Indiana vs. Illinois Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the matchup pitting No. 13/11 Indiana (10-3/2-1) and No. 7/5 Illinois (16-1/2-1), which tips off Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Assembly Hall in Bloomington.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Illinois
No. 13/11 (AP/Coaches) Indiana (10-3/2-1) hosts No. 7/5 Illinois (16-1/2-1) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Illinois has won five in a row in the series, its longest run of success since winning five straight from 1988-90. A year ago the two teams met only once, with then-No. 1 Illinois handing the Bracey Wright-less Hoosiers a 60-47 setback in Champaign.

Other than Purdue, no other team has given the Hoosiers more fits over the years than Illinois. Indiana owns a 78-75 edge in the all-time series, but Illinois has won five straight and 10 of the last 13. Indiana's last win was in 2003, when the No. 18 Hoosiers posted a 74-66 win over the No. 8 Illini in Bloomington. It was a matchup that saw IU's Jeff Newton dominate eventual Big Ten MVP Brian Cook, scoring 28 in the win. Indiana also committed only five turnovers, the second-fewest in school history.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 106-70 career mark, including a 3-7 record against Illinois. Indiana has been to the postseason in four of Davis' five seasons (three NCAA invitations). Illinois, meanwhile, is coached by Bruce Weber, who is in his third year in Champaign and owns a 79-10 record at the Big Ten school. Weber, who also compiled a 103-54 record in five years at Southern Illinois from 1999-03, became the first coach in Big Ten history to lead his team to Big Ten titles in each of his first two seasons at the school. He is 4-1 all-time against Indiana, including 3-0 at Illinois.

The game will be televised by ESPN, with Dan Shulman (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Illinois 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
#13/11 Indiana (10-3/2-1)
PG- Lewis Monroe (6-5, 192, Sr.) – 4.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.7 apg
SG-Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 12.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 53.6% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) 15.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.8 apg, 53.2% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Ben Allen (6-10, 245, Fr.) 4.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 68.8% 3 pt. shooting
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 20.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 62.3% FG shooting

#7/5 Illinois (16-1/2-1)
PG- Dee Brown (6-0, 185, Sr.) – 15.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.3 apg, 37.2% FG shooting
SG- Rich McBride (6-3, 205, Jr.) – 8.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 39.0% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Brian Randle (6-9, 214, So.) – 7.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, 51.5% FG shooting
PF- James Augustine (6-10, 235, Sr.) – 14.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 64.8% FG shooting
C – Shaun Pruitt (6-10, 240, So.) – 5.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 43.9% FT shooting

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Illinois 2005-06 Statistics

INJURY UPDATE
Indiana – D.J. White is out indefinitely with a broken left foot, which he suffered against Ohio State. He is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks, and Mike Davis said on the Big Ten weekly teleconference Jan. 16 that White very well may be done for the season. Lewis Monroe, meanwhile, appears probable for the contest. He returned to practice Saturday, and was expected to be able to practice again Monday. James Hardy also remains absent from the team. IU Coach Mike Davis said the 6-7, 215-pound forward remains out with a myriad of injuries dating back to the football season.

Illinois-The Illini appear completely healthy for the matchup with Indiana. Backup point guard Chester Frazier missed six games with a quadriceps injury, but returned for the Iowa game 1 ½ weeks ago.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Can Indiana's guard handle the Illini's pressure? – It's not so much the fullcourt pressure as it is the halfcourt pressure that allows Illinois to take its foes out of their offense. Dee Brown, Jamar Smith, Rich McBride and others pressured Michigan State's perimeter players all over the floor two weeks ago, which allowed the Illini to control the game's tempo and pull out a 60-50 win in Champaign. Expect the Illini to try to do the same thing against Indiana. While Illinois is more than capable of getting up and down the floor and scoring in the 80s, it will likely look to make Indiana work the shot clock down on its possessions, limit the fastbreak opportunities, and try to play the game in the 60s. If it can do that and keep the game close, Illinois believes it has the best player on the floor – Dee Brown – who can make the big plays down the stretch.

Limit Dee Brown's clean looks - Dee Brown will likely look to carry the Illini against the Hoosiers. Since Big Ten play opened, Brown is averaging more than 17 field goal attempts per contest. He's had huge games in wins over Michigan State (34 points, seven 3-pointers) and Michigan (26 points, five 3-pointers), but he managed just six points on 2-of-13 shooting in a loss at Iowa. While Indiana can't keep Brown from getting shots, it must keep him from getting uncontested looks from the perimeter. He's shooting just 37 percent from the floor this season, but he can heat up in a hurry, as evidenced by the fact he made all five of his 3-pointers in Saturday's win over Michigan in the game's final 10 minutes. Indiana didn't get a hand in the face of Michigan State's Maurice Ager last week, and the result was a 28-point effort that did in the Hoosiers. A similar defensive effort against Brown will likely result in a similar outcome.

Be Physical with James Augustine on both ends of the floor - There was a time when 6-10 James Augustine was simply a very good role player on very good Illini teams, a complementary player to the likes of Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head. Now, he's the team's No. 2 offensive option, someone that get up and down the floor and score in transition while also putting up points with his back to the basket. If Ben Allen starts, don't be surprised to see the responsibility fall to him to battle Augustine down low. While that will be a tough matchup for the freshman, Indiana would likely prefer to allow Marco Killingsworth to matchup with Shaun Pruitt and focus more of his attention on offense. Killingsworth, though, can play a part in shutting down Augustine as well. He'll certainly be matched up with him at times throughout the course of the game, and offensively he can attack Augustine and try to get him saddled with foul trouble. Augustine hasn't been nearly as foul prone as he has in past seasons, but he has struggled with it in Illinois' first three Big Ten games and Killingsworth still needs to attack him at every opportunity.

Find some way to rebound the basketball - Indiana has statistically been the worst rebounding team in the league since conference play opened, and it is matched up with the conference's best in Illinois. The Illini own a +7.7 rebounding margin this season, while Indiana is a -10.3 in its three Big Ten games. Illinois is certainly aided by the fact it starts a traditional frontline that stands 6-9, 6-10 and 6-10, something that's a rarity these days in college basketball. Indiana will likely begins its efforts to improve its rebounding by starting Ben Allen, another big body who can take up space and help Killingsworth and Robert Vaden on the glass. Indiana doesn't have to win the battle on the boards, but it can't give up a slew of second-chance baskets to the No. 7 Illini and expect to emerge victorious.

QUOTABLES
"(on the possibility of Lewis Monroe being ready to play) I'd say about 60 percent. You're talking about a kid that has missed a whole week of practice, he hasn't practiced since the Ohio State game. I thought that really hurt us at Michigan State, not having him. Losing D.J. (White) was one thing, but not having two starters in your lineup, that was definitely a big blow. If we don't have him tomorrow night, it's going to be tough." – IU Coach Mike Davis.

"They are a very good team because of Dee Brown and (James) Augustine. They play so hard. They play with a lot of intensity defensively, and if you don't play it can be a long day for you. That's the thing that concerns me more than anything – just the intensity that they play with." – IU Coach Mike Davis.

Illinois Coach Bruce Weber on Indiana from the Big Ten Weekly Teleconference:

On the importance of this week's road games…
"It's a huge week for us. Whoever can win road games, I think those are going to be so few and far between and so valuable as you compete for the Big Ten championship. We have a really tough contest with Indiana, and then we go to Northwestern Saturday. So it's a huge week for us with the Big Ten race."

On the way more and more teams are using three and four-guard lineups in college basketball…
"In the 1980s, there were a lot more big men, and it doesn't seem there are quite as many big men around. And then the ones that are big, they all want to come out on the court. So a post player like Killingsworth or (Terence) Dials, you don't have many of those that are true, (on the) block, post people."

On what it will take to beat Indiana, and what the difference is between this year's Indiana team and last year's…
"We have to be ready to play. We have to have a team effort, our bench has to come through, we have to play both ends of the court if we're going to have any chance against Indiana."

"They are older. Last year was much more perimeter-oriented. Now, they are a year older, they know the system, they have tremendous spacing. Without D.J. White, I know it hurt their depth, but for opponents it makes it difficult at times because Vaden plays the 4, they spread you out, he's been making threes, and now you can't double Killingsworth, and it puts you in a little bit of a bind."

"Marco has played unbelievable. He's playing with a lot of passion, he's playing like a senior, he's playing very hungry. His leadership and his desire have gone down to the younger kids, and they are all playing with a lot of tenacity."

On the challenge for James Augustine defending Killingsworth…
"I'm not sure we'll put (Augustine) on him, to be honest. We need to keep James in the game, and part of the problem against Michigan State and Iowa, James got in foul trouble. Also in the second half (against Michigan) he got three quick fouls, we had to sit him, and we're not the same team without him. I'm sure somewhere in the game James will guard him, but we'll probably rotate. We'll see if we can wear Marco down if possible."

On whether Illinois can take advantage of the Augustine-Killingsworth matchup when Illinois is on offense…
"I don't know if we can exploit it, but we have to go at him. That's a key – he's in the same boat as Augustine. You want to stay in the game. If we can have the patience and take care of the basketball and go at them a little bit on the interior whether it's at Vaden because he's a little undersized or at Marco, I think it would be to not only our advantage but everyone in the league. But that's easier said than done. They put good pressure on you. They have a great homecourt advantage, and we'll see how disciplined our kids are as far as taking care of the ball, executing, getting it inside, and then seeing if we can make them pay a little bit."

On who would guard Vaden if he plays the 4…
"There's no doubt it would be tough for (Augustine), but it would be even tougher if Pruitt had to guard him. So you have to pick your poison. James is a lot more agile and can come out on the court and possibly guard Vaden a little bit better. That's where they give you a problem because he's really a 3, so you're really having Augustine chase around a 3. It's a little of what we had last year. We had Roger Powell at the 4, and he was kind of a 3/4, he could go inside, but he could also step out. That was tough for people to contend with."

On Killingworth playing for him on the Big Ten All-Star team, where he got off to a little bit of a slow start…
"I think part of it was he wasn't in the greatest shape, and it took him a while to get going. He was also a little overanxious early in the trip. I think he thought it was going to be easy. I'm not sure all our kids understood how good European basketball is, and we got our butts whipped the first game something like 147-113. Then all of a sudden they said, ‘we have to play.' He got better as it went. He has a great personality. I think a bubbly type of kid. He loves to play. He has a cockiness, and I think it's a good, confidence that's good.

"I didn't see (him putting up) these numbers, to be honest. I thought he'd be good, but I didn't think he'd have these numbers. Part of it is the rest of the team. When you shoot the ball so well from 3, you can spread the defense and if the guards are being patient and taking care of the basketball and getting it in to him, I think that all adds up to his success."

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