Pregame: Illinois at Northwestern, Wednesday, January 14th, 8:00pm CT, BTN

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rockford, il
This team has way more problems then Starks. Personally I think he's a good enough shooter to adjust to playing better competition in the B1G, with the main problem being he doesn't get to walk into threes like he did at Oregon State, instead having to fade occasionally. I think Groce wants him taking a few 3's and a few pull up 2's a game, and not just because he can make them because it stretches the defense, increases tempo, and opens lanes.
- Cosby has been terrible except for one game, although his defense is pretty nice. I have no idea how he shot 40% from deep with a shot that only gets above the rim half the time.
- Nnanna has great heart and really shows up on defense sometimes. That said, he is atrocious at offense (and he has improved from last year). He's always thinking and has no innate ability to score. He doesn't board well. And finally he seems to make mistakes when they are least needed. Egwu influences the ceiling for this team more than anyone else and I don't think that bodes well.
- Jaylon Tate has played very well in my opinion. Not sold on him being the future but he definitely took a step forward this season from last.
 
CU Expat
Chicago
Joining this thread in progress, but wanted to give my 2¢.

I think this game is a huge test for John Groce. This season has been plagued by adversity, injuries and otherwise. We've just lost an ugly game on the road to a mediocre team where we were about as pedestrian offensively as a team can be. Against Nebraska (and in most of our losses) we haven't been able to create open shots in our offense and "poor shooting" has been the product.

In the lead-up to this game, I haven't liked what I've heard from Groce. His comments about running the offense well but missing shots are worrying. This offense is not running well. It's producing way to many contested threes, and not nearly enough drives to the rim, mid-range shots, or post touches. I worry that Groce's focus on limiting turnovers has forced our offense to become too risk adverse; not driving aggressively, making cutting passes, etc. for fear of turnovers. Keep in mind, a missed contested shot and defensive rebound is essentially the same result as a stolen post-entry pass.

All that being said, Groce has a great chance to bounce back in this game against a weak defensive team. Can he get us playing aggressively again? Not settling for one-on-ones and contested shots? Pushing the ball after in transition for easy buckets? Creating catch and shoot opportunities that result in assists (We've had 7 assists in each of the last two games)?

Come on John, we know we're short handed, but you've said it yourself, there's no excuses in this league. We need to play better offensively, and it needs to start tonight. :illinois:
 
I'm not usually this guy, but I personally would like to see AS sit down for taking another variation of some of the ridiculous shots that I have seen in the last few games. Contested fade away 25 footer. I'd like to see him sit down immediately for I guess MLT.

Could definitely be the frustrated fan in me, but there's lack of production which is different than hoisting terrible-and I mean terrible-shots.

There's at least a 50% chance that MLT is worse but I would like to see it once for a few minutes to see what happens.
I agree but the problem is I don't think Groce feels those are bad shots. He said in the last presser that he felt we took 4-5 bad shots TOTAL against the huskers. I found that a bit baffling.
 
I agree but the problem is I don't think Groce feels those are bad shots. He said in the last presser that he felt we took 4-5 bad shots TOTAL against the huskers. I found that a bit baffling.
Yes, I'm starting to wonder about his press conferences. Too much coach speak? I don't want him throwing people under the bus, but praising a pretty clunky offense doesn't make sense to me either. Seems to be maybe a little too positive at times. Making me doubt the strategy of a coach that I like a whole lot. Puzzling
 
Iowa City, Ia.
Pack that place with orange!! If we win this game, I'll feel a heck of a lot more confident getting home wins over IU and PU, and that'd put us at 4-3 in the Big Ten heading into some of our "easier" games. This game is big.
 
Yes, I'm starting to wonder about his press conferences. Too much coach speak? I don't want him throwing people under the bus, but praising a pretty clunky offense doesn't make sense to me either. Seems to be maybe a little too positive at times. Making me doubt the strategy of a coach that I like a whole lot. Puzzling
I get the "build them up" vs "break them down" mentality, but I too find a lot of what he says puzzling. Does he actually believe what he saying? Like the 4-5 bad shots comment? I certainly hope not.

What I am taking out of all this, and really out of his tenure to this junction, is that he hangs his hat on recruiting and his strength really isn't bench coaching. That is fine if you are able to land great players, but we haven't put together a cohesive roster built with guys like that. It's been more like a patchwork quilt.
 
Colorado
I get the "build them up" vs "break them down" mentality, but I too find a lot of what he says puzzling. Does he actually believe what he saying? Like the 4-5 bad shots comment? I certainly hope not.

What I am taking out of all this, and really out of his tenure to this junction, is that he hangs his hat on recruiting and his strength really isn't bench coaching. That is fine if you are able to land great players, but we haven't put together a cohesive roster built with guys like that. It's been more like a patchwork quilt.
I'm thinking that JFG is starting to get a taste of the hungry, and sometimes brutal, Illini media contingent. He understand that a negative POV gets highlighted and quoted. So stay positive, don't tell them how he really feels, and glaze over content in generic fashion.

I don't think he is telling the truth, and I'm ok with that.
 
M tipping over
Pdx
I get the "build them up" vs "break them down" mentality, but I too find a lot of what he says puzzling. Does he actually believe what he saying? Like the 4-5 bad shots comment? I certainly hope not.

What I am taking out of all this, and really out of his tenure to this junction, is that he hangs his hat on recruiting and his strength really isn't bench coaching. That is fine if you are able to land great players, but we haven't put together a cohesive roster built with guys like that. It's been more like a patchwork quilt.
What bugs me a bit is that we have mostly lost to well-coached teams with roughly equivalent talent. Examples include Miami (Larranaga), Oregon (Altman), UM (Belein), tOSU (Matta), and Nebraska (Miles). I excluded Villanova since I think they are a better team overall this year (but again coached by Wright).
 
Not Ideal
San Diego
What I am taking out of all this, and really out of his tenure to this junction, is that he hangs his hat on recruiting and his strength really isn't bench coaching. That is fine if you are able to land great players, but we haven't put together a cohesive roster built with guys like that.
I believe this too, but shouldn't we really demand both? Is that even possible these days? Does this mean that our AD prefers this or is he as surprised as I am over our uninspiring offense?

If recruiting is his strength, then I'd prefer that he land some smart X&O guys for his staff. Maybe we have that and the guys just aren't implementing it? I'm asking all of these questions because I'm confused at what I'm seeing out there, and what it really means for the team's future.

Oh and yeah, Northwestern. Gotta win, so I'll predict we do. Hill & Nunn don the hero costumes today.
 
Joining this thread in progress, but wanted to give my 2¢.

I think this game is a huge test for John Groce. This season has been plagued by adversity, injuries and otherwise. We've just lost an ugly game on the road to a mediocre team where we were about as pedestrian offensively as a team can be. Against Nebraska (and in most of our losses) we haven't been able to create open shots in our offense and "poor shooting" has been the product.

In the lead-up to this game, I haven't liked what I've heard from Groce. His comments about running the offense well but missing shots are worrying. This offense is not running well. It's producing way to many contested threes, and not nearly enough drives to the rim, mid-range shots, or post touches. I worry that Groce's focus on limiting turnovers has forced our offense to become too risk adverse; not driving aggressively, making cutting passes, etc. for fear of turnovers. Keep in mind, a missed contested shot and defensive rebound is essentially the same result as a stolen post-entry pass.

All that being said, Groce has a great chance to bounce back in this game against a weak defensive team. Can he get us playing aggressively again? Not settling for one-on-ones and contested shots? Pushing the ball after in transition for easy buckets? Creating catch and shoot opportunities that result in assists (We've had 7 assists in each of the last two games)?

Come on John, we know we're short handed, but you've said it yourself, there's no excuses in this league. We need to play better offensively, and it needs to start tonight. :illinois:
I agree with this. I'm very much a fan of John Groce --I like what he's done for the most part, and love several aspects of his style. However, I don't get why our offense doesn't have better execution at this point in the season, and I do think there's an issue of adapting to the players and performance we have. We don't have the personnel to do some of the things I think he'd like to do. Injuries are a big part of that, but like you say, you have to adapt and not make excuses.

If Cosby can get out of his slump, I think we're going to be ok. As it stands, I feel like we have to get meaningful possessions somewhere else.
 
Fairfield, IL
Should be an interesting game tonight. I'm not gonna predict who wins, but I'll watch the game as a neutral observer with an open mind.
 
The team is missing 3 rotation players (2 starters). Please put the pitchforks down. The only coach who could recover from something like that is Bo Ryan.
 
I agree with this. I'm very much a fan of John Groce --I like what he's done for the most part, and love several aspects of his style. However, I don't get why our offense doesn't have better execution at this point in the season, and I do think there's an issue of adapting to the players and performance we have. We don't have the personnel to do some of the things I think he'd like to do. Injuries are a big part of that, but like you say, you have to adapt and not make excuses.

If Cosby can get out of his slump, I think we're going to be ok. As it stands, I feel like we have to get meaningful possessions somewhere else.
The team starts 4 guards and a center. In the Big10 they are going to get out rebounded every game. They have no inside scoring and few players that can take it to the hoop especially with Rice out. Tate has an awful outside shot and teams sag off him and clog up the middle. I can't believe a number of posters think Latulip is the answer to anything. They need to get Black playing more to help rebound and for inside defense. It is a poorly constructed lineup that was hurt badly when Abrams got hurt and Paul had to leave.
 
If our shots still aren't falling I wouldn't mind seeing us full court press with that double team we used against Nebraska. It seemed to work well and cause some problems. Let's create some havoc instead of sitting back, grinding it out, and waiting for our shots to start falling. It's not ideal because we are lacking depth, but even if we can't get fast break points it could still help us play more aggressive and get to the rim.
 
Stay on Demps. You don't help out or sag off him. As a matter of fact make him work to catch the ball. Sorry, everyone, Illinois, is not going to win this game. We can't score.
 
Iowa City, Ia.
Stay on Demps. You don't help out or sag off him. As a matter of fact make him work to catch the ball. Sorry, everyone, Illinois, is not going to win this game. We can't score.
Thanks for saving me the trouble of watching the game.
 
Kirksville, MO
If we play tougher than NW, we'll win tonight.
 
Betting community has pushed Illinois to a 2 pt fav. O/U at 123 is intriguing.
 
SJC, CA
Re: Cosby "going off"
If you say it often enough, eventually you will be right. ;)
 
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