No. 8 Illinois (21-11) vs. No. 9 Minnesota (20-11)
Thursday, March 14: 11 a.m. CT - Chicago - United Center (19,087)
Big Ten Network - Announcers: Gus Johnson, Shon Morris, Stephanie White
Notes (per Minnesota sports info):
- Minnesota heads into the B1G Tournament with an all-time record of 13-15. The Gophers have not faced Illinois in the tourney since the 2008 semifinals - a 54-50 loss. Tubby Smith is 7-5 in B1G Tournament play.
- The Gophers' win over Penn State on March 2 gave Tubby Smith his fifth 20-win season in six seasons at Minnesota. Smith has guided his teams to 20 or more wins in 19 of 22 seasons as a head coach, including 17 straight seasons from 1993-94 to 2009-10.
- The win over No. 1 Indiana on Feb. 26 gave the Gophers their fifth win on the season over an AP Top 25 team - No. 19 Memphis, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 12 Illinois, No. 20 Wisconsin & the top-ranked Hoosiers. Minnesota joins a short list of Indiana (7 wins), Georgetown (6), Michigan State (5) & Wisconsin (5) with at least five wins over top-25 schools. It is the first time since 1996-97 that the Gophers have defeated five teams ranked in the top-25.
- Andre Hollins leads the Gophers in scoring at 13.9 ppg and assists at 3.5 apg. He holds a career free throw percentage of .845 (185-219), the highest free throw percentage in the history of the program.
Rodney Williams grabbed five rebounds against Wisconsin on Feb. 14 to go over 500 in his career. He became the 19th player in Gopher history to amass at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. He will head into the Big Ten Tournament with career numbers of 1,126 points & 527 rebounds.
- Trevor Mbakwe has contributed 10 double-doubles on the season, tops in the Big Ten Conference, and has 33 career double-doubles, also tops amongst Big Ten players. He led the B1G Conference in rebounding this season at 8.7 rpg, the second time he has accomplished that feat.
- Mbakwe currently holds a career field goal percentage of .578 (292-505) and is now the Gophers all-time leader in that category, bettering Randy Breuer's career percentage of .570 (681-1194).
Andre Hollins - G, Soph., 6-1, 200 – 13.9 ppg, 3.5 apg
Joe Coleman - G, Soph., 6-4, 210 - 8.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Austin Hollins - G, Jr., 6-4, 185 - 10.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Trevor Mbakwe - F, Sr., 6-8, 245 - 10.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Rodney Williams - F, Sr., 6-7, 205 - 10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Off the bench:
Series record: Illinois leads 117-64
Series record in Big Ten Tournament: 4-0
This season: No. 8 MINN 84, No. 12 ILL 67 (1/9 in Champaign)
ILL 57, No. 18 MINN 53 (2/10 in Minneapolis)
Series streak: Illinois W1
Groce vs. Minnesota: 1-1
Illinois senior Tyler Griffey:
"We've just got to keep them off the glass. It's going to be a team effort, all five guys are going to have to come back and help us keep Mbakwe and Williams off the glass.
"There is no difference. Scouting reports just go out the window. We know personnel, we know what they're going to run, they know what we're going to run. It's going to be a grind it our just like most of these Big Ten games are."
Minnesota team info: