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    The Illini are looking for their first-ever Maui Invitational title.


    The Illini are looking for their first-ever Maui Invitational title.

    Nov. 21, 2012

     Games 6 // Illinois (5-0) vs. Butler (3-1) // EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Final
     Dates Nov. 19 - Nov. 21, 2012 | Tournament Bracket
     Location Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii | Lahaina Civic Center (2,400)
     Quarterfinal (11/19) Illinois 94, USC 64 | Highlights | Box Score
     Semifinal (11/20) Illinois 84, Chaminade 61 | Highlights | Box Score
     Final (11/21) Illinois vs. Butler | 9 pm CT | Watch | Live Stats
     Television ESPN | WatchESPN.com
        TV Announcers: Sean McDonough, Bill Raftery and Jay Bilas
     Radio Illini Sports Network | Listen
        Radio Announcers: Brian Barnhart (Play-By-Play), Jerry Hester (Analyst)
     Printable Game Notes Illinois | Butler | Big Ten
     Season Stats Illinois | Butler | Big Ten
     Social Media @IlliniHoops   |  #Illini | Facebook | YouTube

    Probable Starters (from the previous game)

    Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht.	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
    G	13 	Tracy Abrams 	6-1	185	So.	13.8	3.6	4.4	49.2 FG%
    G	1	D.J. Richardson	6-3	195	Sr.	11.4	4.8	1.4	2.0 spg
    G	3	Brandon Paul	6-4	200	Sr.	19.6	4.4	3.6	26 FTA
    F	42	Tyler Griffey	6-9	220	Sr.	9.8	3.2	0.6	50.0 3FG%
    F/C	32	Nnanna Egwu	6-11	235	So.	6.6	5.2	1.2	13 off. reb.

    Off the Bench

    Pos.	No.	Name    	Ht. 	Wt.	Yr.	PPG	RPG	APG	Other
    F	0	Sam McLaurin 	6-8	220	Gr.	5.2	4.4	0.8	13 off. reb.
    G	2	Joseph Bertrand	6-6	195	r-Jr.	7.8	4.8	0.8	55.6 FG%
    G	10	Mike LaTulip	6-0	165	Fr.	3.4	0.4	0.0	4-7 FG
    F	15	Mike Shaw	6-8	215	So.	0.8	0.8	0.0	1 steal
    G/F	20	Myke Henry	6-6	230	So.	4.0	3.6	0.2	44.4 3FG%
    G/F	21	Devin Langford	6-7	200	r-Fr.	0.6	1.8	0.4	2 steals
    F/C	23	Ibby Djimde	6-8	245	So.	0.0	0.2	0.0	10 minutes
    G	24	Rayvonte Rice %	6-4	240	Jr.
    G	31	Kevin Berardini	6-0	165	r-Jr. 	1.3	0.0	0.5	5-6 FT
    		% Rice is sitting out this season per transfer rules.

    Coaching Staff
    Head Coach: John Groce
    Career Record: 90-56/.616 (5th year)
    At Illinois: 5-0/1.000 (1st year)
    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. Butler
    Series Record: Illinois leads 29-8
    Last Meeting:  Illinois 73, Butler 71 (Dec. 1, 1971 // Champaign, Ill.)
    Series Streak: Illinois W-10
    Record at Neutral Sites: First meeting
    Series Streak at Netural Sites: N/A
    Groce vs. Butler: First meeting

    Illini in Maui
    Illinois is making its fourth appearance in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, and its first under Head Coach John Groce. The Illini own a cumulative record of 8-3 at the Maui Invite, finishing second in 2000 and third in 1987 as well as its last trip in 2007.

    Illinois' all-time results at the Maui Invitational:
    Illinois 73, Baylor 50 (11/27/87)
    Villanova 78, Illinois 76 (11/28/87)
    Illinois 81, #7 Kansas 75 (11/29/87)
    --------------------------------------------------------
    #8 Illinois 74, UNLV 69 (11/20/2000)
    #8 Illinois 90, #6 Maryland 80 (11/21/2000)
    #1 Arizona 79, #8 Illinois 76 (11/22/2000)
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Illinois 77, Arizona State 54 (11/19/07)
    #13 Duke 79, Illinois 66 (11/20/07)
    Illinois 65, Oklahoma State 49 (11/21/07)
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Illinois 94, USC 64 (11/19/12)
    Illinois 84, Chaminade 61 (11/20/12)

    Illini-Butler Series History
    Despite being located just a two-hour drive apart from one another, the Illini and the Bulldogs will meet for the first time in 41 years tonight in Maui, more than 4,000 miles from their respective campuses.

    It is the 38th match-up between the programs, with the Illini leading the all-time series, 29-8. The teams first met in 1922 and played 11 more times prior to World War II. Then, starting in 1948, Illinois and Butler played annually (except for 1964, though they played twice in 1960 and 1963) through the most recent game in 1971.

    Illinois has won the last 10 games over the Bulldogs. This is the first time the programs are meeting at a neutral site. The Illini are 24-4 versus Butler in Champaign and 5-4 against the Bulldogs in Indianapolis.

    Plenty of Butler Connections on Illini Staff
    One of John Groce's closest friends in the coaching profession will be on the other sideline tonight in Butler's Brad Stevens. Groce and Stevens were both part of Thad Matta's staff at Butler in 2000-01. The Bulldogs went 24-8 that year, winning both regular season and tournament tiles in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. The Bulldogs also defeated Wake Forest in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Round of 32.

    Brandon Miller was a sophomore guard on that Butler team. He is now on the Illini staff, serving as special assistant to head coach John Groce. As a senior at Butler, Miller was named team co-MVP and earned all-conference honors, helping lead the Bulldogs to the Horizon league title and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. Stevens was a Butler assistant for Todd Lickliter (John Groce's high school coach) at the time. Miller later served as an assistant at Butler under Stevens for one season in 2007-08.

    Notes from Tuesday's Win Over Chaminade
    • Illinois improved to 8-3 in four all-time appearances in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. The Illini advance to the final for the second time and will face Butler for the championship.

    • Illinois' other appearance in the Maui Invite title game came in 2000, when the No. 8 Illini fell to No. 1 Arizona, 79-76. In that game, the Illini trailed by 15 points with 3:30 left but staged a late-game comeback led by Frank Williams and Sean Harrington to pull within one point twice in the final minute, before ultimately falling to the Wildcats.

    • Illinois has improved to 5-0 on the season, marking the second year in a row that the Illini have started a season with at least five straight wins. Last year's team started 10-0 before falling to UNLV. In addition, first-year head coach John Groce becomes the first coach to start his UI career 5-0 since Lou Henson in 1975 (5-0). Since World War II, only Harry Combes (7-0 in 1947) has had a better start to his career as Illini head coach.

    • The Illini have not trailed in the first two games of the Maui Invitational, leading wire-to-wire in both the 30-point win over USC and the 23-point win over Chaminade.

    • Illinois made 11-of-28 three-point field goals against Chaminade, giving the Illini 11 or more made threes in all five games this season and becoming the first Illinois team ever to make 10 or more three-pointers in five consecutive games. Last season, the Illini made 10-plus treys only three times with a season-high of 11, a total they've reached in every game this season.

    • The Orange and Blue started the Chaminade game with an 8-0 run and then had a 15-2 run late in the half to turn a five-point lead at the 7:22 mark (22-17) into a 37-19 lead just before halftime. The Illini cruised in the second half, leading by as much as 25 and never by less than 11 en route to the 84-61 victory.

    • After struggling on the boards against Hawaii on Friday (-20 rebounding margin), the Illini have turned the tables the last two nights by out-rebounding their two Maui opponents 83-52 (+31).

    • As a team, the Fighting Illini are averaging 84.0 points per game through five games, up nearly 19 points from last year's average of 65.6. The Orange and Blue have scored at least 75 points in every game this season, something that happened only six times all season in 2011-12 (32 games).

    • Illinois entered the tournament struggling from the line, hitting just 31-of-52 (.596) from the charity stripe in the first three games this season. They've turned it around in Maui, hitting 30-of-35 from the line (.857) in the two victories to bump up their season percentage to .701.

    • The Illini used a balanced attack to take down the Silverswords, with no player scoring more than 14 points. Junior guard Joseph Bertrand led four Illini in double figures with a season-high 14 points. Brandon Paul (13), D.J. Richardson (11) and Tyler Griffey (10) also scored in double figures for the Illini.

    • Senior Wooden Award candidate Brandon Paul has made the most of his time in paradise thus far, averaging a team-high 21.3 points while shooting 53 percent overall and 54 percent from behind the arc (13-of-24) during the Illini's three wins in Hawaii (including Friday's game at UH). In the Maui Invitational, Paul is averaging a team-high 19.5 points per game and has hit 13-of-24 field goals and 8-of-14 from downtown.

    • After hitting the game-winning three at the buzzer against Hawaii on Friday, senior D.J. Richardson's biggest impact on Maui has been on the defensive end. He has a team-high six steals in the two Illini wins, including a career-high four thefts against USC. Richardson also is averaging 12.0 points and has hit five threes in the Maui Invitational.

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