Indiana vs. Illinois Gameday

Indiana (14-4/4-1) looks to run its Big Ten winning streak to five games when it takes on Illinois (14-7/2-4) Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Illinois' Assembly Hall. There figures to be plenty of venom from the Illinois faithful directed at IU Coach Kelvin Sampson in the wake of Eric Gordon's de-commitment and subsequent pledge to the Hoosiers in the fall…

Game Particulars: Indiana (14-4/4-1 Big Ten) vs. Illinois (14-7/2-4 Big Ten)
Eric Gordon is still a year away from suiting up for the Hoosiers, but he'll be first and foremost in the minds of Illinois fans Tuesday night when Indiana and Coach Kelvin Sampson arrive in town for a 7 p.m. matchup. The Illini and their fans are still riled up from Gordon's de-commitment and subsequent pledge to IU in the fall, and they figure to make Tuesday night's game as hostile an environment as IU will play in all season long. While that might be Tuesday's hot topic, this is a big game for both teams – Indiana is trying to keep pace with Wisconsin and Ohio State, both of whom have already won in Champaign. Illinois, meanwhile, desperately needs a quality win to start building an NCAA Tournament resume.

IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and owns an 14-4 record in Bloomington and a 469-261 career mark in 23-plus seasons. Illinois, meanwhile, is coached by Bruce Weber, who in his 4th year at the helm of the Illini program and 9th year as a head coach. Weber owns a 103-23 record at Illinois and a 206-77 mark overall.

The game will be televised by ESPN, with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (color commentary) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2006-07 Schedule

Illinois 2006-07 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (14-4/4-1 Big Ten)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 173, Sr.) – 9.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.4 apg,1.5 spg, 48% FG shooting
SG-Armon Bassett (6-1, 176, Fr.) – 9.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 41.3% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Roderick Wilmont (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.3 spg, 38.8% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Lance Stemler (6-8, 210, Jr.) – 8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 36.7% 3 pt. shooting
PF – D.J. White (6-9, 251, Jr.) – 14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 53.3% FG shooting

Illinois (14-7/2-4 Big Ten)
PG- Trent Meachum (6-2, 195, So.) – 6.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 46.8% 3 pt. shooting
SG –Rich McBride (6-3, 205, Sr.) – 9.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 35.5% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Calvin Brock (6-5, 195, So.) – 6.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 49.2% FG shooting
PF – Warren Carter (6-9, 220, Sr.) – 13.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.3 bpg, 48% FG shooting
C – Shaun Pruitt (6-10, 245, Jr.) – 11.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 54.8% FG shooting

Indiana 2006-07 Statistics

Illinois 2006-07 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How does Indiana handle the crowd? – Ask any IU fan to rank the Hoosiers' most heated rivals, and Purdue and Kentucky will top the list. But in the wake of the Eric Gordon recruiting saga, the Hoosiers won't go into a more hostile environment than the one they'll face at Champaign's Assembly Hall Tuesday night. Most of that venom will be directed at Sampson – public enemy No. 1 to most Illinois fans – but it's going to create a raucous atmosphere that the Hoosier players will have to contend with. The biggest challenge will be coping with the crowd in the first five minutes and then not allowing Illinois to put together lengthy runs that get the crowd going. If the Hoosiers can do that, they're more than capable of beating Illinois in Champaign for the first time since 1999.

Exactly how banged up are the Illini? Illinois has been licking its wounds – figuratively - from losing five out its last seven, but now Coach Bruce Weber's team is doing to same literally. Forward Brian Randle is likely out for tonight's game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, while center Shaun Pruitt is questionable after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Saturday's loss to Wisconsin. Both would be huge losses. Pruitt is coming off a 19-point, 14-rebound effort against Wisconsin and is the team's second-leading scorer and leading rebounder. Randle, meanwhile, is a gifted athlete who can score in transition and also presents a match-up problem thanks to his size (6-8) at the small forward position. With Randle out, Illinois will likely start 6-5 Calvin Brock on the wing, and he's a much easier match-up for Wilmont. Keep an eye on whether or not Pruitt is able to go, and what sort of emotional impact the absence(s) have on the Illini.

Who defends the 3-point arc better? Both of these teams hoist 3-pointers with regularity. Illinois averages nearly 21 3-point attempts/game and shoots 36.2 percent on those attempts, while the Hoosiers are just a shade over 21 attempts from behind the 3-point arc per game and are knocking down 38.2 percent. Defensively, though, Indiana has been much better – its foes are converting only 28.2 percent from deep, while Illinois' opponents are shooting 34.4 percent from 3-point range. Indiana is even better since conference play opened, limiting teams to 22.8 percent (13-of-57) from deep. IU will have to keep that up against an Illinois team that figures to be even more 3-point happy tonight thanks to some injuries on the frontline. Rich McBride, Trent Meachum, Jamar Smith and Chester Frazier are the most frequent long-range bombers, but Warren Carter and Calvin Brock will shoot from deep as well if left open.

How does IU match-up with Warren Carter? - Few would have expected Warren Carter to be the Illini's leading scorer heading into the season, but the senior is doing just that and is one of the league's most improved players. He's capable of playing inside and out, and he'll present a match-up problem for the Hoosiers. Will Indiana go with Lance Stemler at power forward, who will have problems keeping Carter from establishing position down low? Or will Coach Kelvin Sampson once again turn to Mike White, who played 32 minutes in IU's win at UConn? White isn't nearly the offensive weapon Stemler is, but he is a much more physical presence on the defensive end and would be better able to battle with Carter.

DID YOU KNOW…
Indiana has a losing overall record against only one Big Ten team – Purdue – but its getting dangerously close to falling behind Illinois as well. Indiana leads the all-time series 79-76, but Illinois has won six of the last seven and 11 of the last 15…Rich McBride is shooting 48.5 percent from 3-point range in his last four games (16-of-33)…Illinois sixth-man Jamar Smith is 4-of-34 (11.8 percent) from 3-point range since conference play began…Illinois point guard Trent Meachum connected on eight 3-pointers in a non-conference win over Florida A&M, the most by any Big Ten player this year. IU's Roderick Wilmont had seven at Penn State…Illinois lost a total of four games at home in the last seven seasons, but has already lost three times this year at Assembly Hall (Maryland, Ohio State, Wisconsin)…IU has three guards shooting at least 50 percent from 3-point range in Big Ten games – A.J. Ratliff (66.7 percent, 10-of-15), Armon Bassett (50 percent, 10-of-20), and Joey Shaw (54.5 percent, 6-of-11)…Earl Calloway has a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in Big Ten games (30 assists, 10 turnovers)…Indiana has opened Big Ten play 4-1 in each of the last five seasons.

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