Following an 8-day break, Illinois takes on Xavier in Cincinnati on Friday at 8 p.m. CT. The game will televised nationally on ESPN2.
Dec. 26, 2006
Champaign, Ill. -
FIGHTING ILLINI BASKETBALL
Game #15: Illinois (12-2) vs. Xavier (8-4)
Dec. 29, 2006 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET ESPN2
Cincinnati, Ohio U.S. Bank Arena (16,202)
On the Air
ESPN2: Dave Revsine, play-by-play; Fran Fraschilla, expert analyst.
Illini Sports Network - 47 stations: Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Jerry Hester, expert analyst; Loren Tate pregame/halftime/ postgame interviews.
Illini Probable Starters
F - 42 Brian Randle (r-Jr, 6-8, 220, 9.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.2 spg)
F - 41 Warren Carter (Sr., 6-9, 220, 13.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.3 bpg)
C - 55 Shaun Pruitt (Jr., 6-10, 245, 11.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg)
G - 33 Rich McBride (Sr., 6-3, 205, 9.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.3 apg)
G - 3 Chester Frazier (So., 6-2, 190, 9.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.1 apg, 1.6 spg)
Off the Bench
G - 1 Trent Meacham (r-So., 6-2, 195, 7.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 2.2 apg)
G - 2 Chris Hicks (Jr., 6-2, 190, 0.6 ppg, 0.1 rpg)
C - 21 Brian Carlwell (Fr., 6-11, 265, 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
F - 25 Calvin Brock (r-So., 6-5, 195, 8.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.1 apg)
G - 31 Jamar Smith (So., 6-3, 185, 12.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.4 apg)
F - 34 C.J. Jackson (r-Fr., 6-8, 260, 1.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg)
F - 44 Marcus Arnold (r-Sr., 6-8, 245, 2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
F - 50 Richard Semrau (Fr., 6-9, 230, 3.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg) -Out-
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
Overall Record: 204-72/.739 (9th year)
Big Ten: 39-9/.813
At Illinois: 101-18/.849 (4th year)
Vs. Xavier: 1-0
Assistant Coaches: Wayne McClain (6th year), Jay Price (4th year), Tracy Webster (3rd year)
Assistant to the Head Coach: Gary Nottingham (4th year)
Trainer: Al Martindale (24th year at Illinois)
Xavier Head Coach: Sean Miller
Overall Record: 46-27/.630 (3rd year)
At Xavier: Same
Vs. Illinois: 0-1
Assistant Coaches: Chris Mack, James Whitord, Kenya Hunter
Series Notes: Xavier
This is just the third all-time meeting between Illinois and Xavier, with the Illini owning a 2-0 lead in the series. Last season, Illinois fought back from a 15-point first-half deficit to defeat Xavier 65-62 at the United Center in Chicago. The Illini also beat the Musketeers in 1961 at Huff Gym in Champaign, 81-69.
Illinois returns to action vs. Xavier on Friday following eights days off, its longest break since the season started.
In the most recent win over Idaho State, the Illini guards (Jamar Smith, Chester Frazier, Rich McBride, Calvin Brock and Trent Meacham) combined for 76.1 percent of the offense, scoring 54 of 71 points.
Prior to the Idaho State game, Illinois' starting frontcourt (forwards Warren Carter and Brian Randle and center Shaun Pruitt) combined to average 42.5 points in wins over Belmont (Dec. 17) and Missouri (Dec. 19), accounting for 57 percent of Illinois' offense (85 of 150 pts).
Illinois' Jamar Smith is the highest scoring non-starting player in the Big Ten. Smith ranks second on the team, averaging 12.8 points per game off the bench. Smith has averaged 19.0 points over the last two games.
Illinois is a balanced offensive club, with three players averaging double figures and eight members of the roster averaging at least 7.9 points per game.
Six different players have been Illinois' leading scorer in a game this season (Warren Carter-5, Shaun Pruitt-3, Jamar Smith-2, Trent Meacham-2, Rich McBride-1, Chester Frazier-1).
Over his last seven games, Warren Carter is averaging 16.7 points (117) and 7.4 rebounds (52) while shooting 55.6 percent from the field (45-81). Included in that stretch have been three 20+ point performances for the senior power forward. Carter had a career-high 24 points vs. Arizona (Dec. 2), tying the highest point total by UI player this season, and 21 points vs. both IUPUI (Dec. 6) and Belmont (Dec. 17). Carter did not play vs. Idaho State on Dec. 21 due to a hip injury.
Chester Frazier ranks second in the Big Ten and 11th in the NCAA (as of Dec. 17) in assists with an average of 6.1 apg. He had a career-high 11 assists vs. Bradley (Nov. 25) and again vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), which is tied for the highest total by a Big Ten player this season.
Warren Carter's 13.8-point average ranks 11th in the Big Ten. Carter is 10th in the conference in rebounding, averaging 6.5 rpg, and ninth in blocks, averaging 1.3 bpg.
Jamar Smith is shooting 46.3 percent from 3-point range, hitting 25-54 from behind the arc on the season. He has four games with at least four 3-pointers, making five treys in the season opener vs. Austin Peay (Nov. 13), a perfect 5-5 from 3-point land vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), four 3s vs. Missouri (Dec. 19) and five treys vs. Idaho State (Dec. 21).
Shaun Pruitt has scored in double figures in 10 of 14 games this season and is third on the team in scoring at 11.6 ppg. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds vs. Maryland (Nov. 28) and scored a career-high 19 points on 8-11 shooting vs. Missouri (Dec. 19).
Over the past 11 games, Chester Frazier has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.68 (67 assists/25 turnovers). Frazier had a career-high 11 assists twice, vs. Bradley (No. 25) and vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), and also had 10 assists vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19).
Calvin Brock has scored at least six points in 12 of 14 games.
Trent Meacham ranks third in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting at 50 percent (25-50). He had a school-record eight 3-pointers vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19), which is also the most treys by a Big Ten player this year.
Shaun Pruitt ranks fourth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.583, 67-115) and is tied for sixth in rebounding (6.9 rpg).
Illinois has scored over 70 points in 12 of 14 games and is averaging 74.9 points on the season (4th in Big Ten).
Illinois is outscoring its opponent by an average of 16.4 points (3rd in Big Ten, 20th in NCAA as of Dec. 18).
Illinois has shot better than 45 percent in nine of 14 games, topping 50 percent six times, and is shooting 47.3 percent from the field (370-783) on the season (5th in Big Ten).
Illinois has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range in six games and is shooting 39.6 percent from behind the arc (116-293) on the season (3rd in Big Ten).
The Illini are second in the Big Ten in 3-pointers, making an average of 8.3 per game (116 total).
Illinois has outrebounded 11 of 14 opponents and is outrebounding its opponent by an average of 9.6 boards (2nd in Big Ten, 12th in NCAA as of Dec. 17).
Illinois ranks second in the Big Ten in total rebounds (38.3 rpg) and leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds (14.5 rpg).
Illinois is holding its opponents to an average of just 58.5 points (4th in Big Ten, 21st in NCAA as of Dec. 18) on 40.5 percent shooting.
Losses to Maryland and Arizona marked just the third time in Bruce Weber's tenure that Illinois dropped back-to-back games. The Illini have never lost three consecutive games under Weber.
Last Time Out: Idaho State
Behind the hot shooting of Jamar Smith and Chester Frazier, Illinois defeated Idaho State 71-60 at the Assembly Hall on Dec. 21. Smith scored a season-high 21 points, nailing five 3-pointers. Frazier scored all 13 of his points in the second half, nailing 4-6 from behind the arc. Brian Randle added a season-high 11 points and Rich McBride also finished in double figures with 10.
Weber Records 100th Illinois Win;Fastest Coach in Big Ten History to Win 100 Games
Bruce Weber won his 100th game at Illinois with the victory over Missouri on Dec. 19. It took a total of just 118 games coaching the Orange and Blue for Weber to record his 100th win. NCAA records track how fast coaches reach milestone wins, but only on their overall record, not while at a particular school. So while it would be extremely difficult to say exactly where Weber's start at Illinois stands in NCAA history, it's clear by comparing his record against some of the top coaching names that he ranks with the best. In fact, Weber is the fastest coach in Big Ten history to reach 100 wins while at a conference school. The following is a list of notable coaches and how fast they reached 100 wins while at a particular school (note, this list is not a complete ranking throughout NCAA history)...
Coach, School Number of Games
Buck Freeman, St. John's 110
Adolph Rupp, Kentucky 116
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse 117
Jerry Tarkanian, Long Beach State 117
Bruce Weber, Illinois 118
Everett Case, N.C. State 120
Fred Taylor, Ohio State 120
Bob Knight, Indiana 120
Lew Andreas, Syracuse 122
Denny Crum, Louisville 122
Eddie Sutton, Arkansas 124
Don Haskins, UTEP 125
Nat Holman, CCNY 125
Buster Sheary, Holy Cross 125
Mark Few, Gonzaga 126
Tony Hinkle, Butler 126
Ray Meyer, DePaul 126
Harry Combes, Illinois 127
Peck Hickman, Louisville 127
Vic Bubas, Duke 128
Hugh Greer, Connecticut 128
Roy Williams, Kansas 129
Speed Morris, LaSalle 130
Fred Schaus, West Virginia 130
Clifford Wells, Tulane 130
Tubby Smith, Kentucky 130
Harry Fisher, Columbia 131
Joseph Lapchick, St. John's 131
Nolan Richardson, Tulsa 131
Gale Catlett, Cincinnati 132
Jack Ramsey, St. Joseph's 132
Rick Pitino, Kentucky 133
John Chaney, Temple 133
Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State 137
John Calipari, Memphis 145
Rick Barnes, Texas 145
Illini Retain Braggin' Rights For Seventh Straight Year
Illinois won its seventh consecutive Braggin' Rights game over Missouri, defeating the Tigers 73-70 on Dec. 19 in the annual series at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. With the win, Illinois improved to 18-8 all-time against Mizzou in the Braggin' Rights series.
The Illini starting frontcourt combined for 41 points and 21 rebounds, led by Shaun Pruitt, who scored a career-high 19 points and had a game-high nine rebounds. Warren Carter had 12 points and five boards and Brian Randle added 10 points and seven rebounds. Jamar Smith also had a big night for the Illini, scoring 17 points with four 3-pointers.
Illini Continue United Center Dominance
Illinois' win over UIC on Dec. 9 marked its 16th straight victory at the United Center, a winning streak that now spans the last five-plus seasons. Illinois has played 35 games all-time at the UC, owning a record of 29-6 (.829). The Illini return to the United Center in March for the Big Ten Tournament.
Weber Records 200th Career Win
Illinois' win over IUPUI on Dec. 6 marked Bruce Weber's 200th career win as a head coach. In his ninth season overall (fourth at Illinois following five seasons at Southern Illinois), he now owns a record of 204-72 (.739).
Weber had totaled 192 wins entering the 2006-07 season, which ranked as the third most wins in NCAA history by a coach after his first eight seasons.
Illini By the Numbers Under Weber
Illinois has been a consistent winner under Bruce Weber, a tenure that spans the most successful period in school history. The following is a breakdown of Illinois' success under Weber:
101-18: Illinois' overall record under Weber, a winning percentage of .849.
50-3: Illinois' record at the Assembly Hall under Weber, a winning percentage of .943.
37-2: Illinois' record in 2004-05, which tied the record for the winningest season in NCAA history.
26-7: Illinois' record last season as well as Weber's first season (2003-04), which tie the fourth-winningest season in school history.
39-9: Illinois' record in Big Ten play under Weber - which incudes back-to-back outright championships in 2004 and 2005 - a winning percentage of .813.
88-13: Illinois' record in regular season games under Weber, a winning percentage of .871.
49-4: Illinois' record in regular season non-conference games under Weber, a winning percentage of .925.
20-7: Illinois' record in road games under Weber, a winning percentage of .741.
30-7: Illinois' record in neutral-site games under Weber, a winning percentage of .811.
8-3: Illinois' NCAA Tournament record under Weber - which includes a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2004 and the program's first-ever appearance in the national championship game in 2005 - a winning percentage of .727.
5-2: Illinois' Big Ten Tournament record under Weber - which includes the 2005 tournament title - a winning percentage of .714.
13-5: Illinois' combined postseason record under Weber, a winning percentage of .722.
Randle Returns To Action
After having groin surgery on Nov. 17 and missing nine games, Brian Randle returned to action against UIC on Dec. 9. He played 16 minutes off the bench and performed well, nearly registering a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Randle scored 10 points against both Belmont (Dec. 17) and Missouri (Dec. 19) and had a season-high 11 vs. Idaho State on Dec. 21.
Randle is averaging 9.4 points and 5.2 rebounds on the season, is shooting 60 percent from the field (18-30) and has made 4-7 from 3-point range.
Carter Aiming High As A Senior
Warren Carter is off to a fast start to his senior season. The replacement for James Augustine at power forward, Carter has started all 13 games that he has played in this year and leads the team in scoring with an average of 13.8 points (11th in Big Ten). He has reached double figures nine times, led by a career-high 24 points on 11-17 shooting vs. Arizona (Dec. 2). He made it his third double-double of the season against the Wildcats, collecting 10 rebounds.
Carter has topped 20-point marker three times on the season, with a game-high 21 points vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6) and another 21-point effort vs. Belmont (Dec. 17).
Carter had 17 points vs. Bradley (Nov. 25). He also had eight rebounds vs. the Braves and had eight points, three blocks and three steals vs. Miami (OH) the night before to earn a spot on the Chicago Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Carter started strong against Maryland (Nov. 28), scoring all 13 of his points in the first half, while tallying a double-double with 11 boards.
Carter is second on the team in rebounding behind Pruitt, averaging 6.5 rpg to rank 10th in the Big Ten. He had the first double-double of his career vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15) with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. His 15 boards vs. JSU are the most by a Big Ten player this year.
Over his last six games, Carter is averaging 16.7 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent.
He suffered a hip injury at the end of the Missouri game and did not play against Idaho State on Dec. 21.
Frazier On Point
Chester Frazier has taken over the reins at point guard following the graduation of Dee Brown. The sophomore from Baltimore has been very productive in all facets of the game. He is averaging 9.1 points and ranks second in the Big Ten and 11th in the NCAA (as of Dec. 17) with an average of 6.1 assists. Frazier is also fifth on the Illini with an average of 4.8 rebounds and leads the team in steals, averaging 1.6 spg (third in Big Ten).
Frazier has scored in double figures in nine games, led by a career-high 17 points vs. Savannah State (Nov. 21). He recorded his first career double-double vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19) with 13 points and 10 assists.
Frazier had 10 points vs. Miami (OH) (Nov. 24), hitting a game-winning layup with 18 seconds left. He then recorded his second double-double vs. Bradley (Nov. 25) with 10 points and a career-high 11 assists. Frazier was named MVP of the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
He had 11 points and four assists in 39 minutes of action vs. Arizona (Dec. 2) and then tied his career high with another 11-assist effort vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6). Frazier's 11 assists vs. Bradley and vs. IUPUI tie the most by a Big Ten player this season.
Frazier most recently scored 13 points on 4-6 shooting from 3-point range against Idaho State on Dec. 21.
While continuing to rack up the assists, Frazier has also done a good job cutting down on his turnovers lately. After totaling 13 turnovers in the first two games (6.5 avg.), he has combined for just 28 turnovers over the past 12 games (2.3 avg.). He had only one turnover in 35 minutes vs. Bradley compared to 11 assists, and had just one turnover again vs. Maryland (Nov. 28).
Frazier's assist-to-turnover ratio over the past 11 games is 2.64 (67 assists/25 turnovers).
Pruitt A Consistent Contributor
Shaun Pruitt started every game last season and is once again the Illini's starting center this year. He has scored in double figures in 10 of 14 games and is third on the team in scoring with an average of 11.6 points. Pruitt had 15 points on 7-9 shooting vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15) and recorded the first double-double of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Savannah State (Nov. 21).
He earned Chicago Invitational Challenge All-Tournament Team honors after posting a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards vs. Miami (OH) (Nov. 24) followed by 16 points and nine rebounds in a career-best 31 minutes vs. Bradley (Nov. 25).
Pruitt was at his best vs. Maryland (Nov. 28), scoring 18 points on 7-12 shooting. He tallied his third double-double of the season against the Terrapins, collecting a career-high 11 rebounds in addition to his 18 points.
Pruitt scored in double figures for the sixth straight game vs. Arizona (Dec. 2), registering 11 points. That streak came to an end with seven points vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), but Pruitt was back in double figures with 13 points vs. Belmont (Dec. 17).
He then scored a career-high 19 points on 8-11 shooting and had a game-high nine boards vs. Missouri (Dec. 19).
Pruitt leads the Illini and is tied for sixth in the Big Ten in rebounding with an average of 6.9 boards and has been an efficient scorer, shooting 58.3 percent from the field (67-115) to rank fourth in the Big Ten.
Smith Is Instant Offense
Sophomore sharpshooter Jamar Smith has continued his reputation for providing instant offense in the Illini lineup. Smith, who missed six games due to a high ankle sprain, has reached double figures in five of eight games and is second on the team in scoring with an average of 12.8 points. He is the highest scoring non-starter in the Big Ten.
Smith scored 19 points in just 21 minutes of action in the season opener vs. Austin Peay (Nov. 13), when he suffered the ankle injury and missed the remainder of the game. He returned to the court against Bradley (Nov. 25), scoring 14 points, but his mobility was limited the following game vs. Maryland. After sitting out the Arizona game, Smith came off the bench to tally 15 points vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), connecting on all five 3-point attempts.
Smith scored 17 points in the win over Missouri (Dec. 19) and had a season-high 21 points vs. Idaho State (Dec. 21) in his last outing.
Smith has totaled 25 three-pointers in eight games (3.1 avg.) and is shooting 46.3 percent (25-54) from behind the arc on the season. He would rank second in the Big Ten in 3-point field goals and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage, but a player must appear in 75 percent of his team's games to officially be listed in the conference's statistical rankings.
McBride Regaining Old Form
Rich McBride started off slow after missing the season's first four games, but he has re-established himself as one of Illinois' top performers. McBride had a season-high 18 points vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), hitting six 3-pointers, and was in double figures again vs. UIC (Dec. 9) with a team-high 13 points. He most recently had 10 points vs. Idaho State (Dec. 21).
McBride has started eight of 10 games on the season and ranks fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.8 points. He is also averaging 2.3 assists while playing 30 minutes per game, second on the team behind Chester Frazier.
Brock Stepping Up
Sophomore Calvin Brock has made the most of his opportunity in the Illini lineup. He totaled 14 points on 6-9 shooting and six rebounds vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15), had 17 points on 7-11 shooting vs. Georgia Southern (Nov. 17), and tallied the first double-double of his career vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19) with career highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds along with a career-best seven assists.
After scoring eight vs. Bradley (Nov. 25), Brock was back in double figures with 11 points vs. Maryland (Nov. 28). He had eight points and eight rebounds vs. Arizona (Dec. 2) and played a great all-around game vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6) with 11 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Brock was credited by coach Weber as the catalyst in Illinois' victory over Idaho State on Dec. 21.
The Illini trailed by six points midway through the second half before Brock started a rally that brought Illinois ahead for good. In just 15 minutes, Brock scored seven points on 3-3 shooting and had a team-high seven rebounds.
Brock has started nine of 14 games this season, ranking seventh on the team in scoring with an average of 8.8 points. He is shooting 54.1 percent (53-98) from the floor (sixth in Big Ten). and is averaging 2.1 assists. Brock is third on the Illini in rebounding, averaging 5.4 boards and is second with 35 offensive rebounds.
Trent Meacham starred at Champaign Centennial High School and initially went to Dayton on a full scholarship. After playing as a true freshman at Dayton in 2004-05, Meacham returned to Illini country, choosing to walk-on to the Illinois squad. Meacham sat out last season as a transfer and has been awarded a scholarship for this season.
After an injury to Jamar Smith in the season opener vs. Austin Peay, Meacham found himself in the starting lineup just two days later, playing all 40 minutes vs. Jackson State (Nov. 15), scoring eight points with a career-high six assists.
Meacham was Illinois' leading scorer for two straight games with 19 points vs. Georgia Southern (Nov. 17) followed by a career-high 24 points vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19). He tied the school record for 3-pointers in a game with eight vs. FAMU en route to his 24 points.
He was back in double figures against IUPUI (Dec. 6), scoring 12 points.
Meacham ranks third in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal shooting at 50 percent (25-50), is averaging 7.9 points on the season and is third on the team in assists (2.2 apg).
*For complete set of Illinois men's basketball game notes, click on .pdf link at top of this page.