The Illinois Fighting Illini played in their first season without Bruce Weber last year and managed to have some success, making the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed. With key players leaving, though, the Fighting Illini could have a down year in the 2013-14 college basketball season.
The two leading scorers will no longer be on the team, along with some other players. That alone will hurt Illinois when it comes to three-point shooting, which it was kind of known for last season.
Tracy Abrams will be the highest returning scorer (10.6 PPG) and he very well could lead this team to victory, but he will definitely need some help. Whether that be from returning players or a pretty good recruiting class, someone else has to step up. If not, Illinois very well could miss out on the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
This team will definitely not be the favorite to win the Big Ten in the upcoming season and could find life in the conference very tough. This is the Big ten we are talking about, which was arguably the best conference in college hoops this past season.
John Groce will have to do some serious coaching in the 2013-14 season. Many great incoming freshmen should help make up for the losses, but anytime you lose your two leading scorers, the following season could be a down one.
Hopefully Groce is able to coach his team to victory, but who knows. Matching the 23 wins that Illinois had this past season will not be an easy feat and it would be somewhat of a surprise if the Fighting Illini even won 20 games on the year.
If you’re a tweeter, feel free to follow me @TheTrevorLowry.