Sunday, December 2, 2012

Basketball: Game #9 - # 22 Illinois Fighting Illini

Game #9 -  Illinois Fighting Illini
Date: Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012
Series: Illinois is 1-0 vs. the Catamounts
Location: Assembly Hall (16,618) Champaign, Ill.
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV: none
Live Video: Big 10 Digital Network

The Catamounts will meet it's second consecutive undefeated team on Tuesday, when the Cats travel to Champaign, Illinois to meet the Big Ten's  #22 Illinois Fighting Illini.

The Fighting Illini are just off a win over Georgia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on November 28th in Champaign, improving their record to 8-0 on the season. Illinois also won the Maui Invitational title with wins over USC, Chaminade, and then Butler for the Maui Championship.

In his first season at Illinois, head coach John Groce's Illini now owns a 19-straight home game winning streak against non-conference opponents.  Illinois is perfect 6-0 on their home floor this season.

Illinois has four players averaging in double figures so far this season. Senior guard Brandon Paul (6-4 /200 lbs) leads the way with an 18 point average, shooting 48% from the field, including 42% on 3-point shots, making 22 of 52 attempts. Senior guard D.J. Richardson (6-3 / 195 lbs) follows with a 12 point average. Sophomore guard Tracy Abrams (6-2 / 185 lbs) and senior forward Tyler Griffey (6-9 / 22)  are both averaging 11 points per game.

The Illini projected starting five consists of 3 guards one forward and sophomore Nnanna Egwu (6-11 / 235) at center, who is averaging 24 minutes per game this season and is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game and 6 points per game. Egwu also has a team high 9 blocks on the season. Groch has a very strong bench, which the will go to often.

If the Cats play in either half of this game, the same way they played in the second half of the Eastern Kentucky game, this will be a huge blow out.  If we can not get more consistent play, or should our shooting go ice cold again, it could be very ugly night in Champaign for this young team.

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