Men's Basketball
Illinois NCAA Tournament Guide & Links

D.J. Richardson had 10 points in Illinois' NCAA 2nd Round win over UNLV in 2011.
D.J. Richardson had 10 points in Illinois' NCAA 2nd Round win over UNLV in 2011.

March 19, 2013

 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round: No. 7 Illinois (22-12) vs. No. 10 Colorado (21-11)
 When Friday, March 22, 2013 | approx. 3:40 p.m. CT (after Miami/Pacific game)
 Tournament Info Tournament Central | Interactive Bracket | Printable Bracket
 Location Austin, Texas | Erwin Center (16,292)
 Tickets Buy Online or call (800) 982-BEVO
 Television TNT (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski & Otis Livingston) | Watch Online
 Illinois Radio Illini Sports Network (Brian Barnhart & Jerry Hester) | ISN Affiliates
 National Radio Dial Global Sports (Wayne Larrivee & Reid Gettys) | Sirius 92 / XM 190
 Live Coverage LIVE CHAT | GameTracker
 Printable Notes Illinois | Colorado | Big Ten
 Season Stats Illinois | Colorado | Big Ten
 Preview Interviews Groce Presser | Paul | Richardson | Griffey | McLaurin
 Social Media @IlliniHoops | #Illini | #MarchMadness | Facebook | YouTube

 Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 So. 10.6 3.5 3.3 Scoring up 6.3 ppg over last year
G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Sr. 12.4 3.9 1.6 Third-team All-Big Ten by Coaches
G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Sr. 16.6 4.4 2.8 1 of 5 Illini with 1,600 p, 500 r in career
F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-9 220 Sr. 7.1 3.3 0.5 Has 2 game-winning shots this season
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 235 So. 6.4 4.6 0.6 Leads team in rebounding & blocks
 Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Note
F 0 Sam McLaurin 6-8 220 Gr. 4.0 3.4 0.5 Leads team & 8th in B1G in off. rebounds
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 195 r-Jr. 7.6 4.2 0.6 8th in Big Ten in FG percentage (.505)
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-0 165 Fr. 1.2 0.1 0.0 Walk-on has 19 pts in 38 mins
F 15 Mike Shaw 6-8 215 So. 0.9 0.8 0.1 Played season-high 19 mins at Wis.
G/F 20 Myke Henry 6-6 230 So. 3.4 2.2 0.2 SH 12 pts & CH 9 rebs vs. Nebraska
G/F 21 Devin Langford 6-7 200 r-Fr. 0.5 0.8 0.2 Season-high 13 mins. at OSU
F/C 23 Ibby Djimde 6-8 245 So. 0.2 0.3 0.0 Scored first 2 pts of season at NW
G 24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 240 Jr. - - - Sitting out season due to transfer rules
G 31 Kevin Berardini 6-0 165 r-Jr. 0.6 0.2 0.2 5 points in 12 minutes played

Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 107-68/.611 (5th year)
At Illinois: 22-12/.647 (1st year)
Big Ten: 8-10/.444
NCAA Tournament: 3-2/.600 (3rd appearance)
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (1st year), Paris Parham (1st year), Jamall Walker (1st year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Brandon Miller (1st year)
Director of Basketball Operations: Mark Morris (1st year)
Video Coordinator: Andy Etheridge (1st year)

Series Notes vs. Colorado
Series Record: Illinois leads 3-1
Last Meeting:  Illinois 86, Colorado 68 (Dec. 30, 1987 at Denver, Colo.)
Series Streak: Illinois W-2
Series NCAA Tournament Record: First meeting
Groce vs. Colorado: First meeting

The Illini in The NCAA Tournament
• Illinois is making its 30th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, which is the second-highest number of Tournament appearances among Big Ten schools, trailing only Indiana (37). Illinois ranks 13th among NCAA schools for most all-time Tournament appearances.

• This is Illinois' 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 14 years, and 25th in the last 33 years.

• Illinois has compiled a 39-30 (.565) 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, the Elite Eight four times, and the Final Four twice.

• 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.

John Groce has led Illinois to the NCAA Tournament in his first year at the helm of the Fighting Illini program. Groce is making his third career NCAA Tournament appearance as a head coach. He led Ohio to the Sweet 16 last season and the Round of 32 in 2010. Groce's career NCAA Tournament record is 3-2.

• Groce is coaching in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time, after also advancing to six Tournaments as an assistant coach. Groce's teams are 8-0 all-time in the opening round of NCAA Tournament play, winning in the Round of 64 twice at Ohio (2012, 2010), twice at Ohio State (2007, 2006), three times at Xavier (2004, 2003, 2002) and once at Butler (2001).

• When combining his tenure as an assistant and head coach, Groce's teams own a record of 15-8 (.652) in the NCAA Tournament.

• Groce is the fourth-consecutive head coach to lead the Illini to the NCAA Tournament in his first season.

• Illinois is making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in Austin. In 1990, the No. 5 Illini lost to No. 12 Dayton, 88-86.

• Illinois is a No. 7 seed for just the second time. In 1983, the No. 7 Illini lost to No. 10 Utah, 52-49.

• Illinois is 28-14 as a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament.

• Illinois is in the lower half of the bracket (6/11-3/14-7/10-2/15 games) for the first time since 1997.

• Illinois' all-time scores vs. second- and possible third-round opponents:

#10 Colorado (3-1)
12-16-1957 64-46 W Champaign
12-12-1960 81-90 L Boulder
1-31-1987 69-65 W Champaign
12-30-1987 86-68 W Denver

#2 Miami (1-0)
12-28-1968 86-76 W Miami

#15 Pacific (1-0)
12-13-1958 85-67 W Champaign

• Illinois and Colorado played one common opponent this season, USC. The Illini defeated the Trojans, 94-64, on Nov. 19 in Maui and Colorado also defeated USC, 66-60, on Jan. 10 in Boulder.

• Illinois played a total of 15 games against nine teams that made this year's NCAA Tournament, compiling a record of 6-9. The wins were over Butler, at Gonzaga, Ohio State, Indiana and Minnesota (2x), while the losses were to Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin (2x), Michigan (2x), Michigan State, Ohio State and Indiana. Here is a game-by-game look at how Illinois did against the 2013 Tournament field:

• With victories over Gonzaga and Indiana, Illinois is one of just two teams in the country to beat two different No. 1 NCAA Tournament seeds, along with Butler.

• Illinois also defeated Ohio State, giving the Illini a total of three wins combined over No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. Illinois is one of just three schools nationally to defeat three Top-2 seeds, along with Duke and Wisconsin.

• The Big Ten has seven teams participating in the 2013 NCAA Tournament: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota Ohio State and Wisconsin. That ties the most bids the conference has ever received, equaling the seven Big Ten teams that participated in the 1990, 2009 and 2011 Tournaments. Illinois has been a participant all four times the Big Ten has sent seven teams to the Tournament.

• Illinois has five players on its current roster with NCAA Tournament experience in Brandon Paul, Tyler Griffey, Joseph Bertrand and Kevin Berardini. Only Richardson and Paul have scored points in the Tournament. Richardson is the Illini's active leading Tournament scorer with 25 points while Paul has scored 13.

• 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.

• Illinois' all-time leading rebounder in NCAA Tournament play is James Augustine, who grabbed 102 boards in 13 games.

Deron Williams is Illinois' career assists leader in NCAA Tournament play, with 78 assists in 11 games (7.1 avg) from 2003-05.

• 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.

• Nineteen different Fighting Illini players have recorded double-doubles in NCAA Tournament action on 24 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 Mike Tisdale's 13-point, 11-rebound performance vs. Kansas in the 2011 Third Round.

• 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.

• There are 10 former Illinois coaches participating in this year's NCAA Tournament:
      - Former Head Coaches Lon Kruger (Oklahoma head coach), Bill Self (Kansas head coach) and Bruce Weber (Kansas State head coach)
      - Former Graduate Assistant coaches John Giannini (LaSalle head coach) and Scott Nagy (South Dakota State head coach)
      - Former assistant coaches Steve Henson (Oklahoma assistant coach), Mike Shepherd (Oklahoma Director of Operations), Norm Roberts (Kansas assistant coach), Chris Lowery (Kansas State assistant coach) and Wayne McClain (Kansas State Director of Player Development).

• The Illini also have two former players on coaching staffs of teams participating in the Tournament:
      - Roger Powell (Valparaiso assistant coach) and Chester Frazier (Kansas State assistant coach).

Illini Single-Game Bests in NCAA Tournament Play
Points: 31, Deron Williams vs. Cincinnati, 3/21/04
Rebounds: 16, Nick Anderson vs. Syracuse, 3/26/89 & Brian Cook vs. Notre Dame, 3/22/03
Field Goal Pct: .875 (7-8), Lowell Hamilton vs. McNeese State, 3/16/89 & Deon Thomas vs. Georgetown, 3/18/94
3-Pt FGs: 6, four times, last Jamar Smith vs. Air Force, 3/16/06
3-Pt. FG Pct: .833 (5-6), Frank Williams vs. San Diego State, 3/15/02
Free Throw Pct (min. 8 att): 1.000 (8-8), Mark Smith vs. Wyoming, 3/14/81 & Kenny Battle vs. McNeese State, 3/16/89
Free Throws: 16, Kiwane Garris vs. Southern Cal, 3/14/97
Free Throw Att: 17, Kiwane Garris vs. Southern Cal, 3/14/97
Assists: 12, Kiwane Garris vs. Southern Cal, 3/14/97
Steals: 6, Bruce Douglas vs. Georgia, 3/17/85
Blocked Shots: 3, Lowell Hamilton vs. Austin Peay, 3/12/87

For Openers:
• Illinois owns victories over the No. 1 and No. 4-ranked teams in the current Top 25, defeating both Gonzaga and Indiana. Butler is the only other team with wins over the Bulldogs and Hoosiers, and the Illini defeated Butler as well.

Brandon Paul has joined Mark Smith (1978-81) as only the second Illini player ever to reach career milestones of 1,600 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 150 steals (details on P. 7).

• Illinois' four-win improvement during the second half of the Big Ten schedule tied its best conference turnaround in school history, along with the 1988 UI squad (details on P. 7-8).

• With 22 wins, Illinois has secured its most victories since the 2008-09 season (24) and has exceeded last season's win total (17) by five games.

• Illinois has won seven of its last 11 games. Included in that stretch was a five-game winning streak, the UI's longest in Big Ten play in the last three years.

• Illinois leads the Big Ten and ranks 37th in the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game with an average of 7.8. The Illini have made double-digit treys in 10 games (details on P. 9).

• The Illini are 7-1 on the season in games decided by five points or less.

• This is the second straight year the Illini have won seven games by five points or less. Illinois was involved in 14 such games last season, going 7-7.

• The Illini have held their opponent to less than 60 points in seven of their last nine wins.

• Illinois is 14-1 on the season when shooting better than its opponent.

• Illinois has exceeded 70 points 16 times this season after doing so just 10 times in 32 games last year. The Illini are 14-2 on the year when reaching the 70-point marker.

• Illinois has four victories this season where it overcame double-digit deficits (16-at Hawaii, 11-at Gonzaga, 14-Indiana, 12-at Minnesota).

• Illinois has outscored its opponent in points off turnovers in 25 of 34 games. The Illini average 16.3 points off turnovers and own a margin of +4.4 points per game in that category on the season.

Brandon Paul leads the Illini in scoring on the season, averaging 16.6 points. It is the highest scoring average by an Illini player in the last 10 seasons, since Brian Cook averaged 20 points in 2003.

• Paul has scored in double figures in each of the last seven games, averaging 17.1 points (120), after a 3-game stretch from Feb. 10-17 where he averaged just 7.0 points (21).

• Richardson has made a 3-pointer in all 34 games this season, and carries an active career-long streak of 40 straight games with at least one trey, the longest of any player in a BCS conference.

D.J. Richardson scored in double figures in each of the last 13 games to close out the regular season, the longest streak of his career. He averaged 15.5 points over that stretch (202).

• Paul (14.4 ppg, seventh) and Richardson (14.2 ppg, ninth) were both in the top 10 in scoring in Big Ten games. Illinois and Penn State were the only two teams with two top-10 scorers in league play.

Last Time Out: Illini Big Ten Tournament Run Ended by Top-Seed Indiana - March 15
Illinois' Big Ten Tournament run came to an end in the quarterfinals against No. 1-seed Indiana, with the Hoosiers claiming an 80-64 victory Friday at the United Center. The Illini played two contrasting halves, managing just 21 points in the opening period, then erupting for 43 points after intermission. But when the offense got going, the Illini defense was unable to slow down the Hoosiers' powerful offense.

The Illini faced a 14-point deficit at the half after shooting 7-for-27 in the first 20 minutes. The Illini more than doubled their output in the second half, shooting 13-of-31 for 42 percent accuracy. But it seemed that every time the Illini would cut the deficit to 10, the Hoosiers answered with a basket. The Illini cut the deficit to eight points (60-52) at the 8-minute mark, but could get no closer down the stretch.

Brandon Paul and Tracy Abrams led the Illini with 16 points apiece while Joseph Bertrand scored in double figures for the first time in the last 11 games, adding 10 points.

Notes from the Big Ten Tournament First Round Victory Over Minnesota - March 14
Brandon Paul hit a 15-foot jumper as time expired to give Illinois the victory over Minnesota. It marked the third buzzer-beating win for Illinois this season, following a D.J. Richardson 3-pointer in overtime for a 78-77 win at Hawaii (Nov. 16) and a Tyler Griffey layup to beat No. 1 Indiana, 74-72, in Champaign (Feb. 7).

• Paul carried the Illini against Minnesota, pouring in a game-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 4-of-8 from 3-point range. It marked the 11th time this season and 24th time in his career that Paul has scored 20+ points. Paul also surpassed 1,600 points for his career, becoming just the ninth player in Illinois history to reach that milestone.

• Paul's game-winner over the Gophers marked the sixth buzzer beater in Big Ten Tournament history, and the first since Ohio State's Evan Turner beat Michigan with a near half-court shot in the 2010 quarterfinal. • The Illini tied the game at 49-49 on a 3-pointer by D.J. Richardson with 44 seconds left. The tying shot came after a 75-second possession that saw the Illini take five shots, including two missed threes by Richardson, and get four offensive rebounds. Illinois then forced a turnover on the defensive end with 14.6 on the clock to set the stage for Paul's heroics in the final seconds.

• The two-point victory improved the Illini to 7-1 in games decided by five points or less this season, with the following winning margins: at Hawaii (1), Gardner-Webb (1), vs. Auburn (2), Indiana (2), at Minnesota (4), Penn State (5) and vs. Minnesota (2).

• The Illini fell behind 7-2 with 16:32 left in the first half, but took control of the game with a 19-2 run that spanned 11:56 to lead 21-9 after a dunk by Nnanna Egwu at the 5:51 mark. During the run, Illinois forced nine Minnesota turnovers and held the Gophers to just 1-8 shooting.

• Illinois shot just 32.1 percent (18-of-56), its second-worst shooting game of the season (at Iowa, 28.6 percent), but stayed in the game thanks to defense that forced 19 Minnesota turnovers, the second-most by a UI opponent this season (Western Carolina, 22). Illinois converted the 19 Gopher turnovers into 21 points.

Senior Class Leads Illini into March Madness
Illinois will rely on the production and experience from its five departing seniors during March Madness. Here is a look at the Fighting Illini Class of 2013: Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, Tyler Griffey, Sam McLaurin and Kevin Berardini.

Brandon Paul has appeared in 136 games, starting 87 times. He ranks ninth on the Illini all-time scoring list with 1,619 points and had also totaled 516 rebounds, 306 assists and 151 steals - becoming just the second player in school history to reach those milestones.

Paul was a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the league's coaches and media and a USBWA All-District V pick. He also is a candidate for the Naismith Trophy. He leads the Illini and ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring on the season, averaging 16.6 points. He had a 35-point game in Illinois' Dec. 8 win at current No. 1 Gonzaga to earn National Player of the Week honors, and was named MVP of the Maui Invitational after leading the Illini to the title. Paul will graduate in May with a degree in recreation, sport and tourism.

D.J. Richardson is a four-year starter who ranks among Illinois' all-time top five players in both minutes played and games started. He stands 14th on the Illini career-scoring list with 1,458 points and is third in the UI record books with 273 three-pointers.

Richardson was a third-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and honorable mention choice by the media. He averaged 14.2 points in conference action to rank ninth in the league. Overall, Richardson is averaging 12.4 points and has made 78 three-pointers, ranking fourth in the league with an average of 2.3 per game. He earned Maui Invitational All-Tournament Team honors and erupted for a career-high 30 points in the win at Nebraska (Jan. 22). Richardson will graduate in May with a degree in communication.

Tyler Griffey has played in 111 career games, earning 45 starts. He has scored 535 points and grabbed 298 rebounds. Griffey recorded one of the greatest moments in Illini basketball history when he hit a game-winning layup at the buzzer to take down top-ranked Indiana (Feb. 7) and set off a court storming celebration at the Assembly Hall. He also hit a game-winning 3-pointer against Gardner-Webb in November at The Hall. Griffey will graduate in May with a degree in kinesiology.

Sam McLaurin is in his first season with the Illini after joining the program as a graduate transfer. He has played in every game this year, starting 14 times, and is averaging 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds. He is one of the best offensive rebounders in the Big Ten, ranking eighth in that category with 2.3 per game. McLaurin will graduate in August with a master's degree in recreation, sport and tourism.

Kevin Berardini is in his third year with the Illini after joining the team as a preferred walk-on. He has played in 26 career games, totaling 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal. Berardini will graduate in May with a degree in political science.

All-Around Paul Joins Historic UI Club
Illini senior Brandon Paul has made an impact in every area during his Illini career. He is just the fifth Illini player ever in the 1,600-point/500-rebound club:

Deon Thomas, 1991-94 (2,129 points, 846 rebounds)
Brian Cook, 2000-03 (1,748 points, 815 rebounds)
Eddie Johnson, 1978-81 (1,692 points, 831 rebounds)
Mark Smith, 1978-81 (1,653 points, 722 rebounds)
Brandon Paul, 2010-13 (1,619 points, 516 rebounds)

Paul has also surpassed 300 career assists, and recorded his 150th steal last week in the Big Ten Tournament. When adding those categories to 1,600 points and 500 rebounds, Paul is only the second player in Fighting Illini history to reach all of those milestones:

Mark Smith, 1978-81 (1,653 points, 722 rebounds, 350 assists, 161 steals)
Brandon Paul, 2010-13 (1,619 points, 516 rebounds, 306 assists, 151 steals)

Illini Turnaround Ranks Among Best
Illinois went 6-3 during the second half of conference play. This was a drastic turnaround from the half-way point of the league race, when the Illini owned a record of 2-7. Illinois totaled four more wins in the second portion of the Big Ten season compared to the first, tied for the best turnaround in school history (modern era). Only the 1988 Illinois team recorded a win-improvement during the second half of league play equal to that of John Groce's inaugural Illini squad:

Five Key Facts On ...

Brandon Paul
1. Big Ten's No. 4 leading scorer with an average of 16.6 points.
2. Owns highest scoring average by an Illini in 10 years, since Brian Cook in 2003 (20.0 ppg).
3. Has scored at least 13 points in 29 of 34 games this season, with 11, 20-plus point performances.
4. Scored his 1,600th career point on March 14 vs. Minnesota, becoming the ninth player in school history to reach that milestone.
5. Six off the team lead in rebounds (4.4 rpg), challenging to become the first UI player to lead the Illini in both scoring and rebounding in the same season since Shaun Pruitt in 2008.

D.J. Richardson
1. Averaged 14.2 points during conference play (ninth in Big Ten).
2. Carries a career-long active streak of 40 straight games making at least one 3-pointer, the longest by a player from a BCS conference.
3. Fourth among Big Ten players in 3-point field goals this season with an average of 2.3 makes and is third in school history in career 3-point field goals with 273.
4. Has logged 30+ minutes in each of the last 16 games, and is averaging 33.8 minutes on the season.
5. Has started 130 career games, fourth on the UI's all-time starts list.

Tracy Abrams
1. Third Illini scoring in double figures with an average of 10.6 points.
2. Has increased his scoring average by 6.3 points (4.3 last year).
3. Leads the team and ranks 10th in the Big Ten in assists (3.3 apg).
4. Eighth in the Big Ten in steals (1.4 spg)
5. Illinois is 8-2 this season in games where he records at least five assists.

Joseph Bertrand
1. Illini sixth-man is team's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 7.6 points.
2. Ranks eighth in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 50.5 percent (100-198).
3. Third on team in rebounding (4.2 rpg), led by career-high 12 boards vs. Purdue (Feb. 13).
4. Scored in double figures 10 times off the bench, led by season-high 17 points vs. Wisconsin (Feb. 3).
5. Has made 17 three-pointers this season, after combining for just 3 treys through his first two seasons.

Tyler Griffey
1. Fifth on the team in scoring, averaging a career-best 7.1 points.
2. Has made two game-winners at the Assembly Hall, a layup at the buzzer vs. Indiana (Feb. 7) and a three-pointer with four seconds left vs. Gardner-Webb (Nov. 25).
3. Averaging 7.9 points (87) over the last 11 games.
4. Scored a season-high 16 points at Minnesota (Feb. 10).
5. Grabbed season-high eight rebounds vs. Indiana (Feb. 7).

Nnanna Egwu
1. Started all but one game and is averaging 25 minutes after averaging 9.8 minutes last season.
2. Averaging 6.4 points and leads team with average of 4.6 rebounds, tripling his production over last season (1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg).
3. Fifth in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.4 bpg).
4. Grabbed career-best 10 boards at Nebraska (Jan. 22) and vs. Michigan (Jan. 27).
5. Had four blocks in most recent outing vs. Indiana (March 15).

Sam McLaurin
1. Fifth-year transfer is playing 20.6 minutes per game.
2. Leads team and ranks eighth in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, averaging 2.3 per game.
3. Averaged 4.8 points (67) and shooting 54.5 percent (24-44) in 14 games as a starter.
4. Scored season-high eight points vs. Purdue (Feb. 13).
5. Third on the team with 20 blocked shots.

Complete Illinois NCAA Tournament 2nd & 3rd Rounds Guide (PDF)