CBB Summer Buzz: Illinois
The Illini could very well be the dark-horse candidate for Big Ten championship
Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we're bringing you a closer look at a few of the big-profile schools before most freshmen have even moved into their dorms. We continue today with Illinois.
The 2009-10 season was filled with numerous ups and downs for Bruce Weber and the Fighting Illini. Among the highs: an upset road win against Wisconsin, a home W against Michigan State and a 35-10 run in the second half to stun Clemson on Dec. 2, 2009. But the lows -- with the failure to qualify for an NCAA tournament bid chief among them -- reflected Illinois' inconsistencies. "Last season, we had to make dramatic comebacks to either win a game or lose a game," says Demetri McCamey, one of four seniors who dot UI's roster. "This year we want to make sure we throw the first punch."
Virtually the same group that swallowed the bitter pill of being the 66th-best team in 2009-10 is back on campus, and the hype surrounding UI is quietly growing. Illinois has been mentioned as a potential dark-horse candidate for the Big Ten title, a third option for those who don't expect Purdue or Michigan State to quickly distance themselves once conference play begins. Illinois returns 91.7 percent of minutes per game as well as 91.8 percent of points per game -- both highs in the conference. That, along with a stacked incoming class, should help spread the load this season.
To read the summer preview of the Illinois Fighting Illini, including news on the incoming freshmen and new roles for upper classmen, plus season outlooks from Joe Lunardi and Jay Bilas, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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COLLEGE BASKETBALL SUMMER BUZZ
Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we're bringing you a closer look at few of the big-profile schools before most freshmen have even moved into their dorms.
All in one place
A collection of everything we've posted to date.
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Duke Blue Devils
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Michigan State Spartans
Another Final Four could be in the cards
Ohio State Buckeyes
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Illinois Fighting Illini
A dark-horse candidate for the Big Ten title
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Despite key losses, the Orange are contenders
Without Monroe, it's all about the guards
Jay Wright's frontcourt has arrived
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Bruins can begin the rebuilding process
Huskies hungry to reach Elite Eight
Influx of talent forces out familar faces
Kansas State Wildcats
Expectations are higher than ever in Manhattan
Jayhawks still have the talent to compete