The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


March 16, 2013

Illini wait to see where they go

CHICAGO —  A year ago, the Illinois Fighting Illini left the Big Ten Tournament with a myriad of questions hanging over the program.

This year, there is really only one question for the fans of the Orange & Blue to ponder — where are we going in the NCAA Tournament?

“Right now, we’re just excited for (today) to see where we go,’’ said Illinois senior guard Brandon Paul, who has appeared in just one NCAA Tournament in his collegiate career. “We had a goal going into the season, so we’re excited to see what happens.’’

And that was definitely not the attitude after last year’s Big Ten Tournament loss to Iowa.

“This year, it’s a little easier because we believe that we have done enough to be in the NCAA Tournament,’’ Illinois sophomore center Nnanna Egwu said. “Last year, we really didn’t know what was going to happen with the postseason or other things.

“We still don’t know what will officially happen, but it’s going to fun on Sunday to watch the pairings show.’’

All year, Illinois first-year coach John Groce has been inspiring his players to achieve the NCAA Tournament goal by having the players wear rubber bracelets that read “TNT” and “3-19-13.”

The “TNT” was the team’s slogan of Toughness and Togetherness, while “3-19-13” is the opening date of this year’s tournament in Dayton, Ohio.

“I told the guys when we were talking — we won seven of our last 11 games,’’ said Groce, reaffirming the idea that Illinois will be in the NCAA Tournament field. “The losses being at Michigan, at Iowa, and at Ohio State — those teams were 51-5 at home and then you have the loss to Indiana.’’

Groce also pointed out that his team has multiple wins over Top-25 RPI teams.

As of Saturday, Indiana had the most Top-25 RPI victories with seven, Duke was next with six and then came Kansas and Georgetown with five each, followed by a group of six schools, including Illinois, with four.

“We’ve played pretty good basketball,’’ Groce said. “We’re capable of playing really good basketball.’’

The Illini have also shown a great deal of growth during the 2013 portion of their season.

A year ago, Illinois lost 12 of its final 14 games to finish the year at 17-15, costing Bruce Weber his coaching position.

This year when the Illini lost six of seven and dropped to 2-7 in league play, it could have been a repeat performance but that didn’t happen.

“The thing I appreciated the most about them is their resiliency,’’ Groce said. “These guys care a lot about one another. They care about Illinois and about our team, about doing well, about playing well.

“This time of year that’s really important.’’

Instead of collapsing in the final months, the Illini won seven of their final 11, including an upset of the Indiana Hoosiers on Feb. 7.

And the team believes that resilient attitude will serve them well in the postseason.

“That’s a word to describe us a team,’’ said Illinois senior Tyler Griffey. “No matter where we are playing or what tournament we are in or who were playing, we will be ready to go next week.’’

But Griffey didn’t talk about the NCAA Tournament, he just knew the Illini would still be playing basketball this week.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen on Sunday,’’ he said. “That’s up to the selection committee.’’

The Illinois team took Saturday off and the Illini will watch the NCAA Selection Show at 5 p.m. today.

Text Only
  • SPT - CN0801 - Dans photo 2 Troubles continue DANVILLE­­­ — The Danville Dans dropped their fourth straight game on Thursday night, falling 5-1 to the visiting West Virginia Miners at historic Danville Stadium for the final regular season home contest of the season.The game started a little on t

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Conservation World highlights outdoor activities at State Fair Free activities and entertainment for youth and families will give Illinois State Fair visitors a chance to sample great ways to spend time in the great outdoors in Illinois at Conservation World at this year’s state fair, on Aug. 8-17 in Springfield

    August 1, 2014

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North MontgomerySATURDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tournament at Fountain CentralProspect League BaseballDanville Dans at Hannibal Cavemen, 7:05 p.m.TODAYAuto RacingNASCAR Sprint Cup Series: 40

    August 1, 2014

  • SPT - CN0731 - Dans photo 1 Danville boots one away DANVILLE — Keith Shumaker, an every day first baseman, was tied for the team lead in RBIs this season, before making his first start on the mound.But that was the least of the concerns for the Danville Dans, who made four fielding errors en route to

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.Local TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North Montgomery, 3:30 p.m.FRIDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North MontgomerySATURDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt Tourname

    July 31, 2014

  • SPT - CN0730 - Dans baseball photo 1 Dans continue to struggle DANVILLE — The Danville Dans haven’t exactly been playing their best baseball in the second half of the season. After taking the West Division title in the first half with a 19-11 record, Danville has played sub-.500 baseball in the second half and c

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0730 - Illini football media photo Experienced Illini looking for success CHICAGO — Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman is hoping that the third time is the charm.Beckman begins his third season at the helm of the Illini, and with the nucleus of last season’s team returning, it may finally be time for Illinois

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - CN0730 - Purdue football media photo Hazell hopes for smooth second season CHICAGO — After a season to forget in 2013, Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell is expecting better results as his team begins training camp next week. Hazell spoke to the media during the 2014 Big Ten Football Media Days at the Hilton Chicago, and afte

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Calendar TODAYProspect League BaseballHannibal Cavemen at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.THURSDAYProspect League BaseballWest Virginia Miners at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.Local TennisMcTagertt Tennis Tournament at North Montgomery, 3:30 p.m.FRIDAYLocal TennisMcTagertt

    July 30, 2014

  • SPT - CN0729 - Dustbowl photo 2 Repeat performance Championship Sunday was in full swing at the 42nd Annual Dustbowl at David S. Palmer Arena. In the men’s division it was defending champions Leek & Sons against the Hickory Beavers. Leek & Sons made it back to back championships with a 29-point victo

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014

Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here:

Must Read
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza