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      No. 13 Illinois' preseason play raising questions

      Illinois freshman forward Jereme Richmond talks with reporters. / AP photo

      CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) " With a deep, young roster and a No. 13 ranking, Illinois is expected to live up to some high expectations this season.

      But a pair of too-close-for-comfort exhibitions wins over Division II schools have created doubts about whether the Illini are ready justify the hype.

      Illinois coach Bruce Weber said last week that his team still has a lot of work to do before Monday's season opener against UC-Irvine.

      He said the team sometimes lacked urgency. And some players struggled to pick good shots and make good passes.

      Weber really needs senior Demetri McCamey to be at his best. The point guard was the team's top scorer last season.

      The Illini also have a strong group of freshmen. The best might be forward Jereme Richmond.

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