Trent Meacham and the Illini take on Arizona Saturday at the United Center at 11 a.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Dec. 6, 2007
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #8: Illinois (5-2) vs. #22ap/24 Arizona (5-2)
Lexus December to Remember Classic
Dec. 8, 2007 11 am CT ESPN
Chicago, Ill. United Center (20,000)
On the Air
ESPN: Brad Nessler, play-by-play; Steve Lavin, 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
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Sr, 6-8, 220, 9.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
F - 23 Rodney Alexander (Jr., 6-7, 225, 7.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg) -OR-
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-Jr., 6-2, 195, 10.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.1 spg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Sr., 6-10, 245, 10.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.1 apg)
G - 25 Calvin Brock (r-Jr., 6-5, 195, 8.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.4 spg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (Jr., 6-2, 190, 7.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.0 spg)
Off the Bench
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Sr., 6-2, 190, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
G - 13 Jeff Jordan (Fr., 6-1, 185, 0.6 ppg, 0.2 rpg)
G - 22 Steve Holdren (r-Jr., 6-5, 200, 1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F - 24 Mike Davis (Fr., 6-9, 195, 2.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg)
F - 30 Bill Cole (Fr., 6-9, 210, 3.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
F - 32 Demetri McCamey (Fr., 6-3, 205, 5.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.7 apg)
C - 33 Brian Carlwell (So., 6-11, 265, 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (r-Fr., 6-9, 235, 0.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg)
C - 54 Mike Tisdale (Fr., 7-1, 215, 3.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 220-84/.724 (10th year)
At Illinois: 117-30/.796 (5th year)
Big Ten: 48-16/.750
Vs. Arizona: 1-1
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)
Arizona Head Coach: Lute Olson
Overall Record: 780-280/.736 (35th year)
At Arizona: 589-187/.759 (25th year)
Vs. Illinois All-Time: 18-8
Series Notes: Arizona
Saturday marks the 14th meeting between Illinois and Arizona, with the Wildcats leading the all-time series 7-6. Arizona won the most recent match-up, 84-72, last December in Phoenix at the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge. The Illini's last victory in the series was a thrilling 90-89 overtime win on March 26, 2005 in the NCAA Chicago Regional Final at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont that sent Illinois to St. Louis for the Final Four.
This is the seventh game between the two teams this decade, and the second meeting at the United Center. Illinois defeated Arizona 81-73 at the UC on Dec. 16, 2000. In that game, former Illini guard Cory Bradford broke the NCAA record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer.
Illini Notes ...
Saturday's contest vs. Arizona at the United Center marks the sixth time in eight games to start the season that Illinois will play away from the Assembly Hall.
Arizona is Illinois' only game over a 15-day stretch.
Calvin Brock is averaging 11.3 points on 50 percent shooting over the last four games. He had a season-high 143 points vs. Duke, 12 vs. Oklahoma State, 13 at Maryland and six vs. Weber State. Brock's 13 points at Maryland were a team best, marking the first time in his career that he has been the Illini's leading scorer in a game. Brock ranks fourth on the team in scoring (8.6 ppg) and third in rebounding (4.7 rpg) on the year.
Trent Meacham is averaging 17.3 points and is shooting 65.5 percent from the field (19-29) and 52.9 percent from 3-point range (9-17) over the last three games. He has also totaled eight assists with only two turnovers, along with six steals. Meacham had a game-high 17 points vs. Oklahoma State, nine at Maryland and a career-high 26 points vs. Weber State. Meacham is Illinois' leading scorer on the season, averaging 10.9 ppg.
Meacham's career-high 26 points vs. Weber State eclipsed his previous career best of 24 set last season vs. Florida A&M when he tied the school record for 3-pointers in a game with eight. This was also the highest scoring total by an Illini since Dee Brown had 26 points vs. Michigan on Jan. 14, 2006.
Chester Frazier is averaging 7.5 rebounds over the last four games. He tied his season high with nine boards vs. Duke, had eight vs. Oklahoma State, seven at Maryland and six vs. Weber State. Frazier has been the Illini's leading rebounder in four games and ranks second on the team with an average of 6.3 rpg on the season.
Tickets Remain for United Center Game vs. Arizona
As of Monday afternoon, approximately 1,000 tickets remained for Saturday's game at the United Center vs. Arizona. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 312-559-1212.
The United Center: Illinois' Home Away from Home
While games played at the United Center count as neutral site in the record book, for the Illini the UC is a home away from home. Saturday's contest against Arizona marks the 39th game the Illini have played at the UC, dating back to the 1994-95 season. Illinois owns an all-time record of 31-7 (.816) at the United Center. The Illini had a 15-game winning streak at the UC spanning six seasons that came to an end last March against No. 3 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal.
Saturday also marks the 14th consecutive year that Illinois has scheduled a "home" game at the United Center. Illinois lost its first one of those to Duke on Dec. 4, 1994. The Illini have not lost since, winning its last 12 December games at the UC. Illinois' winning streak of December games at the United Center is actually 13, but the victory over UIC on Dec. 29, 2003 was considered UIC's home game.
Current Illini at the United Center
Shaun Pruitt (7 G): 6.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg
UC Highlights: Had seven points, seven rebounds and tied career high with three blocks vs. UIC (12/9/06) ... Had eight points and game-high 10 rebounds vs. Penn State (3/8/07) ... Posted double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds vs. Indiana (3/9/07) ... Scored nine points vs. Wisconsin (3/10/07).
Brian Randle (7 G): 6.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg
UC Highlights: Had nine points and a season-high 11 rebounds vs. Illinois-Chicago as a freshman (12/30/03) ... Scored six points and had three boards vs. Xavier (12/3/05) ... Had nine points and nine rebounds vs. UIC (12/9/06) ... Had 11 points vs. Penn State (3/8/07) ... Tied game-high seven rebounds and tied career high with three steals vs. Wisconsin (3/10/07).
Chester Frazier (5 G): 7.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.8 apg
UC Highlights: Had 10 points and six rebounds vs. UIC (12/9/06) ... Scored career high 21 points vs. Penn State (3/8/07) ... Had six points, six rebounds and game-high six assists vs. Indiana (3/9/07).
Trent Meacham (1 G): 5.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
UC Highlights: Had five points and game-high five assists vs. UIC (12/9/06) ... Had eight points vs. Indiana (3/9/07). Calvin Brock (4 G): 3.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg UC Highlights: Had four points, four rebounds and tied career high with three steals vs. UIC (12/9/06) ... Scored six points vs. Indiana (3/9/07).
Brian Carlwell (1 G): 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
UC Highlight: Had one rebound vs. UIC (12/9/06).
Chris Hicks (1 G): 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
Last Time Out: Weber State
Illinois defeated Weber State 78-61 at the Assembly Hall last Saturday behind Trent Meacham's career-high 26 points. The Illini shot 61 percent in the first half, opening up a 47-22 point lead at the break. The UI held its biggest lead at 38 points (69-31) with 11 minutes left before playing its reserves for the remainder of the game. Illinois shot 50.8 percent for the game (32-63), its third game this year shooting 50 percent, and tied its season high with 10 three-pointers.
Dominating the Glass
Illinois has outrebounded its six of seven opponents this year and owns a rebounding margin of +6.9 on the season. Here is a breakdown of Illinois' success on the boards through the first seven games of the 2007-08 season:
Northeastern 47-42 +5 at Hawaii 42-28 +14 vs. Arizona State 31-24 +7 vs. Duke 41-31 +10 vs. Oklahoma State 39-26 +13 at Maryland 42-41 +1 Weber State 31-33 -2 Total 273-225 +48 reb Avg. 39.0-32.1 +6.9 rpg
Illinois' bench is contributing over 27 points per game and has outscored the opposing bench in five of seven games. Here is a breakdown of Illinois' bench production through this season's first seven games:
Northeastern 17-21 -4 at Hawaii 25-14 +11 vs. Arizona State 19-29 -10 vs. Duke 22-17 +5 vs. Oklahoma State 33-7 +26 at Maryland 21-17 +4 Weber State 53-33 +20 Total 190-138 +52 pts Avg. 27.1-19.7 +7.4 ppgIllinois has also had five double-figure scoring games by players off the bench this season:
Player Opponent Points Calvin Brock Hawaii 11 Demetri McCamey Hawaii 10 Calvin Brock Duke 14 Trent Meacham Oklahoma St. 17 Trent Meacham Weber State 26
Illini Already Building Resume
Illinois notched some key non-conference victories during the month of November that could pay dividends in March. Illinois and Michigan State are currently the only two teams in the Big Ten with both a road win and two wins over opponents from BCS conferences (as of Dec. 5). The Illini won at Hawaii and defeated Arizona State of the Pac-10 and Oklahoma State of the Big XII. Michigan State won at Bradley and defeated Missouri-Big XII and N.C. State-ACC.
Brock Named to Maui Invite All-Tourney Team
Junior Calvin Brock was named to the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational All-Tournament Team after averaging 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds during the tournament in just over 21 minutes per game. Brock came off the bench to record a season-high 14 points vs. Duke, which was also the second-highest scoring output of his career. He earned his first start of the season the following day vs. Oklahoma State and scored in double figures again with 12 points on 5-7 shooting while pulling down a game-high eight boards. He shot 50 percent (11-22) on the week and also led the Illini with five steals.
Meacham Comfortable off the Bench
Junior Trent Meacham started the first four games of the season before Coach Weber moved him to a reserve roll to help him relax. The move worked as Meacham has been the UI's top performer over the last three games coming off the bench. And during that stretch his playing time has actually increased (24.7 mpg) compared to when he was starting (20.0 mpg).
Over the last three games, Meacham is averaging 17.3 points and is shooting 65.5 percent from the field (19-29) and 52.9 percent from 3-point range (9-17). He has also totaled eight assists with only two turnovers, along with six steals. Meacham had a game-high 17 points vs. Oklahoma State, nine at Maryland and a career-high 26 points vs. Weber State. His previous career high came last season vs. Florida A&M when he scored 24 on a school-record tying eight 3-pointers.
Randle More Aggressive on Offense
Senior and three-year starter Brian Randle currently carries a career-high scoring average of 9.7 points. He reached double figures in each of the first four games this season, a career-best streak, before it came to an end vs. Oklahoma State when he left due to injury just seven minutes into the game. Randle had 14 points in the opener vs. Northeastern, 12 points at Hawaii, a career-high 17 points vs. Arizona State and 16 points vs. Duke.
Randle is shooting 50 percent from the field (28-56) and is also averaging 4.4 rebounds on the season (fourth on the team).
Pruitt a Force Inside
Illinois has one of the top post players in the Big Ten in senior and three-year starting center Shaun Pruitt. A preseason All-Big Ten selection, Pruitt is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.3 points, and leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 rpg. Pruitt has scored at least nine points all but one game this season, with a season-high 15 points at Hawaii, 12 vs. Northeastern, 11 vs. Duke, 10 at Maryland, and nine each vs. Arizona State and Oklahoma State.
Pruitt has 10 career double-doubles including one this season, when he pulled down a career-high 17 boards to go along with his 12 points vs. Northeastern in the opener. It marked the highest rebounding total by an Illini player in eight seasons, since Sergio McClain had 18 rebounds at Michigan on Jan. 16, 2000.
Frazier Does It All
Point guard Chester Frazier has earned a reputation for his relentless play and ability to impact the game in all areas. Leading the team in playing time at 32 minutes per contest, Frazier is averaging 7.1 points and leads the Illini in assists (17) and ranks third in steals (7). Despite standing 6-2, Frazier also is second in rebounding behind Pruitt with an average of 6.3 rpg. Frazier has twice grabbed a season-high nine rebounds, against Hawaii and Duke, tallied eight boards vs. Oklahoma State, seven at Maryland and six in his last outing vs. Weber State. He has been the UI's leading rebounder in four games this season.
Illini Nation's Third-Winningest Team Under Weber
Illinois won a total of 117 games during Bruce Weber's tenure in Champaign. Illinois currently ranks as the third-winningest team in the nation over the last four-plus seasons. The Illini were tied with Duke and Florida for the most wins nationally at 112 each over a four-year period from 2004-07.
Illinois recorded 26 wins in 2003-04, an NCAA record-tying 37 victories in 2004-05, 26 wins in 2005-06, 23 wins last year, and five victories to start this season. The following ranking is the top teams in the NCAA by total wins over the last four-plus years (since the beginning of the 2003-04 season):
School Wins Next Game 1. Florida 121 Dec. 15 2. Duke 120 Dec. 8 T3. ILLINOIS 117 Dec. 8 T3. Memphis 117 Dec. 15 5. North Carolina 114 Dec. 16 T6. Gonzaga 113 Dec. 8 T6. Kansas 113 Dec. 8 T6. Pittsburgh 113 Dec. 8
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.