At A Glance: Alabama State

A closer look at Illinois' season opening opponent -- the Alabama State Hornets.

Illinois (0-0) vs. Alabama State (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 8: 7 p.m. CT - Champaign, Ill. - State Farm Center

Notes (per ASU sports info):

ASU vs. Huntingdon (Exh. One):

Luther Page led four players in double digit scoring with 22 points. He hit all eight of his field goal attempts including his only three point attempt. Demarcus Robinson, making his ASU debut, scored 21 points. Jamel Waters scored 14 and Bobby Brown added 11.

ASU vs. Ft. Valley State (Exh. Two):

Bobby Brown came off the bench to score 25 points to lead five Hornets in double digits in ASU's final exhibition game of the season. DeMarcus Robinson had 17 and Jamel Waters added 14. Luther Page and Brandon Graham scored 10 each.

Getting over the hump:

The 2012-13 season was one of close losses for the Hornets. Of their 22 losses, 12 were by nine points or less. That included two overtime losses.

Sizing up the Southwestern Athletic Conference:

Last year's regular season champ Texas Southern was picked to repeated that feat followed by Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Prairie View, Jackson State and Alabama A&M made up the next three. Following Alabama State in the poll were Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State.

Fun fact:

Rapper 2 Chainz (pictured above) played basketball at Alabama State. A native of College Park, Ga., the 6-foot-5 artist (real name, Tauheed Epps) is said to have been a standout on both the court and in the classroom.

Projected starters (stats based on exhibition games):
G: DeMarcus Robinson - Jr., 5-10, 165: 19 ppg, 3.0 apg
G: Jamel Waters - So., 5-9, 160: 14 ppg, 6.0 apg
F: Luther Page - Jr., 6-6, 220: 16 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F; Bobby Brown - So., 18 ppg, 6.5 rpg
F; Maurice Strong - Jr., 6-5, 210: 5.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg

Off the bench:
F: Brandon Graham - Jr., 6-7, 195: 5.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg
G: Billy Ingram - RFr., 6-6, 190: 4.0 ppg, 3.5 apg
F: Tony Armstrong - RFr., 6-6, 185: 2.0 ppg, 3.0 apg
G: Nick Davis - Fr., 6-5, 180: 2.0 ppg, 2.0 apg

Series history:
Series Record: First meeting
Groce vs. ASU: First meeting

Notable Quotable:

Illinois coach John Groce: "It will be good for our team. Watching them, they're very athletic, very fast, quick, play up-tempo. They're very aggressive defensively. They're in passing lanes. They're very disruptive. They're trying to force turnovers and get out. They want to run. They're great on the offensive glass. They look like darts running in there on film, and they're very active. We're going to be challenged there obviously after giving up 17 offensive rebounds this past weekend against Northwood. That's certainly a concern. We've got to defend the 3-point line better than we did last Sunday. That's certainly a concern."

ASU team information:

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