5 College Basketball coaches on the hot seat

fire bruce weber

As we enter the final stretch of the 2011-2012 college basketball season, the seat is definitely starting to heat up under some well known coaches of power six conference teams.  It is likely too late for these five coaches to save their jobs and keep from getting fired once the season ends.

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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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Why do the Illini have so Little Fight on the Road?

ready for the dance illini

Following yet another disappointing road loss at Northwestern, Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber talked about what he’s tried to fix their 1-4 in conference play road woes.

“We tried lineup changes, they all want to start, but step up and be a starter, make the plays. Billy (Cole) said it, we got to start the game with shutouts, we got to be determined, we can’t let a team, especially on the road, just jump on us,” he said of his woefully under-achieving Illini team.

It would help if the senior class started living up to their potential, but it was sophomore, Brandon Paul, who gave the media a soundbite Illini Nation would like to hear.

“It’s tough, we keep talking about the same thing, and people get mad, people talk about it, but actions speak louder than words, we got to do something about it,” Paul said.

Very true. It’s Groundhog Day, just like Weber said last Saturday, as the team keeps repeating the same mistakes all over again. Had they bothered to show up for the first 5 minutes of the games at Penn State, Indiana and Northwestern, they easily would have won all three. The final margin of defeat was so small that had Illinois not utterly sleep-walked out of the gate they could be 8-2 instead of 5-5 in Big Ten play right now.

By Paul M. Banks

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Can this Illini Team, specifically the Seniors, Ever Wake Up?

bruce weber demetri mccamey

“We have had people talk to them, and we did everything except electric shock [therapy] to get them going,  Illini coach Bruce Weber said about his college basketball team. “They have to jolt themselves from the inside. We have to be determined and not let a team, especially on the road, jump on us.”

Weber made this comment after his Illini team lost at Northwestern; despite beating the same exact team by 25 points just less than a month ago.

For whatever reason, the Illini can’t seem to put together any type of consistent effort and heart into their play this season; but this problem has actually persisted for the past three seasons.

During those past three years, the Illini have been led by a trio of seniors –center Mike Tisdale, power forward Mike Davis, and point guard Demetri McCamey. This trio looks dubiously poised to finish their collegiate careers with zero NCAA Tournament wins.

That’s a rare feat in Champaign- four years without a tourney win, and it’s unfathomable that a trio with six All-Big Ten selections combined will be a class that “accomplishes” this.

Why? In four years, they just NEVER learn from their mistakes.

By Paul M. Banks

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Where Have You Gone Illini PG Demetri McCamey?

bruce weber demetri mccamey

He was having an All-American second team, All-Big Ten first team type season. At least up until his unhappy visit to Happy Valley. Illini senior point guard Demetri McCamey went (a then uncharacteristic) sub-50% from the field, and committed five turnovers to match his five assists. The Illini lost to Penn State, and the McCamey/Illinois college basketball season slide began.

During the course of his Illini career, McCamey has been criticized for his shot selection, his lack of defense, his immaturity and even his attitude. But in ’09-’10 he learned to carry this team on his back, scoring or assisting on an overwhelming majority of the Illini team scoring.

Sometime between last season to the beginning of this season, McCamey went from being just good to really great. But for the past month or so, he’s been very mediocre at best. And that’s even a stretch.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern Closes Out Illini, Illinois Road Woes Continue

In the second battle between Chicago’s two Big Ten college basketball teams, the outcome was drastically different from the first. Just how much of a disparity?

It would be like comparing the body composition of Illini Center Mike Tisdale (7-1, very svelte) to that of Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (4-8, very squished).

In their first meeting in Champaign, Illinois crushed the Northwestern Wildcats 88-63, in a game that was even more lopsided than that final score reads.

But here at Welsh-Ryan Arena, the ‘Cats knocked off the Illini 71-70. Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody was asked if the home/road difference is truly worth 26 points?

“It was to them,” he answered.

By Paul M. Banks

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Coaches Rock Upon the Mic Right at Big 10 Media Day

bruce weber erin andrews

Many college basketball experts believe the Big Ten will be the best conference in the nation this year. And on paper, it certainly looks that way, as they have a first team all conference squad of players who have ruled the Big Ten since they were sophomores. Now they have reached their prime.

And when it comes to coaches, the Big Ten has a fine a pedigree as any. Minnesota’s Tubby Smith was at Big Ten Media Day yesterday, and we discussed the current media landscape, where credibility and lack of credibility lies within it, social media, the meta of social media, the human nature of communication, the meaning behind medium of communication.

Just like I did with Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. But those are separate posts for another occasion. For now, let’s highlight what was said at the podium by the other coaches. And we’ll actually talk basketball here. Really, I promise.

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

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

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