#63 Illinois Fighting Illini: College Basketball 111 in 111

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

After several years of underachieving, Bruce Weber was shown the door as Illinois Fighting Illini head coach and replaced by Ohio’s John Groce.  There is still decent enough talent left on the Illini roster but can Groce right the ship in his first year in Champaign?

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Illini grab shooting guard transfer Rayvonte Rice from Drake

illini cheerleaders

Coach John Groce landed his first recruiting victory as coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini today, as Rayvonte Rice is leaving Drake and coming home. The 6-4, 250-pound guard grew up in Champaign, Illinois and was the 2010 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year while playing for Champaign Centennial High School. Hopefully, this will help bring in this year’s Gatorade player of the year Jabari Parker.

Rice’s numbers with Drake: 16.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 1.9 SPG. He was the team’s leading scorer, but also shot just 24 percent from three-point range.

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