CHAMPAIGN, Ill. No suit is safe with this start. Think John Groce is intense? Think his historic early run at Illinois is no accident because of an attitude that's as active as a pot of boiling water?
You haven't seen half of it. Well, if you've seen it all, hope you covered your eyes.
"The most valuable lesson I learned tonight is to wear dark underwear," said Groce, after the Fighting Illini beat Western Carolina 72-64 on Tuesday to improve to 9-0, the best start for a first-year Illinois coach since 1907-08. "That's important, because I ripped the bottom of my pants out trying to get into the defensive stance."
That's Groce. Energetic. A crack of thunder usually minus the full moon. He's a man, 41 years old, who will spill his emotion on Assembly Hall's orange paint and laugh about it later.
Results so far warrant a stitch job for his slacks. He's the first Illinois coach to win his first nine games at the university since...