Groce defends strategy

Groce defends strategy

INDIANAPOLIS — The last minute of the game saw John Groce and the Illinois coaching staff forced to make some tough decisions, moves that have led plenty to second-guess. Should they have called timeout with less than 30 seconds left when Abrams was trapped and forced to heave up a three-pointer against the shot clock?

Should they have stayed in the 1-3-1 zone that stymied Michigan much of the second half on that last possession in which Jordan Morgan scored the game-winner and not switched to man-to-man?

Groce explained his thought process afterward.

“Eventually you’ve got to let it go. It is what it is. You can second-guess yourself on everything. When I was early on in my coaching career, I probably would do that more,” Groce said after falling to 8-1 in games as the Illinois coach in games decided by one or two points. “Bill Belichick always says hindsight is always 20/20. As long as decisions are well-thought out and they’re educated and they’re communicated amongst the staff and players — a guy just asked me, ‘Do you wish you would have gone zone on Morgan’s bucket?’ I do now.

“We went man-to-man for a reason because we didn’t want to give a shooter a look, and they scored. You can pick apart that stuff until you’re blue in the face. I wish I would have called timeout on the one possession. We didn’t because we wanted to face man-to-man and they had been switching to zone, so that was well-thought out. It just didn’t happen. Now that I see the shot we got, yeah, I would like to have called timeout. You can second-guess yourself on a  lot of things.”

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PortlandIllini wrote on March 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm

My only criticism of Coach Groce is that he needs to do a better job of talking with the TV people courtside.    He acts like he is hard of hearing and puts his ear up to the speaker's mouth,  doesn't look at the camera,  and barks out his answers.   John,  you may want spend some of your time off-season practicing on your on-camera skills.    

cnichols401 wrote on March 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I wanted a timeout too, but I have confidence in Groce and his vision.  People who have never coached crack me up second guessing a division 1 head coach! And seriously?  Critiquing his half time interviews... Dumb