Jan. 7, 2010
INDIANA (7-7, 1-1 BIG TEN) vs. ILLINOIS (10-5, 2-0 BIG TEN)
January 9, 2010 8:00 p.m. ET
Bloomington, Ind. Assembly Hall (17,357)
Series Record: Indiana leads 82-80
TV: Big Ten Network (Ari Wolfe and Jim Jackson)
RADIO: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Todd Leary and Joe Smith)
Game Notes in PDF
THE OPENING TIP
Indiana is in its 110th season of college basketball and will welcome the Illinois Fighting Illini to Assembly Hall on Saturday. The Hoosiers are in the second year of the restoration of the program under Coach Tom Crean. The Hoosiers are the 337th most experienced team (out of 347) in college basketball according to kenpom.com. The Illini have started 2-0 in conference play with victories over Northwestern and Iowa at home. Last year, the Illini defeated Indiana, 76-45, in Champaign, and 65-52, in Bloomington.
Indiana named Tom Crean as its 28th men's basketball coach on April 2, 2008, and he is in his second year with the Hoosiers. He reached the 200-win plateau on Dec. 8 with a 74-64 win over Pitt in Madison Square Garden. In his 10-plus-season career, he has a 203-128 record. He came to Indiana from Marquette where he was 190-96 (66.4) in nine seasons and made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2003 Final Four. His 2009 recruiting class was ranked among the top 10 in the country. Bruce Weber is in his seventh season as the head coach of the Illini, and his 12th season as a college head coach after five years at Southern Illinois before joining Illinois. He is 265-116 overall and 162-62 with Illinois and has won at least 23 games in five of his six seasons in Champaign, led by a 37-2 record in 2004-05 and an appearance in the national championship game.
Despite growing up in Champaign, Illinois, Indiana sophomore Verdell Jones III
has become an adopted Hoosier and has thrived against Big Ten competition since the middle of last year. He had 20 points against Michigan and he averaged 17.2 points per game in the final nine games of the 2008-09 season, including 23 points apiece in the final two games of the season against Wisconsin and Penn State. To start conference play this season, he has put up 20 points against Michigan and 22 points against Ohio State. In his last four games against Big Ten teams, Jones is averaging 22 points per game. He is second in Big Ten Games Only scoring at 21.0 per game.
The Fighting Illini are 10-5 on the year and 2-0 in conference after a 59-42 victory over Iowa on Tuesday night. U of I went on a 20-1 run early in the game to open up a 22-4 lead and never looked back in the victory, as it held Iowa to 15-for-49 shooting in the win, limiting the Hawkeyes to just 15 first-half points. Freshman D.J. Richardson, coming off the bench for the first time in his career, responded with 17 points and shot 5-for-7 from beyond the arc to lead the Illini. Illinois has five players averaging double-figure scoring and has outscored its opponents by an average of 10.7 points per game.