Nunn, Tate, Starks can get Illini basketball to NCAAs

kendrick-nunn illini basketball

As it currently stands, Illinois is a “next four out” of the NCAA Tournament kind of team. That means a win or two puts them in “first four out” territory. A small winning streak would get them off the NIT bubble. No small task given that the team’s best player, Rayvonte Rice, is out for a few weeks.

The “Ewing Theory” manifested itself in a huge signature win over a very good Maryland team ten days ago.

However, that momentum didn’t last and now Illini basketball is in some trouble this season.

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Nick Rakocevic would be a great get for Fighting Illini

nick rakocevic

Given the state of this Illinois Fighting Illini basketball season, it’s understandable why one might start looking far ahead. According to recruiting service 24/7 Sports, Illinois is the front-runner to land 6’10” Class of 2016 Nick Rakocevic, from St. Joseph in suburban Westchester.

That Crystal Ball thinggee has the Illini at 67%, Duke 33% for the #59 overall national prospect (24/7’s rankings).

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Illini basketball have some serious issues inside


Both Illini basketball recruiting and the Illini basketball offensive strategy are in identity crisis right now. While the former is just a problem of mischaracterization by the media, the latter is a genuine issue. When it comes to Illinois hoops recruiting “news,” all you hear about is John Groce whiffing on 5-star recruits.

The recruiting situation is actually fine though. It would be even better if they can land St. Joseph’s big man, class of 2016 super prospect Nick Rakocevic. 

When it comes to on-the-court Illinois basketball news, it’s all about an inconsistent at best offense that embodies the cliche “living and dying by the three.”

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Illini basketball recruiting: it’s all the media’s fault

john-groce illini basketball

We’re very proud to admit that we never published any “The Illini are in it/finalists for: Carlton Bragg, Charles Matthews, Elijah Thomas, Jalen Brunson, Jawun Evans” stories.

We wouldn’t waste your time on that.

We’ll waste your time on other worthless and pointless “news stories,” but we would never lead you on and get your hopes up, Illini basketball fans.

There is some good news though!

Groce has been a much better recruiter than Bruce Weber; despite the fact that the media keeps dropping the ball on this. Illini recruiting coverage is terrible.


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2016 NBA Mock Draft (1/8/15)

NBA-mock-Draft-sacramento kings

Here is The Sports Bank’s extremely early 2016 NBA Mock Draft.  By the way, The Sports Bank had the most accurate NBA Mock Draft in both 2011 and 2012 along with the second most accurate mock in 2013.


Be sure to check out our 2015 NFL mock draft as well.

And our 2016 NFL mock draft.

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’15-‘ 16 Illini basketball season begins vs Maryland

maryland terrapins dez wells illini basketball

You’ve heard the news: Rayvonte Rice is out indefinitely. Some reports say 3-6 weeks. Either way it’s enough to relegate this Illini basketball team to the NIT (or worse) for certain this year. And we’ve outlined below, Illinois NCAA Tournament at-large berth chances were very far-fetched, even with Rice, to begin with.

So, if you’re heading to Assembly Hall to watch the #9 Maryland Terrapins versus an Illini basketball team without it’s best player what will you be seeing?

(And much respect to you if you’re going because local weather forecasts an air temperature of -7, with wind chills of -25 at tip-off time)

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2015 NBA Mock Draft-First Round (1/6/15)


Here is The Sports Bank’s 2015 NBA Mock Draft where team needs and outstanding trades have been taken into account.  By the way, The Sports Bank had the most accurate NBA Mock Draft in both 2011 and 2012 along with the second most accurate mock in 2013.

Be sure to check out our 2015 NFL mock draft as well.

And our 2016 NFL mock draft.

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Reilly O’Toole makes 5 most popular college football stories of ’14


Congrats to Illinois QB Reilly O’Toole. Not only did he win the Illini MVP award this season, but he made The Sports Bank’s top five most popular college football stories of 2014. Almost twice even. With the second placement being the Illini story. So good for Reilly O’Toole.

Happy college football day everyone! Happy college football playoff day.

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Illini Football lose Heart of Dallas Bowl: 5 takeaways


There was no Boxing Day celebration for Illini Nation in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Illinois lost 35-18 to Louisiana Tech; although the score was much closer than that score indicates.

As you know, we don’t do game recaps here at The Sports Bank, just like I don’t do “play by play” or “live tweeting” of individual games in my Twitter feed.

It’s all big picture features, breaking news stories and/or original commentary here, and those same rules apply to Illini football. So what did we learn about Tim Beckman and Illini football today?

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Big Ten Basketball: 17 worst losses this Pre-Conference season


“Our effort was not up to standard tonight which i take very personally,” said Northwestern Coach Chris Collins after losing at home by 13 to a middle tier MAC team.

“I can’t explain it. If I had an answer for it I would tell you guys. We got out-everythinged,” he continued.

“We didn’t give them any resistance to start the game.”

Collins and the Wildcats getting dominated at home by Central Michigan is troubling, but it’s just one of many very bad losses that Big Ten basketball has suffered this non-conference season. Let’s break it down.

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Illini basketball: five major issues in need of repair

sad illini basketball fan

It’s been easy for Illini basketball fans to scapegoat Aaron Cosby. How poorly he’s shot the ball speaks for itself. He was 1-9 tonight, and here are his last 5 games before the loss to Oregon: 1-8, 2-6, 1-10, 0-6, 3-10.

Illini basketball coach John Groce subbed Cosby for Kendrick Nunn in the starting five. However, Cosby, not Nunn, received the bulk of the minutes in crunch time.

Groce explained that as a decision based on defensive capabilities in the post game press conference. It’s not fair to single out Cosby for what’s gone wrong this season. There are plenty of issues all around. We’ll go through all of them, with accompanying presser comments from Groce.

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Rayvonte Rice, Malcolm Hill ARE ’14-15 Illini Basketball


Tonight at the United Center- The Rayvonte Rice Show. Unfortunately, the supporting cast is a bit lacking.

While tonight was a one a man cast, this Illini basketball season has been pretty much a duet, with Malcolm Hill, the entire time. Rice and Hill are the team’s two leading scorers and rebounders.

It’s not good when two guards (although Hill is often playing the forward position) are your leading rebounders. Also, it’s a not a good thing that Rayvonte Rice and Malcolm Hill are the only players averaging double figure scoring.

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