

* The vitriol being spouted at Ray Rice is just complete nonsense. He had a bad game scoring the ball, period. Nothing more than that. The assertion that he "didn't want to be there" is just plain wrong. He had 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Those stats do not match up to a player that was out there coasting.

* I really don't get the current love affair with Kendrick Nunn. He just hasn't been very good this year. He has been poor defensively and has turned into a mostly spot-up shooter. In the Michigan game, he was practically invisible. The clamoring for him to be on the floor at the end of regulation and in OT is puzzling.

* Our fanbase is really undervaluing Aaron Cosby right now. He's playing solid defense and is being aggressive on offense. The missed layups are frustrating, but he's at least getting to the rim. His shot will eventually start to fall, there's enough history with him to assume that. Until then, he's still making more of a positive impact on the games than Nunn is right now.

* The criticism of Groce's press conference is just flat out dumb. I haven't listened to it, but I don't have to. Groce handles himself publicly exactly the way I want him to. Would you prefer a Bob Knight who acts a fool and screams at his players on the sideline? Would you prefer a Bruce Weber who throw his players under the bus to the media? Give me a guy who is supportive and positive publicly and waits until he's in private with his players to get tough.

* While the criticism of Rice is way over the top, his decision making on the last play of regulation was terrible. The play was run to perfection and Hill was wide open. You have to make that pass.

* Starks just isn't getting the job done. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Tate is the better option right now and he should get the lion's share of the minutes at PG. I think Starks is playing out of position and being asked to do things he is incapable of. That being said, you have to play the guy who gives you the better chance to win. Tate has shown an ability to put the ball in the basket the last few games. With that addition to his skill set, he is the better player right now.

* I love Egwu because he plays with so much heart and hustles more than anyone on the team. His lack of basketball IQ, however, is maddening. I don't know if I've ever seen a player make so may mental mistakes. That said, he is, sadly, still our best option at the 5 this year.
I don't think anyone will be able to sum it up better than this.
100% perfect.
I still hold hope that adjustments will continue to be made, in the meantime maybe not dump on the team after just one conference game.
I thought we were Illinois fans, but i only guess when we can't do no wrong.
 
The team doesn't do the little things to win games. We leave so many points on the floor. It just amazes me that we can't get multiple guys to shoot good on the same night against good competition. People complained about the non conference schedule this year. I think all the traveling really backfired. We weren't ready for a big time schedule yet.
 
The Transfer Portal

I'll put it this way - if Groce had deployed a box-and-1 against Aubrey Dawkins, I'd be exponentially more concerned about his coaching acumen than I currently am.

Resorting to a gimmick defense against a one-dimensional role player is straight out of the jr. high coaching playbook. You don't voluntarily handicap yourself against the likes of LeVert and Irvin (who had heated up by the late 2nd half, anyway) to keep the ball out of the hands of someone you'd actually prefer to have to keep producing at an unprecedented pace to beat you.
 
The Egwu hedging thing HAS to be on the coaches. I can't believe that he would continually leave the basket at crunch time against the wishes of the coaches and still be on the floor.

WTF are the coaches thinking? It is obviously a flawed strategy!!
This I think has to be true. As far as actual coaching goes, this is my one real gripe with Groce. They way they use (or allow) Egwu to defend is terrible IMHO. He constantly over-hedges on ball screens which puts the entire defense in a bind. It forces unnecessary rotations and gets guys out of position constantly. And even worse is when he just flat out switches on a guard. That should never happen IMO. In both cases he often puts himself in no mans land. We saw it lead to three straight layups the other day which was maddening.

Egwu needs to have a soft show on screens and then recover to his man. And our guards need to help him by fighting through the picks. Starks is really good at that but Nunn is not. He needs to improve there.

I will also say that dsboyce had a really nice post. Outside of what I mentioned above my only real complaint with Groce is not recruiting a difference maker (or even a b1g caliber frankly) PG or C. That is absolutely killing this program right now. I think he needs to have better contingencies (guys in the 50-75 RSCI range) for when things fall through with the five star targets.
 
This I think has to be true. As far as actual coaching goes, this is my one real gripe with Groce. They way they use (or allow) Egwu to defend is terrible IMHO. He constantly over-hedges on ball screens which puts the entire defense in a bind. It forces unnecessary rotations and gets guys out of position constantly. And even worse is when he just flat out switches on a guard. That should never happen IMO. In both cases he often puts himself in no mans land. We saw it lead to three straight layups the other day which was maddening.

Egwu needs to have a soft show on screens and then recover to his man. And our guards need to help him by fighting through the picks. Starks is really good at that but Nunn is not. He needs to improve there.

I will also say that dsboyce had a really nice post. Outside of what I mentioned above my only real complaint with Groce is not recruiting a difference maker (or even a b1g caliber frankly) PG or C. That is absolutely killing this program right now. I think he needs to have better contingencies (guys in the 50-75 RSCI range) for when things fall through with the five star targets.
isnt mavrick morgan that for his position?
 
Sycamore, Illinois
Regarding Rice in this game... I don't believe there was any lack of effort or anything like that. As others have pointed out other than scoring he was pretty productive. But the last play of regulation wasn't his only bad decision. I could only listen on the radio and couldn't see the game but, there was an earlier play when the game was getting close and we rebounded a Michigan miss and Rice came down and immediately hoisted a 3 that missed. Even Barnhardt and Hester couldn't believe we didn't work for a better shot. As usually happens after a bad shot, Michigan came down and hit a 3. It's those type plays that I think put us in a bad position to try and win close games.
 
Wheaton, IL
Regarding Rice in this game... I don't believe there was any lack of effort or anything like that. As others have pointed out other than scoring he was pretty productive. But the last play of regulation wasn't his only bad decision. I could only listen on the radio and couldn't see the game but, there was an earlier play when the game was getting close and we rebounded a Michigan miss and Rice came down and immediately hoisted a 3 that missed. Even Barnhardt and Hester couldn't believe we didn't work for a better shot. As usually happens after a bad shot, Michigan came down and hit a 3. It's those type plays that I think put us in a bad position to try and win close games.
+1. On average , Ray has 4-5 possessions he throws up an ill advised shot going 1 on 3 or early in the shot clock. These are the possessions that have and will cost games for Illinois.

He needs to live by this phrase " Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered."
 
Haven't read this entire thread so maybe this has been discussed. Just went back and watched the last 5 min of regulation and OT. IMO Hill kept us in the game and should have taken the last shot.....he was open but Rice never looked.

We still had the lead at 55-52 when Egwu decided he was a PG. Four times in regulation he left his spot in the lane to run at someone 15-20 ft from the basket. The results were three layups and his fourth foul resulting in one made free throw...seven points total. Then he did it again in OT resulting in foul #5. Him leaving the lane lost us the game. He's got to protect the basket and rebound. JMO.....
Those incidents have to be the result of coaching decisions. Otherwise, after the first layup given up, you would think that the coaches would have told him to just stay in the post. The bigger question is why the coaching staff keeps having Egwu do this. He has done it numerous times over the last three years and I don't recall the maneuver creating a turnover. However, it does seem as if the maneuver has resulted in at least 30 easy layups for the other team. I guess the reporters who cover the team must be intimidated by Groce, as I don't believe any reporter has asked Groce to explain why he keeps having Egwu do this maneuver despite the bad results. You would think that the 7 points given up against Michigan during crunch time would be the last time we saw our coaching staff use that maneuver. However, I will bet any amount of money that Egwu will be back doing it again at least several times against OSU. How does one define insanity again?
 

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Watched the last 5 minutes of the second half and then the overtime today. The reason we lost the game is simple, we missed wide open shots down the stretch. Cosby missed two open threes and a lay up. Gotta have him hit something, and Rice missed an open three as well. Most people are faulting Groce and there are definitely times that I have thought he has made some poor in game decisions but this game was us failing to hit our open looks. At one point Rice fell down on defense and doyle got a wide open lay up because of it. It's a long big10 season so hopefully we can steal a game to help make up for this loss. Really should have pulled this one out, just gotta finish next game.

Happy New Year's Illini fans
 
Maybe. Can't he do both like most the other coaches in the league do very well? :confused:
Ask Thad Matta how easy it is to transition to zone defense. He decided to scrap MtM and perfect the zone as his primary defense ala Syracuse and OSU fans are now after his head. Its easier said than done.

Groce uses situational zone to take offenses out of rhythm from time to time just "like most other coaches in the league" and probably at about the same level of frequency and success. You can't master both and a good zone is particularly difficult.
 
This I think has to be true. As far as actual coaching goes, this is my one real gripe with Groce. They way they use (or allow) Egwu to defend is terrible IMHO. He constantly over-hedges on ball screens which puts the entire defense in a bind. It forces unnecessary rotations and gets guys out of position constantly. And even worse is when he just flat out switches on a guard. That should never happen IMO. In both cases he often puts himself in no mans land. We saw it lead to three straight layups the other day which was maddening.

Egwu needs to have a soft show on screens and then recover to his man. And our guards need to help him by fighting through the picks. Starks is really good at that but Nunn is not. He needs to improve there.

I will also say that dsboyce had a really nice post. Outside of what I mentioned above my only real complaint with Groce is not recruiting a difference maker (or even a b1g caliber frankly) PG or C. That is absolutely killing this program right now. I think he needs to have better contingencies (guys in the 50-75 RSCI range) for when things fall through with the five star targets.
I could be wrong on this but my assumption in the Michigan game was Egwu was told to over hedge on the perimeter to help slow down the barrage of 3 point killers. The problem then being was no one was rotating to cover his man.

On the other side, plenty of people here were complaining Groce wasn't doing anything to stem the flow of 3 pointers. Groce put a plan of action in place but we didn't have the skill to pull it off. Egwu couldn't get back to his man fast enough and wasn't getting any help rotation on his man down low. Not sure how anyone could have slowed Dawkins down...you put Rice on Dawkins then who covers Levert et al who were nailing the 3's as well.
 
The high ball screens wasn't where the 3's were coming from. The 3's came from the hot, Mich, player(forgot name) and a couple from, Irvin. That was a failure on the staff and players for not recognizing this. You have to recognize the players making shots; try not to let them catch and shoot (make them work for the ball and shot) and DON'T take one step toward the player penetrating the defense.
 
Golden, IL
The Egwu hedging thing HAS to be on the coaches. I can't believe that he would continually leave the basket at crunch time against the wishes of the coaches and still be on the floor.

WTF are the coaches thinking? It is obviously a flawed strategy!!

It is possible that the coaches are instructing him to do this, but I wonder if this is really the case. Egwu has a tendency to be quite overzealous. A good portion of his fouls are the result of this. As I mentioned earlier, I don't believe Egwu has a very good basketball IQ. It's easy to say, "Well, just bench him when he does that". The problem is that we don't have another decent option. I doubt anyone wants to see the result of Morgan playing big minutes.