Originally posted on Inside the Hall  |  Last updated 9/26/13
One thing's for certain in John Groce's early Illini tenure: He's never short on histrionics. In a sport where coaches strut the sideline like a runway, Groce's facial contortions stand out. But a more important, less superficial analysis of Groce's first full season in Champaign reveals a season in which he didn't let the program slip. The team started out 12-0, which included a win over Butler for the 2012 Maui Invitational Championship. Illinois climbed as high as No. 10 in week seven of the Associated Press Top 25 poll. While the Big Ten season (8-10, tied-7th) was nothing more than average, the Illini did nip then-No. 1 Indiana at the other Assembly Hall. The team also made the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed after missing out in Bruce Weber's last season at the helm. It beat Colorado in the second round before falling to No. 2 Miami in a close game, 63-59. And Groce's returns with recruits should give the Illini faithful some hope. It's been a super September. Class of 2014 ...
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