Nov 22, 2012, 1:16 AM EDT
Maybe it really was Bruce Weber’s fault.
24 hours after Butler laid the wood on the No. 9 team in the country, Illinois mollywhopped the Bulldogs, 78-61, to take home the Maui Invititational title.
Brandon Paul led the way for the Illini with 20 points while Tracy Abrams went for 17 and Tyler Griffy and DJ Richardson chipped in with 14 apiece. As a team, Illinois shot 10-25 from three, which actually lowers their three-point percentage on the season to 41.1%.
So are the Illini legit?
Well, six games into the season, they are 6-0 with impressive wins over USC and Butler. And while that doesn’t necessarily mean much — USC got taken to overtime by Texas and Butler was whooped up on by Xavier — what’s inarguable is that this Illinois team is playing much better under John Groce than they did for Weber. They’re sharing the ball, they’re scoring a lot of point, they’re shooting the ball well and they actually look like they’re having fun playing basketball.
That’s a major step up from last season.
- Steve Lavin and St. John’s ‘mutually agree’ to part ways 0
- No. 2 Arizona pulls away from No. 6 Xavier, setting up West regional final rematch 0
- No. 3 Notre Dame knocks off No. 7 Wichita State to get to the Elite 8 17
- Tradition of success through change raises expectations at Xavier 1
- Sweet 16 Preview: The top 16 players left in the tournament 11
- Sweet 16 Preview: The x-factor in each game this week 1
- Ranking the Sweet 16 matchups 8
- Kentucky’s John Calipari is the National Coach of the Year, and it’s not close (36)
- Updated tournament records: Kentucky moves SEC above .500 (23)
- Kentucky responds to Daxter Miles Jr.’s pregame comments (23)
- West Virginia freshman on Kentucky: ‘They’re going to be 36-1′ (20)
- Reports: Indiana coach Tom Crean said ‘you suck’ to referee after loss to Wichita State (19)