John Groce to Illinois is a done deal, source told CBSSports. News Conference likely tomorrow.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) March 29, 2012
Groce became Illinois' main target over the last couple of days, but he was certainly not the school's first choice. Va. Commonwealth Rams head coach Shaka Smart turned down a contract offer from the university, which prompted the Illini to shift gears to another mid major coach: Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs. But Stevens reportedly turned down a lucrative deal, staying with a school that is likely to make the move to the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Groce led Ohio to a 29-8 record, a Mid-American Conference tournament championship and a No. 13 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines and South Florida Bulls before falling to the No. 1-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels in the Sweet 16.