Different Challenge Awaits in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, IL - It will be a battle of the unbeaten when the Tigers and the Fighting Illini meet in Assembly Hall on the University of Illinois campus Tuesday night as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

WHAT: Clemson (7-0) at Illinois (6-0)
WHERE: Assembly Hall (16,618) - Champaign, IL
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 2 (7:30 PM)
SPREAD: Illinois by 2
TV: ESPN-2

Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell has the Tigers off to a 7-0 start, meanwhile head coach Bruce Weber has Illinois sitting at 6-0.

"It will definitely be a different test than we have had all year," Purnell told CUTigers.com previewing tonight's matchup. "They are a higher caliber team and we have to be sure we take the lessons we have learned in these earlier games and use them against Illinois."

The Tigers have a sparkling 7-2 record in the ACC/Big Ten challenge which is actually fourth best among league teams. Only Duke (9-0), Wake Forest (7-1) and Boston College (2-0) have better marks than the Tigers. Illinois has not quite fared as well going 3-6 against ACC teams in this series.

The front line of Illinois should pose a big test for the Tigers this evening as center Mike Tisdale stands at 7-1 and forward Mike Davis checks in at 6-9. Davis has been a beast so far this season averaging 12.7 points per game and grabbing 9.7 rebounds per contest. The match-up between him and Trevor Booker should be one to watch.

Raymond Sykes will also be tested by Tisdale, who comes into the game scoring 10.0 points per game and snaring 5.5 rebounds. The two big men are paired up with three guards in the starting lineup.

Chester Frazier runs the point and does it well averaging seven assists a game and scoring 6.7 points per contest. On the wings are two very capable scorers in Demetri McCamey (12.0 ppg) and Trent Meacham (11.5 ppg). Meacham is a very good outside shooter connecting on 13-of-25 three point attempts so far this season.

The Illini, like the Tigers, have been putting the defensive clamps on teams this season limiting opponents to just 56 points per game.

Squads are shooting just 37 percent from the field and just 27 percent outside the three point arch. Something will have to give here as the Tigers are shooting 49.3 percent from the field this season and 40.3 percent from three point range.

Illinois claimed the championship in the South Padre Island Invitational this past weekend with wins over Kent State and Tulsa. The Illini also have a road victory over Vanderbilt this season, which is significant because it broke the Commodores string of 20 consecutive wins on their home floor.

Under Oliver Purnell Clemson is 4-1 In the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The only loss came in Purnell's first year losing to Purdue on the Boilermakers home floor 76-64.

Since that time Clemson has posted a 80-73 win over Ohio State in 2004, in 2005 the Tigers knocked off Penn State in State College, PA 96-88, in 2006 Clemson traveled to Minnesota and embarrassed the Golden Gophers 90-68, and last season the Tigers came from behind to beat Purdue 61-58 in Littlejohn.

Tip off time in Champaign, IL. is slated for 7:30 PM.

PROBABLE STARTERS
Clemson (7-0)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (6-2,175) - 9.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG
G #22 Terrence Oglesby (6-2,190) - 13.7 PPG, 1.6 RPG
C #12 Raymond Sykes (6-9,220) - 10.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG
F #1 K.C. Rivers (6-5,215) - 11.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG
F #35 Trevor Booker (6-7,240) - 14.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG

Illinois (6-0)
G #3 Chester Frazier(6-2,190) - 6.0 PPG, 7.0 APG
G #22 Trent Meacham (6-2,195) - 11.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG
C #33 Mike Tisdale (7-1,235) - 10.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG
F #21 Demetri McCamey (6-3,205) - 12.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG
F #41 Mike Davis (6-9,210) - 12.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG

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