Series Notes vs. Georgia Tech
Series Record: Illinois leads 6-1
Last Meeting: #2 Illinois 105, Georgia Tech 66 (Nov. 23, 2001 // Las Vegas)
Series Streak: Illinois W-4
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 1-0
Series Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-1
Groce vs. Georgia Tech: First meeting
Illinois men's basketball season and single-game tickets are currently available. Season tickets in C-level are $399. Single-game tickets range from $22-$45. Tickets can be purchased online at fightingillini.com, by phone at 1-866-ILLINI-1, or in person at the Illinois Ticket Office at the Assembly Hall.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster for the United Center game vs. Auburn on Dec. 29 and the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center, March 14-17. Tickets for those events can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Illinois carries a three-game winning streak in the Challenge, the third-longest active streak by a team from either conference.
Illinois is 6-7 all-time in the Challenge.
The Illini's six wins are tied with Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin for the most by any Big Ten team in Challenge history.
Illinois is 3-2 at the Assembly Hall in the Challenge.
The Big Ten has won three straight Challenges, defeating the ACC by a commanding 8-4 margin last year following consecutive 6-5 margins in 2009 and 2010.
This is Illinois' first game against Georgia Tech in the Challenge.
Illinois has now been ranked in the Top 25 nine times in 14 Challenge games.
John Groce looks to become the first Illinois coach to win his first Challenge game. The previous three Illini head coaches all lost their inaugural Challenge contest (Lon Kruger in 1999, Bill Self in 2000 and Bruce Weber in 2003).
Illinois is on a 3-game ACC/Big Ten Challenge winning streak.
Illinois By the Numbers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Current streak: W-3
At home: 3-2
On the road: 3-2
At neutral sites: 0-3
When ranked: 4-4
When unranked: 2-3
When playing a ranked opponent: 3-5
When playing an unranked opponent: 3-2
When both teams are ranked: 2-4
When neither team is ranked: 1-2
Longest winning streak: 3 (2009-current)
Longest losing streak: 3, twice (1999-2001 & 2006-08)
Largest winning margin: 27 points (2002)
Largest losing margin: 13 points (2001)
Closest margin: 1 point (2000)
Groce Off to Historic Start
First-year head coach John Groce has the Illini off to a 7-0 start this season. He is just the third Illini coach ever - and only the second since World War II - to begin his UI tenure with at least seven consecutive wins. Harry Combes also won his first seven games as head coach at Illinois (1947-48). Fletcher Lane owns the best start of any Illini coach. He won his first 12 games (1907-08), although 11 of those 12 victories came against YMCA/Athletic Club teams.
Fast Out of the Gate Again
The Illini are off to a 7-0 start for the second consecutive season. Illinois won its first 10 games last year before suffering its first loss to UNLV on Dec. 17.
Home Sweet Home
Illinois owns an 18-game non-conference home winning streak, and has won 30 consecutive regular season games at the Assembly Hall over non-conference opponents.
Illinois' last home loss to a non-Big Ten team came against Dayton in the 2010 NIT Quarterfinal. The Illini's last home loss to a non-conference opponent during the regular season, meanwhile, was to Clemson in the 2008 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Illinois currently leads the NCAA in total 3-point field goals (76) and 3-point field goals per game (10.9). The Illini made at least 10 three-pointers in its first six games of the season, becoming the first UI team ever to make double-digit three-point field goals in six consecutive games. The Illini's season high for 3-point field goals is 13, set in the opener vs. Colgate (Nov. 9) and equaled vs. USC in Maui (Nov. 19).
Illinois has made 30 more 3-point baskets than its opposition so far this season (76-to-46), a total of 90 more points and meaning the Illini are outscoring the competition by a margin of 12.9 points per game from the land of three.
While it's still early, the Illini look to be well on their way to challenging the school record for 3-point field goals per game. Here are the top-five seasons in school history in that category:
The first NCAA statistical rankings of the season came out on Monday. The following is where the Illini rank among national leaders so far this year, alongside their final rank in those categories last season:
Georgia Tech Makes First Trip to Champaign Since Flyin' Illini Reached No. 1
This is only the second time that Illinois is facing Georgia Tech at home. The last time the Yellow Jackets came to Champaign was on Jan. 22, 1989, in a nationally-televised game on Super Bowl Sunday. In that contest, Lou Henson's Flyin' Illini battled back from a 14-point halftime deficit to beat Georgia Tech in double overtime by the score of 103-92, improving to 17-0 on the year. Kenny Battle led five Illini scorers in double figures with 25 points. Kendall Gill - who broke his foot late in the contest and would go on to miss the next 12 games - had 19 and Nick Anderson added 18. Stephen Bardo, who is broadcasting Wednesday's game for ESPN2, scored 16. Dennis Scott led the Yellow Jackets with a game-high 29 points and Tom Hammonds netted 20.
Illinois moved to No. 1 in the country the following day and went on to reach the Final Four that season, finishing the year with a record of 31-5.
Illini Win EA SPORTS Maui Invitational; Paul Named MVP, Richardson All-Tourney
Illinois claimed the 2012 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, Nov. 19-21, winning the tournament for the first time in four tries after a runner-up finish in 2000 and third-place showings in 1987 and 2007. And the Illini did it in dominating fashion, posting winning margins of 30 points over USC, 23 points over Chaminade and 17 points over Butler. In fact, Illinois never trailed in 120 minutes of play in Maui, with only one tie (2-2 vs. Butler in title game's opening minute).
Senior Brandon Paul earned tournament MVP honors, averaging 19.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists over the three games. He shot 51.4 percent from the field (19-37) and 47.6 percent from the arc (10-21) while making all 11 free throw attempts.
Fellow senior D.J. Richardson was selected to the All-Tournament Team, averaging 12.7 points, team-highs of 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals, and 3.0 assists.
Dominance in Maui
Illinois averaged 85.3 points (256) and outscored its opponents by an average of 23.3 points per game (85.3-62.0).
Illinois shot better than 50 percent from the field (86-171) and more than 41 percent from 3-point range (34-82).
The Illini were nearly automatic from the free throw line, making 50-of-56 attempts (89.3 percent).
Illinois' defense held opponents to under 39 percent shooting (68-175), including less than 28 percent from the 3-point arc (19-68).
The Illini owned a rebounding margin of +8.3 (38.0-29.7).