Feb. 21 Voice of the Illini chat

Feb. 21 Voice of the Illini chat

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 11:00am

Ask Brian Barnhart about anything Illini, from John Groce's recruiting to Tim Beckman's reworked coaching staff to Learfield Sports' strategy. He's chatting at 11 a.m. Thursday but submit questions any time.

Brian Barnhart wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am
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Good morning....finishing  getting ready for tonights Penn State game.  Lets get started.



Rooster63 wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am


Watching the team improve these past few weeks has been great for us in Illini Nation.  Lucky to attend the Indiana and Purdue games, while sitting there in my seat waiting for the teams to come out for stretching and practice, I was wondering a few things.  1. for home games, do the players stay in a hotel the night before, and go through a pre-game ritual as they do for away games?  2. Watching Coach Painter being followed off the court by security, did he do any damage to the visiting locker room, and does he have the ability to watch the game from the locker room?  Are there televisions in there?  What did you think about the ejection?  The cause?  It couldn't be because of fouls?  Heck, we had 6 fouls that first half and they had only two at one time.

Thanks for doing a great job announcing!


Brian Barnhart wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am
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Hi Rooster,

For home games during the week the Ililni players have classes to attend so they have to work around that when it comes to the final prep for an opponent and the team meal (usually always 4 hours before tip-off).

On home weekend games earlier this year they did stay at a hotel the night before...much like the football team does on home games. Havent checked lately if they are still doing that...but there havent been that many weekend home games lately either.

Opposing teams have 2 different areas for their locker room.  One is where the players are, while the other room is smaller and is for the coaches.  It has a restroom and a couple of couches and a television.  So Matt Painter would have had everything he needed to continue to watch the game by himself after being ejected. 

It appeared to me that Coach Painter was upset with a couple of calls earlier in the game and then when a couple of calls went against him in the second half and while the game was getting away from Purdue he got extremely frustrated and then wandered on to the court at the timeout to berate one official and got a "T".  He then said something else he probably shouldnt have said and got the second one. 

Thanks for the question...and thanks for listening!



Karl Shook wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

Hi Brian, You may be right about 8-10 being good enough to make the tournament, but I hope that we don't have to find out. And obviously, the more wins the team gets the higher the seed. I also think that winning 1 of the 2 against Michigan and Ohio State is very possible with the way those teams have been playing lately. Thanks for your time, Karl

Brian Barnhart wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am
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I agree that with the confidence the team is playing with recently, wins at Iowa and Ohio State and maybe even Michigan are possible, although those games will still be very difficult.

If Illinois takes care of business the next two home games against Penn State and Nebraska, they will have 21 wins, several wins over Top 25 teams and a middle of the pack finish in the best conference in the country.  They will get into the tourney if they do things the way they should. 

Eight (8) conference wins will get them in.  Anything extra will be gravy,   By that point they will be  playing for improving their seed in the NCAA.

Steven I wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

Hi Brian.  I've asked you a version of this question a couple of times over the years, and i think it's a good time for it again:  What's the mood of this team?  Right now, I'm guessing they're feeling pretty good.  But there's always cause to worry about a team getting too low when they're down or too high when they're up.  Have you found that this squad has kept pretty level throughout the season, throughout the highs and lows?  Looking forward to the stretch run.  Should be fun.  Thanks!

Brian Barnhart wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am
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I think the coaching staff has done a really good job of keeping the guys focused on the next practice and the next game.  It really hasn't varied much whether the team was 12-0 or had lost 8 of the next 11 or has won 4 straight.

The biggest thing that evolved in practice over the season was the absolute accountability that the staff is requiring on the defensive end of the floor.  Doesnt matter if your name is Brandon Paul or Tracy Abrams or Tyler Griffey.  If you dont grade out in practice on defense, you dont start.

Very simple.  But it  has worked.  Now that the guys understand the rules, they have become as unselfish on the defensive end as they are on offense.   They are winning games and with that comes confidence and you win more games and you gain  more confidence.  It feeds on itself.

Danville Pete wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am

Michigan doesnt look as good as they were the first time they played us. Do you feel better about our chances Sunday?

Brian Barnhart wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am
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Two weeks ago, the answer would have been "no".  I was  worried at that point about even beating Northwestern in Evanston.

With the improved defense and the confidence the Illini are showing now, I think they could beat just about anybody. 

Still...the Wolverines are very tough at home.  I always say wins and losses come more often than not by not who you are  playing that day....but when you play them. 

Timing is everything.

The answer now is "yes"

Brian Barnhart wrote on February 21, 2013 at 11:02 am
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Alright...have to run elsewhere now.  Thanks for the questions!