Feb. 1, 2013
Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
||Had 16 pts, 6 ast., 5 reb. & 4 stl. at MSU
||Leads B1G in FT% in conf. games (.941)
||Needs 15 pts for top 12 on UI scoring list
||Leads team & 5th in B1G in Off. Rebs
||4th in B1G in blocks during conf. games
Off the Bench
||Leads Illini in FG%, 3FG% & FT%
||Walk-on has 19 pts in 31 mins
||Played season-high 19 mins at Wis.
||Scored season-high 11 pts (4-6 FG) at MSU
||4-9 field goals this season
||15 minutes played this season
||Sitting out season due to transfer rules
||5 points in 8 minutes played
||Hit game-winning 3 vs. Gardner Webb
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 100-63/.613 (5th year)
At Illinois: 15-7/.682 (1st year)
Big Ten: 2-6/.250
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 110-78
Series Streak: Wisconsin W-4
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 68-22
Series Streak at Champaign: Wisconsin W-1
Last Meeting: Wisconsin 74, Illinois 51 (Jan. 12, 2013 at Madison)
Groce vs. Wisconsin: 0-1
Illinois hosts Wisconsin on Sunday at the midway point of a five-game stretch against four ranked teams. Wisconsin is the only non-ranked opponent during this sequence, but the Badgers are in the upper half of the Big Ten standings, in fifth place at 5-3.
Wisconsin is the first opponent that Illinois will face for a second time in 2013 conference play. The Badgers defeated the Illini three weeks ago in Madison, 74-51.
Illinois looks to get back on the winning track at the Assembly Hall after dropping its last three home games. The Illini have not lost four straight at home since the 2007-08 season.
The Illini are one of seven teams who have defeated a total of three opponents featured in the current AP Top 25 - tied for the most nationally along with Michigan, Duke, Syracuse, Arizona, Butler and Indiana State.
Illinois has faced seven opponents currently in the RPI Top 25, the most of any team in the nation. Illinois is 3-4 vs. the RPI Top 25.
Illinois totaled 75 points Thursday at Michigan State, topping 70 for the 14th time this season after doing so just 10 times in 32 games last year. But the Illini fell to the Spartans, marking just the second time this season that Illinois has lost when reaching the 70-point marker (12-2).
The Illini nailed nine 3-pointers on 26 attempts at MSU, shooting 36 percent. It was Illinois' most treys and best percentage from behind the arc since the Big Ten opener at Purdue Jan. 2, when the Illini made 10 of 26 threes for 38.5 percent.
The Illini are 10-0 when shooting better than 45 percent, and 12-0 when shooting better than their opponent.
Illinois has outscored its opponent in points off turnovers in 17 of 22 games. The Illini average 17.2 points per game off turnovers and own a margin of +5.7 points per game in that category on the season.
Illinois averages 76.6 points on 45.7 percent shooting and 37.1 percent 3-point shooting in its 15 wins, compared to averaging 63.0 points on 37.1 percent shooting and 24.6 percent 3-point shooting in its six losses.
Brandon Paul has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this season and has been the UI's leading scorer in 16 of 22 games.
D.J. Richardson has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, averaging 15.5 points (93).
Richardson has made a 3-pointer in all 22 games this season, and carries an active career-long streak of 28 straight games with at least one trey. He made a career-high six treys Jan. 22 at Nebraska.
Sam McLaurin is averaging 6.8 points (27) and 4.5 rebounds (18) in the last four games as a starter after averaging 3.6 points (64) and 3.4 rebounds (62) in the first 18 games as a reserve.
Nnanna Egwu grabbed a career-high 10 boards each versus Nebraska (Jan. 22) and Michigan (Jan. 27).
Super Bowl Prelude
Illinois is playing its ninth game on Super Bowl Sunday and has a home game for the eighth time. The Illini are 5-3 all-time when playing before the Super Bowl:
Jan. 22, 1989 - Illinois 103, Georgia Tech 92 (2OT) (Assembly Hall)
Jan. 30, 1994 - Illinois 88, Indiana 81 (Assembly Hall)
Jan. 25, 1998 - Illinois 64, Michigan 53 (Assembly Hall)
Jan. 30, 2000 - Michigan State 91, Illinois 66 (East Lansing, Mich.)
Feb. 3, 2002 - Michigan State 67, Illinois 61 (Assembly Hall)
Feb. 6, 2005 - Illinois 60, Indiana 47 (Assembly Hall)
Feb. 1, 2009 - Illinois 62, Iowa 54 (Assembly Hall)
Feb. 5, 2012 - Northwestern 74, Illinois 70 (Assembly Hall)
Last Time Out
Illinois played an outstanding first half of basketball in East Lansing and hung with the Spartans until the end, but a rough start to the second half was the difference as No. 13 Michigan State defeated the Illini on Thursday night, 80-75. The Illini excelled on both ends of the court in the opening 20 minutes, shooting nearly 50 percent and turning the ball over just one time. Illinois' active defense forced MSU into nine first-half turnovers, meanwhile, and the Illini converted those into 12 points in building a 37-27 lead at intermission.
But the Spartans charged out of the locker room and scored 14 unanswered points to take a 41-37 lead. Illinois had four turnovers during that four-minute stretch that saw MSU gain momentum. The Illini hung tough from there, cutting it to a one-possession game 10 separate times over the final 11 minutes. But the UI could not slow down the Spartans' offense enough to retake the lead. MSU made 14-of-16 shots after the break and went to the free throw line 32 times off of 19 second-half Illini fouls, scoring 23 points at the stripe.
Tracy Abrams led the Illini with 16 points, one of four Illini scoring in double figures. Abrams had a great all-around game, adding six assists, five rebounds and four steals. D.J. Richardson finished with 14 points, Brandon Paul added 13 and Myke Henry came off the bench to register a season-high 11 points in 21 minutes.
Three-Game Mini-Pack Now on Sale
Fans can help celebrate 50 years of the Assembly Hall by taking advantage of a special 50th anniversary mini-pack offer, which includes a ticket to the final three Illini home games this season - Feb. 13 vs. Purdue, Feb. 21 vs. Penn State, and March 2 vs. Nebraska - all for just $50. That is a 50 percent savings off the single-game ticket price. The $50 mini-pack ticket offer is available online at FightingIllini.com.
The March 2 game, which is exactly 50 years from the day the Assembly Hall opened its doors, will serve as a celebration of five memorable decades. It also will be the final home game for Illini seniors Tyler Griffey, Sam McLaurin, Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, who will be honored in senior day ceremonies before taking on the Cornhuskers.
Looking Back at the Last Wisconsin Game:
The Last Meeting
January 12, 2013
Wisconsin 74, Illinois 51 // Jan. 12 at Madison
Wisconsin jumped out on the Illini 14-0 at the Kohl Center, and the Illini had to try to play catch up the rest of the afternoon before ultimately falling to the Badgers by the score of 74-51. The Illini had a tough day from the field, shooting just 35.3 percent (18-of-51) which included 2-of-14 from 3-point land. Wisconsin, which had shot 38 percent in its first two Big Ten games, heated up to 49 percent against the Illini and connected on 10-of-23 from behind the arc. The Badgers also owned a 43-to-24 advantage on the boards and converted 23 second-chance points.
D.J. Richardson led the Illini with 16 points and Joseph Bertrand also scored in double figures with 12.
Looking Back at the Last Home Game Versus Wisconsin:
Wisconsin 67, #22/25 Illinois 63 // Jan. 22, 2012 at 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.
Five Key Facts On ...
1. Big Ten's No. 3 leading scorer with an average of 17.6 points.
2. Tied for team lead in rebounds (4.7 rpg), challenging to become the first UI player to lead the Illini in both scoring and rebounding in a single season since Shaun Pruitt in 2008.
3. Has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this season, with eight 20-plus point performances.
4. Second among Big Ten players in free throw makes (98), and attempts (136), behind Indiana's Cody Zeller.
5. Seventh among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals with an average of 2.3 makes per game.
1. Second on the Illini in scoring with an average of 11.9 points.
2. Scored a career-high 30 points at Nebraska (Jan. 22).
3. Carries a career-long active streak of 28 straight games making at least one 3-pointer.
4. Fifth among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals this season with an average of 2.3 makes per game and is third in school history in career 3-point field goals with 246
5. Has started 118 career games, fifth on the UI's all-time starts list.
1. Third Illini scoring in double figures with an average of 11.5 points.
2. Has increased his scoring average by 7.2 points (4.3 last year).
3. Scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games, led by career-high 27 points vs. Auburn (Dec. 29).
4. Shooting 51 percent on 2-pointers this season (71-139)
5. Leads the team in assists (3.3 apg).
1. Illini sixth-man is team's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 8.4 points.
2. Leads team and ranks ninth in Big Ten in field goal shooting at 52.2 percent (72-138).
3. Tied for third on the team in rebounding (4.5 rpg).
4. Scored in double figures eight times off the bench, led by season-high 15 points vs. Georgia Tech (11/28)
5. Shooting better than 83 percent from the free throw line on the season (25-of-30).
1. Fifth on the team in scoring, averaging a career-best 7.0 points.
2. Has exceeded his point total from all of last season.
3. Has made 24 threes this season after making a total of 16 treys in 32 games last year.
4. Grabbed season-high tying six rebounds vs. Northwestern (Jan. 17) and at Nebraska (Jan. 22).
5. More than half of his field goal attempts have been from 3-point range (73 of 134).
1. Started all 22 games and is averaging 24.7 minutes after averaging 9.8 minutes last season.
2. Averaging 6.3 points and tied for team lead with average of 4.7 rebounds, more than tripling his production over last season (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
3. Sixth in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.4 bpg).
4. Grabbed career-best 10 boards at Nebraska (Jan. 22) and vs. Michigan (Jan. 27).
5. Had a career-high 16-point performance with eight rebounds vs. Ohio State (Jan. 5).
1. Fifth-year transfer is playing more than 20 minutes per game.
2. Averaging 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds as a starter the last four games.
3. Leads team and ranks fifth in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, averaging 2.5 per game.
4. Tied season high in scoring each of the last three games with seven points apiece at Nebraska (Jan. 22), vs. Michigan (Jan. 27) and at Michigan State (Jan. 31).
5. Third on the team with 16 blocked shots.
Complete Illinois-Wisconsin Game Notes (PDF)