Senior Brian Randle and the Illini open the season Sunday vs. Northeastern at 1 p.m. CT.
Nov. 9, 2007
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #1: Illinois (23-12 in 2006-07) vs. Northeastern (13-19 in 2006-07)
Nov. 11, 2007 1 p.m. CT Champaign, Ill. Assembly Hall (16,618)
On the Air
ESPN 360: Dave Kaplan, play-by-play; Frank Giardina, 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 (averages listed are from 2006-07 season)
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Sr, 6-8, 220, 7.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.0 spg)
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225) -OR-
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195) -OR-
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 11.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg)
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 5.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.7 apg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.5 spg)
Off the Bench (averages listed are from 2006-07 season)
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.3 ppg, 0.1 rpg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 14.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg in 2005-06)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 5.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.6 apg)
F - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205)
C - 33 Brian Carlwell (So., 6-11, 265, 1.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (r-Fr., 6-9, 235, 3.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 215-82/.724 (10th year)
Big Ten: 48-16/.750
At Illinois: 112-28/.800 (5th year)
Vs. Northeastern: 0-0
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)
Northeastern Head Coach: Bill Coen
Overall Record: 13-19/.406 (2nd year)
At Northeastern: Same
Vs. Illinois: 0-0
Assistant Coaches: Thomas Murphy, Jim McCarthy, Todd Townsend
Series Notes: Northeastern
This is just the second all-time meeting between Illinois and Northeastern. The first came during the 1985 NCAA Tournament, when the Illini defeated the Huskies in the first round in Atlanta by the score of 76-57.
Illini in Season Openers
Illinois opens its 103rd season of men's basketball on Sunday, including its 46th season at the Assembly Hall. The Fighting Illini have posted an all-time record of 89-13 (.873) in season openers and have won their last eight openers. Illinois is 87-15 (.853) in home openers, including a 37-7 (.841) record in home openers at the Assembly Hall.
Last Time Out: Exhibition Play
Illinois won a pair of exhibition games, defeating Quincy 82-61 on Oct. 31 and Kentucky Wesleyan 76-39 on Nov. 6.
Four players reached double figures in the win over Quincy, led by a team-high 13 points by Mike Davis on 6-8 shooting. Davis just missed a double-double, finishing with a game-high nine rebounds. Bill Cole had 11 points and eight boards, while junior guards Trent Meacham and Steve Holdren added 11 points each.
Fourteen Illini players entered the scoring column in the victory over Kentucky Wesleyan, led by Trent Meacham, who had 12 points on 5-8 shooting. Brian Randle scored eight on perfect 4-4 accuracy, while Mike Tisdale, Bill Cole and Chris Hicks added seven points apiece.
Senior Shaun Pruitt is the Illini's leading returning scorer and rebounder. A third-team All-Big Ten selection last year and a preseason first-team All-Big Ten honoree this season, Pruitt was second on the team in scoring in 2006-07 (11.4 ppg) and led the Illini and ranked third in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.5 rpg). Pruitt also ranked fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (.549) and was second in the league with nine double-doubles on the year. He was the only Illini player to start all 35 games last season and enters Sunday's game with an active streak of 68 consecutive starts.
Junior Chester Frazier was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team last season. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.5 rebounds while ranking fourth in the conference in assists (4.5 apg) and sixth in the league steals (1.5 spg).
Senior Brian Randle missed nearly one-third of the season last year due to a number of injuries. In 23 starts, he averaged 7.4 points and was third on the team in rebounding (5.0 rpg).
Illinois welcomes a number of new faces to the program this season. In fact, Illini coach Bruce Weber believes it is the largest group of newcomers he has ever had as he enters his 29th year coaching college basketball. There are six new players on campus this year: guards Demetri McCamey and Jeff Jordan, forwards Rodney Alexander, Bill Cole and Mike Davis, and center Mike Tisdale. In addition, junior Steve Holdren is now eligible after sitting out last season as a transfer, and freshman Richard Semrau rejoins the active roster after taking a medical redshirt last season.
Illinois is looking forward to having a healthy lineup after a number of injuries took its toll on last season's roster. Six different players combined to miss a total of 58 games due to injury in 2006-07.
Illinois ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense last year, allowing an average of just 57.1 points on the season. The Illini also ranked 21st in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (.402) and 29th in rebounding margin (+5.2 rpg).
In conference games, Illinois led the Big Ten in scoring defense (55.8) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.286), while ranking third in field goal percentage defense (.404).
Illini Nation's Winningest Team Over Last Four Years
Illinois has won a total of 112 games during Bruce Weber's four-year tenure in Champaign. The Illini are the winningest team in the nation over the last four years, tied with Duke and Florida. Illinois recorded 26 wins in 2003-04, an NCAA record-tying 37 victories in 2004-05, 26 wins in 2005-06 and 23 wins last season. The following ranking is the Top 10 teams in the NCAA by total wins over the last four years:
School Victories T1. ILLINOIS 112 T1. Duke 112 T1. Florida 112 4. Memphis 110 T5. Gonzaga 106 T5. Nevada 106 T5. North Carolina 106 T8. Kansas 105 T8. Pittsburgh 105 T10. Connecticut 103 T10. Southern Illinois 103*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.