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Youth Movement in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Illinois is a day away from opening the basketball season with a lineup that will be heavily reliant on freshmen.

Of the 11 players on the Illini roster when they take on Alabama State on Friday night five are freshmen.

Second-year head coach John Groce joked Wednesday that the key to getting by with that kind of lineup will be "a lot of prayer."

Groce said Illinois will need to let those young players play through their mistakes and learn from them.

He said if young players like Austin Colbert and Kendrick Nunn concentrate on defending and rebounding they'll be fine.

The Illini are coming off a 23-13 season, but lost the bulk of last season's starters.

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