No Shootaround, No Problems

The lack of a shootaround before games doesn't bother Coach John Groce.

The Illinois basketball team won't have a shootaround in Chicago's United Center prior to Saturday's game against UIC.

The lack of practice shots beforehand doesn't bother Coach John Groce. It's almost by design.

"We play it differently, but for the most part we usually don't (hold a shootaround)," Groce said. "After we practice here we don't go in any building even if we can the night before."

The Illini have been in many different venues in December. Aside from the usual State Farm Center, Illinois played at Georgia Tech and in Philips Arena, home of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. Then came Portland's Moda Center, where the Trail Blazer's play, for the Oregon game and the matchup with Missouri in St. Louis' Scottrade Center.

That's a lot of differing baskets and backgrounds to get used to.

"We'll take our shootaround the day of the game if it's at a decent time for us. Sometimes we don't even do that," Groce said. "Sometimes we'll arrive at the arena a little bit earlier if we weren't afforded the opportunity to shoot or have a shootaround the day of the game."

Every coach's preference is different, and Groce views solid rest as more important than acclimating to new rims.

"My biggest thing is time in between practice and when the game is played, making sure we're getting enough rest and that we're mentally and physically ready to go," he said. "Being able to shoot in that particular building is secondary to me."

The plan for most games is to arrive early to give the players time to shoot extra before the game. Formal shootarounds can be useful, but it's not a necessary move according to Groce's plan.

"We really try to be as unconditional as possible with that stuff," Groce said. "I air on the side of staying very routine. For the most part we'll usually take care of business the day before the game before we ever get on the bus."

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