1. John Groce coaching his second Braggin’ Rights game: In his press conference this week, Coach Groce said that there was more emotion to the game against Missouri than what he thought coming in and that his team got caught up in that emotion. Now that he has coached in the Braggin’ Rights game, Groce will know how to better prepare his guys emotionally for the game. A lot of players on this Illini squad are new to the rivalry so Coach Groce will need to make sure they don’t get caught off guard like he did in his first year at Illinois.
2. Which Illinois team will show up: Following their loss to Georgia Tech, the Illinois Fighting Illini came out in their next game against Auburn and looked like a complete basketball team. The Illini haven’t looked that good since and lost a tough game to #15 Oregon last weekend. Now, fans aren’t asking Illinois to shoot 60% from the field every game, but they would like to see their team take smart high percentage shots. Many will wonder whether we will see the Illini squad that played in Atlanta against Auburn or the squad that played against IPFW at home.
3. Jordan Clarkson: Defensively, Illinois will have their hands full on Saturday with Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson. In his first season with the Tigers, Clarkson is leading the team in scoring with 19.4 points per game. He can score from anywhere on the court and does a very nice job of getting his teammates involved in the game. If Clarkson gets into a rhythm early and can get his teammate going as well, the Illini could be in for a long day.
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