The Illini take on Penn State on Thursday at 4:05 p.m. CT in the opening round of the 2007 Big Ten Tournament.
March 6, 2007
Champaign, Ill. -
ILLINOIS (21-10, 9-7)
Big Ten Tournament - #6 Seed
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Jr, 6-8, 220, 7.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F - 41 Warren Carter (Sr., 6-9, 220, 13.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 bpg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Jr., 6-10, 245, 11.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
G - 33 Rich McBride (Sr., 6-3, 205, 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (So., 6-2, 190, 7.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.4 spg)
Off The Bench ...
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-So., 6-2, 195, 5.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 1.8 apg)
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Jr., 6-2, 190, 0.4 ppg, 0.1 rpg)
C - 21 Brian Carlwell (Fr., 6-11, 265, 1.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg) -Out-
F - 25 Calvin Brock (r-So., 6-5, 195, 5.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 apg)
G - 31 Jamar Smith (So., 6-3, 185, 8.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.9 apg) -Out-
F - 34 C.J. Jackson (r-Fr., 6-8, 260, 1.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
F - 44 Marcus Arnold (r-Sr., 6-8, 245, 2.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (Fr., 6-9, 230, 3.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg) -Out-
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 213-80/.727 (9th Year)
At Illinois: 110-26/.809 (4th Year)
Big Ten: 48-16/.750
Big Ten Tournament: 5-2/.714
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (6th Year), Jay Price (4th Year), Tracy Webster (3rd year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (4th Year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (4th Year; 23rd Year at Illinois)
On the Air
Thursday - ESPN2 (National): Brent Musberger, play-by-play; Steve Lavin, expert analyst; Erin Andrews, sideline reporter.
Friday - ESPN-Plus (Regional): Mike Gleason, play-by-play; Shon Morris, expert analyst.
Saturday & Sunday - CBS (National): Jim Nantz, play-by-play; Billy Packer, expert analyst.
Illini Sports Network - 47 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate, pregame/halftime/postgame interviews.
Illini Big Ten Tournament Notes
Illinois has the most all-time Big Ten Tournament (BTT) wins (16) and the best all-time BTT winning percentage (.696, 16-7).
Illinois has won two BTT championships (2003 and 2005), which is tied with Iowa and Michigan State for the most titles.
Illinois also has the most BTT championship game appearances, having advanced to the title game five times.
Bruce Weber is tied for the second best winning percentage of any coach in BTT history at .714 (5-2).
Illinois has advanced to the semifinals in eight of the first nine Tournaments, with its eight-year streak snapped in last season's quarterfinal.
Illinois is playing in the opening round for the first time since 1999 and just the second time in BTT history.
This is Illinois' first No. 6 seed in the BTT.
Rich McBride has scored 28 career points in seven BTT games, the most of any player on the current Illini roster. Other current UI players with BTT experience are Brian Randle (4 G, 12 pts), Warren Carter (7 G, 4 pts), Shaun Pruitt (2 G, 3 pts), Marcus Arnold (1 G, 2 pts), Chester Frazier (1 G, 0 pts) and Jamar Smith (1 G, 3 pts).
A Quick Look at Illinois' NCAA Tournament Resume
Illinois is 21-10 on the season and tied for fourth place in the Big Ten at 9-7 ... Illinois' RPI is 35 in the latest NCAA rankings (as of March 5) ... Illinois has three wins over Top 50 RPI teams, and six wins over Top 100 RPI teams ... Illinois is 7-3 over its last 10 games ... Illinois has played the third toughest schedule among Big Ten teams (ranked 26th by Ken Pomeroy), behind only Michigan State and Ohio State ... All of Illinois' losses are to teams with an RPI of 83 or higher according to the NCAA rankings, with all but one loss coming against teams in the top 53 of the RPI.
Did You Know?
Since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985, no Big Ten team with a winning league record and more than 20 wins has been left out of the NCAA Tournament.
The United Center: Illinois' Home Away from Home
While games played at the United Center count as neutral site in the record book, for the Illini the UC is a home away from home. Illinois has played 35 games at the United Center, owning an all-time record of 29-6 (.829). That includes a current winning streak of 16 straight games spanning the last six seasons, and Big Ten Tournament titles in 2003 and 2005. Illinois' last loss at the UC was a 56-58 decision to Indiana on March 10, 2001 in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinal.
Past Illinois Games at the United Center
Dec. 4, 1994 Duke L 65-70
Dec. 23, 1995 California W 83-69
Dec. 21, 1996 UCLA W 79-63
Dec. 13, 1997 Clemson W 71-61
March 6, 1998 Wisconsin W 66-61
March 7, 1998 Purdue L 47-68
Dec. 5, 1998 Bradley W 53-48
March 4, 1999 Minnesota W 74-67
March 5, 1999 Indiana W 83-66
March 6, 1999 Ohio State W 79-77
March 7, 1999 Michigan State L 50-67
Nov. 30, 1999 Duke L 69-72
Dec. 18, 1999 Kansas W 84-70
March 10, 2000 Indiana W 72-69
March 11, 2000 Penn State W 94-84
March 12, 2000 Michigan State L 61-76
Dec. 16, 2000 Arizona W 81-73
March 9, 2001 Purdue W 83-66
March 10, 2001 Indiana L 56-58
Dec. 8, 2001 Arkansas W 94-91
March 15, 2002 San Diego State W 93-64
March 17, 2002 Creighton W 72-60
Dec. 14, 2002 Temple W 70-54
Feb. 22, 2003 Northwestern W 73-61
March 14, 2003 Northwestern W 94-65
March 15, 2003 Indiana W 73-72
March 16, 2003 Ohio State W 72-59
Dec. 6, 2003 Arkansas W 84-61
Dec. 29, 2003 Illinois-Chicago W 75-60
Dec. 11, 2004 Oregon W 83-66
March 11, 2005 Northwestern W 68-51
March 12, 2005 Minnesota W 64-56
March 13, 2005 Wisconsin W 54-43
Dec. 3, 2005 Xavier W 65-62
Dec. 9, 2006 Illinois-Chicago W 71-66
Illini Quick Hits...
Illinois enters the Big Ten Tournament as one of the Big Ten's hottest teams, having won six of its last eight games. In those six wins, UI opponents averaged 45.2 ppg (271 total), with no opponent scoring over 50 points.
Illinois ranks ninth in the NCAA in scoring defense (through March 4), holding its opponents to an average of just 57.3 points on the season. The Illini also rank 29th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.403) and 30th in rebounding margin (+5.4 rpg).
In conference games, Illinois led the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.8) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.286), and ranked third in field goal percentage defense (.404).
Illinois went 8-4 over its last 12 Big Ten games after beginning conference play 1-3. Defense was the biggest reason for the turnaround. Over the last 12 games, Illinois has allowed an average of 52.2 points (626) on 39.8 percent shooting (227-571) and 26.3 percent 3-point shooting (50-190). Those numbers are a major improvement from the first four league games when the Illini allowed an average of 66.5 points (266) on 43.6 percent shooting (89-204) and 35.5 percent 3-point shooting (22-62).
Illinois has started seven different lineups this season. Last season, the Illini started the same lineup in 32 of 33 games and two seasons ago, Illinois had the same starting lineup in all 39 games.
Illinois has had six players miss a combined total of 50 games so far this season due to injury (Richard Semrau-26, Brian Randle-11, Jamar Smith-6, Brian Carlwell-4, Chester Frazier-2, Warren Carter-1), along with well over 200 missed practices.
In eight of its 10 losses, Illinois has led during the second half.
Illinois concluded Big Ten play on the road for the fourth straight year and the sixth time in the last seven seasons. The Illini also finished the Big Ten schedule with back-to-back games for the third time in the last four years.
With the win over Michigan on Feb. 21, Illinois reached the 20-win marker for the eighth straight year, which is also the program's 26th all-time 20-win season.
Illinois played its final home game on Feb. 21, marking the earliest time by calendar date that the Illini finished its home schedule in 56 years, since 1951 when Illinois played its last home game on Feb. 19.
Shaun Pruitt has averaged 12.8 points (141) and 8.5 rebounds (93) over the last 11 games, posting double-doubles in four of those contests. Pruitt had 19 points and 14 rebounds vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 20), 10 points and 13 rebounds vs. Indiana (Jan. 23), 13 points and 11 boards at Purdue (Jan. 27), 15 points and five boards vs. Michigan State (Jan. 30), 12 points and six boards vs. Minnesota (Feb. 3), 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds vs. Northwestern (Feb. 7), a career-high 20 points at Penn State (Feb. 24) and again a career-high 20 points and nine rebounds at Iowa (March 3).
Over his last 24 games, Warren Carter is averaging 14.1 points (338) and 6.5 rebounds (155). Included in that stretch have been three 20+ point performances for the senior power forward. Carter had a career-high 24 points vs. Arizona (Dec. 2), tying the highest point total by UI player this season, and 21 points vs. both IUPUI (Dec. 6) and Belmont (Dec. 17). He had the highest scoring Big Ten game of his career vs. Michigan on Feb. 21 with 18 points. During this stretch, Carter has been Illinois' leading scorer 10 times and has reached double figures 21 times.
Rich McBride has averaged 11.9 points (166) over the last 14 games after combining for just 7 points and making one 3-pointer over the previous three games. McBride scored 15 points against Iowa (Jan. 10), had a team-high 12 points at Michigan State (Jan. 14), nine points at Minnesota (Jan. 17), 15 points vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 20), a team-high 15 points vs. Indiana (Jan. 23), nine points at Purdue (Jan. 27), 12 points vs. Michigan State (Jan. 30), a team-high 13 points vs. Minnesota (Feb. 3), 15 points vs. Northwestern (Feb. 7), 13 points at Indiana (Feb. 10), a game-high 15 points vs. Northwestern (Feb. 18) and 11 points vs. Michigan (Feb. 21) and nine points at Iowa (March 3).
McBride is shooting 39 percent from 3-point range and is averaging 3.3 treys over the last 14 games (46-118).
McBride stands in fifth place in Illinois history with 208 career 3-pointers. He needs just one trey to tie Luther Head for fourth on the list.
McBride tied for second in the Big Ten in 3-point field goals during conference play with an average of 2.9 treys per game.
Brian Randle has shot 58.5 percent from the field (38-65) over the last 12 games in which he has played, after making just 3-16 in the previous three games.
Chester Frazier has averaged 6.2 rebounds (31) over the past five games.
Illinois is a balanced offensive club, with six players averaging at least 7.3 points and eight members of the roster averaging at least 5.0 points per game.
Seven different players have been Illinois' leading scorer in a game this season (Warren Carter-11, Shaun Pruitt-8, Rich McBride-5, Jamar Smith-5, Chester Frazier-2, Trent Meacham-2, Brian Randle-1).
Shaun Pruitt ranks third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.4 rpg) and offensive rebounds (3.1 rpg) and is fourth in field goal percentage (.549).
Chester Frazier ranks fourth in the Big Ten in assists with an average of 4.5 apg. He had a career-high 11 assists vs. Bradley (Nov. 25) and again vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), and also had 10 assists vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19).
Trent Meacham ranks seventh in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting at 42.1 percent. He tied a school-record with eight 3-pointers vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19).
Illinois' leading scorer, Warren Carter ranks 14th in the league with an average of 13.4 points. Carter is also eighth in the conference in rebounding, averaging 6.3 rpg, and 12th in blocks, averaging 1.0 bpg.
Shaun Pruitt has scored in double figures in 21 games this season and is second on the team in scoring at 11.6 ppg. He has posted back-to-back career scoring highs in his two most recent games with 20 points and Penn State (Feb. 24) and again at Iowa (March 3).
Pruitt leads the Illini and ranks second in the Big Ten with eight double-doubles on the season.
Illinois leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds (13.0 rpg).
The Illini are third in the Big Ten in 3-pointers, making an average of 6.9 per game.
Illinois has scored over 70 points in 13 games.
Illinois has outrebounded 19 opponents and is outrebounding its opponent by an average of 5.4 boards (second in Big Ten).
Illinois extended its school-record streak of consecutive sell-out crowds at the Assembly Hall (16,618) to 45 against Michigan in the final home game of the season.
Illinois held Northwestern to 37 points on Feb. 18, tying the record for the fewest points scored by a Big Ten team in the 44-year history of the Assembly Hall.
Illinois won its 17th straight game over Minnesota on Feb. 3, a streak that spans the last nine seasons, beginning with the 1999 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal. It 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 one 16-game streak over Wisconsin (2/12/81-1/12/89).
In its victory over No. 23 Indiana on Jan. 23, the Illini held the Hoosiers to a season-low 43 points. It marked the fewest points Illinois has allowed to a ranked opponent in conference play in 22 years, since defeating No. 13 Indiana 52-41 on Jan. 27, 1985.
Four Illini Earn Big Ten Honors
Illinois had four players recognized in the annual Big Ten postseason awards. Senior forward Warren Carter was named second-team All-Big Ten by the league coaches and third-team All-Big Ten by the media. Junior center Shaun Pruitt earned third-team All-Big Ten honors by both the coaches and media. Senior guard Rich McBride was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches. Sophomore guard Chester Frazier was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, as selected by the coaches.
Carter Named NABC Second Team All-District
Warren Carter has been named an NABC Second-Team All-District selection for District 11. The All-District Teams were selected and voted on by member coaches of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). There are 15 districts, with 5-player first and second teams announced for each district. These 150 players are now eligible for the NABC All-America Team to be announced at the end of the regular season.
Universities from the states of Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan make up District 11. Earning first-team honors were Alando Tucker of Wisconsin, Dominique James of Marquette, Drew Neitzel of Michigan State, Jamaal Tatum of Southern Illinois and Blake Schilb of Loyola-Chicago. Joining Carter on the second team were Randal Falker of Southern Illinois, Wilson Chandler of DePaul, Kammron Taylor of Wisconsin and Jerel McNeill of Marquette.
Arnold is a two-year letterwinner after transferring from Illinois State following his first two seasons. Arnold has career totals of 786 points and 351 rebounds. He scored a career-high 13 points last year vs. Missouri and had a season-high 12 points at Indiana on Feb. 10. Arnold will graduate in May with a degree in speech communications.
Carter is a four-year letterwinner. One of the most improved players in the Big Ten, Carter is Illinois' leading scorer (13.4 ppg) and second leading rebounder (6.3 rpg) this season. He has reached double figures 24 times this season, scoring a career-high 24 points at Arizona on Dec. 2 which is the highest point total by a UI player this year. His career totals are 649 points and 344 rebounds. Carter will graduate in May with a degree in community health.
McBride is a four-year letterwinner and two-year starter at shooting guard. He has been Illinois' third leading scorer the past two seasons, averaging 10.0 points last year and again this year. He scored a season-high 18 points vs. IUPUI on Dec. 6 and has reached double figures 13 times on the season. McBride ranks fifth in school history with 208 career 3-pointers, and is the sixth winningest player in Illini history, having played in 102 victories during his career. He owns career totals of 790 points, 202 rebounds and 188 assists. McBride will finish coursework in May and will need only a summer internship to earn a degree in sport management.
Over the last four years, Illinois has compiled a record of 110-26 (.809), winning two outright Big Ten championships and one Big Ten Tournament championship, and making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. This senior class advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2004, the NCAA Championship Game in 2005, and the Second Round last season.
Defense Is The Difference
Illinois won eight of its last 12 Big Ten games after beginning conference play with one win through its first four games. The reason for Illinois' turnaround has been a commitment to defense, and the numbers back it up. Illinois has given up an average of just 52.2 points over the last 12 games, holding opponents to just 39.2 percent shooting and 26.3 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Illinois led the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.8 ppg) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.286) in conference games and ranked third in field goal percentage defense (.404).
Illini By the Numbers Under Weber
Illinois has been a consistent winner under Bruce Weber, a tenure that spans the most successful period in school history. The following is a breakdown of Illinois' success under Weber:
110-26: Illinois' overall record under Weber, a winning percentage of .809.
56-5: Illinois' record at the Assembly Hall under Weber, a winning percentage of .918.
37-2: Illinois' record in 2004-05, which tied the record for the winningest season in NCAA history.
26-7: Illinois' record last season as well as Weber's first season (2003-04), which tie the fourth-winningest season in school history.
21-10: Illinois' record this season.
48-16: Illinois' record in Big Ten play under Weber - which incudes back-to-back outright championships in 2004 and 2005 - a winning percentage of .750.
97-21: Illinois' record in regular season games under Weber, a winning percentage of .822.
49-5: Illinois' record in regular season non-conference games under Weber, a winning percentage of .907.
23-12: Illinois' record in road games under Weber, a winning percentage of .657.
30-8: Illinois' record in neutral-site games under Weber, a winning percentage of .789.
8-3: Illinois' NCAA Tournament record under Weber - which includes a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2004 and the program's first-ever appearance in the national championship game in 2005 - a winning percentage of .727.
5-2: Illinois' Big Ten Tournament record under Weber - which includes the 2005 tournament title - a winning percentage of .714.
13-5: Illinois' combined postseason record under Weber, a winning percentage of .722.
Weber Third Winningest Coach in Big Ten History over Four-Straight Years
Bruce Weber has won 110 games at Illinois, which is the most wins ever by a Big Ten coach in his first four seasons as well as the third most wins by a Big Ten coach in any period of four consecutive seasons. The record is 115 wins set by Michigan State's Tom Izzo from 1998-2001. Below is the top-5 list for the most wins by a Big Ten coach over a period of four straight years:
Coach, School Wins Years 1. Tom Izzo, Michigan State 115 1998-01 2. Tom Izzo, Michigan State 112 1999-02 3. Bruce Weber, Illinois 110 2004-07 T4. Bob Knight, Indiana 108 1991-94 T4. Bob Knight, Indiana 108 1973-76
*For complete Illinois Men's Basketball Big Ten Tournament Notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.