The Illini travel to Minneapolis to face Minnesota Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT on the BTN.
Feb. 11, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #25: Illinois (10-14, 2-9) at Minnesota (15-7, 5-5)
Feb. 12, 2008 8 p.m. CT BTN
Minneapolis, Minn. Williams Arena (14,625)
On the Air
BTN: Dave Revsine, play-by-play; Gene Keady, expert analyst.
Illini Sports Network - 45 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate, pregame/halftime/postgame interviews.
Illini Probable Starters
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Sr, 6-8, 220, 10.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.5 apg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 12.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 4.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.1 apg)
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 10.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.6 apg)
G - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205, 7.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.8 apg)
Off the Bench
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.2 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185, 1.1 ppg, 0.5 rpg)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 1.4 ppg, 0.9 rpg)
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 5.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195, 2.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 7.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg)
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210, 2.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
C - 33 Brian Carlwell (So., 6-11, 265, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (r-Fr., 6-9, 235, 0.0 ppg, 0.7 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215, 4.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 225-96/.701 (10th year)
At Illinois: 122-42/.744 (5th year)
Big Ten: 50-25/.667
Vs. Minnesota: 7-0
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (7th year), Jay Price (5th year), Jerrance Howard (1st year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (5th year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (25th year at Illinois)
Minnesota Head Coach: Tubby Smith
Overall Record: 402-152/.726 (17th year)
At Minnesota: 15-7/.682 (1st year)
Vs. Illinois All-Time: 1-0
Series Notes: Minnesota
Illinois leads the all-time series over Minnesota 110-60, but the Gophers hold a 43-40 edge in games played at Minneapolis.
Illinois carries a 17-game winning streak over Minnesota into Tuesday's game, a streak that began with the 1999 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal. It is the longest active winning streak by any Big Ten school over a conference opponent.
Illinois has also won its last seven games at Williams Arena, a streak that began in 2000.
Illini Headlines ...
Illinois' current 17-game winning streak over Minnesota is the longest active winning streak by any Big Ten school over a conference opponent. It also marks the longest winning streak in Illini history over a Big Ten opponent. Illinois' previous best conference winning streaks were a pair of 16-game streaks over Northwestern (1/11/47-3/5/55 & 2/4/84-3/2/91 and a 16-game streak over Wisconsin (2/12/81-1/12/89).
For the second time in conference play, Illinois has four out of five games on the road. The stretch begins Tuesday at Minnesota, followed by a trip to Penn State Saturday. After hosting Wisconsin next Wednesday (Feb. 20), Illinois returns to the road for games at Michigan (Feb. 23) and at Iowa (March 1/2).
Illinois is the only Big Ten school that twice plays four of five games on the road during the conference schedule. In fact, Penn State is the only other Big Ten Team that has a stretch of four out of five league games on the road.
Eight of Illinois' 11 conference games have been against teams in the top five of the current standings, with five of those coming on the road.
Illinois' strength of schedule ranks 13th in the nation and second among Big Ten teams. The Illini have played 10 games vs. the RPI Top 50, tied for the third-most nationally. Only Cincinnati and Washington (11 each) have played more games vs. the RPI Top 50.
Eight different players have been the Illini's leading scorer in a game this season (Brian Randle-8, Shaun Pruitt-6, Trent Meacham-5, Calvin Brock-3, Rodney Alexander-2, Mike Tisdale-2, Demetri McCamey-2, Chester Frazier-1).
Illinois has started seven different lineups this season.
Demetri McCamey scored a career-high 31 points vs. Indiana last Thursday. It is the highest point total by an Illini player in two years, since Dee Brown scored 34 vs. Michigan State (Jan. 5, 2006). It is also the top-scoring performance by an Illini freshman in 14 years, since Kiwane Garris had 33 points vs. Iowa (Jan. 19, 1994).
Shaun Pruitt leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.5 per game (80 total off. reb.). He ranks third in the league in total rebounds (7.6 avg).
In conference play, Pruitt is second in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 63.5 percent (47-74).
Pruitt entered the Illinois top 50 scoring list vs. Purdue on Feb. 2. Pruitt has now totaled 922 career points, ranking 48th on the all-time list.
Brian Randle scored a career-high 21 points vs. Purdue on Feb 2.
Demetri McCamey is averaging 14.8 points in Big Ten play at home (89), compared to an average of 5.6 points in conference play on the road (28). McCamey is shooting 49.2 percent from the floor (29-59) and 47.1 percent from 3-point range (16-34) at the Assembly Hall through six Big Ten games.
Brian Randle collected his 500th career rebound vs. Purdue on Feb. 2. He now has 504 career boards.
Shaun Pruitt grabbed his 600th career rebound vs. Northwestern on Jan. 27. Pruitt is the Big Ten's second-leading active rebounder with 624 career boards, trailing only Indiana's D.J. White (653).
Chester Frazier has a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio over his last eight games (38 a/15 to).
Pruitt and Randle combined for 39 points vs. Purdue on Feb. 2, the senior duo's highest scoring total of the season. Their previous high was 38 points vs. both Michigan on Jan. 16 and Miami (OH) on Dec. 20.
Shaun Pruitt has scored at least nine points in 20 of the 23 games he has appeared in this season.
Illinois ranks 39th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing an average of 62.6 points per game.
The Illini are fourth in the Big Ten and 28th nationally in field goal percentage defense at 39.9 percent, and third in the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 31.8 percent.
Only seven teams have scored more than 70 points against the Illini this year.
Illinois has had only four opponents shoot better than 46 percent from the field on the season.
Illinois has outrebounded its opponent in 16 games and ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 43rd in the NCAA in rebounding margin at +4.4 rpg.
Illinois' bench is contributing 20.8 points per game and has outscored the opposing bench in 16 games.
Shaun Pruitt was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 24 after averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds over three games vs. Western Carolina, Miami (OH) and Missouri. He became the first Illini to earn Player of the Week honors since James Augustine on Dec. 5, 2005.
There have been 57 consecutive sellout crowds at the Assembly Hall entering the next home game Feb. 20 vs. Wisconsin. The streak began on Dec. 6, 2004.
Last Time Out: Indiana
Illinois lost a heartbreaker at the Assembly Hall last Thursday, falling to No. 14 Indiana in double overtime by the score of 83-79. In what has unfortunately become a familiar script this season, Illinois could not maintain a second-half lead, and missed free throws plagued the hosts in crunch time.
Demetri McCamey was spectacular for the Illini, erupting for a career-high 31 points. He nailed seven 3-pointers, one shy of the school record, and became the first UI freshman in 14 years to have a 30-point game. Shaun Pruitt scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and Calvin Brock came off the bench to score 14 points and grab a team-high eight rebounds.
Oh So Close
Illinois has either led, been tied or trailed by no more than three points with less than two minutes remaining in eight losses ... Illinois has led during the second half in eight losses ... 10 of Illinois' losses have been by eight points or less ... Illinois is 3-10 on the year in games decided by less than nine points.
Illinois has played one of the nation's most difficult schedules this season. Illinois' strength of schedule currently ranks 13th nationally. The Illini own the second-toughest SOS in the Big Ten behind Michigan (5).
The Illini have played 10 games against teams in the current top 50 of the RPI, tied for the third-highest total nationally. Only Cincinnati and Washington (11 each) have played more games vs. the RPI Top 50.
Illinois has also played the most difficult league schedule to date (tied with Iowa), with eight of its first 11 games coming against teams in the top five of the current standings, five of which have been on the road:
1. home vs. Ohio State (5th) Jan. 3
2. at Wisconsin (3rd) Jan. 10
3. at Indiana (2nd) Jan. 13
4. at Purdue (1st) Jan. 19
5. at Ohio State (5th) Jan. 22
6. at Michigan State (4th) Jan. 30
7. home vs. Purdue (1st) Feb. 2
8. home vs. Indiana (2nd) Feb. 7
Lock Down "D"
Illinois has been one of the nation's top defensive teams each year under Bruce Weber. This year's squad looks to continue that style of aggressive man-to-man defensive pressure throughout each game. Illinois ranks 39th nationally in scoring defense with opponents averaging 62.6 points per game on the season. The Illini are fourth in the conference and 28th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.399) and third in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.318).
Only seven opponents have scored more than 70 points on the Illini this season. Illinois' defense also has allowed just four teams to shoot over 46 percent from the field.
Illinois' defense has stood out this year against two of the nation's top scoring teams. Missouri ranks 26th in the NCAA in scoring, averaging 79.3 ppg. But Illinois held the Tigers to a season-low 58 points, over 21 points below its average, in a Braggin' Rights victory on Dec. 22.
Illinois held Indiana, the Big Ten's top scoring team and No. 44 in the NCAA, 14 points below its season average on Jan. 13. The Hoosiers are averaging 76.5 points but scored just 62 vs. the Illini.
Illinois has also had three other memorable defensive efforts this season. The Illini held Loyola (MD) to 20 percent shooting (13-65) on Dec. 28, the lowest field goal percentage in the 44-year history of Assembly Hall.
Illinois held Western Carolina to 35 points on Dec. 17, the third-lowest point total in Assembly Hall history and just one point off the record-low score of 34 set by Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1985 and tied by Savannah State last season.
The Illini held Northwestern to a season-low 37 points on season-low 31 percent shooting on Jan. 27. It was the second straight meeting where the UI held NU to 37 points, as the Illini defeated the Wildcats 48-37 last year at the Assembly Hall. This marks the only two times in the last seven seasons that NU has been held under 40 points.
Dominating the Glass
Illinois has outrebounded 16 of 24 opponents this year and owns a rebounding margin of +4.4 on the season, ranking 43rd in the NCAA. Illinois ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin and is third in the conference in total rebounds, averaging 37.0 rpg.
Illinois' bench has outscored the opposition's bench in 16 of 24 games. The Illini bench is contributing 20.8 points per game (500 total) and has had 11 double-figure scoring games by players off the bench this season.
Pruitt a Force Inside
Illinois has one of the top post players in the Big Ten in senior and three-year starting center Shaun Pruitt. A preseason All-Big Ten selection, Pruitt leads the Illini in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.7 points (13th in Big Ten) and 7.6 rebounds (third in Big Ten). He is also fourth in the league in field goal shooting at 55.4 percent (113-204) and ranks second in the Big Ten in shooting in conference play at 63.5 percent (47-74).
Pruitt has scored at least nine points in 20 of the 23 games he has played in this season, with a career-high 24 points vs. both Arizona and Miami (OH), 19 vs. Michigan, 18 vs. Purdue (2/2), 16 vs. Loyola (MD), 15 at Hawaii and Purdue (1/19), 14 vs. Missouri and Indiana, 13 vs. Indiana (2/7), 12 vs. Northeastern and Ohio State (1/3), 11 vs. Duke and Western Carolina, 10 at Maryland, and nine each vs. Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Northwestern.
He has scored in double figures in 15 games on the season and has been the Illini's leading scorer six times.
Pruitt made 10-of-11 from the field against Arizona on Dec. 8, which tied the sixth-best shooting performance in school history and is the top percentage by a Big Ten player this season.
Pruitt scored in double figures for five consecutive games (Arizona through Loyola) before the streak came to an end vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 30 (7 points). It marked the first time he reached double figures in five straight games since his career-long streak of six straight games last season (1/20/07 through 2/7/07).
Pruitt has 12 career double-doubles including three this season: 12 pts-17 reb vs. Northeastern, 24 pts-15 reb vs. Miami and 16 pts-11 reb vs. Loyola. His career-high 17 rebounds vs. Northeastern marked the highest rebounding total by an Illini player in eight seasons, since Sergio McClain had 18 rebounds at Michigan on Jan. 16, 2000.
In addition to ranking third in the Big Ten in rebounding, Pruitt leads the league in offensive rebounds with an average of 3.5 per game (80 total).
One of the most Illini's most durable players in recent years, Pruitt had started every game over the last two-and-a-half seasons before sitting out at Ohio State on Jan. 22. His run of consecutive starts ended at 87, the fourth-longest streak in school history. He came off the bench vs. Northwestern on Jan. 27 and returned to the starting lineup last at Michigan State on Jan. 30.
Pruitt entered the Illinois top 50 scoring against Purdue on Feb. 2. He has now totaled 922 career points, ranking 48th on the all-time list.
Pruitt is also the second-leading active rebounder among Big Ten players with 624 career boards, trailing only Indiana's D.J. White (653).
Randle More Aggressive on Offense
Senior and three-year starter Brian Randle currently carries a career-high scoring average of 10.2 points, ranking second on the team. He has scored in double figures 13 times this season and has been the Illini's leading scorer in eight games.
Randle reached double figures in each of the first four games this season, a career-best streak, before it came to an end vs. Oklahoma State on Nov. 21 when he left due to injury just seven minutes into the game. Randle had 14 points in the opener vs. Northeastern, 12 points at Hawaii, 17 points vs. Arizona State and 16 points vs. Duke.
Randle returned to double figures vs. Arizona on Dec. 8, scoring 11 points with five assists. He just missed double figures vs. Western Carolina, finishing with nine points.
Randle scored 14 points vs. Miami (OH) on 6-10 shooting. He had 11 points in the win over Missouri and then notched 17 points against Loyola (MD), hitting 7-of-10 shots.
He was off to another strong start vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 30, with six points and six boards before suffering a mild concussion just before halftime.
Randle returned to the court vs. Ohio State on Jan. 3 and led the Illini in scoring with 14 points.
He had a strong outing vs. Indiana (1/13) with nine points and 10 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes for the first time in his career.
Randle scored 19 points with 10 rebounds in the win over Michigan. He had another double-double at Purdue with 15 points and a season-high 11 rebounds, along with a career-high tying six assists.
Randle made good on his third consecutive double-double at Ohio State, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
His scoring streak came to an end vs. Northwestern on Jan. 27 when he had just one basket while limited with the flu. Randle still grabbed seven boards and held the Wildcats' leading scorer, Kevin Coble, to a season-low three points on one second-half basket. Coble entered the game averaging 16.7 ppg.
Randle had a career-high 21-point performance vs. Purdue. He made six baskets and went 9-11 at the free throw line. He has now scored in double figures four times in the last seven games.
Randle is shooting nearly 47 percent from the field on the season and is the team's second-leading rebounder with an average of 5.8 boards (12th in Big Ten).
Meacham Settles in at Shooting Guard
Junior Trent Meacham shared time at point guard and shooting guard last season, but with the addition of freshman Demetri McCamey to share point guard responsibilities with junior Chester Frazier, Coach Weber has Meacham focusing solely on the shooting guard position this season. The move has helped Meacham settle in and define his role on this year's squad.
Meacham is third on the Illini in scoring with an average of 10.2 points. He is shooting over 37 percent from 3-point range on the year and is seventh in the Big Ten with an average of 2.3 treys per game (51 total).
Meacham has had some big scoring games this season, topping 20 points twice and reaching double figures 11 times.
Meacham scored a career-high 26 points vs. Weber State on Dec. 1 and had 24 vs. Tennessee State on Dec. 30. He also scored 18 vs. Northwestern (Jan. 27), 17 vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 21), 16 vs. Arizona (Dec. 8), 14 at Wisconsin (Jan. 10) and vs. Purdue (2/2), 13 vs. Missouri (Dec. 22), 12 at Ohio State (Jan. 22) and 11 vs. both Michigan (Jan. 16) and at Purdue (Jan. 19).
Freshman point guard Demetri McCamey has been a bright spot for the Illini during the second half of the season, earning increased playing time and moving into the starting lineup.
McCamey had nine points each vs. Loyola (MD) and Tennessee State. He then reached double figures in his first career Big Ten game with 10 points vs. Ohio State.
McCamey had 18 points vs. Penn State on 7-12 shooting, including 4-6 from behind the arc. He scored Illinois' last eight points of the game, all in the final two minutes, on a layup and back-to-back 3-pointers.
McCamey had nine points, a season-high seven rebounds and four assists at Wisconsin. He then had six points and five assists without a turnover in a career-high 38 minutes at Indiana (1/13).
He had seven points and tied his career high with six assists in the win over Michigan on Jan. 16.
He totaled eight points and five assists without a turnover vs. Northwestern on Jan. 27.
McCamey returned to double figures for the first time in eight games with 15 points vs. Purdue on Feb. 2.
He had the best game of his young career last Thursday vs. Indiana, pouring in a career-high 31 points. He shot 11-of-20 and nailed seven 3-pointers, tying the fourth-highest single-game total in Illinois history from behind the arc and just one shy of the school record.
McCamey's 31 points are the most by an Illini in two years, since Dee Brown scored 34 vs. Michigan State on Jan. 5, 2006. It also is the highest point total by an Illinois freshman in 14 years, since Kiwane Garris scored 33 vs. Iowa on Jan. 19, 1994.
McCamey is fifth on the Illini in scoring on the year (7.6 ppg) and ranks second on the team in assists (2.8 apg). He is averaging 3.5 assists in Big Ten play, meanwhile, ranking 10th in the league.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.