Indiana at Illinois Gameday

Indiana returns from its six-day break between games to take on Illinois in Champaign Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers will be looking to avenge a 66-60 Illini win earlier this month in Bloomington. Hoosier Nation previews the game, complete with match-ups, statistics, keys to the game, and quotes from both players and coaches about the contest…

Game Particulars: Indiana (9-10/3-4) vs. Illinois (13-8/5-3)
After squandering a golden opportunity to knock off Illinois at home earlier this month, Indiana gets another crack at the Illini Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Champaign. In the two teams' first meeting Jan. 9, Indiana led by 15 in the first half and by nine with less than nine minutes to go before eventually falling 66-60. Paced by the play of 7'1" center Mike Tisdale, Illinois outscored Indiana 18-3 over the game's final 8:28 to overtake the Hoosiers in the closing minutes. Tisdale scored 27 points to lead Illinois, while Verdell Jones (13), Jordan Hulls (12), Christian Watford (10) and Devan Dumes (10) all reached double figures for the Hoosiers. Illinois, meanwhile, will be looking for an absolute must win if it hopes to earn an NCAA tourney berth, and it also has a chance to even its all-time series record against Indiana at 82 apiece with a win.

IU is coached by Tom Crean, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and 11th year overall. Crean owns a 205-131 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 165-65 mark at Illinois, and a 268-119 record overall.

The game will be televised by ESPN2 with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Steve Lavin (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2009-10 Schedule

Illinois 2009-10 Schedule

Indiana (8-9/2-3)
PG- Jeremiah Rivers (6-5, 214, Jr.) – 6.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.5 spg, 38.7% FG shooting, 50.7% FT shooting
SG- Jordan Hulls (6-0, 172, Fr.) – 5.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 35.4% FG shooting
WG – Verdell Jones (6-5, 183, So.) – 13.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 40.6% FG shooting, 21.9% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Christian Watford (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 12.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 42.6% FG shooting, 79.8% FT shooting
PF – Tom Pritchard (6-9, 248, So.) – 4.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.5 apg, 60.7% FG shooting, 42.4% FT shooting

Derek Elston (6-9, 220, Fr.) – 5.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 48.3% FG shooting, 60% FT shooting
Devan Dumes (6-2, 192, Sr.) – 6.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 33.6% FG shooting, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
Bobby Capobianco (6-9, 238, Fr.) – 1.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.3 apg, 10.4 mpg, 40.5% FG shooting, 23.1% FT shooting

Illinois (13-8/5-3)
PG – Demetri McCamey (6-3, 200, Jr.) – 14.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 47.7% FG shooting, 34.2% 3 pt. shooting
SG – D.J. Richardson (6-3, 185, Fr.) – 11.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 44.6% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Bill Cole (6-9, 215, Jr.) – 3.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 18.3 mpg, 34.2% 3 pt. shooting
PF – Mike Davis (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 10.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 47.4% FG shooting, 60.4% FT shooting
C- Mike Tisdale (7-1, 235, Jr.) - 11.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 57.7% FG shooting, 83.1% FT shooting

Brandon Paul (6-4, 195, Fr.) – 9.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 33.3% 3 pt. shooting
Jeff Jordan (6-1, 184, Jr.) – 1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 17.4 mpg, 42.9% FG shooting
Dominique Keller (6-7, 230, Sr.) – 6.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.9 apg, 49.1% FG shooting, 34.6% 3 pt. shooting
Tyler Griffey (6-9, 225, Fr.) – 2.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.2 apg, 6.9 mpg, 50% FG shooting

Indiana 2009-10 Statistics

Illinois 2009-10 Statistics

Will Indiana have any more luck defending Mike Tisdale than it did last time around? – The first thing Indiana has to do Saturday to give itself a chance at an upset is address the things that went wrong the first time around. The biggest thing that went wrong in Bloomington was IU's inability to slow down Illinois' 7'1" center Mike Tisdale. Tisdale dominated the Hoosiers, posting a career-high 27 points to go along with nine rebounds in 38 minutes. He made 7-of-11 shots from the floor, 13 of 14 at the free-throw line, and scored 10 of Illinois' points during its game-ending 18-3 run over the final 8:28. Tisdale is a difficult match-up because he can play both inside and out. When he gets deep position in the post he has a hook shot that he makes with regularity, and he can also step outside and make a 15-17 foot jump shot. Indiana, meanwhile, doesn't really have a frontcourt player that has shown an ability to defend both elements of his game. Figuring out a way to stop Tisdale is easier said than done, but there's little doubt that if he comes anywhere close to the numbers he registered in Bloomington the Hoosiers have little to no shot in Champaign.

What kind of effort will Illinois get from Mike Davis? -A second-team All-Big Ten choice a year ago, the 6'9", 220-pound Davis has been hit and miss recently for Coach Bruce Weber. In a one-point homecourt win over Penn State immediately after the IU game, Davis had only two points and four rebounds, and more recently he had a zero-point, two-rebound, four-foul effort in Illinois' surprising loss at Northwestern. That performance prompted Illinois Coach Weber to drop Davis from the starting lineup for the first time this season in place of Tyler Griffey. Davis responded with an 11-point, eight-rebound effort in a 10-point win at Penn State, and he also recently had a 17-point, 15-rebound outing against Purdue. Indiana is hoping for another one of Davis' duds, and will turn to Christian Watford to help make that happen. Watford did a solid job on Davis in the two teams' first meeting, limiting him to two points and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes. It will once again fall to Watford to keep Davis from putting up a big game in front of the home crowd.

What kind of success will Indiana have with the bigger line-up, and what will it look like? - Whether Indiana starts three forwards or not, it's a pretty safe bet that Crean will go with that look more often today than he has perhaps all season. Illinois is also a team that it makes sense to utilize it since it starts the traditional two guard, two forward, one center line-up. Illinois also out-rebounded Indiana 38-31 in the first meeting, and Indiana can't afford to get beaten on the boards that badly if it wants to have a chance Saturday. So who sits and who (potentially) starts? That's a tough call. Jordan Hulls would seem to be the logical choice bring off the bench, but if IU does that it doesn't have a reliable 3-point shooting threat from its starting backcourt. On the frontcourt, Watford, Pritchard and Capobianco have been the three players that have earned all the starts, but only one of those three (Watford) has been much of an offensive threat. Considering IU only scored 43 points its last time out, it would be hard to imagine that it would sacrifice a perimeter scorer. That would seem to make Derek Elston the logical choice thanks to his scoring ability, but he's still developing on the defensive end. It's not an easy choice, but it's one that IU appears poised to make this afternoon.

"We've looked at different combinations to see what we decide to do once we get into tomorrow. But it's not as much about starting lineups and being productive. The most important thing is we're better rebounding the ball." – Tom Crean

"We have to make (Tisdale's) catches tougher. He has to catch it further out. When he's been very successful he's caught it at the block. We have to do a good job of moving him up the lane and getting around him a little bit, making sure our digs are good." – Tom Crean

"We're not good enough to have a couple of things not be there for us and still get it done. Some teams can do that. We're not really in that position. Our checkmarks really have to be solid all across the board." – Tom Crean

"Until we play (Roth), that option (to redshirt) is still on the table. We'd like to be able to get him back in the game at some point. It won't be (against Illinois). But he's making a lot of progress. He's ahead or right on schedule…we'll make a decision in the very near future." – Tom Crean

"Right after the Iowa game we started working (with three forwards). It's been real effective. Rebounding it's helped us a lot. We just have to play defense together." – Christian Watford

"Iowa out-worked us. We didn't come ready to play and it was unfortunate to lose on our home floor like that. Since then, we've been focused on getting better every day and getting ready. I feel like everyone's mindset is pretty good." – Jordan Hulls Top Stories