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After sitting out season, Starks is ready to lead the Illini

Big things can come in small packages. Just ask Tracy Abrams. The fearless three-year starting point guard for the Illini has been an impact player despite his underwhelming build. Abrams, who is generously listed at 6-foot-2 (believe me, I’d be surprised if he’s even 6-foot-0), has earned the reputation of being one the better guards in the Big Ten. Just as Abrams was about to enter this season as Illinois ...

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Groce, Illinois, enter Year 3 with high expectations

 ILLINOIS BASKETBALL 2014-15 DEPARTURES: Joseph Bertrand, Jon Ekey RETURNING: Tracy Abrams (out for season), Rayvonte Rice, Nnanna Egwu, Kendrick Nunn, Malcolm Hill, Jaylon Tate, Maverick Morgan, Austin Colbert, Mike LaTulip NEWCOMERS: Ahmad Starks, Aaron Cosby, Leron Black, Michael Finke Illinois basketball head coach John Groce graduated from Taylor University about 20 years ago with a degree that had not ...

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Illinois keeps their NCAA tournament hopes alive with win against Indiana

Just five weeks ago, Illinois lost eight straight games in the Big Ten, a collapse that few teams in the nation could overcome. The Fighting Illini have won six of their last nine games since the losing streak and also since freshman Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill were added to the starting lineup. Nunn and Hill have gotten most of the praise for the team’s resurgence. On Thursday, it was two juniors who ca ...

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Illinois is overmatched as Michigan clinches Big Ten title

  In their last four games, Illinois has done something they haven’t done since 1947—hold each of their opponents to less than 50 points. On Tuesday, well, let’s just say they might have to start another streak. The Illini let up 52 points against Michigan—in the first half. The recent hot play for Illinois was extinguished by No. 12 Michigan, who shot their way to an 84-53 win. After losing 10 of 11 g ...

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Illinois show they still have something to play for as they cruise past Nebraska

53 days is a long time. With Nebraska in town, it's been 53 days since Illinois last won a home game. It was an unfamiliar site to see Illinois take on Nebraska with the Cornhuskers sitting in sixth place and the Illini looking up from the very bottom. With 12 losses on the year, the NCAA tournament has been out of the picture for Illinois for a while now—someone might have to tell them that. If Illinois ha ...

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Wisconsin outlasts Illinois as they drop their 8th straight game for first time in 40 years

The last time the Wisconsin Badgers faced off against the Fighting Illini it wasn’t pretty. The January 8th matchup at the Kohl Center was dominated by the Badgers throughout as they came away with a 95-70 victory. The Badgers made their way over to Champaign for a rematch despite a Winter Storm Warning that left many fans at home. Wisconsin was never able to break away in this one, but timely shooting from ...

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Illinois falls short of 21 point comeback against No. 15 Iowa

On Friday, Illinois Coach John Groce told the media “when adversity hits you have to grind hard. You gotta grind.” After a spirited effort against No. 15 Iowa on Saturday, no one can question if the Fighting Illini are grinding hard. After trailing by 21 points early on, Illinois rallied back to take a five point lead in the second half. After failing to score in the first half, senior guard Roy Devyn Marbl ...

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Northwestern overcomes three late turnovers to stun Illinois

Illinois was in desperate need of a statement game to validate their No. 23 ranking after suffering a 95-70 drubbing at Wisconsin earlier in the week. Driving a couple of hours over to Evanston to face the 7-9 Northwestern Wildcats, the Illini were expected to do just that—but once again, the Illini didn’t live up to their expectations. After trailing by ten earlier in the second half, Illinois freshman Ken ...

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Tracy Abrams earns Braggin’ Rights with breakout performance

With nine minutes left in the annual Braggin’ Rights game between Illinois and Missouri, it felt all too familiar for the Fighting Illini. After relinquishing a late second half lead against Georgia Tech and mostly recently a seven point lead against Oregon just a week ago, what was unraveling felt like a foregone conclusion. After leading 31-27 at half time, a rare three pointer from big man Nnanna Egwu ga ...

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Illinois survive scare against Dartmouth to come away with the 72-65 win

The Fighting Illini needed a win against Dartmouth with ranked Oregon and Missouri on slate. With the 3-3 Big Green in town, getting the win was a little tougher than expected. After trailing as much as 17 in the second half, Dartmouth fired back late. Big Green freshman forward Eli Harrison and sophomore guard Alex Mitola hit back to back three’s to cut the Illini lead to 67-59 with 1:29 left in the game. ...

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