"I hope we can pack the place." –Bruce Weber

From a media standpoint, tonight's game when the Illini take on the Indiana Hoosiers should make for some interesting headlines. The game itself is what the players will focus on. Getting a bid (or a better seed, depending on your viewpoint) in the NCAA tournament is a secondary focus. Read here for Illini notes and a recap of the last time out.

*One of the first things head Coach Bruce Weber said was "I hope we can pack the place tonight with as much orange as possible." Most believed it was because his team will take on Indiana. Me? I think it's because Weber likes the "home court" advantage it presents and, let's face it, Illinois has a 30-6 all time record in the United Center and is currently riding a 17 game winning streak in the "House that Jordan Built".

*Eric Gordon saga: It's over. The kid is playing for Indiana next year. He has no impact on today's game at all. However, one player most Illini fans almost never talk about is IU freshman guard Armon Bassett, averaging 9.4 ppg for the Hoosiers. Why pay attention to Bassett? The kid really wanted to play for Illinois and has told us here at InsideIllini.com many times that Assistant Coach Tracy Webster was his guy and wanted to play for him. "Webster has been recruiting me since the 9th grade so he's my guy and I know him very well. Illinois is a great school with a great tradition."

*Why can't 22-10 be enough? No, it's not your typical Top 10 team like most fans are used to, but think about this one. Duke has been one of the most dominant sports programs in the nation for what seems like forever. Last night they lost in the first round of the AAC Tournament, they're ranked in the bottom half of the Top 25 checking in at #21, they finished 7th in the conference and as of right now they have the same overall record as Illinois (22-10), but finished (8-8) in league play. One advantage for Duke would be more quality wins, but both come from great major conferences. Let's head out east, UConn has been a permanent fixture in the NCAA Tournament as well. This year the Huskies are 17-13, 6-10 in Big East play and in their last five games they are 1-4. Point being when programs like Duke and UConn can have what some would call "off" years it's safe to say the Illini can too.

*This year's games between the Illini and Hoosiers: First time out the Illini won in Champaign 51-43. Leading the way was senior guard Rich McBride with 15 points and senior forward Warren Carter scored 14. D.J. White led the Hoosiers with 12 points, the only player reaching double figures. In Bloomington, Ind. the Illini went down 65-61 with Carter leading the way with 14 points again but this time the Hoosiers led by Roderick Wilmont with 17 and freshman Bassett with 15 points and 5 assists.

*InsideIllini.com prediction: Illinois (68) – Indiana (65)


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