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 Fletcher Lane did so more than 100 years ago. That ...