Optimistic Weber embracing high expectations for this year's Illini

Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber isn't quite predicting a Big Ten title, but he says his team could be "very, very good."

Weber talked about this year's team Thursday night. He says he's seen his team picked as high as ninth in the country and he's more excited about Illinois' prospects than he's been in a while.

Illinois finished 21-15 last season and wound up in the NIT.

Weber says both Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis should be stronger players this season. And Weber says 6-8 freshman Jereme Richmond could be very good.

Illinois opens its season Nov. 8 against UC-Irvine.