Men's Basketball
#20 Illinois Game Notes vs. Minnesota

Trent Meacham and the Illini host Minnesota Thursday at 6 p.m.
Trent Meacham and the Illini host Minnesota Thursday at 6 p.m.

Feb. 25, 2009

Champaign, Ill. -

Illinois Men's Basketball Game Notes vs. Minnesota in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Game #29: #20 Illinois (22-6, 10-5) vs. Minnesota (20-7, 8-7)
Feb. 26, 2009 // 6 p.m. CT // BTN
Champaign, Ill. // Assembly Hall (16,618)

On the Air

BTN: Wayne Larrivee, play-by-play; Tim McCormick, expert analyst.

Illini Sports Network-44 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate pregame/halftime/ postgame interviews.

Illini Probable Starters
G - 32	Demetri McCamey   So., 6-3, 205     11.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.9 apg
G - 1	Trent Meacham     r-Sr., 6-2, 195   10.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.6 apg
G - 3	Chester Frazier   Sr., 6-2, 195     5.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.3 spg
F - 24	Mike Davis        So., 6-9, 210     11.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.8 apg
C - 54	Mike Tisdale      So., 7-1, 235     10.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg

Off the Bench G - 13 Jeff Jordan So., 6-1, 185 1.1 ppg, 0.3 rpg G - 15 Bubba Chisholm Jr., 5-11, 180 0.3 ppg, 0.1 rpg C - 21 Stan Simpson Fr., 6-9, 220 considering redshirt F - 23 Dominique Keller Jr., 6-7, 230 5.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg G - 25 Calvin Brock r-Sr., 6-5, 200 4.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg F - 30 Bill Cole So., 6-9, 215 1.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg G - 33 Alex Legion So., 6-5, 200 4.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg F - 34 C.J. Jackson r-Jr., 6-8, 265 0.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg C - 50 Richard Semrau r-So., 6-10, 240 1.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg

Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 253-107/.703 (11th year)
At Illinois: 150-53/.739 (6th year)
Big Ten: 63-34/.649
Vs. Minnesota: 10-1
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (8th year), Jay Price (6th year), Jerrance Howard (2nd year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (6th year)
  Director of Basketball Operations: Sean Harrington (1st year)
  Trainer: Al Martindale (26th year at Illinois)

Minnesota Head Coach: Tubby Smith
Overall Record: 427-166/.720 (18th year)
At Minnesota: 40-21/.656 (2nd year)
Vs. Illinois at Minnesota: 1-3
Vs. Illinois All-Time: 2-3

Series Notes: Minnesota
Illinois leads the all-time series 113-61 over Minnesota, and the Illini own a 68-16 advantage in games played in Champaign. Illinois has won 10 straight at home over Minnesota, with the Gophers' last win at the Assembly Hall coming in 1996.

The teams last met on Jan. 29 in Minneapolis, as the Gophers snapped a 20-game losing streak to the Illini with a 59-36 victory. Dominique Keller led Illinois with nine points in that contest.

Weber Records 150th Victory at Illinois; Nearing Third Place on UI's All-Time Wins List
The win at Ohio State on Sunday was the 150th of Bruce Weber's Illini tenure. Weber has the highest winning percentage (.739, 150-53) of any coach in Big Ten history who has coached at least six seasons in the conference. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, in his eighth year, is second at .731 (190-70).

Weber is the second-fastest Illinois coach to 150 victories, having reached that figure in 203 games. Harry Combes took just 191 games to reach 150 victories from 1948 to the 1956 season. Weber is now one victory away from tying Doug Mills for third place on the Illinois career coaching wins list:

    Coach          Wins  Seasons
1.  Lou Henson     423   21 (1976-96)
2.  Harry Combes   316   20 (1948-67)
3.  Doug Mills     151   11 (1937-47)
4.  Bruce Weber    150   6 (2004-09)
5.  J. Craig Ruby  148   14 (1923-36)

Illini Turnaround Near the Top Nationally
Illinois is one of the nation's most improved college basketball teams this season. With 22 victories, the Illini currently have nine more wins than its regular season win total of 13 last year. Here is a look at the top NCAA Div. I turnarounds this season (wins listed in 2007-08 are regular season only):

                              07-08   08-09
    Team         Conf.        Wins    Wins   Increase
1.  Citadel      Southern      6       18	12
2.  LSU          SEC           13      24	11
3.  Illinois     Big Ten       13      22	9
    Portland     West Coast    9       18	9
    Stony Brook  America East  6       15	9
6.  Michigan     Big Ten       9       17	8

Illini Improvement in Big Ten Play Ranks Among Best in School History
Illinois has doubled its win total in conference play this year, currently with 10 victories after totaling five last season. The Illini also currently stand in third place after finishing ninth last season. These improvements rank among the best turnarounds in school history from one Big Ten season to the next: 

Illinois Improvement in Big Ten Wins
1.  2000,  11 wins	1999,  3 wins	+8 wins
2.  1951,  13 wins	1950,  7 wins	+6 wins
    1942,  13 wins	1941,  7 wins	+6 wins
    1908,  6 wins	1907,  0 wins	+6 wins
5.  2009,  10 wins	2008,  5 wins	+5 wins
    1915,  12 wins	1914,  7 wins	+5 wins

Illini Improvement in Big Ten Standings 1. 2000, 4th place 1999, 11th place +7 places 2. 2009, 3rd place 2008, 9th place +6 places 3. 1997, 4th place 1996, 9th place +5 places 1993, 3rd place 1992, 8th place +5 places 1973, 3rd place 1972, 8th place +5 places 1969, 2nd place 1968, 7th place +5 places 1939, 3rd place 1938, 8th place +5 places 8. 1982, 2nd place 1981, 6th place +4 places 1929, 5th place 1928, 9th place +3 places

Illini Postseason Resume
Illinois' rankings in various computer ratings through Feb. 24: • 16 - Real Time RPI
• 19 - Jeff Sagarin Ratings
• 23 - Ken Pomeroy Ratings
• Illinois is 3-2 vs. the RPI Top 25, 6-4 vs. the RPI Top 50, and 10-6 vs. the RPI Top 100
• Illinois has two road wins vs. the RPI Top 50, and four road wins vs. the RPI Top 100
• Illinois' Strength of Schedule is rated 32nd by Sagarin and 34th by Real Time RPI.

Norman To Raise Jersey
The Illinois basketball program unveiled its honored jerseys last September, as 30 of the greatest players in Fighting Illini history had banners hung from the Assembly Hall rafters during A Night Of Legends. A member of that select group, Ken Norman, is scheduled to attend the Minnesota game and raise his banner during a pre-game ceremony.

A three-year letterwinner from 1985-87, Norman was a consensus second-team All-American in 1987 after averaging 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds. He was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1986 and '87. Norman ranks 16th on the Illini career scoring list with 1,393 points and owns the second-highest career field goal percentage in school history at 60.9 percent. Norman went on to play 10 seasons in the NBA, scoring more than 8,000 points.

Opening Tips
• A win over Minnesota would give Illinois its fifth season of at least 23 victories in six years under Bruce Weber. It also would assure the Illini a top-five seed and opening round bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

• For school records purposes, only the statistics Trent Meacham has accomplished in an Illini uniform will be listed. However, when factoring in his freshman year at Dayton, Meacham is eight points shy of scoring 1,000 career points. He has totaled 807 points with the Illini and 992 overall.

• The Michigan State game is the last of four consecutive Sunday games on CBS for the Illini to close the regular season

• Illinois has won three straight Big Ten road games at Northwestern (Feb. 12), Indiana (Feb. 15) and Ohio State (Feb. 22). It is Illinois' longest conference road winning streak since claiming a school-record 13 straight conference road victories spanning two seasons from 2004 to 2005 (six in 2004 and seven in 2005).

• With assists on 70.6 percent of its baskets this season, Illinois leads the nation in assist percentage. The Illini rank sixth in the NCAA in assists, averaging 18.0 assists per game. Illinois, meanwhile, ranks fifth nationally with a team assist-to-turnover ratio of +1.46.

• Illinois recorded its 22nd victory of the 2008-09 season at Ohio State on Sunday, now six ahead of its win total from all of last season (16).

• The win over the Buckeyes was also the Illini's 10th Big Ten victory. Illinois has now doubled its conference win total from all of last season (5).

• Illinois has started the same lineup for 26 consecutive games.

• The Illini have not lost back-to-back games this season.

• Illinois is 4-2 vs. ranked teams (AP) this season.

• Illinois leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 56.2 ppg.

• Clemson (Dec. 2) and Michigan (Jan. 4) are the only two teams this season to top 70 points and shoot better than 48 percent against the Illini defense.

• Illinois is second in the Big Ten and 25th nationally in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 39.5 percent shooting. The Illini also lead the Big Ten and rank fifth in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to 29 percent shooting behind the arc.

• Illinois ranks second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, shooting 46.4 percent on the year.

• Illinois ranks third in the conference and 37th in the NCAA in scoring margin at +9.6 ppg.

• Four Illini are scoring in double figures, while eight players are averaging more than four points per game.

• Illinois is the only Big Ten team with four players among the league's Top 28 scorers.

• Eight different players have been the Illini's leading scorer in a game this season.

• Illinois' top three scorers are sophomores. In all, the UI sophomore class has scored 59.3 percent of the team's points on the season (1,088 of 1,835 pts).

• Illinois has led at halftime in 22 of 28 games this season.

• After ranking last in the Big Ten and in the bottom 10 nationally in free throw shooting last season, Illinois is fifth in the conference this year at 71 percent.

• Illinois has scored more bench points than the opposition in 20 of 28 games.

• In the latest NCAA statistical rankings released on Feb. 23, Chester Frazier ranks 30th in the nation in assists and 24th in assist-to-turnover ratio. He leads the Big Ten in assists, averaging 5.4 apg, and is third in the league with an a/to ratio of 2.42.

Demetri McCamey, meanwhile, ranks 55th in the NCAA in assist/turnover ratio (2.08) and 56th in assists (4.9 apg)

• In Big Ten games only, McCamey leads the conference in assists (5.2 apg) while ranking second in assist/turnover ratio (2.6).

Mike Davis ranks second in the Big Ten in rebounding, averaging 7.8 boards. Davis has been the Illini's top rebounder in 18 games.

• Davis leads the Big Ten with seven double-doubles on the season.

• Over the last six games, Davis has averaged 13.3 points (80) and 10.0 rebounds (60).

• Over the last five games, Frazier has averaged 6.0 assists (30).

Mike Tisdale is fifth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, shooting 54.4 percent. Davis, meanwhile, is sixth in the league at 53.3 percent.

• In Big Ten games only, Tisdale is second in the conference in field goal shooting at 57.8 percent.

Trent Meacham has committed just 10 turnovers through 441 minutes and 15 games of Big Ten play. He is averaging one turnover every 44.1 minutes in conference action.

• Illinois' top defender, Chester Frazier had totaled just 19 fouls through 513 minutes and 15 games of Big Ten play. He is averaging 1.3 fouls per game in conference action, despite facing the league's top scorers each game.

Mike Tisdale is Illinois' leading scorer in wins, averaging 12.6 points (278). He is the Illini's No. 7 scorer in losses, averaging 4.5 points (27).

Dominique Keller is shooting 59.7 percent from the field in home games (46-77).

• Chester Frazier is shooting 53.3 percent from the floor in Big Ten home games (16-30).

• After a six-game stretch where he connected on just 4-of-25 three-pointers, Trent Meacham is shooting 48.1 percent from 3-point range over the last six games (13-27).

• Illinois is 14-0 this season when Mike Tisdale scores in double figures, and 11-0 when the UI shoots more free throws than its opponent.

• Illinois recorded a home-and-home sweep of Indiana for the first time since 1998.

• Illinois posted home-and-home victories over Purdue and Indiana in the same season for the first time since 1956.

Last Time Out: At Ohio State
Illinois won its third straight road game on Sunday afternoon, defeating Ohio State 70-68 in Columbus. The Illini were red hot shooting the ball against the Buckeye zone, hitting a road season-high of 58.3 percent (28-48) from the field, including 9-of-17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range.

Mike Davis led all scorers with 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting, as his 11 buckets tied the most field goals by a Big Ten player in conference action this season. The guard trio of Trent Meacham, Demetri McCamey and Chester Frazier, meanwhile, combined for 38 points and 19 assists. Meacham had 17 points and six assists, McCamey totaled 15 points with a game-high seven assists, and Frazier netted six points with six assists.

For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.