The Illini basketball team defeated Auburn 81-62 to improve to 8-1 on the season Saturday. Rayvonte Rice led the Illini with 22 points. Illinois made a season high 12 three-pointers.
The Illinois basketball team is headed back to Georgia this weekend. Sunday afternoon's game against Auburn will be their second game of the week in Atlanta. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has been there all week and has more on how they're turning the page after their first defeat.
The Illinois basketball team is moving forward after their first loss of the season Tuesday night, and head coach John Groce says there is no panic within the locker room. It might be easy to overreact after Illinois blew a 12-point lead in the final nine minutes of a 67-64 loss to Georgia Tech, but Groce says it all came down to a lack of execution. That is something he is hammering home in practice this week in hopes that they don't make the same mistakes again.
For the first time this year the Illinois men's basketball team will try to bounce back from a loss. It was a tough one Tuesday night losing in the final seconds at Georgia Tech. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was with the Illini in Atlanta and has more on where the team goes from here.
The Illinois women's basketball team tried to do what the men could not - and that is beat Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Like the men, though, the women ran out of gas losing 93-69 to the Yellow Jackets. Illinois guard Sarah Hartwell, who transferred to Illinois from Georgia Tech, scored 9 points in her return to Atlanta. Illinois (5-3) hits the road on Saturday against Colorado.
The Fighting Illini led a 12-point second-half lead slip away en route to a 67-64 loss at Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. After trailing by 3 points at halftime, Illinois fought back to open up a 12-point advantage with 9:00 to go in the game. But the Yellow Jackets (6-3) closed the game on a 19-4 run to hand the Illini their first loss of the year.
Illinois junior Rayvonte Rice was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. The Centennial grad averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in a pair Illinois victories over UNLV and IPFW. Aside from the numbers, Rice's impact was huge. He made some key baskets down the stretch against UNLV and clinched the IPFW game with a late steal.
The last two games for Illinois have come down to the final seconds, but John Groce's squad continues to find ways to win. The same was true Friday night as Illinois held off IPFW 57-55 at State Farm Center. Illinois led for much of the first half, but IPFW went on a 12-0 run to take command and take a 35-27 lead into halftime. As Illinois came out for the second half, Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice put the team on their backs and the defense stepped up. Abrams scored 12 of his 15 points over the final 20 minutes. Rice scored a game-high 17 points, and came up with the biggest defensive stop of the game in the final seconds. Illinois improves to 7-0 on the year.
Tonight's Illinois basketball game vs. UNLV will air LIVE at 9:45 pm on CBS Sports Network. Here's how to find it:
Former Illini Jereme Richmond was sentenced Monday to three years in prison after he was convicted of harassing a witness. This comes after an incident back in April when Richmond threatened his probation officer. Since leaving Illinois, the former Mr. Basketball has faced numerous weapons charges, drug charges and probation violations. The Lake Co. Assistant State's Attorney told the Chicago Sun-Times it's possible Richmond could get out of jail in 18 months or less.
The Illinois basketball team will play it's first road game of the season Tuesday night at UNLV. It will be a big test for a young team playing it's first game away from home. It will be a new kind of adversity they haven't seen yet this year, and they will be leaning on their upperclassmen to lead the way.
Illinois used a 22-2 run to finish the game and finish off Chicago State 77-53 Friday night at State Farm Center. Jon Ekey led all scorers with 19 points. Joseph Bertrand, Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice added 12 apiece for Illinois (5-0).
Illinois took the lead early and never looked back in a 78-43 win over in-state rival SIU Thursday night at State Farm Center. Freshman Jacqui Grant led the way with a game-high 15 points. Amber Moore and Ivory Crawford chipped in 14 apiece. The win is Illinois' 4th straight.
The Illinois men's basketball team hosts Chicago State Friday night. It's a series in which Illinois has never lost; they're 10-0 all-time against the Cougars.
Chicago Simeon junior forward D.J. Williams wasted no time committing to play for the Fighting Illini. Making his decision before his junior season, he's the earliest a Simeon player has ever committed to play Division I basketball.
Simeon head coach Robert Smith says it is important that Chicago kids play for their home state school, and he thinks Groce and his staff are changing the perception of Illinois hoops in the Windy City.
Extended interview with Illinois-commit D.J. Williams from Chicago Simeon High School.
Things have been "so far, so good" for the Illinois basketball team. They are one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten, but you wouldn't know it by the way they've played. They credit that to the leadership on the team, especially veterans like Tracy Abrams, Joseph Bertrand and others.
The Illinois basketball team is off to a 4-0 start heading into Friday's game against Chicago State, and one of the big reasons the Illini are still perfect has been the play of freshman point guard Jaylon Tate.
Illinois graduate senior Jon Ekey scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Illini's 81-55 win over Bradley Sunday night at State Farm Center. Four players scored in double figures for Illinois, who improved to 4-0 on the season.
The Illinois women's basketball team set a school record for largest margin of victory, blowing out Alcorn State 112-28 at State Farm Center Sunday afternoon.
Bonus video of John Groce talking about an article that was critical of Illinois fans and the Illini program.
Cliff Alexander, the nation's No. 3 recruit, picked Kansas over Illinois at a national televised ceremony this afternoon in Chicago. Here is our full interview with Alexander.
Cliff Alexander, the nation's No. 3 recruit, verbally committed to Kansas Friday afternoon, but not before teasing Illini nation first. Alexander, while making his announcement live on ESPNU, briefly picked up the Illinois hat, only to set it down and ultimately pick Kansas.
Quentin Snider signed a letter of intent to play for Louisville Friday morning, his high school coach Chris Renner confirms to WCIA's Matt Wettersten. Snider had previously given a verbal commitment to attend Illinois.
Illinois senior Amber Moore (27 pts, 19 reb) led the way, while freshman Jacqui Grant added a career-high 22 points to pace the Illini to a 93-70 win over Mississippi Valley State.
Illinois survived a bit of a scare from Valparaiso Wednesday night, and their dominance on the glass was a big reason why they came out on top. Nobody did a better job in that area than Jon Ekey. The Illinois State-transfer pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
Centennial's Michael Finke will wear his dad's No. 43 at Illinois.
Rice's 18 points, Ekey's 15 rebounds lead Illinois past Valparaiso 64-52
John Groce signs Top 20 class; local athletes sign for their colleges of choice
Amber Moore led the way with 23 points as the Illini beat Valparaiso 87-59
Extended interview with 4-star PF Leron Black, who will sign with Illinois on Wednesday
Tomorrow John Groce will sign the first members of his 2014 recruiting class. One of those players who can't wait to make it official is Memphis (TN) star Leron Black. The four-star power forward talked with WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten about what drew him to Illinois, and what kind of impact he thinks he can make.
The Illini basketball team will be back on the court Wednesday night against Valparaiso, and head coach John Groce says the Crusaders will be the biggest team they have faced so far this year. That comes with some concern after Jacksonville State pulled down 25 offensive rebounds against Illinois (2-0) Sunday.
Illinois freshman guard Jaylon Tate scored 10 points and had eight assists in the Illini's 24-point win over Jacksonville State Sunday. His performance is getting high praise from head coach John Groce, who said he expects big things from the Chicago Simeon product this season.
Illinois senior guard Joseph Bertrand recorded his first career double-double, leading Illinois to an 86-62 win over Jacksonville State. Bertrand scored 20 points and grabbed ten rebounds as the Illini improved to 2-0 on the season.
Champaign-native Rayvonte Rice scored a team-high 22 points and pulled down 9 rebounds in his Illinois debut to lead the Orange and Blue past Alabama State 80-63 in the season opener for both teams. Nnanna Egwu (10 points, 10 rebounds) tallied his second-consecutive double-double dating back to last season. Senior Joseph Bertrand added 14 points and 8 rebounds, while junior Tracy Abrams chipped in 9 points, while dishing out 3 assists.
The Illini women jumped out to an 11-point halftime lead before the Bradley Braves stormed back to stun the Illini 98-92 in both teams' season opener. It's the second straight year Matt Bollant's Illini have lost to the Braves.
Former Centennial Charger Rayvonte Rice will take the floor in a game for the first time Friday when the Illini open the regular season.
The Illinois basketball team only has ten scholarship players eligible to play this season. The starting line-up is experienced, but the Illini are counting on a young bench to give the team depth.
Illinois basketball coach John Groce said today point guard Tracy Abrams should be back on the court for Illinois' season opener Friday night. Abrams missed the team's last preseason game with a mild hamstring strain, but Groce said he will be ready to go against Alabama St.
While Illinois fans continue to wait for news on Cliff Alexander, John Groce is already getting to work on the Class of 2015. On Tuesday Groce landed a verbal commitment from Chicago (Simeon) 4-star forward DJ Williams.
The Illinois basketball team hosts Alabama State on Friday in the season opener and the team is trying to work out some of the kinks before the season starts.
The Illinois men's basketball team defeated Northwood (Michigan) 83-67. The Illinois women's basketball team defeated Cardinal Stritch 78-49. It is the final exhibition games for both squads. See highlights, interviews and a report from WCIA 3's Bret Beherns in the video above.
The media voted Michigan State the favorite in the Big Ten this season. Illinois was picked to finish 8th. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was at Big Ten Media Day and has more on how John Groce continues to earn respect from his colleagues.
The Illinois basketball team gets almost a week-and-a-half in between their two exhibition games, giving head coach John Groce a chance to really get down to work with the guys in practice as they get ready to finish up the preseason.
By all accounts, five-star recruit Cliff Alexander had a great time on his official visit to Illinois over the weekend, and it is still unclear whether he will take more unofficial visits to other schools before announcing his decision next month.
Five star forward Cliff Alexander made an official visit to Illinois Saturday. He was in the stands for part of the Illini football game. He is one of the top five prospects in the country for 2014. His final five schools are: Illinois, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan State, and DePaul. He said he will announce a decision on November 16.
Illinois started slow Thursday night, but as head coach John Groce went deep into his bench, the Illini pulled away for a 101-66 exhibition win over McKendree at State Farm Center. Junior Tracy Abrams (16) led the way in the scoring column, but newcomers Rayvonte Rice (13), Jon Ekey (12) and Jaylon Tate (13) all scored in double figures.
The Illinois basketball team will play two exhibition games to tune up for the regular season. The first of those is Thursday night at home against McKendree.
Illinois fans got their first chance to see this year's men's basketball team Thursday night at the Orange & Blue scrimmage at the State Farm Center. Veterans like Nnanna Egwu put on a show, while newcomers like Rayvonte Rice showed they can contribute in a big way.
It will be a special night for Champaign-native and Centennial grad Rayvonte Rice, who transferred in from Drake, and now gets his chance to play in front of the home fans for the first time.
We will get our first chance to see this year's Illinois basketball team on the court Thursday night in the Orange and Blue scrimmage. It will be their only public scrimmage before their exhibition opener next Thursday night.
Illinois junior Nnanna Egwu says he needs to step up his game this season in order for the Illini to build upon last year's success.
NBA coach of the year George Karl was in Champaign this weekend as the featured speaker at the Illinois basketball coaches clinic.
The Illinois women's basketball team is trying to make practice harder than the games in hopes it pay big dividends on the court this season.
Illinois junior Guard Rayvonte Rice had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. He spent his time wisely, adding skill and dropping over 30 pounds. He's eager to contribute for the Illini this season.
CHAMPAIGN -- The players aren't the only ones excited about the upcoming Illini Basketball season.
If you're looking for returning starters from last year's Illini basketball team, there aren't many. Their two biggest leaders last year, DJ Richardson and Brandon Paul are gone, leaving a gaping hole that some new leaders will have to step in and fill.
The Illinois women's basketball program took the first step toward turning things around in just one year under head coach Matt Bollant. He says they have already sold 200-300 more season tickets than last year. That is just one indication of the excitement around the program.
We are just a couple weeks away from the Illinois basketball team's first exhibition game, and head coach John Groce says he will probably play a pretty big rotation early with only two seniors and seven newcomers competing for playing time.
One of the nation's top recruits, Cliff Alexander, sets his decision date just one day after releasing his Top 5 list, which includes Illinois, DePaul, Michigan State, Kansas and Memphis.
(UI Relase): Fighting Illini senior guard Ahmad Starks (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young H.S.) will sit out the upcoming season after the NCAA Subcommittee for Legislative Relief denied a hardship waiver requested by the University of Illinois. Starks, who transferred from Oregon State after a three-year career with the Beavers, will have one year of eligibility remaining with the Illini in 2014-15. “Following a lengthy process, we have received final word from the NCAA on Ahmad’s status. We are all disappointed with the decision to deny the waiver and especially feel bad for Ahmad and his family,” Illinois head coach John Groce said. “Ahmad had a compelling case, returning to his home state to be closer to an ailing grandmother who played an instrumental role in raising him. However, we now have to move forward. Ahmad will focus on preparing our team in practice while also making individual improvement, fueled by the goal of returning to the court in 2014-15.”
The Illinois women's basketball team started practice this week, and they are excited to build off their success from last season. In year one under head coach Matt Bollant, Illinois improved by eight wins and made a run all the way the quarterfinals of the WNIT.
Fans will get their first look at the 2013-14 Illinois basketball teams at Illini Street Jam onSaturday night, Sept. 28, capping a trio of sporting events on campus. Illini Street Jam will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the intersection of Green St. and Wright St. in campus town. The area will be closed to traffic to house an Illini-themed flex court, baskets, bleachers and lights. Festivities will include player introductions, fan interactive games and competitions.
Former Illini DJ Richardson announced Monday he has a workout scheduled with the Utah Jazz. Richardson went undrafted this spring and will try to impress the Jazz enough to give him a shot. Richardson is planning to play this season in Europe if the NBA doesn't work out. Richardson started all 36 games as a senior last year, averaging about 12 points per game.
One of the top high school point guards in the country made his college decision tonight, and it is great news for the Illini. Quentin Snider, who is ranked among the Top 30 players in the country, verbally committed to John Groce and the Fighting Illini shortly after 6:00 pm CT Thursday night. Snider becomes the highest ranked recruit Groce has landed in his short time at Illinois. The Louisville-native made the announcement at his high school, choosing Illinois over UCLA. ESPN ranks Snider as the 7th best point guard in the class of 2014, which is a position of need for Illinois. Snider has originally committed to Louisville, but decommitted from the defending national champs, and tonight he picked Illinois.
Illini recruit Michael Finke breaks down Quentin Snider's commitment to Illinois
The University of Illinois announced Wednesday the 2013-14 men's basketball schedule. Illinois will play 18 games at State Farm Center (16 regular season and two exhibition), and 14 games against teams that participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Former Illinois coach Lou Henson was one of the guests of honor at Stone Creek in Urbana Wednesday for the Illini Rebounders Golf Outing. Henson was there along with current Illini coach John Groce and women's coach Matt Bollant. All the proceeds go to support the basketball program. Even though it has been a couple decades since Henson coached at Illinois, he still calls Champaign home, and he says he is glad to help out however he can. "38 years ago at the University of Illinois we had no booster club, so we organized that and got it going with just a few members," Henson said. "Now look where we are. The golf outing is really something special. Everybody enjoys it, and they've raised a lot of money for the U of I basketball team, so we are ready to help out any way we can." This was the 12th year for the event.
Brandon Paul said goodbye to Champaign on Friday as he gets ready to start his professional career in Russia. WCIA 3's Austin Kim spoke with Paul about his career - both present and future.
Illini basketball assistant gets reprimanded for behavior in Illinois' NCAA tournament loss to Miami.
Former Illinois guard Brandon Paul announced today he'll play his first professional basketball season in Russia. "After evaluating all of my options w/ my agent, family & close circle," Paul announced on Twitter, "I've decided I'm going to play my first professional season in Russia!" Paul went undrafted after excelling for four years at Illinois. He played for the Minnesota Timberwolves summer league team, and he isn't ruling out a return to the NBA. "Truly blessed & humbled to be able to make money doing what I love," Paul wrote. "The journey is just beginning! Long career ahead of me!"
Illinois basketball senior Joseph Bertrand was in the WCIA 3 studios Wednesday, live on ciLiving with Heather Roberts and Matt Metcalf. Bertrand was talking about his summer work with the University of Illinois ticket office - in a story you saw last week right here on WCIA 3. Bertrand is personally answering phones if you call for tickets, and he talked to us about the experience Wednesday.
Tournament officials announced the women’s fields and pairings for the 2013 Cancun Challenge Tournaments at the all-inclusive Aventura Palace Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The University of Illinois will face Arizona State, Arkansas State and North Carolina in the three-day Thanksgiving weekend event.
Illini basketball player helping sell football tickets
Illinois women's basketball freshman Kennedy Collegiate Girls Basketball Report ranked her at the 14th best point guard in the nation.
Former Illini returns for 24th year of golf outing
Jeff Finke and Tom Michael give players a taste of high-level basketball.
Brandon Miller follows the long line of Butler assistants to get promoted to head coach.
Brandon Miller is one of two finalists to replace Brad Stevens at Butler.
Illinois junior guard Rayvonte Rice is ready to put on the Illini jersey after sitting out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. WCIA 3's Austin Kim has more on how he plans to contribute.
Centennial uses transfer season to remake himself.
Joseph Bertrand gives an update on his surgically-repaired shoulder and how the reserved senior is trying to become a vocal leader.
Sterling-native will be lone returning senior for Groce
Highlights of Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson against Simeon in the 2013 4A state title game in Peoria.
Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate put on a show in Bloomington
Illini floor general serves as mentor for freshmen stars.
Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn, and Jaylon Tate reflect on their high school experience and look ahead to the Illini life.
Former Illini gets NBA chance after going undrafted
Illini junior trying to increase weight, skills this summer
Duo will be counted on as team leaders next season
Women's hoops coach raising money for team's trip to Europe
Penn to Italy, Godbold to Puerto Rico
Former Centennial and Illinois standout Trent Meacham just finished an incredible season playing professional basketball in France. He led his team to a championship, while leading them in scoring. However, it was a season that almost never happened. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more.
5-star PG narrows list to four schools
Longtime Illini boss says recruiting will be Groce's challenge
Incoming players have picked numbers for next season
Centennial forward back on the court after appendectomy
Evansville, Ind. star won't narrow list yet