It’s called the Law of Averages.
Over time, regardless of who’s playing and who’s coaching, the last-shot contests even out.
John Groce had amazingly good fortune in thrilling finishes as the UI’s first-year coach. In order to win 23 games, his Illini went 6-0 in games decided by four points or less before losing to Miami 63-59 in the NCAA tournament.
Why he’s Coach of the Year: Guided his alma mater to the school’s first regional championship, followed by a berth in the sectional finals in which the Cornjerkers were ousted from the Sweet 16 on a goal with less than a second to play by the school (Herscher) that eventually placed second in Class 1A.
URBANA — Saul Downie is all about involvement and commitment.
Whether in soccer or as a resident in his hometown community, Downie is an active participant.
Urbana’s soccer coach, Randy Blackman, learned long ago that he could trust Downie with whatever role was needed.
Steve Kelly (in-studio) and Marcus Jackson (in Atlanta) listen to Illini men's basketball coach John Groce and to Illini golf coach Mike Small.
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Georgia Tech 93, Illinois 69 — FINAL
ATLANTA — Jacqui Grant and Ivory Crawford each scored 14 points, but 22 turnovers doomed the Illini in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge loss at McCamish Pavilion.
Illinois’ Sarah Hartwell, who played her freshman season at Georgia Tech, scored nine points while battling foul trouble throughout.
Much was made in the past few months about the splash John Groce has made on the recruiting trail.
While the job the Illinois men's basketball coach has done is no doubt impressive, let's not forget about another basketball coach on the Illinois campus.
Matt Bollant hasn't done a shabby job either.
ATLANTA — Following Friday’s too-close-for-comfort 57-55 win against IPFW at State Farm Center, John Groce wasn’t particularly pleased with the effort of his bench, which is comprised of five freshmen, for the way they handled themselves in practice after Illinois’ big road win at UNLV.
The freshmen accounted for three points and six turnovers in that game.
ATLANTA — When Illinois knocked off UNLV on the road last week, there was a party of folks wearing orange on the Thomas & Mack Center floor to celebrate the win.
Why he’s Coach of the Year: The 20th-year coach guided the Sages to the school’s first regional and sectional championships in girls’ golf. Monticello placed 11th in the Class 1A state meet.