Illinois (15-8, 2-7) vs. No. 1 Indiana (20-2, 8-1)
Thursday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m. - Champaign, Ill. - Assembly Hall (16,618)
ESPN (Announcers: Joe Tessitore & Sean Farnham)
Notes (from Indiana sports information):
- “O-la-di-po”: Junior Victor Oladipo is the most improved player in the country (let’s debate) and likely will be a candidate for National Defensive Player of the Year. The Big Ten leader in steals (2.5) is always given the toughest defensive assignment for the Hoosiers. In addition, he has improved his field goal shooting percentage from 48.6 to 64.4, his 3-point field goal percentage from 23.5 to 51.4 and his offensive rebounds from 1.8 per game to 2.5.
- ZELLER: Preseason National Player of the Year Cody Zeller has had five double-doubles in the first nine games of Big Ten play and is averaging 16.1 points, 8.9 rebounds in conference action. He is shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 78.3 percent from the line. His 36.0 points/rebounds/assists per 40 is the tops among Big Ten players. He was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on January 14 and again on Feb. 4.
- GETTING TO 20 WINS: The Hoosiers’ 81-73 win over No. 1 Michigan on Saturday was their 20th win of the season. It is the second-fastest (by date) that an IU team has reached 20 wins. The 1975-76 team that went undefeated picked up their 20th win of the season on Feb. 1.
- TEAM NOTES: Indiana is second in the nation in scoring differential (22.8) and in scoring (83.8). IU leads the Big Ten in free throw percentage (74.1), 3-point field goal percentage (42.2, 3rd nationally), rebound margin (+10.2, 3rd nationally) and field goal percentage defense (37.7, 15th nationally). IU leads the Big Ten in home attendance (17,396) and will sell out all 20 home games this season.
- NATIONALLY (PLAYERS): Junior Victor Oladipo is third in the country in effective field goal percentage at 69.7, overall field goal percentage at 64.4 and tied for tied for 15th in steals (2.5). Sophomore Cody Zeller is ninth in the country in field goal at 59.6 percent and senior Jordan Hulls’ 3-point field goal percentage (49.1) ranks 11th in the nation.
- FERRELL: Freshman Kevin “Yogi” Ferrellaveraged 12.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals in the last four games for the Hoosiers. He shot 61.5 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from long distance. He had a career-high 15 points and made 6-of-7 shots against PSU. Against MSU, he had 11 points and three assists and followed that up with 11 points and three assists at Purdue. He added 14 points against Michigan and made all eight free throw attempts.
Jordan Hulls: G, Sr., 6-0, 182 - 11.1 ppg, 3.3 apg
Christian Watford: F, Sr., 6-9, 232 - 12.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Victor Oladipo: G, Jr., 6-5, 214 - 14.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Cody Zeller: F, Soph., 7-0, 240 - 16.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell: G, Fr., 6-0, 178 - 7.7 ppg, 4.5 apg
Off the bench:
Will Sheehey: F, Jr., 6-7, 200 - 9.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Remy Abell: G, Soph., 6-4, 201 - 5.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Jeremy Hollowell: F, Fr., 6-8, 217 - 3.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Series record: Indiana leads 84-83
Series streak: Indiana W1
Record @ Champaign: Illinois leads 49-31
Series streak @ Champaign: Illinois W3
Last year's meeting: No. 23 Indiana 84, Illinois 71 (Feb. 9, 2012 @ Bloomington)
Coach Groce vs. Indiana: First meeting
Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean:
"We know going into Fighting Illini country will be major challenge. We will be as good as our preparation, toughness and execution. John Groce and his staff can really coach. They play very, very hard. They are very aggressive on both ends."
"Illinois runs great things on offense. They get excellent ball and man movement. A ton of handoffs, ballscreens and drive and kick actions."
Hoosiers forward Cody Zeller:
On what Illinois does well when they're clicking:
"Their three guards can fill it up and they are very talented. Their inside guys are good pick-and-pop guys. They are work horses and they are a good team. They haven't won as much lately as earlier in the season, but we've got to be prepared for their best, because that's what we're expecting."
On how this team is playing on the road:
"We have older, mature guys that don't caught up in the crowd or being in a rough environment or anything like that. I think it's a lot of credit to us for keeping our composure."
On how this Illinois team is different from the one they played last year:
"Obviously losing a high draft pick with Myers Leonard kind of changes their whole aspect, but they have skilled big guys that have filled in for them. They still have the shooters that are always scary because you never know if one of them is going to get hot. We'll have to be prepared for their best."
On how the Big Ten has been different from expectations coming into the season:
"It hasn't been too much different because we know that every game in this league is going to be tough. We have a lot of tough games coming up and it doesn't get any easier from here, so we can't be satisfied with where we are at. We have to take it one game at a time and keep winning."
Indiana team info: