Mike Davis and the Illini host Michigan State Thursday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
March 5, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #30: Illinois (12-17, 4-12) vs. #17ap/18 Michigan State (23-6, 11-5)
March 6, 2008 8 p.m. CT ESPN2
Champaign, Ill. Assembly Hall (16,618)
On the Air
ESPN2: Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Steve Lavin, 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 - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 4.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 12.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 4.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.7 apg)
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 10.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.6 apg)
G - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205, 7.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.2 apg)
Off the Bench
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.1 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185, 0.9 ppg, 0.5 rpg)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 1.3 ppg, 0.8 rpg)
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195, 2.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 7.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg)
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Sr, 6-8, 220, 9.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 apg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (r-Fr., 6-9, 235, 0.0 ppg, 0.7 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215, 4.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210, 2.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 227-99/.696 (10th year)
At Illinois: 124-45/.734 (5th year)
Big Ten: 52-28/.650
Vs. Michigan State: 5-3
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)
Michigan State Head Coach: Tom Izzo
Overall Record: 301-127/.703 (13th year)
At Michigan State: Same
Vs. Illinois: 13-11
Series Notes: Michigan State
Illinois leads the all-time series over Michigan State 53-50, and the Illini own a 34-15 advantage in games played in Champaign. Illinois has won seven of the last 11 games in the series, including four straight at the Assembly Hall. Michigan State's last victory in Champaign came in 2002.
The teams last met on Jan. 30 in East Lansing, a 51-41 Michigan State win.
Illini Headlines ...
Shaun Pruitt is 15 points away from becoming the 41st player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
Over the last two games, Illinois' defense has held opponents to an average of 48 points (96) on 32.6 percent shooting (31-95), including 21.6 percent from 3-point range (8-37).
Looking ahead to next week's Big Ten Tournament, Illinois will play on Thursday at either 11 a.m. CT (as either the 8 or 9 seed) or 1:30 p.m. CT (as the 10 seed).
Illinois' four Big Ten wins have all been by double figures. Illinois' average margin of victory in conference wins is 21.5 ppg (86).
Ten of Illinois' 12 Big Ten losses have been by 10 points or less. Illinois' average margin of defeat in conferences losses is 7.5 ppg (90).
Although Illinois sits in 10th place with a record of 4-12, the Illini have only been outscored by a total of four points through 16 Big Ten games (-0.2 ppg).
Trent Meacham has scored in double figures in each of the last five games, a career-best streak. Meacham is averaging 12.2 points (61) on 50 percent shooting (18-36) over the last five games.
Demetri McCamey is averaging 15.3 points in Big Ten play at home (107), compared to an average of 5.9 points in conference play on the road (47). McCamey is shooting 50.7 percent from the floor (36-71) and 47.4 percent from 3-point range (18-38) at the Assembly Hall through seven Big Ten games.
Shaun Pruitt is shooting 85 percent from the free throw line (17-20) over the last five games.
Illinois has either led or been tied at halftime in all but seven games this season.
Illinois' strength of schedule ranks 35th in the nation and third among Big Ten teams. The Illini have played 11 games vs. the RPI Top 50, tied for the 10th-most games nationally against the current RPI Top 50.
Illinois closes Big Ten play with back-to-back home games for the first time since 1999.
There have been 58 consecutive sellout crowds at the Assembly Hall entering the next home game Thursday vs. Michigan State. The streak began on Dec. 6, 2004.
Illinois was the only Big Ten school that twice played four of five games on the road during the conference schedule. In fact, Penn State was the only other Big Ten Team that had a stretch of four out of five league games away from home.
Illinois has started eight different lineups this season.
Eight different players have been the Illini's leading scorer in a game this season (Brian Randle-8, Shaun Pruitt-7, Trent Meacham-7, Calvin Brock-4, Demetri McCamey-3, Rodney Alexander-2, Mike Tisdale-2, Chester Frazier-1).
While Illinois has only two players averaging in double figures, a total of eight players average over four points per game.
Illinois shot a season's-best 84.2 percent from the free throw line at Iowa last Saturday, knocking down 16-of-19 from the stripe.
Demetri McCamey nearly made history at Minnesota (Feb. 12), falling two rebounds shy of recording a triple-double, which would have been the third triple-double in school records. McCamey scored 10 points, grabbed a career-high eight boards, and dished out a career-best 11 assists against the Gophers. It is the most assists by an Illini since Chester Frazier had 11 last season vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6, 2006).
Trent Meacham shot a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc at Minnesota (Feb. 12), tying the best 3-point field goal percentage by a Big Ten player this year (Wisconsin's Jon Leuer also made 5-of-5 treys vs. Michigan).
McCamey scored a career-high 31 points vs. Indiana on Feb. 7. It was the highest point total by an Illini player in two years, since Dee Brown scored 34 vs. Michigan State (Jan. 5, 2006). It also was 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 3.2 per game (89 total off. reb.). He ranks third in the league in total rebounds (7.1 avg).
In conference play, Pruitt ranks second in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 63.6 percent (70-110).
Pruitt has scored at least nine points in 24 of the 28 games he has appeared in this season.
The Illini are third in the Big Ten and 23rd nationally in field goal percentage defense at 39.4 percent, and third in the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 31.8 percent.
Illinois ranks fifth in the conference and 28th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing an average of 61.4 points per game.
Only eight 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 20 games and ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 45th in the NCAA in rebounding margin at +4.3 rpg.
Illinois' bench is contributing 20.9 points per game and has outscored the opposing bench in 21 games.
Illinois won its 18th consecutive game over Minnesota on Feb. 12. That is the longest active winning streak by any Big Ten school over a conference opponent. It also is the longest winning streak in Illini history over a Big Ten opponent.
Shaun Pruitt entered the Illinois top 50 scoring list vs. Purdue on Feb. 2. Pruitt has now totaled 985 career points, ranking 41st on the all-time list.
Pruitt grabbed his 600th career rebound vs. Northwestern on Jan. 27. Pruitt is the Big Ten's second-leading active rebounder with 647 career boards, trailing only Indiana's D.J. White.
Brian Randle collected his 500th career rebound vs. Purdue (Feb. 2). He now has 514 career boards.
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 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.
Last Time Out: Iowa
Illinois snapped a three-game losing skid with a 58-47 win at Iowa last Saturday on the Hawkeyes' Senior Night. Illinois went on a 12-2 run late in the first half to open up an 11-point advantage and led the rest of the way. Iowa cut it to five points twice during the second half but each time the Illini responded with a big play. First, Shaun Pruitt fed Trent Meacham for a wide-open 3-pointer to make it 48-40 with 5:45 remaining. Later, Pruitt scored in the paint off a high-low feed from Demetri McCamey to make it 52-45 with 1:45 left. Illinois then closed it out by nailing 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
Shaun Pruitt led the Illini with 18 points and seven rebounds while Trent Meacham reached double figures for the fifth straight game, scoring 10. Illinois also benefited from its best performance of the season from the free throw line, hitting 16-of-19 (84.2 percent).
Taking on the Top 25
The Michigan State contest is Illinois' eighth game vs. a ranked opponent this season. Illinois has lost eight straight against ranked teams and is 0-7 vs. ranked opponents this year, falling to No. 13 Duke in Maui on Nov. 20 (79-66), No. 22 Arizona in Chicago on Dec. 8 (78-72, ot), No. 21 Wisconsin in Madison on Jan. 10 (70-60), No. 10 Indiana in Bloomington on Jan. 13 (62-58), No. 8 Michigan State in East Lansing on Jan. 30 (51-41), No. 14 Indiana in Champaign on Feb. 7 (83-79, 2ot) and No. 11 Wisconsin in Champaign on Feb. 20 (71-57).
Illinois' last win over a ranked opponent came on Jan. 23, 2007 when the Illini defeated No. 23 Indiana 51-43 in Champaign.
Illinois owns a record of 17-21 vs. Top 25 teams under Weber.
Illini Senior Class
Looking ahead to Saturday's Senior Day at Assembly Hall vs. Minnesota, here's a rundown of the three seniors in the Illini Class of 2008: Chris Hicks, Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle.
Hicks is in his third season with the Illini after making the team through walk-on tryouts. A three-year letterwinner from Chicago, the Orange Krush fan favorite will graduate in August with a degree in kinesiology.
Pruitt, a native of Aurora, is a four-year letterwinner and three-year starting center. One of the top big men in the Big Ten, he is the Illini's leading scorer (12.6 ppg) and rebounder (7.1 rpg) this season. Pruitt owns career totals of 985 points and 647 rebounds in 117 games. In addition to ranking 41st on the UI's all-time scoring list, he stands seventh in school history with a career field goal percentage of 54.4 percent. Pruitt will graduate in May with a degree in speech communications.
Randle hails from East Peoria and is a four-year letterwinner and three-year starting forward. He ranks third on the team in scoring (9.5 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.5 rpg) on the season. Randle has totaled 792 points and 514 rebounds in 115 career games. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Randle received a bachelor's degree in agri-finance last May and will earn a master's degree in sport management in August.
Oh So Close
Illinois has either led, been tied or trailed by no more than three points with less than two minutes remaining in 10 losses ... Illinois has led during the second half in 10 losses ... 12 of Illinois' losses have been by eight points or less ... Illinois is 3-12 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 35th nationally. The Illini also own the third-toughest SOS in the Big Ten.
The Illini have played 11 games vs. the RPI Top 50, tied for the 10th-most games nationally against the current RPI Top 50.
Illinois also has the most difficult league schedule, playing each of the top seven teams in the standings twice.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.