Illinois is 62-39 all-time in Big Ten opening games and has won its last seven conference openers … This is the first time in four years and just the second time in the last eight years that Illinois begins Big Ten play on the road. The Illini are 21-23 all-time when opening conference play on the road … This is the eighth time overall that Illinois and Michigan open the Big Ten season against each other, with the Illini owning a 5-2 edge over the Wolverines in conference openers … The last time Illinois and Michigan opened Big Ten play against each other was 20 years ago, a 95-84 Illini win at the Assembly Hall on Jan. 3, 1987.
• Illinois' bench accounted for 31 of the 59 points against Xavier last Friday. It marked the first time this season that the UI bench outscored its starters.
• In its last victory, (vs. Idaho State on Dec. 21), 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.
• Illinois' Jamar Smith is the highest scoring non-starter in the Big Ten. Smith ranks second on the team, averaging 13.1 points per game off the bench. Over the last three games, Smith has averaged 18.0 points (54) and 4.3 three-pointers (13).
• Illinois is a balanced offensive club, with three players averaging double figures and eight members of the roster averaging over eight points per game.
• Six different players have been Illinois' leading scorer in a game this season (Warren Carter-5, Shaun Pruitt-3, Jamar Smith-3, Trent Meacham-2, Rich McBride-1, Chester Frazier-1).
• Over his last eight games, Warren Carter is averaging 16.4 points (131) and 7.1 rebounds (57) while shooting 54.3 percent from the field (51-94). 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 but returned to the lineup to score 14 vs. Xavier last Friday.
• Chester Frazier ranks second in the Big Ten and 11th in the NCAA (as of Dec. 17) in assists with an average of 5.9 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, Illinois' leading scorer, ranks 10th in the Big Ten in scoring with an average of 13.9 points. Carter is also 11th in the conference in rebounding, averaging 6.4 rpg, and 10th in blocks, averaging 1.3 bpg.
• Jamar Smith is shooting 46.8 percent from 3-point range, hitting 29-62 from behind the arc on the season. He has five 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), five treys vs. Idaho State (Dec. 21), and four vs. Xavier last Friday.
Information provided by the U of I SID office