Illini set to scrimmage

Basketball head coach Bruce Weber speaks to members of the Orange Krush on Thursday. Weber thanked the students for their support over the past 6 years, in which Illinois has had the best home record in the nation. Peter Hoffman

Basketball head coach Bruce Weber speaks to members of the Orange Krush on Thursday. Weber thanked the students for their support over the past 6 years, in which Illinois has had the best home record in the nation. Peter Hoffman

By Courtney Linehan

Illinois basketball held practice in front of some of its biggest fans Thursday as the Orange Krush kicked off their season of support. The Krush gathered at Assembly Hall to cheer on the final few minutes of practice and get ready for the official start of their season Friday.

Senior point guard Dee Brown and head coach Bruce Weber addressed the crowd, introducing players, coaches and support staff and thanking the Orange Krush for all their support.

Men’s basketball will scrimmage at Assembly Hall at 7 p.m. Tickets to the scrimmage were purchased with season tickets and are therefore sold out.

“It’s another step in conditioning, playing in front of a crowd, getting some of those younger kids opportunities they didn’t get last year,” Weber said.

The Illini plan to scrimmage for four eight-minute quaters.

The first exhibition game of the season will be played next Thursday at Assembly Hall against Illinois Weslyan.

“You want a variety of things in those exhibition games,” Weber said. “I wouldn’t even care if somebody presses just so we have a feel of that also. We’re a man-to-man team, that’s what we play the majority of our practice every day, so any type of zones, presses, any crazy defenses, it’s probably going to help us.”

Zoned in

The Illini have been picking up on their zone offense in practice, hoping to be better prepared to face it in competition.

“If you watch our team you know we don’t shoot the ball well,” Weber said. “We probably haven’t done enought zone offense, to be honest.”

Benched?

Senior forward James Augustine has been battling a cold, while junior Rich McBride has been struggling with pain in his feet. Weber said he’s keeping both players well-rested as the season approaches.

“It’s getting close,” Weber said. “It’s typical this time of year, everybody’s hurt some way. Your muscles are automatically hurt because you’re doing something you haven’t done much, so there’s bruises and bumps.”