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Groce happy with progress of Illinois, but says 6-0 team has plenty of room to improve

Illinois coach John Groce had a handful of questions about his team when it traveled to Hawaii for the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Four wins later, he has some answers.

For starters, Groce said Friday he knows his team can take a punch and fight on. Hawaii opened a 13-point halftime lead that the Illini overcame in overtime for a 78-77 win. Illinois (6-0) then won its next three to take the tournament title.

Just a few months after essentially the same group of players melted down over a miserable stretch that led to the dismissal of coach Bruce Weber, Groce believes his team has a quiet resolve.

And when his sharpshooters are on, the Illini can look pretty good.