Kendrick Nunn and the Illini will face their first ranked opponent on Saturday in Portland.
Dec. 12, 2013
|Game 11: Illinois (9-1) vs. No. 15 Oregon (8-0) in Portland|
|When||Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 | 6 p.m. PT/8 CT|
|Location||Portland, Ore. | Moda Center (10,807)|
|Television||ESPN2 (Roxy Bernstein, PBP & Sean Farnham, analyst)|
|Listen||Illini Sports Network | Listen (All-Access) | Sirius 93 / XM 191|
|Printable Game Notes||Illinois | Oregon | Big Ten|
|Season Stats||Illinois | Oregon | Big Ten|
|Preview Interviews||Jon Ekey | Malcolm Hill | Rayvonte Rice ||
|Social Media||@IlliniHoops | #Illini | @IlliniAthletics | Facebook | YouTube|
Illinois Probable Starters (from previous game)
|G||13||Tracy Abrams||6-2||190||Jr.||11.1||4.0||3.2||17 pts., 7 rebs., 5 assts. vs. Auburn Sunday|
|G||24||Rayvonte Rice||6-4||235||r-Jr.||17.9||5.7||2.0||Has scored double-figures in every game|
|G||2||Joseph Bertrand||6-6||200||r-Sr.||11.0||5.5||1.2||Hitting .571 from 3-point range this year|
|F||33||Jon Ekey||6-7||225||Gr.||9.1||6.2||0.3||Hitting .418 from downtown this year|
|F/C||32||Nnanna Egwu||6-11||250||Jr.||8.6||5.5||0.3||2.3 blocks per game 4th in B1G|
Off the Bench
|Pos.||No.||Name||Ht.||Wt.||Yr.||PPG||RPG||APG||Note||G||1||Jaylon Tate||6-3||160||Fr.||3.0||1.1||3.6||4.0 assist/to ratio ranks 2nd in B1G|
|G||10||Mike LaTulip||6-1||170||So.||1.3||0.4||0.3||Has hit 3-of-5 from 3-point range|
|G||21||Malcolm Hill||6-6||210||Fr.||4.2||3.0||0.8||Season-high 10 points vs. Dartmouth Tues.|
|C||22||Maverick Morgan||610||250||Fr.||1.6||1.5||0.1||Has 6 blocks on the season||G||25||Kendrick Nunn||6-3||180||Fr.||2.9||1.2||0.7||Shooting .625 from field in last 3 games|
|F||31||Austin Colbert||6-9||210||Fr.||2.2||1.2||0.2||Shooting 52.6 percent from the field|
|G||3||Ahmad Starks *||5-9||170||Sr.||10.4||2.0||2.3||Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season|
|G||11||Aaron Cosby *||6-3||195||Jr.||12.6||2.5||3.0||Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season|
|F||35||Darius Paul *||6-8||220||So.||10.4||5.7||1.7||Transfer must sit out 2013-14 season|
|* 2012-13 stats at former school|
Head Coach: John Groce
Career Record: 117-70/.626 (6th year)
At Illinois: 32-14/.696 (2nd year)
Assistant Coaches: Dustin Ford (2nd year), Paris Parham (2nd year), Jamall Walker (2nd year)
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Ryan Pedon (1st year)
Series Notes vs. Oregon
Series Record: Illinois leads 4-0
Last Meeting: #11 Illinois 89, Oregon 59 // Dec. 10, 2005 at Portland
Series Streak: Illinois W-4
Record at Portland: Illinois leads 2-0
Series Streak at Portland: Illinois W-2
Groce vs. Oregon: First meeting
Illinois concludes non-conference play with neutral-site games on three consecutive Saturdays, beginning this Saturday against Oregon at the Moda Center in Portland.
Illinois is averaging 76.5 points over the last two games (153) after scoring an average of just 60.7 points over the previous three games (182).
Illinois is 6-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points, and 20-2 overall under Coach John Groce when reaching the 70-point marker.
The Illini have shot 56.9 percent from the field (58-102) and 46.3 percent from 3-point range (19-41) over the last two games, dramatic improvement from the previous three games when the UI shot 38.7 percent from the floor (67-173) and 27.4 percent from behind the arc (17-62).
Illinois' 56.9 percent shooting over the last two games is its best accuracy over a two-game stretch since Jan. 2 and 6, 2011, when the Illini combined to shoot 63.5 percent in wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern. Illinois has shot better than 50 percent from the field in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 5 and 9, 2012, when the Illini made 54.2 percent against Northwestern and 52 percent at Indiana.
This is the first time in eight seasons that Illinois has held each of its first 10 opponents to less than 70 points, since the 2005-06 UI squad did so in the first 16 games.
Illinois has rebounded 38 percent of its misses, ranking 35th in the nation in offensive rebound percentage.
Junior transfer Rayvonte Rice is the first Illini newcomer to score in double figures in each of his first 10 games since Kiwane Garris did so in his first 10 games as a freshman in 1993-94.
Rice has led the Illini in scoring in each of the last five games, averaging 20.2 points (101) on 53.6 percent shooting (37-69), including 40.7 percent accuracy from 3-point range (11-27).
Rice also is shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range over the last five games (11-27), after shooting 22.7 percent behind the arc over the first five games (5-22).
Rice is shooting 62.8 percent on 2-pointers this season (49-78).
Rice is one of only two Big Ten players to score at least 12 points in every game this year, along with Penn State's D.J. Newbill.
Over the last two games, Jon Ekey has averaged 12.5 points (25) on 53.3 percent shooting (8-15) and 53.8 percent 3-point shooting. In his previous three games, Ekey combined for just 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting, and 3-of-15 from three.
Tracy Abrams has shot 57.1 percent (4-7) from 3-point range over the last two games, after missing all 11 three-point attempts over his previous four games.
Freshman Malcolm Hill scored a season-high 10 points in Tuesday's win over Dartmouth. It marked just the second double figure scoring game from the Illini bench this season, and first in eight games.
Nnanna Egwu scored in double figures for the first time in four games with 11 points on Tuesday against Dartmouth, just one off his season high.
Joseph Bertrand is shooting 57.1 percent from 3-point range this season (8-14) after entering his senior season as a career 31.1 percent shooter from behind the arc (20-64).
The starting five has clearly carried the scoring load, combining for 79.8 percent of Illinois' points on the season (577 of 723).
Freshman Jaylon Tate ranks second in the Big Ten with an assist/turnover ratio of 4.0 (36 assists, 9 turnovers).
Saturday's appearance at the Moda Center is the second of five neutral-site games for the Illini at professional venues. Illinois defeated Auburn on Dec. 8 at Philips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks. The Braggin' Rights game vs. Missouri on Dec. 21 will again be held at Scottrade Center, home of the St. Louis Blues. Illinois makes its annual appearance in Chicago on Dec. 28 vs. UIC at the United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks. The Big Ten Tournament, meanwhile, is March 13-16 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers.
Countdown to 1,700
With an all-time record of 1,699-910, Illinois stands just one win away from collecting its 1,700th victory, aiming to become the 13th program in NCAA Div. I history to reach that milestone. Illinois is the 11th-winningest program in NCAA history by percentage, meanwhile, with a 65.1 all-time winning percentage. Here is a list of the current 1,700-win club in NCAA Div. I:
Rk. School All-Time Wins Next Game 1. Kentucky 2,119 Dec. 14 2. Kansas 2,107 Dec. 14 3. North Carolina 2,096 Dec. 14 4. Duke 2,008 Dec. 16 5. Syracuse 1,883 Dec. 15 6. Temple 1,818 Dec. 18 7. UCLA 1,761 Dec. 14 8. St. John's 1,760 Dec. 15 9. Notre Dame 1,754 Dec. 14 10. Indiana 1,727 Dec. 14 11. Pennsylvania 1,708 Dec. 22 12. Louisville 1,705 Dec. 14 13. Illinois 1,699 Dec. 14 14. BYU 1,698 Dec. 14
Strength Against Strength
Saturday night's match-up between Illinois and Oregon features a battle of strengths, the Ducks offense against the Illini defense. Oregon is fifth in the nation in scoring, averaging 91.4 points. The Illini, meanwhile, are ninth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 59.3 points. Oregon is shooting 52.9 percent on the season, ranking fifth nationally, while the Illini rank 20th nationally in field goal percentage defense at 37.8 percent. The Ducks have scored at least 82 points in seven of eight games, while the Illini have not allowed more than 67 points in any game this season.
Taking on a Ranked Opponent
Illinois faces its first ranked opponent of the season on in No. 15 Oregon. The Illini have lost four straight versus Top-25 teams, with the most recent win coming last season at No. 18 Minnesota, 57-53, on Feb. 10, 2013.
Illinois' last victory over a Top-25 opponent in non-conference play also occurred last season, at No. 10 Gonzaga, 85-74, on Dec. 8, 2012.
Illinois is 4-7 against ranked opponents under Groce.
Returning to the City of Roses
Illinois is making its fifth trip to Portland for men's basketball. The Illini are 3-5 all-time in the Rose City entering Saturday's showdown with Oregon, including 1-1 at the Moda Center.
Illinois' most recent visit came in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, when the fifth-seeded Illini were upset by No. 12 seed Western Kentucky, 76-72. Three seasons prior, No. 11 Illinois defeated Oregon, 89-59.
Illinois also participated in a pair of Far West Classic holiday tournaments, held at Portland's Memorial Coliseum. In 1969, the Illini lost to Washington State, defeated Michigan State and fell to USC. In 19777, Illinois lost to Washington State, defeated Oregon (86-80) and fell to Washington.
Holiday Big Ten Mini-Pack Tickets On Sale
Back by popular demand again this holiday season is the Big Ten Mini-Pack. This special offer includes a ticket to three home conference match-ups - Saturday, Jan. 4 vs. Penn State, Wednesday, Jan. 15 vs. Purdue and Saturday, Feb. 1 vs. No. 23 Iowa - all for a price of just $49. That is a savings of nearly 54 percent off the single-game ticket price. Mini-pack tickets can be purchased online at FightingIllini.com.
In addition to the Big Ten Mini-Pack, tickets are still available for all remaining Illinois home games. Single-game tickets can be purchased online at FightingIllini.com or by calling the Illinois Ticket Office at 1-866-Illini-1.
Getting it Done on D
Illinois' defensive consistency has been the catalyst behind its 9-1 start. The Illini are allowing an average of just 59.3 points per game (second in Big Ten, ninth in NCAA) on 37.8 percent shooting (fourth in Big Ten, 20th in NCAA). No opponent has yet to score 70 points or shoot 45 percent against the Illini defense.