Wednesday's contest between Illinois and Purdue marks the beginning of the Big Ten play for both teams. The Illini finished the non-conference portion of the schedule 13-1 and have positioned themselves as the No. 11 team in the country heading into conference play.
No. 11 Illinois (13-1) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Wed., Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m. - West Lafayette, Ind. - Mackey Arena (14,846)
Ben Ten Network (play-by-play, Eric Collins - analysis, Shon Morris)
Notes (from Purdue sports information):
- Wednesday's game opens a three-game, seven-day stretch in which the Boilermakers will take on ranked Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State teams, respectively, to begin their league slate.
- Wednesday's game will be the 250th as head coach at his alma mater for Painter, a Purdue captain under legendary head coach Gene Keady.
- The three-point arc could prove to be a key factor in Wednesday's game, as Purdue ranks second in the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage defense (.293) and the Illini pace the conference with an average of 9.4 triples per game.
- Purdue is coming off of a 73-66 win over William & Mary on Dec. 29 in which it committed a season-low seven turnovers and was whistled for a season-low 11 personal fouls; the Boilermakers have averaged just 8.0 turnovers per game in their last two contests.
- The Boilers scored 48 of their 73 points (65.7 percent) against William & Mary in the paint; for the year, Purdue is averaging 31.8 points per game in the paint and outscoring opponents by an average of 7.5 points per game on the block.
- Purdue ranks second in the Big Ten with an average of 14.4 offensive rebounds per game, having led or tied in that category in all but one of its games this season; despite ranking second in the league as a team, Purdue's top offensive rebounder - center A.J. Hammons - ranks just 14th in the Big Ten with an average of 2.2 per game.
- Despite having employed six different starting lineups in 12 games this season, Purdue has continued to get a consistent scoring punch from its bench, outscoring opponents' reserves by an average margin of 10.1 points per game.
D.J. Byrd - G, Sr., 6-5, 228 - 9.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Ronnie Johnson - G, Fr., 8.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Terone Johnson - G, Jr., 6-2, 199 - 12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg
Jacob Lawson - F, Soph., 6-8, 217 - 3.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg
A.J. Hammons - C, Fr., 7-0, 280 - 10.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Off the bench:
Anthony Johnson - G, Soph., 6-3, 191 - 6.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Donnie Hale - F, R-Fr., 6-8, 221 - 4.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Rapheal Davis - G, Fr., 6-5, 211 - 4.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Series record: 95-84
Series streak: Purdue W7
Record at West Lafayette: Purdue leads 59-28
Series streak at West Lafayette: Purdue W3
Last year: Purdue 75, Illinois 60 - Dec. 31, 2011 @ West Layfayette
Purdue 67, Illinois 62 - Feb. 15, 2012 @ Champaign
Groce vs. Purdue: First meeting
"Rebounding is a concern going into the Purdue game as well as they rebound the ball. Whenever you play them you've got to be tough physically, you've got to be tough mentally. Matt's teams always play with great toughness so I know we're looking forward to that challenge." -- Illinois coach John Groce.
Purdue team info: