Bruce Weber gets offer to return to Southern Illinois

bruce-weber

Much like the University of Illinois job is Shaka Smart’s gig to accept or turn down, the Southern Illinois head coaching job is Bruce Weber’s to turn down, according to The Southern.

Weber led the Salukis to two NCAA Tournaments from 1998-2003 before moving on to the Illini, where he coached until he was fired on the second day of the Big Ten Tournament. Weber won 103 games at SIU and has received an offer to return to the school.

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2011-12 Illini Have Competitive Advantage over ’10-’11 Version

bruce-weber

It’s rather ironic when you think about it. Last year’s Illini basketball team entered the year with exceedingly high expectations; the theme was last dance for a talented senior trio. This year’s team entered with zero expectations. The theme was rebuilding and re-establishing. Yet, if it were somehow possible to get the two teams to play each other I’d pick this year’s squad every single time.

For argument sake, the game would have to be with a cloned subset of the players who were on both teams, I mean 2011 Meyers Leonard would be on the roster of last year’s team and 2012 Meyers Leonard would be on this year’s team.

And I still think last year’s squad had more overall talent; but this year’s squad has much more heart and the ability to handle both success and failure.

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Illini Hoops Want More Defense Behind Leaders Richardson, Paul

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One of the biggest reasons the Illini fell well short of preseason expectations last year was their lack of defensive heart and intensity. It isn’t like a Bruce Weber coached team to not defend, and last year Illinois lost way too many games because their inability to get stops down the stetch and in crunch time.

Especially on the road, Illinois would dig deep holes for themselves right off the bat. Later, they would score enough to catch up, but their failures on the other end kept them from closing the gap.

This season Weber wont have to deal with the constant motivational issues with Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis, psychological issues with Mike Tisdale and off-the-court isseus with Jereme Richmond. In a sense there’s addition by subtraction. Illini best defender, D.J. Richardson is back, and he along with Brandon Paul, the other only juniors on a team with no seniors, will be expected be the leaders.

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Bruce Weber is Staying at Illinois, Not Going to Oklahoma

bruce weber erin andrews

After the Matt Painter mess fatigued us all the next Big Ten coaching carousel rumor mill to spin so rapidly it gave us vertigo (too many metaphors concentrated in one place!) was Illini coach Bruce Weber going to Oklahoma.

There was a whole series of tweets and leaks saying there was mutual interest- not true. Don’t you love this time of year in college basketball? When the whole industry plays the “mommy, mommy! Look at me I got this first!” routine.

According to Weber, there’s no story there. According to Illini HQ.com an official announcement will come from the school later today regarding Weber staying Champaign.

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Illini Need to Play Loose (And Wiffleball) to Advance On

ready for the dance illini

What did Yogi Berra once say about half of the game being 90% mental, or something thereabouts? For the Illini Fighting Illini to make a long run in March this college basketball season, it’s all about getting/keeping their head right.

And that means playing free and loose. Which means playing some wiffleball?

“I think the biggest key to tonight’s win was wiffleball last night. We played wiffleball last night instead of doing the scouting report…what the heck, we’ll try anything,” Illini Coach Bruce Weber said following their win over the Iowa Hawkeyes.
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Five Worst Moments of the 2010-11 Illini Hoops Season

Bruce Weber Illinois

The Illinois Fighting Illini came into this year with across-the-board top 15 preseason national rankings. Yet here they are receiving no votes at all (deservedly so) in either poll for the past few weeks, under .500 in conference, and squarely on the NCAA bubble.

In other words, grossly underachieving and not even remotely close to meeting expectations. And it’s not just this year’s expectations. The current nucleus (Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Demetri McCamey) have been starting for three straight years. So one would expect them to peak this season…so much for that! Throw in a recruiting class that was highly regarded on a national college basketball level, and this WAS the year Illini fans have been looking to since 2008.

Kind of depressing isn’t it? Go here for more on that. It’s a very emotional description of how soul-sucking this season has been for the Illini fan base. What follows is a more anecdotal and objective description of the same soul-sucking season from hell.

By Paul M. Banks

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Illini Hoops Media Day Notable Quotables (Videos)

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Last season, the Illinois Fighting Illini were one of the most schizophrenic teams in the Big Ten, if not the nation.

They beat Michigan State, a Final Four team in an emotional ESPN College Gameday event, and won at Wisconsin’s Kohl Center, where almost no one beats the Badgers. They also had Ohio State, a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament on the ropes in the conference tournament semis before angering/motivating Evan Turner, the man who swept last year’s national player of the year awards, to extinguish their NCAA hopes in double overtime.

I also watched from press row on my birthday as the Illini lost a “play-in game” of sorts at home to Minnesota, and heard them fumble away early season games to Utah and Bradley on a neutral court.

So this year it’s all about finding consistency and finding a true identity. Especially since expectations are bubbling up in Champaign. They have a loaded senior class in place, a talented sophomore class, and highly nationally ranked incoming freshmen.

If they learn to defend better, it could be a special year.

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Bruce Weber: Both the Best and Worst Coach in the Country

By Paul Schmidt

Throughout the season, the up and down Illini have had by definition, problems with consistency. With desire. With attitude. With focus.

Their loss 72-53 loss to Ohio State at home on Sunday probably didn’t do anything to dispel that notion.

Still, one of the week’s big rallying cries was Bruce Weber for National Coach of the Year, for the job he has done remodeling this Illini team over the last month.

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Illini Coach Bruce Weber on Lineup Changes, Bowling, watching film

Click this post, to watch the video of Bruce Weber!

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