The Man Behind the Mic

<p>Most college basketball fans will turn down their television sets when certain guys call the ESPN games. When you turn on the Illini radio broadcast do you get a great feel for the game? You may that's because Brian Barnhart is at the Mic, read here for his take on this year's team.

There is nothing better than listening to an Illini broadcast on the radio. Sometimes it gets very frustrating when you have to listen to the TV or another team radio crew call a game because it's usually one sided. Not with Brian. He's been great for Illinois fans everywhere. Brian is from the small town of Tolono in Illinois where he grew up rooting for the Illini. He now resides in Champaign. The play-by-play man replaced Jim Turpin starting the 2002 season.

Brian took the time to answer a few questions for Illiniboard.com and here's what he had to say:

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: My job is unique because I work for the University and get to be a part of the games, like the MSU and Wisconsin ones. Also I love being a part of the Border war games with Missouri and getting to go the United Center in Chicago.

Q: How tough is it to be fair when you're calling the games?

A: I root for the Illini, and that's fair. It's a very exciting job, getting to be a part of all this right now.

Q: What's it like to work with Steve Bardo?

A: Oh, it's great. I'm trying to concentrate on players' names and uniforms. For Steve it comes natural. I didn't play college basketball and Steve obviously did. He can see things that I don't and when he brings them up during the games it's great.

Q: How do you think Bruce Weber has done so far?

A: He's done a great job. He's had to overcome a lot of obstacles early in the season. It took awhile for his players to buy into his system. It was hard for the kids in the beginning; now that they know he can coach, they believe in him. He's also starting to get his rotation down with the players, which makes things a lot easier for the players.

Q: How do you think they will do in the Big Ten Tournament?

A: Kedric, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see an Illinois and Wisconsin final. However, the tournament is in Indiana this year so you can't count out Purdue and Indiana. They are playing really well right now and they are getting after it defensively.

Q: If the NCAA tournament started today, where do you think the Illini should be seeded?

A: Right now I could see them anywhere from a 5-7 seed, but a lot could change depending on how the Big Ten tournament goes.

Brian, thank you for taking time out of your schedule for this interview.

No problem. Thanks for asking.


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