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.NU did beat Illinois [70-60 at Welsh Ryan] last year - is there anything you can take from that game to this one?
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.
BC: Ancient history - somewhere it helps us that we beat these guys, and similar teams, but really its different, it seems so long ago.Have you spotted anything in Illinois play that might be exploited? Or is what you see is what you get?
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.
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.The Wildcats will probably be missing one of their big inside guys - Mike Thompson - who is just now starting to practice again.
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.
- 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.
- Sometimes the Illini seem to fall asleep in games where they jump out to leads.
- Nothing significant
|The Big Gun||#4 Luther Head
|Deadeye Dick||#40 James Augustine
|The Bomber||#4 Luther Head
||181 3 pt attempts*
|Off the Boards||#40 James Augustine
|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
||#40 James Augustine
||37 Blocks/120 Def
* Guards Dee Brown and Deron Williams also average 5 or better three point shots per game.
** Luther Head has 50 Steals
|Forward||#43 Roger Powell Jr
#40 James Augustine
|Guard||#4 Luther Head
#5 Deron Williams
#11 Dee Brown
Their starters are averaging more points than the entire NU team [59.6 ppg]
|Forward||#50 Jack Ingram
|Center||#45 Nick Smith
|Guard||#33 Rich McBride
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
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
Beat 'em All!
|Talk about it on the Purple Boards