ESPN (National): Dave O'Brien, play-by-play; Rick Majerus, expert analyst.
• Illinois begins a stretch of having four of its next five games at home. The first two games are against the top two teams in the current Big Ten standings, Wisconsin in first place (4-0) and Indiana in second (4-1).
• At No. 2 in this week's Associated Press poll, Wisconsin is the highest-ranked opponent to play in Assembly Hall since Illinois defeated No. 1 Wake Forest 91-73 on Dec. 1, 2004. The Badgers are the highest-ranked Big Ten opponent to play in The Hall in 16 years, since No. 2 Ohio State defeated Illinois 73-64 on Feb. 20, 1991.
• Over his last 13 games, Warren Carter is averaging 15.4 points (200) and 7.1 rebounds (92). 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). During that 13-game stretch, Carter has been Illinois' leading scorer seven times and has reached double figures 12 times.
• Brian Randle is averaging 12.0 points (36) and 6.3 rebounds (19) and is shooting 68 percent from the field (15-22) over the last three games. Randle tied his career high with 16 points vs. Iowa (Jan. 10), had eight points at Michigan State (Jan. 14) and had 12 points at Minnesota on Wednesday.
• Illinois won its 16th straight game over Minnesota on Wednesday, a streak that spans the last eight years, beginning with the 1999 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal. It is the longest active winning streak by any Big Ten school over a conference opponent.
• Illinois started its seventh different lineup of the season against Iowa (Jan. 10). Last season, the Illini started the same lineup in 32 of 33 games and two seasons ago, Illinois had the same starting lineup in all 39 games.
• Illinois has had six players miss a combined total of 32 games so far this season due to injury (Richard Semrau-15, Brian Randle-9, Jamar Smith-6, Warren Carter-1, Chester Frazier-1).
• In five of its six losses, Illinois has led during the second half.
• Illinois extended its school-record streak of consecutive sell-out crowds at the Assembly Hall (16,618) to 39 against Iowa.
• Illinois is a balanced offensive club, with three players averaging double figures and eight members of the roster averaging at least 6.9 points per game.
• Seven different players have been Illinois' leading scorer in a game this season (Warren Carter-8, Jamar Smith-4, Shaun Pruitt-4, Trent Meacham-2, Rich McBride-2, Chester Frazier-1, Brian Randle-1).
• Trent Meacham leads the Big Ten in 3-point shooting at 46.8 percent (29-62). 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.
• Chester Frazier ranks third in the Big Ten and 25th in the NCAA (as of Jan. 15) in assists with an average of 5.4 apg. He had a career-high 11 assists vs. Bradley (Nov. 25) and again vs. IUPUI (Dec. 6), and also had 10 assists vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 19).
Paint the Hall Orange
Saturday's game vs. Wisconsin is "Paint the Hall Orange VII". The annual promotion by a local radio station encourages everyone in attendance to wear orange to the game. And while one game each season is still singled out for the promotion, fan enthusiasm for the orange craze has helped turn the Assembly Hall in recent years into a sea of orange for every home game.
Last Time Out: at Minnesota
Illinois scored the first 13 points of the game and later went on a 21-2 first half run to cruise to a 64-52 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday. The victory was Illinois' first road win of the season.
After Minnesota had cut the deficit to 17-13 with just over eight minutes left until halftime, Illinois went on the decisive 21-2 run to take its biggest lead of the game at 38-15. The Illini led by double figures the rest of the way, as Minnesota could get no closer than 10 points at 59-49 with five minutes remaining.
Illinois shot 43.6 percent and made 7-14 from 3-point range while holding Minnesota to 38.6 percent shooting. The Illini outrebounded the Gophers 37-27 and dominated on the offensive glass, collecting 15 offensive boards which were converted into 15 points.
Warren Carter led the way with his fourth double-double of the season, collecting 17 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high five assists. Brian Randle had 12 points and seven rebounds while Trent Meacham added 12 points and five assists.
Assembly Hall: The House of 'Paign
Illinois owns a homecourt record of 65-4 (.942) over the last four-and-a-half seasons. The Illini are also 102-6 (.944) at the Assembly Hall over the past seven-and-a-half years, which ranks second in the nation for homecourt winning percentage this decade behind only Gonzaga.
Information compiled by the U of I SID