Dec. 10, 2012
Probable Starters (from the previous game)
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Other
G 13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 So. 11.6 3.5 3.6 1.5 spg
G 1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Sr. 12.2 4.8 1.6 2.8 3FG/G
G 3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Sr. 19.5 4.4 3.8 41.2% 3FG
F 42 Tyler Griffey 6-9 220 Sr. 9.8 3.1 0.4 47.2% 3FG
F/C 32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 235 So. 5.6 3.9 0.6 1.0 bpg
Off the Bench
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG Other
F 0 Sam McLaurin 6-8 220 Gr. 4.4 4.1 0.6 27 off. reb.
G 2 Joseph Bertrand 6-6 195 r-Jr. 8.3 4.0 0.9 60.0% FG
G 10 Mike LaTulip 6-0 165 Fr. 2.8 0.3 0.0 3-6 3FG
F 15 Mike Shaw 6-8 215 So. 0.9 0.5 0.1 2-3 FG
G/F 20 Myke Henry 6-6 230 So. 4.5 2.6 0.2 44.4% 3FG
G/F 21 Devin Langford 6-7 200 r-Fr. 0.6 1.6 0.2 2 steals
F/C 23 Ibby Djimde 6-8 245 So. 0.0 0.1 0.0 10 minutes
G 24 Rayvonte Rice % 6-4 240 Jr.
G 31 Kevin Berardini 6-0 165 r-Jr. 1.0 0.0 0.4 5-6 FT
% Rice is sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 95-56/.629 (5th year)
At Illinois: 10-0/1.000 (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. Norfolk State
Series Record: First meeting
Groce vs. Norfolk State at Illinois: First meeting
Groce vs. Norfolk State All-Time: 1-0
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, 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.
Home Sweet Home
Following the win at No. 10 Gonzaga, the 10-0 Illini return to Champaign to host 6-5 Norfolk State on Tuesday night in the first of back-to-back games at the Assembly Hall. Following the Norfolk State contest, the Illini will take on 9-0 Eastern Kentucky on Sunday to conclude a stretch of five out of six games at home.
Illinois owns an active 20-game non-conference home winning streak and has won 32 consecutive regular season home games over non-conference opponents.
Groce Off to Historic Start
First-year head coach John Groce has the Illini off to a 10-0 start this season, the best debut for an Illini coach in the modern era. Groce is just the second Illini coach ever - and first in more than 100 years - to begin his UI tenure with at least 10 consecutive wins. Fletcher Lane owns the best start of any first-year Illini coach. He won his first 12 games during the 1907-08 season, although 11 of those 12 victories came against YMCA/Athletic Club teams.
Movin' On Up
Illinois has climbed to No. 10 in the current Associated Press rankings. The Illini were 13th last week after debuting at 22nd on Nov. 26. Illinois' current ranking of 10th is its highest in the last seven seasons and highest since being ranked No. 9 in the March 6, 2006 AP poll.
With 10 victories, the Illini are currently tied for the most wins in Div. I this season. And at 10-0, the Illini are one of only 14 undefeated teams left in the country. Three of those remaining unbeatens are in the Big Ten, the most of any conference.
NCAA Div. I Teams with 10 Wins
Illinois (Next Game Dec. 11)
Minnesota (Next Game Dec. 11)
New Mexico (Next Game Dec. 15)
Wyoming (Next Game Dec. 18)
Fast Out of the Gate Again
The Illini are off to a 10-0 start for the second consecutive season. Illinois won its first 10 games last year before suffering its first loss to UNLV on Dec. 17. Illinois has tied the ninth-best start in school history at 10-0 (see chart at bottom of Page 4 for Illinois' all-time best starts).
Paul Reigning Big Ten Player of the Week
Illini senior guard Brandon Paul was named Big Ten Player of Week on Monday after his 35-point performance in Illinois' 85-74 win at No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday. Paul hit 10-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-9 from three-point range, and 10-of-11 from the free throw line en route to his season-high point total. He also added four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. The Wooden Award and Senior CLASS Award candidate also scored 14 points in a Dec. 4 win over Western Carolina. For the week, he averaged 24.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in two games.
This is the second career Big Ten Player of the Week honor for Paul, as he also was recognized on Jan. 16, 2012, following his 43-point performance in a win over No. 5 Ohio State last season.
Notes from Illinois' Marquee Win at No. 10 Gonzaga
Illinois handed the Bulldogs just their eighth loss at "The Kennel" in nine seasons. Gonzaga is now 110-8 at the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004-05.
The Illini trailed 8-0 right off the bat and by as many as 11 in the first half (31-20 at the 8-minute mark) before storming back to take tie the game at 41 at halftime. Illinois held Gonzaga without a field goal for the final 7:41 of the first half. After Kelly Olynyk's layup with 7:42 left before the break, the Bulldogs only points the remainder of the half came on free throws.
Battling back from the 31-20 deficit, Illinois outscored Gonzaga 65-43 over the game's final 28 minutes.
Illinois made 11 three-pointers against the Bulldogs, reaching double figures for the eighth time in 10 games.
Senior guard Brandon Paul had a monster game for the Illini, pouring in a season-high 35 points on 10-16 field goals, 5-9 from three-point range and 10-11 from the line. It marked Paul's second career 30+ point performance and was the second highest scoring total of his career, behind only his 43-point effort against No. 5 Ohio State on Jan. 10, 2012. He also added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
The game marked the end of a four-game series against Gonzaga over the last four years. Illinois won the series 3-1, with wins in each the last three seasons - 73-61 in Seattle on 12/4/10, 75-68 in Champaign on 12/3/11 and 85-74 tonight. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 85-83 in overtime at the United Center in Chicago on 1/2/10.
Taking Down a Ranked Opponent
With Saturday night's win at No. 10 Gonzaga, the Illini snapped a five-game losing streak versus Top-25 teams. Their last win over a ranked team prior to Saturday came last season against No. 9 Michigan State, 42-41, at the Assembly Hall (Jan. 31, 2012).
Illinois also ended a nine-game road skid versus ranked teams, earning its first victory on a Top-25 opponent's home floor since winning at No. 11 Wisconsin, 63-56, on Feb. 9, 2010.
Illinois also secured its first road win over a Top-10 team since Dec. 30, 2008, when the Illini defeated No. 9 Purdue, 71-67, in overtime in West Lafayette.
The victory at Gonzaga also was Illinois' first non-conference road win against a Top-10 opponent in 26 years, since winning at No. 4 Georgia Tech, 59-57, on March 1, 1986. Illinois had lost its last four non-conference road games against Top-10 foes prior to Saturday.
Paul Scores 30+ for Second Time in Career
Brandon Paul led the Illini with a season-high 35 points in the win at Gonzaga. It was the second-best scoring output of his career, behind the 43 points he tallied in last year's win over Ohio State. It was Paul's 18th career game reaching the 20-point marker, meanwhile, including his fifth this season.
Illinois has made dramatic improvement on offense this season. The following is where the Illini rank in various categories in the most recent NCAA stats (through Dec. 10), as compared to their final rank last season:
2012-13 Stat/Rank 2011-12 Final Stat/Rank
Scoring Offense 79.3 ppg / 26th 65.6 ppg / 221st
Scoring Margin 14.9 ppg / 30th 1.3 ppg / 160th
3-Point FG Per Game 10.8 / 1st 5.8 / 197th
3-Point FG Percentage .408 / 14th .304 / 272nd
Illinois currently leads the NCAA in total 3-point field goals (108) and 3-point field goals per game (10.8). 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. Illinois has now made 10 or more threes in all but two games on the year.
Illinois has made 40 more 3-point baskets than its opposition so far this season (108-to-68), a total of 120 more points and meaning the Illini are outscoring the competition by a margin of 12.0 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, which is currently held by the 2004-05 team (8.8). Here are the top-five seasons in school history in that category:
Illinois made 14 three-pointers against Georgia Tech on Nov. 28, the best mark since 2005 and equaling the fourth-highest total in school history. The Illinois school record is 16 against Arizona in the NCAA Regional Final in 2005.