Bruce Weber Big Ten Media Day

Head Coach Weber talks about the Illini rankings today and his team during media day. Read here for his take on this year's Illini basketball team.

On starting the season highly ranked:
"I don't think that it has made that much of a difference. Last year, we were 13th in the preseason. This year we have moved up a little bit. The nice thing is that that you get on the cover of all the magazines. I would worry about it if we had a young team, but we have a veteran team. Last year we were mostly in the top 25, so they have been through it. I think what we did at the end of last season, making a run in the Big Ten Tournament and going to the Sweet Sixteen has helped prepare us. I am not sure we were ready for the Sweet Sixteen last year, hopefully we are ready this year."

On the talented upperclassmen around the Big Ten:
"We are picked because we have four seniors and three juniors coming back. We were pretty much a young league last year. The big thing is that the middle and bottom of the league is getting better. I think our whole league is going to be better. Veteran players getting older will help the league."

On Illinois starting the season with the target on its back:
"At first it was depressing, but after thinking about it for awhile, it is a good thing for a program. The kids like it, they dream about being on the cover of a magazine as the No. 1 team, but it does not mean anything until there is only one team standing at the end. It is a long journey and we have high goals and expectations. We know we are good; we do not have to have anyone tell us that. We have veteran guys and guys who have made progress. Hopefully it is a driving force, if anything."

On managing the high expectations:
"I think I can be more demanding of them, especially early because they know what is on the line. I keep reminding them where we are going and how hard it is to get there. I think last year reminds us on how vulnerable we are as a team and a program and how to stay humble. We try to do both things, be demanding and be humble."

Information provided by the Big Ten Office.

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