Game Particulars: Indiana (6-17/1-10) vs. #20 Illinois (20-5/8-4)
Hoosiers' leading scorer Devan Dumes missed all but two minutes of the first meeting with Illinois due to first-half ankle injury, and his absence helped propel Illinois to a 76-45 win Jan. 10. As the two teams prepare for round two, it's unclear whether he'll play this time around as well. Dumes was suspended indefinitely on Monday and has yet to be cleared to return by Coach Tom Crean. Indiana figures to have its work cut out for it regardless of whether Dumes is available or not. Illinois enters the game having won three out of four, including a come-from-behind 60-59 last second win over Northwestern earlier this week.
IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his first year as Indiana's head coach and 10th year overall. Crean owns a 196-113 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 148-52 mark at Illinois and a 251-106 mark overall..
The game will be televised by the CBS with Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Greg Anthony (color commentary) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2008-09 Schedule
Illinois 2008-09 Schedule
PG- Verdell Jones (6-5, 176, Fr.) – 9.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.4 apg, 26.1% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Devan Dumes (6-2, 188, Jr.) - 13.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 38.3% 3 pt. shooting
WG - Nick Williams (6-4, 211, Fr.) – 9.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.0 spg, 43.9% FG shooting
PF- Kyle Taber (6-8, 220, Sr.) – 3.9 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 47.5% FG shooting
C – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 242, Fr.) – 10.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 50.6% FG shooting
Illinois (20-5/8-4 Big Ten)
PG- Chester Frazier (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 5.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.3 apg, 37.5% 3 pt. shooting
SG – Demetri McCamey (6-3, 205, So.) – 12.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.0 apg, 31.9% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Trent Meachum (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 10.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.6 apg, 42.4% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Mike Davis (6-9, 210, So.) 10.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 52% FG shooting
C – Mike Tisdale (7-1, 235, So.) – 11.0 ppg, 3. rpg, 1.3 bpg, 54.2% FG shooting
Indiana 2008-09 Statistics
Illinois 2008-09 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Can Indiana force the Illini to bomb away from the 3-point arc…again? – Sure, Illinois made nine 3-pointers in the first half and 13 overall in last month's game in Champaign. But Indiana's staff would be ecstatic to see the Illini attempt 25 shots from behind the arc again, so long as they're not of the wide open variety like last time. In Illinois' 76-45 win in Champaign Trent Meachum, Dominique Keller and Demetri McCamey were allowed to spot up at the line and bombard Crean's team with a combined 12-of-17 shooting from 3-point range. But if Indiana can do a better job of contesting shots, its chances of winning will be on the rise the more shots Illinois attempts from deep. In spite of last month's performance Illinois actually isn't a particularly good 3-point shooting team. The Illini are making only 30.8 percent of their 3-point attempts in Big Ten games, ranking them 10th in the conference (by comparison, IU is second in league games at 38.2 percent). Since making 13 against IU, Bruce Weber's team hasn't made more than six in a game since. Indiana is better equipped to contend with that than it is of matching up with Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale inside.
Can Indiana get off to a better start hanging onto the ball and staying in the game? - Indiana is expecting 17,000-plus for Sunday's game, and Tom Crean's team wants to give them something to cheer about. For that to happen, it needs to stay in the game early and avoid getting steamrolled like it did in Champaign. In that contest Illinois raced to a 21-2 lead in the game's first 6 ½ minutes and Indiana got no closer than 16 the rest of the way. While Illinois was busy making five 3-pointers during that early flurry, Indiana countered by missing four of its first five shots and committing six turnovers. It's a safe assumption that Indiana will play with more energy and effort defensively than it did last time, but ball security is always a concern for this team. It will be imperative that Verdell Jones and Devan Dumes (if he plays) avoid the careless turnovers. If Indiana can keep its turnover total under 15 it will likely have a chance to stay in the game. But if it approaches the 26 that it committed Tuesday against Minnesota it could be in for another long afternoon against the Illini.
Can Tom Pritchard bounce back and give the Hoosiers an inside presence? - Everyone of IU's players has had some ups and downs this season, and Pritchard has been among those struggling as of late. The team's leading scorer in four of the first six games, Pritchard has led the team in the category only once since. Pritchard has also failed to score in double figures in five straight games after reaching double-digits in 13 of the season's first 18 games. While the Hoosiers have been relying much more on their perimeter shooting in recent weeks, getting some production from Pritchard to provide some balance would be huge Sunday. Pritchard and fellow frontline starter Kyle Taber combined to go scoreless while taking only two shots Tuesday at Minnesota, and Pritchard is going to need to be much more of a presence offensively against an Illinois team that held him to eight points on 4-of-11 shooting in the first meeting.
"We don't want to over-help on this team. They have great spacing. They're as good a passing team as there is in the country, let alone the league. They find each other and space the floor really well. They put five shooters on the floor all the time." – IU Coach Tom Crean
"We had 26 turnovers the last game. If we cut 10 down or five, it could have been a different turnout. We know we have to get better with the ball – the only way we're going to win if we cut out turnovers down." – Nick Williams
"We have to continue to move (Pritchard) around, we have to put him in situations that he's not locked into one spot and play through him. At the same time, he has to be more aggressive offensively – much more aggressive, looking for the basketball." – Crean
"We want to give them a game plan that No. 1 we feel will work. But No. 2, we have to have a gameplan that has to have some unpredictability for the opponent. That's where we're at. We're not a system team. We're not a ‘we're going to do what we do, let's see how it works out.' We're not there yet. And it's going to take a while for us to get to that point." – Crean
"These games are the reason we came here. We're going to fight tooth and nail Sunday, I know we will. The last time we played them we didn't play well at all." – Williams
"Turnovers have been a big curse for us this year." – Verdell Jones
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