The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

January 17, 2013

Illini hope to answer critics

CHAMPAIGN — Fighting Illini basketball coach John Groce has not had a lot of experience in dealing with adversity so far in the first few months on the job in Champaign. But following a 74-51 loss last Saturday to Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison in the team’s worst performance of the season, Groce suddenly is beginning to field questions on the subject.

The Illini, who fell to 14-4 overall and dropped to 1-3 in the Big Ten with the loss to the Badgers, will have a chance to redeem themselves this evening when they welcome the Northwestern Wildcats to the Assembly Hall. Despite losing three out of their last four games, the Illini are still hanging on in the latest rankings, coming in at No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 23 in the Associated Press poll.

The Wildcats come into the game with the Illini at 10-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play, but don’t let the record fool you. Northwestern coach Bill Carmody has had some adversity of his own to deal with this season, losing Drew Crawford for the season last month with a shoulder injury, while junior JerShon Cobb was lost before the season for a violation of team rules.

“They have had a couple of players step up in the absence of those two, namely (Reggie) Hearn and their little guard (Tre) Demps,” Groce said of the Wildcats. Northwestern also is getting some much needed help from guard Dave Sobolewski, who comes into the game with Illinois third in scoring for the Wildcats at 11.5 points per game.

The Illini offense has revolved mainly around senior guard Brandon Paul this season, but as Groce attested in his weekly press conference with the local media on Wednesday, he simply didn’t have it against the Badgers.

“Brandon’s done a lot for our team this year, and we wouldn’t be in the situation that we’re in without him,” Groce said of his senior leader. “We need Brandon to play better, and he knows that.”

In addition to Paul, Groce also said that the other key contributors also need to step up their game as the Illini get into a critical stretch over the next couple of weeks.

“We need other guys to play better too,” Groce said. “We need Griffey, Bertrand, and D.J. to play better as well, and they know that. They have played better, and they will play better. You cannot simply wave a magic wand over someone and make them play better.”

Groce made the effort to single out Mike Shaw, a seldom used forward to date, as someone who made some plays and showed a great deal of hustle in the loss to Wisconsin.

“The guy (Shaw) is playing like his head is under water right now,” Groce said of his sophomore. “He had one sequence earlier this week in practice where he blocked a shot, ran the floor, dove on a loose ball, and rebounded another one. That is why he is in the situation that he’s in and he’ll have a chance to be a part of the rotation against Northwestern.”

Perhaps the most important message that Groce wanted to get across was the fact that the Illini players are not losing confidence during this temporary slide.

“I want to stop that talk right now, because if these guys think that they aren’t gonna get hit in the mouth with things happening in their life, then we as coaches are teaching them the wrong things. That part about being fragile or not having confidence needs to go out the window, because that is on us to take control of the situation,” Groce said.

Tonight’s game against the Wildcats starts at 7:15 p.m. and can be seen on the Big Ten Network and heard locally on WDAN-AM 1490 and WDNL-FM 102.1.

The Illinois basketball program is partnering with The American Cancer Society and UI Rebounders booster club for “Illini Tie Together” during the annual Suits and Sneakers weekend. This collaborative effort will support Coaches vs. Cancer when Illinois takes on No. 5 Michigan in front of a sold out Assembly Hall on Jan. 27.

A special tie has been designed for this game; one for every player and Groce. A silent auction for those ties will be held from pregame through halftime on Jan. 27, in Rooms 133-134 of the Assembly Hall. The player ties will have their number embroidered on the back, and Coach Groce’s tie will be autographed. Proceeds from that auction will benefit Coaches vs. Cancer.

In addition, “Illini Tie Together” orange T-shirts are on sale now at Gameday Spirit Champaign locations (519 E. Green St. or 2028 N. Prospect Ave.) and online at fightingillini.com. Those shirts will also be on sale at Assembly Hall merchandise stands prior to this evening’s game vs. Northwestern as well as the Michigan game. A portion of proceeds from sales will go to Coaches vs. Cancer.

Fans are encouraged to wear either the commemorative “Illini Tie Together” T-shirt or a tie to the Jan. 27 game to show their support in the fight against cancer. Members of the Orange Krush student support group will be wearing ties courtside on that day.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Danville Post 210 Speakers fall to Rantoul CHARLESTON — Playing five games in five days finally took its toll on the Danville Post 210 Speakers.Rantoul’s Tanner McLain delivered a game-winning, two-out single to left to give his team a 6-5 victory over Danville in an elimination game of the F

    July 24, 2014

  • Juniors continue to play at Danville Tennis Open DANVILLE — The juniors were still on the court in the Greater Danville Tennis Open on Wednesday as three division titles were given out.Rachael Lewis won the girls 18 and under singles title with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lauren Ellis, while the team of Er

    July 24, 2014

  • SPT- CN0723- Dans photo 2 Thurston gets first win DANVILLE — Getting those Ws is the goal of every pitcher.Danville’s Chase Thurston has been seeking his first collegiate victory all year. The former Danville High standout finally got it on Tuesday night when the Danville Dans defeated the Springfie

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT- CN0723 - Dustbowl photo 1 Shooting Stars sprint past MB Squad DANVILLE —Tuesday’s action from the Dustbowl at the David S. Palmer Arena featured two games in the Girls High School Division with two local teams — MB Squad and Shooting Stars — squaring off in round-robin play to advance to Sunday’s championship.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pitching boosts Speakers CHARLESTON — The Danville Post 210 Speakers’ pitching is coming along at the right time.With strong performances from Austin Millholland and Dalton Strawser, the Speakers defeated Piatt County 5-1 to move on in the Fourth Division Tournament.“The sto

    July 23, 2014

  • SPT - CN0722 - Post 210 Baseball photo 1 Speakers stay alive TILTON — Danville Post 210 baseball got their revenge Sunday afternoon and did it in style. After losing to Shelby County in the Fourth Division Tournament opener on Saturday, Danville had to win two games on Sunday if they wanted to advance and keep

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0722 - VCS photo Youth gets served at VCS Fan Appreciation Night OAKWOOD — The Vermilion County Speedway Fan Appreciation Night was more a spotlight for the youth on and off the track.While kids in the stands had bike races and decided the order for racers in certain feature races, there was a bunch of kids going

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Roundup: Dans drop third straight SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Ninth-inning rallies are becoming the norm for the Danville Dans.Unfortunately, all three of the comebacks have failed to produce a victory.On Monday night, Danville shortstop Matt Henderson delivered a two-run single in the ninth

    July 22, 2014

  • No Headline Provided TODAYBasketballDustbowl at Palmer ArenaLegion BaseballFourth Division Tournament at Charleston: Danville Post 210 Speakers vs. Piatt County, 7:15 p.m.Prospect League BaseballSpringfield Sliders at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.TennisGreater Danville Open a

    July 22, 2014

  • Legion Baseball Galnce LEGION BASEBALLIllinois Fourth Division TournamentSaturday, July 19 scoresAt CharlestonGame 1 — Mattoon 14, Charleston 4Game 2 — Piatt County 14, Paris 0At DanvilleGame 3 — Rantoul 10, Lincoln 1Game 4 — Shelby County 1, Danville 0Sunday, July 20 scor

    July 22, 2014

E-edition
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: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
NDN Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid