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>> NCAA: Illini Fire Groce
Illinois basketball coach John Groce has been fired after the team finished 18-14 this season and ninth in the Big Ten.
 
Assistant Jamall Walker has been appointed interim coach while the school searchers for a successor.
 
Athletic director Josh Whitman on Saturday praised Groce's leadership but said the team was not able to sustain a level of "competitive excellence."
 
Groce was 95-75 overall and 37-53 in Big Ten play in his five seasons. The Illini were 8-10 in the conference this season. They ended the regular season with a loss to last-place Rutgers and lost 75-55 to Michigan in their conference tournament opener.
 
Groce led the Illini to 23 victories and a win in the NCAA Tournament in 2013, his first season. NIT bids followed in 2014 and 2015.
 
>> NU Makes Dance
 Northwestern's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history has grabbed headlines in the run-up to March Madness. Opening-round matches begin later this week and No. 8 seed Northwestern will face No. 9 Vanderbilt in the opening round. The Final Four starts April 1 in Phoenix.

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