Game 23 Notes & Links: Illinois vs. Wisconsin
Feb. 3, 2014
Series Notes vs. Wisconsin
Illinois is 1-5 against ranked teams so far this season - defeating No. 25 Missouri (coaches poll) on Dec. 21 - and 5-13 overall against ranked opponents under Coach John Groce.
Joseph Bertrand has scored in double figures in each of his last five games against Wisconsin, averaging 14.4 points against the Badgers (72). Bertrand had 18 points last month at Madison.
Tuesday's match-up features two of the three Big Ten players who lead their teams in both scoring and rebounding in Rayvonte Rice (16.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker (13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg). The other is Northwestern's Drew Crawford. Rice also leads the Illini in steals (1.2 spg), the only player in the conference to rank first on his team in all three categories.
Over the last two games, Rayvonte Rice has averaged 16.5 points (33) on 47.8 percent shooting (11-23) and 45.5 percent from 3-point range (5-11). This followed an unusual 4-game stretch for Rice where he averaged just 7.8 points on 23.3 percent shooting and 22.2 percent from three.
Over the last three games, Nnanna Egwu has averaged 8.0 points (24) on 54.5 percent shooting (12-22). This followed a four-game stretch where he totaled 10 points on combined 5-of-26 from the field.
The Illini scored 74 points against Iowa on Saturday, but fell for just the second time this season when scoring 70-plus points. Illinois is now 9-2 this season and 23-4 overall under Coach John Groce when reaching the 70-point marker.
Illinois' offense was much improved versus Iowa. The 74 points was its most in seven games (75 vs. Penn State, 1/4), the 44.6 percent shooting was its best in eight games (.449 vs. Indiana, 12/31), and the 40 percent accuracy from 3-point range was its best in 13 games (.522 vs. Auburn, 12/8).
Illinois has either led or been tied with seven minutes or less in six of its nine losses:
Led at Georgia Tech, 64-60, with 1:09 remaining.
Illinois is 3-0 this season in games decided by one or two points, and 8-0 overall under Groce.
Illinois has done a good job of taking care of the basketball, averaging just 10.3 turnovers per game (third in Big Ten, 17th in NCAA). Illinois' turnover rate of 16 percent ranks 41st nationally.
The Illini are allowing an average of 64.1 points per game this season (fourth in Big Ten, 35th in NCAA).
Only five opponents have exceeded 70 points against the Illini defense this year.
Illinois ranks 41st nationally in defensive efficiency (96.7) and 43rd in defensive free throw rate (33.4).
The UI starting five has clearly carried the scoring load, combining for 80.5 percent of Illinois' points on the season (1201 of 1492). That percentage ranks fifth nationally among teams from the major conferences.
Rayvonte Rice ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring with a 16.5-point average. He has reached double figures in all but two games this season.
Joseph Bertrand is shooting 53.1 percent on 2-pointers (76-143) this season, while Rice is shooting 50 percent on 2s (90-180).
Nnanna Egwu, the Big Ten's No. 3 shot blocker (62nd in NCAA), has recorded at least two blocks in 18 games.
Egwu ranks second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding in conference play with an average of 2.6 rpg.
Freshman Kendrick Nunn is fifth on the team in scoring during Big Ten play, averaging 5.9 points. Nunn has registered 53 points in nine league contests after totaling 38 points in 13 non-conference games.
Malcolm Hill has logged double figure minutes in five of the last six home games, averaging 8.0 points (40) on 58.3 percent shooting (14-24) in those five games (Dartmouth, Penn State, Michigan State, Iowa).
Last Time Out: #15 Iowa 81, Illini 74 (Feb. 1)
It was all Iowa at the start, as the visitors raced out to a 34-13 lead with 7:30 left in the first half. Illinois then dominated the next 18 minutes and 30 seconds, hitting 19-of-27 shots over that stretch while outscoring the Hawkeyes 53-to-27. That resulted in a 26-point swing, as the Illini erased the 21-point deficit and grabbed a 66-61 lead with nine minutes remaining. But Iowa closed strong to earn the win, outscoring the Illini 20-to-8 over the last nine minutes while holding the Illini to just one basket.
The statistics for both teams were nearly identical, except for the rebounding category. Iowa outrebounded the Illini 41-to-28 and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, converted those into 20 second-chance points.
Recent Results Not the Norm for Groce
Groce also never encountered a slide greater than four games during eight combined years as an assistant at Ohio State, Xavier and Butler. In fact, this is just the second time in a career spanning more than 700 games that Groce has experienced a string of seven successive defeats. The first occurred during his final season as an assistant coach at North Carolina State in 2000.
Looking Back at the Last Wisconsin Game:
#4 Wisconsin 95, #23 Illini 70 // Jan. 8, 2014 at Madison
Illinois shot just 31.6 percent, missing a number of shots at the rim. The Badgers, meanwhile, made 56.1 percent - a season high against the Illini defense - and also hit 23-of-33 free throws. Illinois did control the glass, outrebounding Wisconsin 48-to-35 and grabbing a season's best 25 on the offensive end.
A Look Back at the Last Wisconsin Game in Champaign:
Wisconsin 74, Illinois 68 // Feb. 3, 2013 at Champaign
But Wisconsin also found a groove offensively, hitting nearly 56 percent in the second half. The Badgers also went to the foul line with regularity for easy scoring opportunities. Wisconsin had 42 free throw attempts on the afternoon, 31 coming in the second half alone off of 18 second-half UI fouls. The Badgers scored 28 points at the line in its 42 attempts.
Illinois had five players score in double figures, led by Joseph Bertrand, who scored a season-high 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds. Nnanna Egwu had 14 points and seven boards, Brandon Paul finished with 13, and Tracy Abrams and D.J. Richardson added 10 apiece.
Five on the Starting Five