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Brandon Paul

A season after surprise run, no one knows what to expect from young Illini team

No one expected what John Groce pulled off in his first season at Illinois.A 23-13 record from a team fresh off a monumental collapse the season before. An appearance in the NCAA tournament.No one, including Groce, knows just what to expect this time around.The team that will open the season Nov. 8 against Alabama State won't look anything like Groce's first Illini team. Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, Tyler Griffey and Sam McLaurin are gone. The team is thin and young — the roster goes only 11 deep, and five of them are freshmen.Paul was the team's leading scorer, averaging 16.6 points a game, and the one player capable of carrying the team on any given night. There is no obvious replacement."Do I think on paper right now we're as a good a shooting team as we were last year? No," Groce said. "We'll play it by ear."Five things to watch about the Illini this season:LEANING ON EGWU: Illinois is heavy on guards — seven of the 11 players on the roster — but short on big men. Only one, 6-10 ...

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  1. Illinois survives comeback bid from Colorado

    Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson made shots when it counted as Illinois survived an ugly shooting performance and a furious second-half Colorado comeback to take a 5...

  2. Georgia Tech visits Illinois in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

    The 22nd-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini will attempt to keep their unbeaten start to the season alive on Wednesday night when they play host to the Georgia Tech Yel...

  3. Illinois comes up short of NCAA Sweet 16 in 63-59 loss to Miami with questionable call

    Illinois senior Brandon Paul took one last 3-pointer.When the ball bounced off the rim as time ran out, Paul put his head down and stared at the floor. After halfhea...

  4. Illinois downs Georgia Tech to remain unbeaten

    Brandon Paul scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds to go with seven assists to lead No. 22 Illinois to a 75-62 decision over Georgia Tech at Assembly Hall....

  5. Richardson leads No. 13 Illinois past Western Carolina

    D.J. Richardson scored 13 points and keyed a late Illinois run with a pair of 3-pointers, as the 13th-ranked Fighting Illini edged upset-minded Western Carolina, 72-...

  6. Illinois knocks off Gonzaga in battle of ranked teams

    Brandon Paul scored 35 points to lead the 13th- ranked Illinois Fighting Illini to an 85-74 victory over No. 10 Gonzaga.Tracy Abrams had 14 points and D.J. Richardso...

  7. Illinois remains undefeated, downs Norfolk State

    Brandon Paul had 14 points and eight rebounds in No. 10 Illinois' 64-54 victory over Norfolk State.D.J. Richardson netted 11 points and Tracy Abrams added nine point...

  8. No. 10 Illinois tops Eastern Kentucky

    Brandon Paul had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead No. 10 Illinois past Eastern Kentucky, 66-53, in a battle of undefeated teams at Assembly Hall.Tracy Abrams adde...

  9. Illinois knocks off Ohio State in battle of ranked Big Ten schools

    Brandon Paul had 19 points and seven rebounds, leading 11th-ranked Illinois in a 74-55 romp of No. 8 Ohio State at Assembly Hall.Nnanna Egwu totaled a career-high 16...

  10. No. 11 Illini bounce back from loss to beat No. 8 Ohio State 74-55

    Brandon Paul scored 19 points and No. 11 Illinois bounced back from a tough loss in its Big Ten opener to beat No. 8 Ohio State 74-55 on Saturday.The Illini (14-2, 1...

  11. Paul scores 17 points, Abrams adds 13 as No. 10 Illinois tops Eastern Kentucky 66-53

    Brandon Paul scored 17 points, Tracy Abrams added 13 and No. 10 Illinois pulled away late to remain unbeaten with a 66-53 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Sunday nig...

  12. Paul scores 35 and No. 13 Illinois beats No. 10 Gonzaga 85-74

    Brandon Paul scored 35 points to lead No. 13 Illinois over No. 10 Gonzaga 85-74 on Saturday in a matchup of unbeaten teams.Tracy Abrams added 14 points for Illinois ...

  1. Joseph Bertrand scores 20 points as Illinois easily beats Jacksonville St. 86-62

    Senior guard Joseph Bertrand scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Illinois over Jacksonville State 86-62 Sunday at State Farm Center.The Illini (2-0) nev...

  2. Illinois a young group in Groce's second year; looking to quiet Abrams for leadership

    Looking around the practice gym Wednesday, point guard Tracy Abrams said he doesn't yet know what kind of team the Illini will be once the season begins next month."...

  3. Full-Court Press: Groce attracts an interesting mix to Champaign

    Although its top-rated incoming freshman is ranked outside the Top 50 by most scouting services, Illinois has one of the most intriguing recruiting classes in the na...

  4. Griffey delivers buzzer-beater that lifts Illini past No. 1 Indiana, 74-72

    Like the team he plays for, 2013 has been one long slump for Illinois forward Tyler Griffey.The senior lost his shooting touch and then his starting job as the Illin...

  5. Illini stun No. 1 Indiana on buzzer-beater

    An inbounds play to remember ended with Tyler Griffey putting in an uncontested layup just before the buzzer, as Illinois stole a thrilling 74-72 victory over No. 1 ...

  6. Paul scores 25, hits jumper at buzzer as Illinois beats Minnesota 51-49 in Big Ten tourney

    Brandon Paul scored 25 points and hit a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to lead Illinois to a 51-49 victory over Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament...

  7. Late 3-pointers by Paul and Richardson lift Illinois past Colorado

    Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson made consecutive 3-pointers to give Illinois the lead with 6 minutes left and the seventh-seeded Illini pulled out a tough 57-49 win...

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