Ask Brian Barnhart about the trip to Nebraska, the chances of making the NCAA tournament or football signing day. The Voice of the Illini will be chatting at 11 a.m. Thursday. Submit questions any time.
Good Morning. Nice to get a win....and look pretty good doing it at Nebraska. Lets get started.
always enjoy the Illini games with you on the radio. What is Coach doing to get the guys out of their shooting funk? Also do you see this team making the tournament and what seed?
Thanks for listening! I appreciate your comments.
I think part of the problem with the recent Illini shooting troubles (besides the obvious fact that they were missing open shots) is the fact that they were not cutting sharply or setting very good screens. The coaches have also told me that the passing to get the shooters in good shooting position was not nearly as good as it was earlier in the season (only 2 assists vs NW) Also...there was too much one-on-one play (especially in the Northwestern game). Some of it is just better scouting from Big Ten opponents.
It also helps the shooting percentage if you can get steals (like at Nebraska) and layups. Just seeing the ball go in the basket can boost confidence. The real key to the losses at Wisconsin and home to Northwestern was poor defense and lack of aggressive play when defending ball handlers. They made a dramatic improvement in that area the other night in Lincoln.
I think the Illini will make the NCAA Tournament. But they need a win over team (like Michigan) they are not favored to beat along the way to help make that happen. I will take any seed they want to give out for the tournament.
Did you get a look at Nebraskas new basketball arena? Any updates on what the U of I is going to do with the Hall?
Didnt get a chance to go in the new Husker downtown arena...but have heard it will be spectacular. The improvements they made at the Devaney Center were pretty impressive too....and the volleyball program at Nebraska will benefit from that in the future when they take over that building next year.
I did see the outside of the new basketball venue. Very impressive.
Hopefully we are pretty close to seeing some movement on the Assembly Hall. I know that a lot of sponsorship discussions are ongoing when it comes to naming rights and other sponsorship options.
5 nasty games coming up. How many do you think we need to win to keep our tournnament hopes alive?
Somehow...the Illini need to get to at least 8 wins in league play (I believe that 8-10 would get them in...based on Big Ten RPI strength and the fact that the Illini have some impressive wins already in the bank).
The missed chances at Purdue and at home to Northwestern really make winning a couple of these next 5 games a must. A win over a Michigan or Indiana and a win over Wisconsin in Champaign for example. Also...remember that Nebraska nearly beat Michigan State in East Lansing. Not saying that will be easy....but MSU has been living on the edge lately. To their credit ....they are winning those close games (which is why they are in first place). I think the Illini need to go 2-3 at worst.
I have a theory. The team is in a shooting slump and it's carrying over into the rest of their game. It can be "cured" by going to the hole and feeding the post. Discuss.
Great point. Teams in the Big Ten are taking away the open looks from outside and then when the Illini get those looks...they have been missing (except for DJ Richardson at Nebraska). John Groce told us after the game the other night that a point of emphasis in practice recently was to do a better job of getting the ball inside to Egwu and McLaurin more. That opening dunk in Lincoln by McLaurin set a really good tone for the win at Nebraska. Hopefully we will see more of that as we get deeper into Big Ten play.
While listening to the pre-game on Tuesday evening Jerry Hester stated the team had an all players meeting, did you think that helped with the way they came out and played on Tuesday and will that carry over to the Michigan game on Sunday?
Also, the next 5 games we really need to win our home games and try to pull out a road win against Michigan St. or Minnesota.
Thank you for doing such a wonderful job with the broadcasts, really enjoy listening to your insight!
Thanks for listening. Really appreciate that!
Yes...the seniors did call a players-only meeting and I think it did help the other night. The team's NCAA chances were beginning to slip away again and I believe it was a must-win game.
Confidence is a huge factor for this team...and hopefully the confidence gained from the other night in Lincoln will help them play with an "edge" against Michigan on Sunday night. Plus Michigan likes to score at a higher rate (94 ppg in their first two Big Ten games) than some of the previous teams the Illini have played recently...so maybe a faster pace (like the Ohio State game) will loosen things up a little.
I agree with your summary of what needs to be done in the next couple weeks. Get a couple of wins at home...steal one on the road.
What do think of the officiating in the B1G this year? I know the most recent always seem the worst but I've got to say it seems to be exceptionally awful this year.
I am not a very good judge of what makes a good official or a bad one. I tend to look at the overall picture and for consistency within the game itself.
During the Northwestern game last week...I had a sense the players and coaches were not sure what was a foul...and what was not. It seemed to be different every few minutes. That type of inconsistency bothers me more than whether or not a call is missed on a bang-bang play (charge or block?)
I know that J.D. Collins (former official) is someone that is keeping a close eye on the officials and grading them out in person during the winter. I would defer to him on whether the officiating is good or bad this year.
Good questions today!
Dont forget John Groce will be signing autographs at Super Pantry at Springfield and Staley Road in Champaign on Saturday morning during the Saturday Sportsline with Jim Turpin and Loren Tate. The cost will be 5 dollars for any item you want signed.... with the proceeds to benefit Coaches vs Cancer.
Talk to you Sunday!