Illinois NCAA Tournament Notes
March 13, 2007
Champaign, Ill. -
ILLINOIS (23-11, 9-7)
Off The Bench ...
On The Air
Illini in the NCAA Tournament Play
This is the eighth consecutive year that Illinois has been in the NCAA Tournament, tying a school record. The Illini previously appeared in eight straight tournaments from 1983-90.
Illinois' eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances ranks 10th nationally among active Tournament streaks. The Illini are one of only 10 schools to appear in the Tournament every year since 2000 (along with Arizona, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Texas and Wisconsin).
Illinois is one of only three schools in the nation (along with Duke and Kentucky) to win its first round NCAA Tournament game each of the last seven years (2000-06).
Illinois has won its last nine first round NCAA Tournament games (1997-98, 2000-06) and has advanced to at least the Sweet 16 four of the last six years (2001-02, 2004-05).
Illinois has compiled a 38-27 (.585) record all-time in NCAA Tournament games. Since 1975, when the field was increased to 32 teams, Illinois has advanced to the Sweet 16 eight times (1981, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005), the Elite Eight four times (1984, 1989 and 2001 and 2005) and the Final Four twice (1989 and 2005).
Illinois has made five appearances in the NCAA Final Four, finishing as the national runner-up in 2005, placing third in 1949, 1951 and 1952 and tying for third in 1989.
Bruce Weber is making his sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, which includes his last two years at Southern Illinois and his first four seasons at Illinois. Weber's career NCAA Tournament record is 10-5 (.667), which ranks ninth nationally among active head coaches for best Tournament winning percentage.
Illinois is a No. 12 seed for the first time. This is just the second time since the NCAA began seeding teams in 1979 that Illinois enters the Tournament with a lower seed than its opponent. The first time was in 1995, when the Illini were a No. 11 seed.
Illinois is making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in Columbus. The Illini won a pair of games at Nationwide Arena in 2004 in Weber's first season, defeating Murray State in the first round (72-53) and Cincinnati in the second round (92-68). The Illini have played six Tournament games in the state of Ohio, owning an all-time record of 5-1. Prior to the two victories in Columbus, Illinois won two games in Dayton in 2001, defeating Northwestern State in the first round (96-54) and Charlotte in the second round (79-61), and went 1-1 in Cincinnati in 1988, defeating Texas-San Antonio in the first round (81-72) before falling to Villanova in the second round (63-66).
Illinois' all-time scores vs. possible first and second round opponents:
#5 Virginia Tech (2-0) 11-27-1994 85-75 W San Juan, P.R. 12-1-1996 92-68 W Hilo, Hawaii #4 Southern Illinois (2-0) 12-17-1982 79-61 W Champaign, Ill. 11-24-2001 75-72 W Las Vegas, Nev. #13 Holy Cross (0-0)
Illinois played a total of 16 games against 12 teams that made this year's NCAA Tournament, compiling a record of 7-9. Here is a game-by-game look at how Illinois did against the 2007 Tournament field:
11/15/06 Jackson State, W, 76-55 11/19/06 Florida A&M, W, 84-63 11/24/06 vs. Miami (OH), W, 51-49 11/28/06 Maryland, L, 66-72 12/2/06 vs. Arizona, L, 72-84 12/17/06 Belmont, W, 77-51 12/29/06 vs. Xavier, L, 59-65 1/6/07 Ohio State, L, 44-62 1/14/07 at Michigan State, L, 57-63 1/20/07 Wisconsin, L, 64-71 1/23/07 Indiana, W, 51-43 1/27/07 at Purdue, L, 47-64 1/30/07 Michigan State, W, 57-50 2/10/07 at Indiana, L, 61-65 3/9/07 vs. Indiana, W, 58-54 (OT) 3/10/07 vs. Wisconsin, L, 41-53
Illinois' 16 games played against this year's tournament field is the second highest total among the participating teams. Arizona ranks first, having played 18 games against the field. Illinois is tied for second at 16 along with North Carolina and USC.
Eight current members of the Fighting Illini squad have played a total of 35 games in the NCAA Tournament. Rich McBride leads the way with 11 appearances, while Warren Carter has played in 10 games. Brian Randle ranks third with four appearances and Shaun Pruitt is next with three. Marcus Arnold, Chester Frazier and Jamar Smith have all played in two games and Calvin Brock one.
Illinois' all-time leading scorer in NCAA Tournament play is Dee Brown, who tallied 179 points in 13 games from 2003-06. In all, 14 Illini players have totaled 100+ career points in the NCAA Tournament. The Illini's active leading scorer in the Tournament is Rich McBride with 30 points.
Illinois' all-time leading rebounder in NCAA Tournament play is James Augustine, who grabbed 102 boards in 13 games. The Illini's active leading rebounder in the Tournament is Brian Randle with 15 boards.
Deron Williams is Illinois' career assists leader in NCAA Tournament play, with 78 assists in 11 games (7.1 avg) from 2003-05.
Rich McBride has made eight career 3-pointers in the Tournament, which ranks ninth all-time at Illinois.
Ken Norman shot .632 (36-57) from the field and .833 (15-18) from the free-throw line in NCAA Tournament competition from 1985-87, the best figures among any Illini who played more than three tournament games.
Seventeen different Fighting Illini players have recorded double-doubles in NCAA Tournament action on 22 different occasions. James Augustine is the Illinois career leader with three career double-doubles in the Tournament. The most recent double-double by an Illini in the Tournament was Deron Williams' 22-point, 10-assist performance vs. Arizona in the 2005 Chicago Regional Final.
Illinois has had four players named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team. John "Red" Kerr and James Bredar were selected in 1952 and Deron Williams and Luther Head were chosen in 2005. Also, Dike Eddleman (1949) was named to the 1939-40s All-Decade Team.
Recapping the Big Ten Tournament
The Illini then topped Indiana in the quarterfinals in one of the gutsiest performances of the season, defeating the Hoosiers 58-54 in overtime. Warren Carter scored 17 points while Shaun Pruitt tallied his ninth double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Illinois returned to the court 16 hours later, falling to No. 3 Wisconsin in the semifinals, 53-41. Carter was the lone UI player in double figures, finishing with 14. The loss snapped Illinois' 18-game winning streak at the United Center that spanned the last six seasons.
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.