Jan. 9 MJ college basketball chat

Jan. 9 MJ college basketball chat

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 12:30pm

Ask beat writer Marcus Jackson where Illinois stands as far as NCAA tournament seeding, about this week's games vs. Goldy and Bucky or about what goes on during a John Groce practice. Ask him anything during his 12:30 p.m. chat - but submit questions any time.

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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Good afternoon, thanks for stopping by for another Illinois basketball chat. Another big game for the Illini tonight against No. 8 Minnesota at 8 p.m. at the Assembly Hall. It's the first time Illinois has faced Top-10 opponents in consecutive games since the 2005 NCAA tournament (Arizona, Louisville, North Carolina).

My prediction record is in bad shape right now. I picked Illinois to win. I've received plenty of emails chastising me for that pick this morning.

Let's get started.

anonymous user wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

In watching the purdue i noticed how nice the floor looked with the Gene Keady signature on it. Has there ever been any chatter of renaiming the assembly hall to Henson Hall with coach lou's signature on the floor. How classy would that be to do before he passes.

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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Anonymous,

I think it would be a terrific gesture to honor Coach Henson by naming the floor for him. I know there have been rumblings the last few years, but not sure if it will actually come to pass whenever the Assembly Hall project gets rolling.
A very good friend I grew up with played for Coach Henson and New Mexico State and he and his family go on and on about how wonderful Coach is. He and Mary are special people.

illininutt wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

With 1:29 left in the Ohio St. game and the Illini up by about 20 Groce called time out.  I THOUGHT he was going to clear the bench and put in Henry/Shaw/Ibby who had NOT played any the entire game.  Instead NONE got put into the game.  With they parents MAYBE in the stands and driving/flying to see them play...WHY do you think John did not put them into the game?


If you spend $1000's to recruit them...$30,00-$40,000 a year for room/board/travel/food to keep them...why NOT play them??  IF they don't get into the OSU blowout...when will they?


 

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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Illininut,

Is this what happens when things are going well overall?
Henry played 11 meaningful minutes. Not sure I’d look too much into that situation. I’m not certain, but I think Groce called the timeout when the Illini were in trouble of either a 5-second call or close to committing another turnover. He wasn’t happy with the way they finished the game, particularly all the turnovers in the second half and he wanted to make sure they finished the game strong.

Shaw and Ibby are well behind the other guys at this point, so I wouldn't look for them to get meaningful minutes anytime soon. They've got a ways to go.

ej in Denver wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Marcus -


Thanks for the chats. 


There has been a lot of chatter about rebounding margin and how bad the Illini were playing on the boards.  It strikes me as a junk stat.  Illinois shot better than OSU and so OSU had less defensive opportunities.  You mentioned Groce is a stat junkie, there has to be a better measure....rebounding efficiency or something.  Is there a better measure of how good or bad the Illini are on the boards?  Straight rebounding numbers are too dependent on how each team is shooting....

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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EJ,

Rebounding numbers don't always tell the whole story. I think the thing that bothers Groce and his staff more than the overall rebounding numbers is the umber of offensive rebounds the Illini allow. Giving good teams two and three opportunites to score is what really gets coaches mad.

Minnesota gets about 48 percent of its missed shots back on the offensive glass. That's worrisome and that stat (percentage of missed shots a team gets back) is what he really focuses on.

Barrington K-Dog wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Marcus - looking through the pics of coach Henson at Esquire reminded me of how much he means to UI. I'm 36, but remember watching the Flying Illini, Kaufman's shot, etc.......why in the hell is coach Henson not in the hall of fame!!??????? Not blaming you, just wondering your opinion. Would also like to know how you enjoy your time spent with coach Henson.

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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K-Dog,

Are you from Barrington? Jim Rossow always accuses me of being from Barrington while questioning my toughness.

I don't know why Coach Henson isn't in the Hall. I don't know what the criteria is for the folks who make such decisions. Maybe they're scared away by the NCAA rumblings from the early '90s. Not completely sure. I know Loren Tate has a pretty strong opinion about the matter.

Illinois fans' favorite commentator, Dick Vitale, also thinks Henson is deserving.

I always enjoy the time I get to spend with Lou and Mary. The first time I met them was a few years ago and I was blwon away by how much they knew about me prior to me meeting them for the first time. It's amazing how many of the details Henson remembers about games from 20, 30, 40 years ago.

anonmous wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I agree with the coach about Bertran being 6th man.  He gives Illinois a spark when he comes in.  Also he can come in for 3 different players, if they get in foul trouble early.  Do you think these are the reasons that coach does this?   

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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anonmous,

Groce said yesterday all good teams have a sixth and even a seventh man off the bench who can get on the floor at produce at the same level as the starters. If you don't have that, your team won't be good, he says. Bertrand and Sam McLaurin have done that for Illinois this season. 

Bertrand is a very versatile player and he gives them a variety of options with lineups, matchups, etc.

Illini1973 wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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With the 'blowout' of the suckeyes and Groce calling a TO in the last 1+ min of the game, should we read something into #15 and #23 not seeing the floor (leaving the program)?  And how close were we with Post at SWIC, now that he's verballed to Missery?

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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Illini1973,

I talked a bit about those guys and that situation earlier. As for Keanau Post, Illinois was interested in him, but didn't go as hard after him as the others. He's very similar to Maverick Morgan and I think they were comfortable enough with Morgan coming in and being a part of the program for the next four years than taking a chance on a JUCO player.

Thad Weber wrote on January 09, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Marcus, Marcus:

Glad to see Illini wallop OSU though this isn't the same OSU of recent years, still a nice victory. This team has shown it can rise up against good teams this year. But why weren't the Illini to get up for the Purdue game and why weren't they willing to fight back when Purdue out-physicalled and out-toughed them? Will this team come out soft and complacent from time to time this season (like Purdue), shades of the last Weber years or will Groce corral and motivate them to come out and play their best every outing. Sooooooooo frustrating. 

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Coach,

They were up for the game, but they didn't quite respond when Purdue got tough and pushed them around a bit.

This is a group that needs to be pushed from time to time to bring out the best and the nastiness in them. Groce said last week you want them to be tough and nasty on the floor and gentlemen off. The gentleman part comes natural to them. The tough and nasty needs to be ingrained in them. You'd think that with how well they played against Ohio State after the physical practices they had post Purdue would resonate with them. Time will tell. The coaches will stay on them, though.

venfil wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Will Langford and Henry be receiving more playing time soon?


Thank you for taking my question.

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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venfil,

I'd expect to see more of them, based on situations. Groce addressed using different players yesterday.

Each game’s different. JoJo and Sam come in pretty early but after that it’s kind of instinctive. Foul trouble, no foul trouble, who do they have in? Do we need an offensive lineup, a defensive lineup? What’s the size difference? How are we playing? What’s our scheme that night defensively? Who lends themselves to certain lineups and certain combinations that fit that scheme the best?" he said. "There’s a lot of factors and it’s really instinctive and a lot of it’s game by game."

Groce said he'dlike Henry to do a better job of taking care of the ball and being more assertive on the defensive boards. Langford, despite missing OSU with an illness, continues to get better. It depends on the situations and the feel, how much they play.

Anonymous User wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

What's the latest on Crandall Head? I thought he was eligible this semester at SMU but don't even see him on the roster? 

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Amonymous,

Crandall is sitting out this season at SMU. Though he left Illinois at the semester break last year, he took a semester off back home in Chicago and didn't enroll at SMU until the summer, so he won't be eligible there until next season.

He is listed on their roster.

Trent from danville wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hey MJ.  With kentucky landing the top center for 2013 and for 2014.  Does that increase our chances with okafor, white and alexander?  


                                                   thanks


 


 

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Trent,

The 2013 center, Dakari Johnson, doesn't really impact much. If recent history is any indication, he might be in the NBA by the time the other 2014 guys get there. Kentucky will always be a player with the top guys, but they can't take them all.

Coaches around the country actually get excited at times when Kentucky lands players because it means there are only so many more spots they can fill.

At this point, Illinois is in solid shape with the big men from Chicago.

hot rizzle wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

with the illini being so cold from three and Egwu showing promise dont you think we should run more sets for him?

 

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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hot rizzle,

Illinois will continue to shoot a high volume of threes. They've got to make a bunch of them at some point, right?

But, Egwu will continue to get more looks on the offensive end with his continued improvement. He's getting more and more confident in himself and in turn, the team is gaining more confidence in him. He'll continue to be a factor at both ends of the floor as the season progresses.

stl area fan wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Are Shaw and Djimde that far behind in the offense/defense schemes that they can't even make it into the game?  It seems like we could use a couple more bodies on the inside to help rest Egwu now and then and also help with rebounding and defense.

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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stl,

Yeah, those guys are quite a bit behind on both ends at this point. They haven't progressed at a rapid enough pace to be able to help this team right now. Griffey, Egwu, McLaurin and Henry are the best options.

hot rizzle wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm

y is b. paul struggling is it the big ten play,and dont you yhink they should run more sets for egwu

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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hot rizzle,

How is he struggling? Big Ten scouting is as good as there is in the country, so teams are going to do things to limit his opportunities, but he's handled it well so far this season. He didn't force bad shots against Purdue (Only took 10 shots) and he was a very good game against Ohio State. He and Abrams turned it over more than they would like against the Bukeyes, but that'll happen when Aaron Craft is doing what he does.

Did you catch the Purdue-Ohio State game last night? Dan Dakich said he talked to Craft before the game and they were talking defense. He asked Craft how he does it. Cragt said "Coach, I foul on every possession, they can't call them all."

Marcus Jackson wrote on January 09, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you got your tickets for tonight. As of this morning, there were fewer than 100 remaining. Should be another great crowd.

Mannie Jackson will be honored tonight with his jersey going up with the other honored jerseys. Enjoy the game.