Hoop Preview: Big Ten Tourney

Nittany Lions square of with Illinois in first-round action at the United Center in Chicago. The game is slated to tip at about 5:05 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN2.

Penn State vs. Illinois

Big Ten Tournament

Tipoff: 5:05 p.m. (approximate) at the United Center.

Records: No. 11 seed Penn State 11-18, 2-14; No. 6 seed Illinois 21-10, 9-7

Coaches: Ed DeChellis is 42-75 in four seasons at Penn State and 147-168 in 11 seasons overall; Bruce Weber is 110-26 in four seasons at Illinois and 213-80 in nine seasons overall. DeChellis is 1-3 at Big Tens and Weber is 5-2.

Series: Illinois leads, 19-7.

TV: ESPN 2. Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (color) and Erin Andrews (sideline).

Radio: Penn State Sports Network. Steve Jones (play-by-play) and Dick Jerardi (color) will call the game for the Penn State Sports Network.

Last Time Out: Penn State was hammered by Indiana (94-63) in Bloomington Saturday. Illinois fell at Iowa (60-53) the same day.

Next Up: The winner gets No. 3 seed Indiana Friday night in a game that is slated to tip at 9:10 p.m.

Penn State
G Mike Walker, 6-2 So. (5.8)
G David Jackson, 6-1 Sr. (6.7)
F Geary Claxton, 6-5 Jr. (16.6)
F Jamelle Cornley, 6-5 So. (13.7)
F Brandon Hassell, 6-11 Jr. (5.6)

G Richard McBride, 6-3 Sr. (10.0)
G Chester Frazier, 6-2 So. (7.3)
F Warren Carter, 6-9 Sr. (13.4)
F Brian Randle, 6-8 Jr. (7.7)
C Shaun Pruitt, 6-10 Jr. (11.6)


• Quick Quiz: Who holds the PSU record for most points scored in a Big Ten Tournament game? The answer later.

• Illinois won the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season, 68-50 at the Jordan Center Feb. 24. Big men Carter, Randle and Pruitt dominated the Lions in that one, combining for 47 points.

• Claxton is averaging 16.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in Big Ten Tournament action for his career.

• Penn State and Illinois have only met once in Big Ten Tournament play. The Nittany Lions made a surprise run to the semifinals in 2000 before being bounced by the Illini, 94-84.

• Illinois has the most all-time Big Ten Tournament wins (16) and the highest tourney winning percentage (69.6). Penn State is 5-9 in the tournament.

• Illinois has played 35 games at the United Center, which it considers its home away from home. The Illini have won 16 straight games in the building, dating back to 2001, a streak that includes two Big Ten Tournament crowns (2003 and 2005).

• Quiz Answer: Bet you never would have guessed forward Gyasi Cline-Heard has the two highest single-game scoring outputs by a Lion in Big Ten tourney action. He had 26 vs. Iowa in 2001 and 24 vs. Michigan that same year.

Prediction: Illinois 64, Penn State 50

Comment: The Lions are 0-10 away from the Jordan Center this year. With the Illini essentially playing a home game today, don't expect that to change.

Prediction Record: 23-6


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