Jim Larranaga’s team has had a banner season, but they’ll likely have to beat Duke for a second time this season — this time with Ryan Kelly — to reinforce their potential to go deep in the NCAA Tournament.
Bruce Weber isn’t on the sidelines in Champaign any longer. But that hardly means the guy can’t still stir up the Illini faithful.
He’s off in Kansas now. But, not unlike the coach who preceded him in Champaign, it’ll be a long time before Bruce Weber is forgotten at the University of Illinois.
Twelve years ago, after Lon Kruger bolted Champaign for NBA riches in Atlanta, it appeared that Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther had his successor in hand.
When Shaka Smart, Virginia Commonwealth’s coach and the apple of many an Illini fan’s eye, opted on Thursday to don an orange tie – and a blue shirt, to boot! – for VCU’s NCAA Tourney opener, both Twitter and Facebook burst alive with posts of breathless speculation.
What a big chunk of the Illinois fan base often fails to acknowledge is that Illinois basketball isn’t quite the elite program that many like to imagine it to be.
The tantalizing question is whether the Fighting Illini basketball program – and, in particular, its embattled head coach Bruce Weber – can stare down the 800-pound gorilla in the gym.
Friday night, Illinois tips off against UNLV and face Lon Kruger who coached the Illini between 1996 and 2000. If Bruce Weber’s team advances, they could face Kansas with Bill Self, who Weber replaced.
It’s filled with potential potholes and a bunch of hazard cones (orange ones, of course), and the only exit ramp off it leads straight back to Champaign.
University of Kansas basketball player Tyshawn Taylor was suspended indefinitely from the school’s basketball team on February 21st for violating team rules.
Frustrated Illini basketball fans don’t want to hear it. Frantic Bruce Weber critics don’t want to hear it. And, heck, to be honest, I don’t really want to hear it, either.