Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Illinois
Indiana (13-9/5-6) travels to Champaign, Ill., for a matchup with No. 14/13 (AP/Coaches poll) Illinois (21-4/7-4) at 3:30 p.m. EST at the Assembly Hall. Indiana brought an end to a five-game losing streak to the Illini in January with a 62-60 victory in Bloomington. Despite that victory, Indiana has still dropped six of its last eight against the Illini, including four straight in Champaign. Indiana's last win at Illinois was in 1999, when IU pulled out a 70-64 overtime victory. Indiana owns a 79-75 edge in the all-time series.
IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 109-76 career mark, including a 4-7 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 an 84-13 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 4-2 all-time against Indiana, including 3-1 at Illinois.
The game will be televised by CBS, with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) and Billy Packer (color commentary) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2005-06 Schedule
Illinois 2005-06 Schedule
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 162, Jr.) – 4.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 47.0% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Lewis Monroe (6-5, 192, Sr.) – 3.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 34.6% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) – 14.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.2 spg, 44.7% 3 pt. shooting
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 18.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.8 bpg, 55.9% FG shooting
#14/13 Illinois (21-4/7-4)
PG- Dee Brown (6-0, 185, Sr.) – 14.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.6 apg, 33.2% FG shooting
SG- Rich McBride (6-3, 205, Jr.) – 9.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 39.9% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Brian Randle (6-9, 214, So.) – 8.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 50.3% FG shooting
PF- James Augustine (6-10, 235, Sr.) – 13.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.5 spg, 61.7% FG shooting
C – Shaun Pruitt (6-10, 240, So.) – 5.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 49.6% FT shooting
Indiana 2005-06 Statistics
Illinois 2005-06 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Is the air out of the Hoosiers' tires?– Trying to predict how the Hoosiers respond to Mike Davis' resignation announcement is anyone's guess. Think back seven years, and Iowa used the decision of Tom Davis to step down at season's end as a springboard to the Sweet 16. Like Davis, the writing as on the wall in Iowa City that Davis was going to be forced out if he didn't walk away, and that served as motivation for the Iowa players to send Davis out on a good note. Will the same hold true in IU's case? We'll find out Sunday. Despite rumors to the contrary, both Mike Davis and the Hoosier players said the team wasn't informed of Davis' decision until after the Penn State game. If that is the case, then it will be intriguing to see how they respond to that news. Will they play with the sort of energy that's been lacking on the road? Or will they pack it in and all but concede that this March will mark the third straight NCAA Tournament sans Indiana?
Don't allow Dee Brown to catch and shoot - Dee Brown is Illinois' leading scorer at 14.9 points/game and he's among the league leaders in assists as well. But he's struggled shooting the ball this season, knocking down less than 37 percent of his shots from the field and less than 33 percent of his 3-point attempts. Indiana will need to hold him in check if it has any hopes of springing the upset in Champaign.
Indiana limited Brown to 1-of-9 shooting in its 62-60 win last month in Bloomington by making Brown put the ball on the floor and try to score either going to the basket or shooting on the move. Certainly Brown is as adept as anyone in the league at beating his man off the dribble, but he generally is looking for teammates to finish instead of for scoring opportunities of his own. Brown is going to get his assists, but if he's scoring 15-20 points as well, Indiana is in big trouble. Expect the Hoosiers to rotate Marshall Strickland, Lewis Monroe, A.J. Ratliff and possibly Rod Wilmont on Brown in an effort to keep their defenders fresh.
Can Indiana get James Augustine in foul trouble? - Dee Brown is the face of Illinois basketball, but for the Illini to be successful it needs 6-10 senior James Augustine on the floor. He's one of the league's best rebounders, he's Illinois' biggest threat down low, and he's a good athlete who can fill a lane on the break like a small forward and finish. He's also aggressive on the defensive end, as evidenced by his 37 steals – a total that trails Dee Brown by only three.
For all of those reasons, Augustine is one of the more underappreciated players in the league. That's also why Illinois struggles when he gets in foul trouble and is forced to the sidelines. While Augustine played 31 minutes in the previous encounter this season, his foul trouble did play a role in IU's win. With Illinois leading 19-14, Augustine picked up his second foul at the 6:36 mark of the first half and was forced to the bench until the second half. Indiana responded with a 15-5 run in the closing minutes of the half to take a 28-24 halftime lead, and IU never trailed again.
It will be up to Marco Killingsworth and Robert Vaden to saddle Augustine with some early fouls. Augustine will likely rotate between the two players, with Shaun Pruitt also matching up with Killingsworth on plenty of occasions. Vaden is likely to the toughest matchup for Augustine, although he did an excellent job of preventing Vaden from putting the ball on the floor and driving by him in Bloomington. Vaden might need to hit a couple of perimeter shots early to lure Augustine even further out from the basket to open up some driving opportunities.
Will Rich McBride and/or Jamar Smith get hot from the outside?Illinois has three players who have connected on at least 50 3-pointers this season – Brown, Rich McBride and Jamar Smith. But the trio combined for only 14 points and two 3-pointers in Indiana's 62-60 win in Bloomington.
If McBride and/or Smith get going in Champaign, Indiana is in trouble. When Illinois is hitting from the perimeter, it opens up things on the inside for Augustine and Pruitt. If that happens, this game has a chance to get out of control in a hurry. McBride in particular is someone who can hit a bunch or miss a bunch in a row, so IU will have to have a hand in his face at all times. He's not a player that you have to worry about beating you off the dribble, either. McBride has attempted 210 shots this season, with an amazing 163 (77.6 percent) of those coming from behind the arc. Smith is very much the same, as 111 of his 145 attempts (76.5 percent) are from deep.
"The pressure (of Mike Davis' job status) is gone now. We know what the deal is now, so we just have to go out there and play and not worry about distractions. This was one of our best practices we had in a while and it seems everyone's focus is back where it needs to be." – Rod Wilmont after Friday's practice.
"I think there is a lot less pressure. We know that Coach Davis will not be here after this year, so we are able to get that off of our back. We can just go out there and play and have some fun." – Robert Vaden.
"We will have to execute and play as hard as possible. That's what we did when they played at our place earlier this year. We had a lot of energy in that game and that's what we are going to have to do up there." – Errek Suhr.
"(Friday's practice) went real well. Marco was sick and A.J. (Ratliff) was also a little under the weather and neither one of them practiced (on Friday), but both should be ok to play on Sunday. I thought Ben Allen did a great job (on Friday). Everyone was pretty upbeat. I was really excited about our intensity." – IU Coach Mike Davis.
"This is definitely a challenging game for us but it is a game we need coming out of the week we been through. We need to play a tough, challenging game to see where our mindset is and hopefully get us going in the right direction." – Mike Davis.
DID YOU KNOW…
Rich McBride is averaging 14.4 points/game in his last five games and he's been Illinois' leading scorer in four of those contests…In the first meeting it wasn't Dee Brown or James Augustine that gave IU fits, but frontliners Shaun Pruitt (17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Brian Randle (15 points, six rebounds, two steals)…speaking of Brian Randle, the sophomore forward has found it difficult to stay on the floor since Big Ten play started. Randle has fouled out of four of Illinois' 11 games and he's committed 40 fouls in those 11 contests. The only other Illini player to foul out of a Big Ten game is Dee Brown, who fouled out once…Marshall Strickland needs 23 points to reach the 1,000 point mark for his college career. He currently ranks 41st in IU history with 977 points…Strickland is also on pace to break IU's single-season free-throw shooting record. Strickland is shooting 94.3 percent (50-of-53) and has made 31 straight free throws. That's the fifth-longest streak in IU history. Strickland needs eight more in a row to break Pat Graham's single-season mark of 38 in a row set during the 1990-91 campaign…Illinois is one of only two programs to win at least 25 games in each of the past five seasons along with Duke…Illinois is also one of only three teams to advance to the Sweet 16 in each of the past two seasons along with Duke and Oklahoma State…Illinois has surrendered 70 or more points to a foe only once this season (Michigan – 74) and no opponent has shot 50 percent or better from the floor…Illinois is 91-4 at home during the last 6 ½ years, the best mark in the nation during that time span. That includes a 33-game winning streak that was snapped earlier this month by Penn State.
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