Northwestern Wildcats are finally back up to .500 and have to win 2 of the 4 remaining games to have a shot at post season play, anywhere.

Next up on the schedule is Illinois - the #1 team in the country down at their house.

Well, Nobody said the Big 10 wasn't full of challenges...
"> Northwestern Wildcats are finally back up to .500 and have to win 2 of the 4 remaining games to have a shot at post season play, anywhere.

Next up on the schedule is Illinois - the #1 team in the country down at their house.

Well, Nobody said the Big 10 wasn't full of challenges...
">

Pregame Intel: Fighting Illini

This is going to be tough<br> <br> The <font color="#330033"><b>Northwestern Wildcats</b></font> are finally back up to .500 and have to win 2 of the 4 remaining games to have a shot at post season play, anywhere.<br> <br> Next up on the schedule is <font color="#ff6600"><b>Illinois</font></b> - the #1 team in the country down at their house.<br> <br> Well, Nobody said the <b>Big 10</b> wasn't full of challenges...<br>

The first thing that jumps out at you...
about the Fighting Illini is that they out score their opponents by 17+ points a game!

Then you look down the season box score, and you see that all 5 starters average double figures in scoring. Pretty simple explanation.

Illinois has not lost this year and its easy to see why.

The Big 3 in scoring; guards Luther Head [#4 Sr 6-3], Dee Brown [#11 Jr 6-0] and Deron Williams [#5 Jr 6-3] are all pretty difficult to stop. All three can make shots from outside the arc [altho Head and Brown are the percentage leaders] - when you do manage to slow them down, the two guys up front step it up.

Forward James Augustine scores 64% of the time he takes a shot. Yes, they're usually inside, but that's almost 2/3s. Roger Powell, Jr hits almost 60% of his down low.

And they all can run.

Maybe we best turn this over to NU's Head Coach, Bill Carmody, who likes watching Illinois play...What about that "tough matchup" for the Wildcats...
BC: It's obvious. Its the best team in the country, that's how they've played and they've been in tough situations and everything that's been thrown their way, they've handled.

Their speed, I think, is what gets us the most and probably a lot of teams, they're very fast - and that includes their big guys.

Augustine moves, he runs. Powell just very active, and their 3 guards are real tough for us to contain.
NU did beat Illinois [70-60 at Welsh Ryan] last year - is there anything you can take from that game to this one?
BC: Ancient history - somewhere it helps us that we beat these guys, and similar teams, but really its different, it seems so long ago.

They're a much better team than they were last year, more confident and I don't know if we're as good as we were last year, and we're down in Champaign, altho we played pretty well down there last year. Not bad, so we're just going to have to do what we can do.

I don't know if it will be good enough, but we'll go out there and try.
Have you spotted anything in Illinois play that might be exploited? Or is what you see is what you get?
BC: I've always liked guys who pass the ball and share the ball and unselfishness and team play and I see all that in that team.

Up and down the line, and that's it for me... I enjoy watching them on TV. They're fun to watch because they pass the ball.

There are some very good individual players, blended well so that's a credit to Bruce and his staff and the players.
The Wildcats will probably be missing one of their big inside guys - Mike Thompson - who is just now starting to practice again.

Positives
  • They play as a team
  • They hit almost 75% of their Free Throws
  • Team Speed is outstanding
  • They don't foul out of games - Dee Brown is the only player who has fouled out of a Big 10 game this year.
    Negatives
    • Sometimes the Illini seem to fall asleep in games where they jump out to leads.
      Injuries
      • Nothing significant


      Coach Roy's Purple Reign Categories:

      The Big Gun #4 Luther Head
      16.5 ppg
      Deadeye Dick #40 James Augustine
      64.2% shooting
      The Bomber #4 Luther Head
      181 3 pt attempts*
      Off the Boards #40 James Augustine
      7.1 rpg
      Charity Stripe #11 Luther Head
      83% FT Shooter
      Super Sub # 50 Jack Ingram
      14 mins/3.7 ppg
      Pickpocket #11 Dee Brown
      53 Steals **
      Helping Hands #5 Deron Williams
      183 Assists
      Mr. Defense
      #40 James Augustine
      37 Blocks/120 Def
      Rebounds

      * Guards Dee Brown and Deron Williams also average 5 or better three point shots per game.
      ** Luther Head has 50 Steals

      Expected Starters



      PPG RPG
      Forward #43 Roger Powell Jr
      #40 James Augustine
      12.2
      10.3
      4.9
      7.1
      Center


      Guard #4 Luther Head
      #5 Deron Williams
      #
      11 Dee Brown
      16.5
      12.5
      13.6
      3.7
      3.6
      2.7

      Totals: 65.1
      22

      Their starters are averaging more points than the entire NU team [59.6 ppg]


      Off the Bench
      [Have Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:



      Minutes PPG RPG
      Forward #50 Jack Ingram
      14.0
      3.7
      2.9
      Center #45 Nick Smith
      11.8
      3.8
      2.4
      Guard #33 Rich McBride
      16.4
      3.4
      1.6

      Totals:
      10.9
      6.9


      Challenges for the Wildcats:
      • Control the Game Tempo - we've got to play at our pace, not theirs.
      • Play Defense - lately the Cats have been holding down  their opponents leading scorer.
      • Make the Layups
      • Take Care of the Ball - Illinois can score off steals fast.
      • You'd love to see Mohamed Hachad and Vince Scott have big games - and Davor Duvancic continue his good play against Illinois

        Game Starts at 7 PM - Wildcat Time

        TV:
          ESPN+ - Wayne Larrivee and Shon Morris
        Radio: WGN [and XM Satellite Radio 187] with Dave [Mr. Cat] Eanet and Bob Hildebrand.
        Gametracker: NU Sports

        You can Chat in the Free Chat room


        Statistics from the Illinois official site 

        You can send your comments or "back door" information
        to Coach Roy
        or on AIM: CoachRoy74
        Go Cats
        Beat 'em All!
        Talk about it on the Purple Boards
        [Click Here]
        Copyright 2004 by PurpleWildcats.com/Purple Reign

        Purple Wildcats Top Stories

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