Indiana vs. Illinois Gameday

Indiana's young basketball team can expect one of the most hostile environments it will see all season this afternoon when it takes on Illinois at 3 p.m. at Assembly Hall in Champaign. While the Hoosiers won both match-ups a year ago, they are heavy underdogs against an Illini team that has already matched its regular season win total from a year ago...

Game Particulars: Indiana (5-9/0-2) vs. Illinois (13-2/1-1)
Indiana's young basketball team can expect one of the most hostile environments it will see all season this afternoon when it takes on Illinois at 3 p.m. at Assembly Hall in Champaign. While the Hoosiers won both match-ups a year ago, they are heavy underdogs against an Illini team that has already matched its regular season win total from a year ago. Both head into the match-up coming off losses to Michigan. Illinois dropped a 10-point decision to the Wolverines Sunday in Ann Arbor to halt its seven-game win streak, while Indiana squandered a 20-point lead and fell in overtime 72-66 in Bloomington Wednesday.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 195-105 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Illinois, meanwhile, is coached by Bruce Weber, who is in his 6th year with the Illini and 11th year overall. Weber owns a 141-49 mark at Illinois and a 244-103 mark overall..

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Dave Revsine (play-by-play) and Jim Jackson (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2008-09 Schedule

Illinois 2008-09 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
Indiana (5-9/0-2)
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 8.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 10.5% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Devan Dumes (6-2, 188, Jr.) – 13.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.0 spg, 33.0% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Matt Roth (6-3, 180, Fr.) – 5.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.9 spg, 36.5% 3 pt. shooting
SF - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 8.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 spg, 46.4% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 12.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 55.3% FG shooting

Illinois (13-2/1-1 Big Ten)
PG- Chester Frazier (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 5.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 6.4 apg, 1.4 spg, 36.4% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Demetri McCamey (6-3, 205, So.) – 12.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.8 apg, 32.9% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Trent Meachum (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 45.7% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Mike Davis (6-9, 210, So.) – 11.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 53.4% FG shooting
C – Mike Tisdale (7-1, 235, So.) – 11.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 51.0% FG shooting

Indiana 2008-09 Statistics

Illinois 2008-09 Statistics

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
What happens in the game's first five minutes? –The last time Indiana played in a high-intensity rivalry game it was over after six and a half minutes. Kentucky put together a 14-0 run to open its game with IU last month and cruised to an 18-point win in Lexington. Indiana was clearly rattled early on, committing seven turnovers and missing six shots before it scored its first points. That can't happen again this afternoon against Illinois if Indiana wants to avoid being blown out by the Illini. Shot selection and taking care of the ball will be critical to IU's chances throughout today's contest, but they're particularly important early on when the Hoosiers will be trying to get off to a good start and gain some confidence in a very, very difficult place to play.

How will Indiana decide to match-up with Mike Davis? - Davis doesn't get a great deal of hype, but he's rapidly becoming one of the better frontcourt players in the Big Ten during his sophomore season. He's scored in double figures in 11 of Illinois' 15 games - including a 28-point effort against Clemson – and his 7.4 rebounds/game ranks fourth in the conference. Davis is long, athletic, good in transition, and a very nice complement to the backcourt combination of Demetri McCamey and Trent Meachum. If Indiana opts to stick with its four-guard lineup, this difficult assignment would likely fall to Nick Williams. If Indiana opts to go with a bigger line-up it would likely start Kyle Taber to defend Davis and then bring Matt Roth off the bench. No matter which way Indiana goes, Davis is the most difficult defensive match-up for the Hoosiers this afternoon.

Will Verdell Jones try to do too much in this game? - This is a Homecoming for Verdell Jones, IU's freshman point guard from Champaign Ill., who wasn't offered a scholarship by the hometown school. As has been the case over the years with Indiana high school players who have come to Assembly Hall and played against the Hoosiers, there's little doubt that Jones would like nothing more than to have his biggest game in front of the hometown fans. But with him being a freshman, there's also a concern about him trying to do too much. If Jones looks to do too much one-on-one – particularly if he's matched up against Chester Frazier – he'll be in for a frustrating afternoon. Like the rest of this young Indiana team, Jones still isn't capable of creating his own shot – he's still dependent on getting good scoring opportunities from the offense. Jones needs to play the way he did against Michigan, when he did most of his damage with his mid-range game and ended up having one of best all around games with 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

QUOTABLES
"They are a very good basketball team. They are one of the more experienced teams in this league and probably one of the more experienced teams in the country…They have some guys that were in kindergarten when our guys were born and running around in diapers." – Tom Crean

"Since 2002, we have charted how many times we get three (defensive) stops in a row during games. The other night (against Michigan) was the first time in my personal history that we lost a game when we were over seven and we have only lost twice when we had six and we were at eight the other night. Unfortunately they weren't at the right times." – Crean

"We have to come down and share the ball. It's not a situation where somebody is breaking off a play and go and do it on their own, they just get that mentality. And a lot of that is just what they were used to in high school, and their coach might have needed them to make that big play. Frankly, we don't have anybody that's in that position right now." – Crean

"A lot of my family members are Illinois fans, but most importantly they are Verdell Jones fans. They will definitely wear red, might even see a couple jerseys with `Verdell' on the back." – Verdell Jones

"The whole week, that's the talk about this big game, Indiana versus Illinois. I've grown to see Indiana fans really don't like Illinois fans and I know for sure Illinois fans hate Indiana fans. So it's a great rivalry and I hope we keep it going." – Verdell Jones

"We like the challenge of going on the road. We had a great non-conference schedule; going on the road and playing at Wake Forest and places like Kentucky where we played in front of 22,000. So I think we are going to prepared for that." – Matt Roth

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