Game Particulars: Indiana (16-6/6-3 Big Ten) vs. Illinois (18-8/6-5 Big Ten)
Will the atmosphere in Bloomington's Assembly Hall rival what IU witnessed 2 ½ weeks ago at Illinois' Assembly Hall. In that contest a raucous crowd, combined with a woeful offensive evening for Indiana, helped produce a much-needed win for Bruce Weber at the Illini, 51-43. This time around, Indiana is trying to maintain its hold on third-place in the Big Ten and win its 13th straight at home this season against an Illinois team that has won three in a row.
IU is coached by Kelvin Sampson, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and owns an 16-6 record in Bloomington and a 471-263 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 107-24 record at Illinois and a 210-78 mark overall.
The game will be televised by CBS, with Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Bill Raftery (color commentary) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2006-07 Schedule
Illinois 2006-07 Schedule
Indiana (16-6/6-3 Big Ten)
PG- Earl Calloway (6-3, 173, Sr.) – 10.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.4 apg,1.3 spg, 49.0% FG shooting
SG-Armon Bassett (6-1, 176, Fr.) – 8.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 42.4% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Roderick Wilmont (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.3 spg, 38.8% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Lance Stemler (6-8, 210, Jr.) – 7.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 35.1% 3 pt. shooting
PF – D.J. White (6-9, 251, Jr.) – 13.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 53.0% FG shooting
Illinois (14-7/2-4 Big Ten)
PG- Trent Meachum (6-2, 195, So.) – 5.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 42.9% 3 pt. shooting
SG –Rich McBride (6-3, 205, Sr.) – 10.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 35.9% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Brian Randle (6-8, 220, Jr.) – 7.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 apg, 51.7% FG shooting
PF – Warren Carter (6-9, 220, Sr.) – 13.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, 48% FG shooting
C – Shaun Pruitt (6-10, 245, Jr.) – 11.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 54.2% FG shooting
Indiana 2006-07 Statistics
Illinois 2006-07 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How does Indiana combat Illinois' size? – The Hoosiers had plenty of troubles last weekend in the loss at Iowa, getting out-rebounded by the Hawkeyes 42-25. Illinois, meanwhile, is coming a 15-point win at Northwestern where Bruce Weber's squad out-boarded the Wildcats 40-16. The Illini will try to use their size advantage to bully Indiana on the boards. Indiana out-rebounded Illinois in Champaign, but the Illini have 6-8, 220-pound forward Brian Randle back in the lineup this time around. His return gives them a frontline that stands 6-8, 6-9 and 6-10, and that's a whole lot bigger than the 6-9, 6-8 and 6-4 that Indiana counters with. Rod Wilmont will have his hands full matching up with Randle, but D.J. White is going to need to do his best to battle Shaun Pruitt to a draw on the boards as well. That won't be easy, since Pruitt has four double-doubles in his last six games, including a 13-point, 15-rebound effort against Northwestern.
Can Indiana keep Rich McBride from getting open looks? Illinois is a poor perimeter shooting team, but they do have one player who will hoist up shots from behind the arc with the best of them – Rich McBride. McBride ranks third in the conference with 2.64 3-pointers made per game, and he's been even better since conference play opened. In fact, McBride has made at least three 3-pointers in eight of his last nine games, including five in Wednesday's win against Northwestern. It will be up Armon Bassett and A.J. Ratliff to limit the open looks. Without perimeter scoring from McBride, the Illini struggle to get points on the board. But when he's on target it frees Carter and Pruitt up inside, and suddenly Weber's team becomes much more difficult to deal with.
Which team dictates the pace? Indiana knows it's not going to win if it manages another 43-point effort Saturday, and Sampson probably also believes his team's best chance is to speed up the tempo in this match-up. Illinois has failed to score 60 points in each of its last five games, but is still 4-1 during that stretch. That's because Weber's team has four of its last five foes to 50 points or less. For Indiana to be able to get out and run a little bit, it's going to need to do a solid job on the defensive glass. If Illinois is coming up with double-digit offensive rebounds – whether it manages to produce second-chance points or not – it will turn this contest into a grind-it-out, halfcourt game. Indiana has shown it can win that way as well, but if the Hoosiers can get the game into the 60s and 70s, that's out of the Illini's comfort zone and IU will have a chance to win handily.
What kind of lift does Errek Suhr give IU? - Errek Suhr played less than a minute in the loss at Iowa, yet still managed to come up with a steal and a couple of free throws when IU was trying to battle back. During his weekly press conference, Sampson said he wants to try get Suhr more minutes on game days, so expect to see him against the Illini. He's not going to be someone who can come in and play 20-plus minutes, but he's the team's best at drawing charges, he's seemingly unfazed by adversity, and he can knock down the open perimeter shot as well. He's also a high-energy player, and that will play very well in what figures to be an emotionally-charged environment at Assembly Hall.
DID YOU KNOW…
Illinois has won seven out of the last eight meetings between these two schools, narrowing IU's all-time lead in the series to 79-77…in the last seven games, Illinois' foes are shooting 39.3 percent from the floor and 23.2 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Illinois is 5-2 in those contests…Shaun Pruitt is averaging 13.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in his last six games…Chester Frazier averages 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in the second halves of games, but only 2.4 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in the first halves…since injuring his wrist against Ball State, A.J. Ratliff is shooting 61.2 percent from the floor (30-of-49) and 66.7 percent (20-of-30) from 3-point range. Before the injury Ratliff was shooting 42 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from behind the arc…last weekend's loss to Iowa marked the first time Rod Wilmont has scored 20 points in a game during his career and his team lost. IU is 6-1 in games he reaches 20, including 4-1 this season…During conference games, Indiana leads the league in scoring (71.7), field goal percentage (47.3), 3-point percentage (40.8) and turnover margin (+1.89)…Indiana is 5-0 this year in games immediately following a loss.
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