Wisconsin 75, UI 63: 'We're trying everything'

Wisconsin 75, UI 63: 'We're trying everything'

CHAMPAIGN — After Wisconsin dismantled Illinois 95-70 last month in Madison, a member of Illinois’ Orange Krush student section, who made the trip north for that game, ran into Badgers big man Frank Kaminsky after the game.

“Frank, the game in Champaign’s going to be different,” the Krush member told Kaminsky.

“No, it won’t,” Kaminsky responded.

Both were right as Tuesday’s rematch at State Farm Center was decidedly more competitive. Unfortunately for Illinois, the result is the same one it left Madison with, one that’s become all too familiar during this losing streak that has now reached eight after Tuesday’s 75-63 loss to the Badgers in front of 4,185.

“My gut tells me I’m going to watch it and they beat us. Their guys made plays,” Illinois coach John Groce said.

The winter storm that hit the area Tuesday afternoon crippled attendance, fans being allowed to fill in the empty seats in A and B sections at the first media timeout.

“I’d love to have (16,618) in here like we did the other night, but I understand that,” Groce said. “Obviously safety is the most important thing. The 4,000 or so that were here were great.”

Wisconsin’s three-point shooting (10 of 23) crippled Illinois’ chance to bring its long losing streak to a halt.

“Our defense was not good enough. I want to give them credit. They stepped up and made them,” Groce said.

It’s the first time in 40 years Illinois has suffered an eight-game losing streak.

“We’re trying everything — and I do mean everything,” Groce said. “We threw everything at them tonight. We tried any and everything tonight trying to slow them down.”

The Illini (13-10, 2-8 Big Ten) got a game-high 24 points from Rayvonte Rice, who finished one rebound shy of his second double-double of the season. Joseph Bertrand added 11 points and Nnanna Egwu contributed 10 points and three blocks.

“Ray played well. I thought he was really aggressive,” Groce said.

Wisconsin had four players reach double figures, led by Sam Dekker and Ben Brust, who had 16 points apiece. Nigel Hayes and Traevon Jackson (seven rebounds) scored 14 each.

“We’ve got to defend better than that to be the best basketball team that this particular basketball team can be,” Groce said. “Tonight we just weren’t good enough.”


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coaxhdufus wrote on February 05, 2014 at 8:02 am

agreed...horrible coaching...players regressing=more horrible coaching. Future not so bright even with more talent we don't win with NO prescence in the post and a 7 footer (almost)who is playing wiffle ball 

DaisyJ wrote on February 05, 2014 at 8:02 am

Too bad we have to have Bertrand, Rice and Abrams share the ball with each other and the other team mates. Their idea of basketball is to hog the ball drive no matter what to the hole, and we see how well that works.

Never seen a coach that would allow such ball hogging and bad shots. Groce is not impressing me with his no offense offense.

illini4 wrote on February 05, 2014 at 9:02 am

Approacing the end (thank goodness) of another dismal year for Illini basketball and football.  We need to clean house from the AD down, but I know it won't happen.  The only sports interest I have left is the Cardinals.  They know how to run a winning operation.  The administration at the U of I doesn't have a clue.

PDOG wrote on February 05, 2014 at 4:02 pm

I guess being a Cardinal fan has spoiled you because you are in a lather over one prolonged losing streak. Fire everyone from the AD on down and we haven't even completed two years yet? Whoa!!! Give it a little time and I am willing to bet you will be happy with both b-ball coaches. The third year in football will go a long way towards telling us if we have a guy there who can be successful or if we will be shopping for a head guy again.

ILCHIEF1 wrote on February 05, 2014 at 2:02 pm

We shouldn't be blaming the coaching staff for ALL of this. We still have some old era players (Abrams, Bertrand, Egwu) that have showed little improvement since day one. This has been a disappointing BIG 10 season no doubt, but don't give up on John Groce quite yet. I think this guy has some slick stuff to show and I am excited to see what he does with the younger guys next year. They all still need our support as well. So don't go throwing blame and saying we suck if you are a TRUE fan. We will get through this.

jjohnson wrote on February 05, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Dear Il Chief, please understand that some guys think it shows how tough they are by dumping on players and coaches; if you doubt how tough they are, just look at how ready they are for people to know their names! Himey will vouch for his incur able negativism, no matter the sport or coach. Don't know about the others.

john Johnson, Tucson 

billdave wrote on February 05, 2014 at 3:02 pm

 Groces style of play and this team just dont match. In the Big you have to have multi-talented payers. Rice seems to be the only one. Illini have a long way to go before they can challenge for titles. Maybe in a few years.






PDOG wrote on February 05, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Can't believe all the gloom & doom you people are throwing out there. No, I am not happy with this season either, but way too early to judge Groce and how he will be long-term.  Bertrand has evolved as a player and is in now way, shape or form a ballhog. He is the best shooter on the team, which means he should be shooting more than anyone else, but he doesn't. I will give you that moniker, though, for Rice & Abrams. Bertrand is a solid player. I was hopeful he would take that next step up this year and be the star, but Rice took over that role for bad or good. I think Joe is just a reluctant lead guy and is more comfortable as a solid support player. That's what he is, unfortunately, no one we really have would be the lead player, and that is where our problems lie. Relax and give it a little more time and all should be well.

DaisyJ wrote on February 05, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Joe, old Joe cannot pass, whether on a drive or standing looking at a player.

He has no speed other than full throttle. Called a little out of control. The fact that he gets lucky rolling a shot in once in a while is beside the point. Last night he threw up a couple of prayers.

These kids, Abrams, Bert, and Rice, they just call the clear out play and the rest of the team might as well go down and set up for defense cause they are not going to get it dumped off to them from these guys. They have tunnel basket vision. Sad