Illinois Basketball: After Another Loss Facts Get Stronger for Change


The Illinois basketball team has officially entered into the mode of better luck next year.

With the loss today to Penn State at home, the Illini are now 14-12 overall and 4-9 in the Big Ten. This is a record that even if you win out you will still not make the NCAA Tournament.

I made a list of five possible head coaches to replace John Groce last week and some people could say that was a little early given the Illini aren’t eliminated.

But I think we all knew Illinois’ chances of going 6-0 to finish the season. After a great win on the road against Northwestern, the Illini pulled off their usual random loss at home to a Penn State team that hasn’t won in Champaign since 2009.

Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball
Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball /

Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball

The rest of the season is not about making the postseason anymore. It is now about seeing the great freshman tandem of Te’Jon Lucas and Kipper Nichols improve for the next season.

During the next five games, plus a Big Ten Tournament contest, I want the Illini to compete. I want to see some fight in them even though they are likely to be playing for a lame duck head coach.

If you aren’t going to play for him, at least play for yourself and Malcolm Hill. You are talented players and I see that from my couch.

There were many things that went wrong this season and I can’t blame the players. Yes, at times they weren’t making shots and they would turn the ball over as well.

But the decay of this program started from the top down. The athletic director was let go in late-2015 and now it is time for one of the worst hires I have ever seen to be let go as well.

Just thinking of what went wrong this season there are multiple things already on the top of my head. You could pick out Groce not starting Lucas instead of Abrams or even Tate in the first half of the year.

You can point out that DJ Williams has only played five minutes or more in 11 games this season and he hasn’t even seen the floor in 11 other games as well.

How about the fact that the Illini players look lost on the basketball at times in every game this season. This shouldn’t be happening in game five of the year, let alone 26 games in.

Even if you don’t believe any of the facts that I just gave you there is one fact that you can’t ignore. This basketball team is 14-12 and Groce is about to miss his fourth straight NCAA Tournament.

Next: Malcolm Hill’s Great Career in a Nutshell

You can’t ignore that fact and you also can’t ignore it is time for a change. This program can rise again, but there needs to be a new leader.