Men's Basketball
Game 18 Notes: #12/13 Illinois at Wisconsin

Illinois has the most wins (3) at the Kohl Center since 2002.
Illinois has the most wins (3) at the Kohl Center since 2002.

Jan. 11, 2013

 Game 18: #12/13 Illinois (14-3, 1-2) at Wisconsin (11-4, 2-0)
 When Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 | 1:15 p.m. CT
 Location Madison, Wis. | Kohl Center (17,249)
 Television BTN |
    Announcers: Brian Anderson (Play-By-Play), Mike Kelley(Analyst)
 Radio Illini Sports Network | Listen | Sirius 128 / XM 192
 Live Coverage GameTracker
 Printable Game Notes Illinois | Wisconsin | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Wisconsin | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Teleconference | Nnanna Egwu | Sam McLaurin
 Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini   | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 So. 12.2 3.9 3.4 16.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.3 stl in last 4
G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Sr. 10.8 4.6 1.9 5th on Illinois career 3FG list
G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Sr. 18.6 5.1 3.3 Named to Wooden Midseason Top 25
F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-9 220 Sr. 8.2 3.2 0.8 10th in B1G in 3FG percentage (.400)
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 235 So. 6.7 4.5 0.6 Averaging 12 ppg, 8.5 rpg in last 2 games
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
F 0 Sam McLaurin 6-8 220 Gr. 3.8 3.6 0.5 Leads team with 37 offensive rebounds
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 195 r-Jr. 9.1 4.5 0.6 Leads team in FG percentage (.531)
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-0 165 Fr. 1.9 0.2 0.0 Walk-on has 17 points in 21 minutes
F 15 Mike Shaw 6-8 215 So. 0.8 0.4 0.1 Has hit 2-3 FG and 2-2 FT this season
G/F 20 Myke Henry 6-6 230 So. 3.5 2.2 0.2 Has 19 offensive rebounds on season
G/F 21 Devin Langford 6-7 200 r-Fr. 0.7 1.0 0.2 4-8 field goals this season
F/C 23 Ibby Djimde 6-8 245 So. 0.0 0.1 0.0 10 minutes played this season
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 240 Jr. -- -- -- Drake transfer sitting out 2012-13
G 31 Kevin Berardini 6-0 165 r-Jr. 1.0 0.0 0.4 5 points in 5 minutes played

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
    Career Record: 99-59/.627 (5th year)
    At Illinois: 14-3/.824 (1st year)
    Big Ten: 1-2/.333
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (1st year), Paris Parham (1st year), Jamall Walker (1st year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Brandon Miller (1st year)
Director of Basketball Operations:  Mark Morris (1st year)
Video Coordinator: Andy Etheridge (1st year)

Series Notes vs. Wisconsin
Series Record: Illinois leads 110-77
Series Streak: Wisconsin W-3
Record at Madison: Wisconsin leads 52-39
Series Streak at Madison: Wisconsin W-2
Last Year's Meetings: 
    Wisconsin 67, Illinois 63 (1/22/12 at Champaign)
    Wisconsin 70, Illinois 56 (3/4/12 at Madison)
Groce vs. Wisconsin: First Meeting

For Openers:
John Groce is one win away from notching his 100th career victory as a head coach.
• Illinois carries a road record of 2-1 this season into Saturday's game at Wisconsin.
• Illinois has won three times at the Kohl Center during Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan's tenure, earning victories in Madison in 2005, 2006 and 2010. That is the most of any Big Ten school and accounts for one-third of the Badgers' nine home conference losses under Ryan.
• Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 entering the Kohl Center for the eighth time in its last 12 trips to Madison. The Illini went 2-5 in those seven previous visits to Wisconsin when ranked.
Brandon Paul has scored in double figures in each of the last three games versus Wisconsin, averaging 15.7 points. He scored a game-high 22 points last year at the Kohl Center.

Illini Trends
Brandon Paul has scored in double figures in all 17 games this season. It is the longest streak of his career, surpassing a stretch of 15 straight in double figures last season (Dec. 19-Feb. 15).
• Paul has led the Illini in scoring in all but three games this season, including each of the last three and 11 of the last 12.
Tracy Abrams is averaging 16.5 points (66), 5.5 rebounds (22), 4.3 assists (17) and 2.3 steals (9) and shooting 51.3 percent (20-39) over the last four games.
• Abrams has scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games.
Nnanna Egwu is averaging 12.0 points (24) and 8.5 rebounds (17) and shooting 64.7 percent (11-17) over the last two games.
D.J. Richardson is averaging 11.5 points over the last two games (23) after averaging 6.8 points over the previous four games (27). Richardson has totaled five 3-pointers over the last two games, meanwhile, after combining for five treys over the previous five games.
• Richardson has made a 3-pointer in all 17 games this season, and carries an active career-long streak of 23 straight games with at least one trey.
Joseph Bertrand has scored in double figures in four of the last six games, averaging 10.5 points over that stretch (63).
• Illinois has scored more than 70 points in 12 of 17 games after doing so just 10 times in 32 games last year.
• Illinois has outscored its opponent in points off turnovers in 15 of 17 games and owns a margin of +7.5 points per game in that category on the season.
• The Illini are shooting 78.7 percent from the free throw line in Big Ten play (37-47), leading the conference.
• Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 for the seventh consecutive week, checking in at No. 12 in the current AP poll. This is Illinois' longest run in the Top 25 since being ranked for 12 straight weeks during the 2010-11 season.

Paul on Midseason Wooden Award List
Illinois senior guard Brandon Paul has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is made up of 25 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and the beginning of January, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.

Paul is having an All-America year so far, averaging 18.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He has received national accolades twice this year, first on Nov. 25 after leading Illinois to the Maui Invitational title and earning tournament MVP honors, and then again on Dec. 10 after scoring a season-high 35 points in an 85-74 road win at No. 10 Gonzaga.

Illini Support Project Purple
Illinois head coach John Groce and his staff will wear purple ties during Saturday's game at Wisconsin, and the Illini players will wear purple wristbands during pre-game warm-ups. The change in attire is to support Project Purple, which is an initiative of The Herren Project, a non-profit foundation established by former professional basketball player, Chris Herren, that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction.

The Illini basketball team and coaching staff listened to Herren speak in Champaign on Dec. 12 and has put its support behind Project Purple, which was launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and shed light on effective treatment practices.

Last Time Out: Minnesota Hands Illini First Home Loss - Jan. 9
No. 8 Minnesota became the first road team to earn a victory in the Assembly Hall this season, defeating the No. 12 Illini, 84-67. The Illini trailed by 12 points early in the second half before going on a 10-0 run to bring the home crowd to its feet and close to within 44-42. But the Gophers capitalized on UI turnovers on the next two possessions, rattling off seven unanswered points in just 26 seconds to open up a nine-point advantage. The Illini then closed to within four at 51-47, but Minnesota added another quick 7-0 run to take an 11-point lead with eight minutes remaining. The Illini got no closer than nine the rest of the way.

Illinois shot just 35.4 percent (23-65) and a season-low 12.5 percent from 3-point range, connecting on just 3-of-24 from behind the arc. The Gophers, meanwhile, hit at a 52.9 percent clip (27-51), including 60 percent form 3-point land (9-15).

Brandon Paul led the Illini with 21 points, his seventh 20-point outing of the season, while D.J. Richardson and Tracy Abrams added 14 point each.

The Last Meeting
March 4, 2012
Madison, Wis.
Illini Defeated by No. 14 Wisconsin, 70-56
Senior Jordan Taylor scored 16 points in his final home game, helping No. 14 Wisconsin beat Illinois 70-56 on Sunday in both teams' regular season finale. Josh Gasser added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers (23-8, 12-6), who have won three straight going into this week's Big Ten tournament. The Badgers honored Taylor and fellow senior Rob Wilson in their final Kohl Center appearances. Brandon Paul had 22 points for Illinois (17-14, 6-12). The loss continued what has been a miserable collapse in the second half of the Big Ten season for the Illini, and coach Bruce Weber's future at the school remains in doubt.

Looking Back at Last Year's Wisconsin Games:

• #14/15 Wisconsin 70, Illinois 56 // March 4 // Madison
Illinois could not overcome another slow start, falling to No. 14 Wisconsin in Madison. The Illini fell behind 14-2 six minutes in and had to play from behind the rest of the day. The first-half deficit grew to as many as 17 points before the Illini went on a 14-6 run to pull within nine points at 35-26 early in the second half. But Illinois could not put another run together as the Badgers quickly regained a double-digit lead it carried to the end.

The Illini shot 40 percent from 3-point range in the first half but missed all seven of its second-half attempts from behind the arc. The two-point percentage went the other way, as after making just 2-of-14 on 2-pointers in the first half, the Illini were 15-of-22 from two after intermission.

Brandon Paul led the Illini with a game-high 22 points. Joseph Bertrand also scored in double figures with 10 while Meyers Leonard added eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

• Wisconsin 67, #22/25 Illinois 63 // Jan. 22 // Champaign
Wisconsin came out on top of a back and forth battle, defeating the Illini in Champaign to snap the UI's 14-game home winning streak. It was a contest that featured 11 lead changes and eight ties and was played within a 12-point margin the entire way. The Illini went on an 11-3 run late in the first half to take a 22-21 lead and the teams entered the locker room tied at 26. The Illini led by four midway through the second half when the Badgers went on a key 7-0 run to move ahead 53-50 with seven minutes remaining. The Illini later trailed by one when UW's Jared Berggren scored on an offensive rebound basket to put the visitors ahead 60-57 with 2:14 left. The Illini could get no closer as Jordan Taylor scored seven points in the final 32 seconds to close out the road win for the Badgers.

Meyers Leonard led the Illini, collecting a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Joseph Bertrand added 15 points, five rebounds and a career-high five assists. D.J. Richardson (13) and Brandon Paul (10) also scored in double figures.

Current Illini vs. Wisconsin:
Brandon Paul (7 G): 8.6 ppg (60), 3.7 rpg (26) - Highlights: Game-high 22 points with six rebounds last year at Madison ... 15 points last season at Champaign ... 15 points in 2011 at Madison.
D.J. Richardson (7 G): 6.7 ppg (47), 2.4 rpg (17) - Highlights: 13 points last season at Champaign ... 12 points and four rebounds in 2010 Big Ten Tournament ... Nine points and four rebounds in 2010 at Madison.
Joseph Bertrand (4 G): 6.3 ppg (25), 1.8 rpg (7) - Highlights: 10 points last season at Madison ... 15 points, five rebounds and career-high five assists last season at Champaign.
Tracy Abrams (2 G): 5.5 ppg (11), 1.0 rpg (2) - Highlight: 9 points last year at Champaign.
Tyler Griffey (7 G): 1.9 ppg (13), 2.3 rpg (16) - Highlights: Seven points in 2011 at • Madison ... Five rebounds in 2010 at Madison.
Myke Henry (1 G): 1 pts, 3 reb
Nnanna Egwu (2 G): 0 pts, 0 reb
Mike Shaw (1 G): 0 pts, 0 reb
Ibby Djimde (1 G): 0 pts, 0 reb
Kevin Berardini (1 G): 0 pts, 0 reb

Five on the Starting Five

Brandon Paul
1. Leads the Illini in points and rebounds and is one shy of the team lead in assists - challenging to become the first Illini player ever to lead the team in all three categories (by average) in a single season.
2. Big Ten's No. 2 leading scorer with an average of 18.6 points.
3. Has scored at least 13 points in all 17 games, with seven 20-plus point performances.
4. Leads Big Ten players in free throw makes (83), and is tied for lead in attempts (111), along with Indiana's Cody Zeller.
5. Fifth among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals with an average of 2.5 makes per game.

Tracy Abrams
1. Second on the team in scoring with an average of 12.2 points.
2. Has increased his scoring average by 7.5 points (4.7 last year).
3. Scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games, led by career-high 27 points Dec. 29 vs. Auburn.
4. Leads the team in assists (3.4 apg).
5. Has exceeded his point total from all of last season, scoring 72 more points this year in 204 less minutes.

D.J. Richardson
1. Third Illini scoring in double figures with an average of 10.8 points.
2. Leads team in steals (1.6 spg) and ranks second in rebounding (4.6 rpg).
3. Carries a career-long active streak of 23 straight games making at least one 3-pointer.
4. Ranks fifth in school history in career 3-point field goals with 233.
5. Has started 113 career games, eighth on the UI's all-time starts list.

Tyler Griffey
1. Fifth on the team in scoring, averaging a career-best 8.2 points.
2. Shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten.
3. Seven points away from matching his scoring total from all of last season.
4. Has made 24 threes in 17 games after making a total of 16 treys in 32 games last season.
5. More than half of his field goal attempts have been from 3-point range (60 of 111).

Nnanna Egwu
1. Started all 17 games and is averaging 24.9 minutes after averaging 9.8 minutes last season.
2. Averaging 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds, tripling his production over last season (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
4. Ranks third in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.5 bpg).
3. Had a career-high 16-point performance with eight rebounds last Saturday vs. Ohio State.
5. Career-high five blocks Jan. 2 at Purdue, the most by a Big Ten player this season.

Do It All Paul
Brandon Paul has been one of the most complete players in college basketball so far this season, affecting the game in all areas. In fact, he currently leads the Illini in points and rebounds and also led the team in assists prior to the Minnesota game and is now just one off the lead. Paul was just one of seven players in the nation to lead his team in points, rebounds and assists entering this week.

Complete Illinois-Wisconsin Game Notes (PDF)