Indiana vs. Illinois Gameday

The Hoosiers look to bounce back from arguably their most disappointing effort of the season when they host Big Ten co-leader Illinois Saturday at 8 p.m. Hoosier Nation previews the 163rd edition of this border battle and point to a trio of things that could ultimately decide the game's outcome…

Game Particulars: Indiana (7-7/1-1) at Illinois (10-5/2-0)
After posting homecourt wins over Northwestern and Illinois to open league play 2-0 for the first time in five years, Illinois plays a road game for just the second time this season when it travels to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers. Indiana is looking to return to the form it displayed the last time it was at home – a 71-65 win over Michigan – as opposed to how it played Wednesday night in Columbus. A slew of early turnovers helped the Hoosiers dig a 31-8 hole early on as they were routed by the Buckeyes. The Hoosiers have only two days of preparation and they try to bounce back from that performance.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 203-128 career mark and led Marquette to the NCAA Tournament five times. Illinois, meanwhile, is coached by Bruce Weber, who is in his seventh season at Illinois and in his 12th year as a head coach overall. Weber owns a 162-62 mark at Illinois, and a 265-116 record overall.

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

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Illinois 2009-10 Schedule

Indiana (7-7/1-1)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 6.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.6 apg, 52.5% FT shooting
SG- Jordan Hulls (6-0, 172, Fr.) – 4.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 35.9% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 13.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 41.9% FG shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 42.2% FG shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 5.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 20.1 mpg, 63.8% FG shooting

Derek Elston (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 6.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 15.4 mpg, 49.3% FG shooting
Devan Dumes (6-2, 192, Sr.) – 5.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 32.6% 3 pt. shooting
Bobby Capobianco (6-9, 238, Fr.) – 1.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 8.5 mpg, 37.9% FG shooting

Illinois (10-5/2-0)
PG – Demetri McCamey (6-3, 200, Jr.) - 13.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.7 apg, 34.6% 3 pt. shooting
SG – D.J. Richardson (6-3, 185, Fr.) – 11.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 46.7% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Brandon Paul (6-4, 195, Fr.) – 10.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, 34.9% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Mike Davis (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 12.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 50.3% FG shooting
C- Mike Tisdale (7-1, 235, Jr.) - 11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.7 bpg, 59.0% FG shooting

Bill Cole (6-9, 215, Jr.) – 3.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.9 apg, 28.6% 3 pt. shooting
Jeff Jordan (6-1, 184, Jr.) – 2.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 48.1% FG shooting
Dominique Keller (6-7, 230, Sr.) – 7.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 49.5% FG shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Illinois 2009-10 Statistics

What shake-ups will there be in Indiana's starting line-up or playing rotation? – After the 25-point loss at Ohio State, Tom Crean said he was most frustrated with the lack of fight and resolve that he saw from his team on the glass. He added that if things didn't change, then he'd starting making changes. So will that happen Saturday night? Probably. Crean said "absolutely" when asked Friday if he was considering shaking things up for the Illinois game. If the personnel change(s) are to address the rebounding issue, the most logical change would be to insert Derek Elston, who ranks third on the team in rebounding (4.1) despite ranking only eighth in minutes played (15.4/game). If that happens Elston would likely replace one of the two frontcourt starters (Pritchard or Watford), although it's not inconceivable that Indiana could opt to start three bigs against an Illinois team that might start with three big men on the court together. Indiana might not have the same flexibility with its lineup that it did when Maurice Creek was available, but Elston and even Devan Dumes offer some different possibilities for the IU staff if they want to go with a bigger line-up (Elston) or a more experienced line-up (Dumes).

Can Indiana get off to a quick start and put Illinois in another early hole? - Illinois has had issues with falling behind early in recent weeks. Before the weekend win over Iowa, the last four Illini contests saw Bruce Weber's team fall behind early in its last four games - Gonzaga (10-0 to open the game), Northwestern (12-4), Missouri (17-11) and Georgia (16-11). In response, Weber shuffled his starting lineup and started Bill Cole and Jeffrey Jordan in place of McCamey and Richardson, and Illinois jumped to a 22-4 lead on the Hawkeyes. It's unclear whether or not McCamey and/or Richardson will be back in the starting line-up Saturday night, but the Hoosiers could use a fast start in the worst of ways. If Indiana can put the Illini in an early hole, it would do wonders in rebuilding some confidence that was probably shaken by the 25-point loss Wednesday night in Columbus. On top of that, a fast start would get the Assembly Hall crowd (which will have the students back for the first time since the Dec. 12 game against Kentucky) into the game early.

How does Indiana match-up with Illinois big men Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale? - Illinois' frontline presents some significant challenges for Indiana, and IU has to find a way to keep Davis and Tisdale from dominating. Davis is the league's leading rebounder by a wide margin at 10.0/game, while the 7'1" Tisdale ranks fifth in the league in blocks (1.7) and 12th in rebounding (5.7). Both are capable of scoring around the basket, but each can step outside and knock down perimeter jump shots as well. Both will be challenging assignments for the Hoosier frontline. Watford figures to draw the Davis assignment, and it will be imperative that IU's freshman keeps Davis dominating him on the glass. Tisdale, meanwhile, might ultimately prove to be an easier match-up for Elston compared to Pritchard since Elston is better able to defend away from the basket. Whoever draws Tisdale will also need to be physical with him in the post and keep him from getting to the spots he likes for his jump hook.

"The intensity is different (in practice the last two days). We were really getting after it, pretty much no fouls were being called. My neck is still hurting. We're trying to get prepared for the Big Ten." – Verdell Jones

"(Coach) has really stressed that we have to come out and be dogs. You have to give the first hit and keep attacking from there. If you play on your heels the whole game then you're going to get blown out." – Jones

"I was real surprised how flat (we were against Ohio State). Especially after we got the dunk and they called timeout. I thought we'd come out ready to roll. There were a series of bad plays that put us down and we were kind of in shock…Ohio State kept coming at us. It was unfortunate, but we don't have time to look back at it now." – Jeremiah Rivers

"You watch the (Ohio State) tape and realize how much of it was us. Ohio State, a very solid team, a very good team, a very talented team. But at the same time, I think we really killed our momentum, our chance to win the game." – Rivers

"(Illinois) has some really good shooters, they have some really talented big men. Tisdale and Davis are real talented, McCamey is real crafty with the ball, even Jordan is a good distributor, dishing it. D.J. Richardson is a really good shooter. They have a balanced team, which makes it tough." – Rivers

"We have to rebound, we have to defend, we have to play with that edge, and the ones that do it are the ones that are going to be rewarded for it. Last year things were given, this year they have to be earned. It's a continual, daily process to make sure we understand that." – Tom Crean

"The number one ingredient for us to have any success is to keep developing that toughness and grit every day." – Crean

"Of the 24 turnovers we had the other night, only four of them we felt were forced by Ohio State. The other team is going to force some. There were 20 times we shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers." – Crean

"In winning, you don't want to let a team get too full of themselves when you win, so you're always trying to find some things to bring them down to earth. Well, you have to perk them up sometimes when they lose. We don't have a bunch of guys that had nails for breakfast with their Wheaties, and then they're going to go tonight and much on some boulders and bricks. We don't have that." – Crean

"Our guards have to rebound like big men. And our big men need to start rebounding like big men. That was a big problem the other night and that's unacceptable." – Crean

"I'm not mad at anybody. We're going to put the guys out there that are going to sell it out as much as they can. Sometimes you have to get attention, sometimes you have to look at things. We're not a starting five team...we're looking for the guys that are going to absolutely learn what competition at this level is all about. It's an unforgiving level." – Crean

" I'm the one that is going to put the heat on them to get better and improve, because there's absolutely nobody who is going to inflict more pressure on me than I'll self-inflict myself. I know how I feel when we lose. I want everyone to feel good when we win, and I know people don't feel good when we lose. It suffers in comparison to how I feel when I walk out of there. So everyday it's about what can we do to make it better." - Crean Top Stories