Feb. 14 Voice of the Illini chat

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 11:00am

Wish Brian Barnhart a happy Valentine's Day. Or ask him where he has Illinois seeded in the NCAA tournament. Or about Wednesday's game against Purdue. Or where his call of the final seconds of the Indiana game ranks among his favorites. Submit questions of any kind at any time for his 11 a.m. Thursday chat.

Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:03 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Very good week for the Illini with 3 wins in 7 days.  Big game at Northwestern on Sunday night.

Lets get started.

Konnie — 11:03 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Of the many Illini basketball and football games you have announced, where would you rank Thursday night’s win against Indiana?  Thanks

Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:09 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Great question.  I would probably rank the Illinois-Indiana game in the Top 5 of all  the games I have done on the radio.   The way that game finished was one of the most remarkable and shocking moments I have ever been a part of in my career.  It was just flat out fun.

The Elite 8 game against Arizona in 2005 still is and probably always will be the top moment I have experienced (unless there is a winning basket for the Illini in the national championship game in the future).  But that game with Indiana will be remembered by Illini fans for a very long time.

FredFan7 — 11:09 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

The last two games remind me of the movie Hoosiers (shut my mouth for comparing the Illini to something with Hoosiers in the title!) where the team finally starts buying in and they go on a big winning streak.  Did it take a while for the team to beleive in Groce's system?  Have they bought in?  Where was this early in the B1G season?

Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:17 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

A couple of factors are at work.  The Illini offense has regained its shooting touch, which has helped the offensive side of things.  And the team has been challenged in practice and in games to be accountable on defense.  Coach Groce is making it pretty simple in practice.  Grade out well on defense in practice and you start. Dont grade out well on defense and you dont start.  Doesnt matter if you are Brandon Paul or Joe Bertrand or Tracy Abrams.

The Illini started showing some improvement on offense in the Nebraska game and even though they lost at Michigan State .they did play really well on offense. The defense was solid  against Indiana in the second half and that carried over to the win at Minnesota. Against Purdue the Illini combined the improved offense (nearly 80 points) and the improved defense (holding Purdue to under 60 points) and you get the 3 game winning streak.

Sometimes you can see improvement behind the scenes that doesnt necessarily come out right away in games.  During the last week those improvements are becoming evident.


FredFan7 — 11:17 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

I saw Ed Bond's twitter photos of your perch in Minnesota.  It looks like you barely have a place to rest your elbows let alone your radio equipment!  Are there fans right behind you?  If so, did the fans harass you?  Would you trade that perch for a little more elbow room?

Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:21 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

It is a pretty tight fit in the front row of the balcony at Minnesota.  But I love the view. You can see the scoreboard easily and you get a nice overhead view of the offenses and defenses for the two teams.  Plus the arena has that "old school" sound with the way crowd noise echoes in a building that has been around a very long time.

In the 12 years I have gone to "The Barn"  the fans right behind us have always been very gracious hosts. 

Illini1973 — 11:21 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Was it 'planned' to have Tracy honor Tal Brody by wearing #12 the 2nd half?

Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:26 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

No not really.  Tracy left the game at one point early in the second half with blood running and dripping off his finger.  He left blood stains on his #13 jersey and shorts. The  #12 happens to be the designated "emergency jersey" this season.  If I remember correctly, Brandon Paul wore that same #12 earlier this year when he had blood drips on his jersey.

I was interesting though that Abrams had to change to that # 12 the same night the Illini program was honoring Tal Brody's #12 jersey.


Karl Shook — 11:26 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Hi Brian, I've felt that Illinois needed to be at least 9-9 in conference to make the NCAA Tournament. With the three game  win streak that is doable if they can beat the four teams that they should be able to beat starting with Northwestern. What do you think?

Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:33 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Hi Karl,

Great to hear from you. 

I have thought for a couple of reasons (weak bubble this year and strength of the Big Ten Conference)  that an 8-10 conference record would get the Illini in the NCAA Tournament.

If you figure the Illini will be underdogs at Michigan and at Ohio State....then there would be 9 losses total with those games.

If you believe Illinois can beat Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, and win at Iowa in early March, then there would be the 9 wins. 

If you think that 9-9 would be required to make the Big Dance, then a win in Evanston on Sunday is a must.  

If 8-10 is the magic record...then you have a little more wiggle room.  But either winning at Northwestern or Iowa will be required and of course taking care of business at home.

Cindy Waters — 11:34 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Hi Brian,

I don't really have a question, I just want you to know how much I enjoy listening to you.  You make the games even more exciting than they are and do an even better job of keeping us listening when they aren't!  Thank you for that!  I always have and always will be an Illini fan and I feel that you also love them, not just because you are paid to!

Happy Valentines Day!


Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:41 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013


Thank you very much!  I was born and raised in East Central Illinois, so the Orange and Blue blood runs pretty thick inside of me. 

I do get paid to work the games, but I think the excitement I feel when the Illini are doing well is genuine.  When the team is struggling I still have a job to do to keep the listener informed on what is happening on the field or court.  When a great moment like what happened in the Indiana game happens, then it really gets fun.

Happy Valentines Day to you too!

Brian Barnhart (moderator) — 11:44 AM on Thu, 02/14/2013

Looks like we are done for today.

Thanks for the questions!  Talk to you Sunday night from Evanston.

If you are in Champaign on Friday night between 6-8 pm....stop by Best Buy on North Prospect  in Champaign to see Coach John Groce and former Illini Kendall Gill.  There will be prize drawings for LG products and autographs.  The band and spirit squad will be there as well.  Ed Bond will be there too (you can get his autograph if you want).