Probable Illinois starters
F, 34, Brian Cook (senior, 6-10, 240,
19.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
F-C, 40, James Augustine (freshman,
6-10, 220, 7.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
F, 43, Roger Powell (sophomore, 6-6,
220, 8.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
G, 11, Dee Brown (freshman, 6-0, 175,
12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.7 apg)
G, 5, Deron Williams (freshman, 6-3,
210, 6.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.7apg)
C, 1, Aaron Spears (freshman, 6-9, 250,
3.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg)
G, 4, Luther Head (sophomore, 6-3, 175,
8.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
F, 23, Blandon Ferguson (senior, 6-3,
205, 1.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg)
G, 24, Sean Harrington (senior, 6-3,
185, 7.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
G, 25, Jerrance Howard (senior, 6-1,
200, 0.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg)
G, 31, Nick Huge (junior, 6-4, 215, 0.3
ppg, 0.2 rpg)
F, 32, Kyle Wilson (freshman, 6-8, 230,
2.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg)
F, 42, Clayton Thomas (senior, 6-7,
240, 0.4 ppg, 0.6 rpg)
C, 45, Nick Smith (sophomore, 7-2, 240,
5.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
history with Michigan
This is the 142nd meeting between
Illinois and Michigan, with the Illini owning a 74-67 edge in the
all-time series. Michigan, however, leads 43-26 in games played at
Ann Arbor. The Illini have beaten the Wolverines six straight times
and have won nine of the last 10 games in the series, including a
67-60 victory in Champaign on Jan. 29.
Head coach: Bill Self
Overall record: 201-103 (10th year),
Big Ten 33-12
At Illinois: 72-22 (third year),
all-time versus Michigan 5-0
Associate head coach: Norm Roberts
Assistants: Tim Jankovich (first year)
and Wayne McClain (second year)
Trainer: Rod Cardinal (30th year).
Michigan head coach: Tommy Amaker
At Michigan: 27-28 (second year),
all-time versus Illinois 0-5
Overall: 95-83 (sixth year)
Assistant coaches: Charles Ramsey,
Chuck Swenson, Billy Schmidt
Television: ESPN-Plus -- Craig Coshun,
play-by-play; Bob Ford, expert analyst
Radio: Illini Sports Radio Network, 43
stations -- Brian Barnhart, play-by-play; Loren Tate, expert analyst
and pre-game and halftime reports
At Michigan on Saturday Illinois is
shooting for its 22nd 20-win season. ... The Illini have topped 20
wins in five of the last six seasons, including each previous season
under Bill Self. ... A win by Illinois would move the Illini into a
first-place tie with Wisconsin. ... Illinois is 38-1 (.973) at the
Assembly Hall under Bill Self, with the only loss coming to Michigan
State in 2002. ... Since then, the Illini have won 16 straight at
the Hall. ... Illinois is 50-2 (.962) at the Assembly Hall over the
past four seasons. … Illini opponents are shooting .374 from the
field, which ranks second in the nation and would be the lowest
opponent field-goal percentage by UI opponents since 1955-56 (.352).
... Since 1956, the only other Illini squad to hold opponents to
less than 40 percent shooting was the 2001 squad under Bill Self
(.386). ... Illini opponents are also shooting just .277 from
3-point range, which would be the lowest in school history (current
low is .308 in 2000). ... After 13 Big Ten games, Brian Cook leads
the Big Ten in scoring (19.0 average) and is seventh in rebounding
(6.5 average), while James Augustine ranks first in field-goal
shooting (45-77, .584). Dee Brown and Deron Williams are second in
assists (4.69 average), and Brown is second in steals (1.85 average)
while leading in assist-turnover ratio (3.39). ... Brian Cook has
scored at least 15 points in 19 of his 22 games this season,
including at least 20 points 13 times. He has scored 20 or more in
10 of the last 15 games, including six in a row prior to Jan. 18 at
Indiana, the longest such streak by an Illini player since Kendall
Gill tallied 20-plus points in the final 10 games of the 1989-90
season. ... Illini players are currently leading three Big Ten
statistical categories for all games. Brian Cook leads the Big Ten
in scoring (19.5 ppg), Dee Brown leads in assist-to-turnover ratio
(2.55), and Sean Harrington leads the conference in 3-point
field-goal percentage (.439). ... Roger Powell is second in
field-goal shooting (.603, 76-126), with James Augustine one slot
back (.598, 73-122) in third. Dee Brown and Deron Williams are tied
for second in assists (4.67 apg), while Deron Williams is second in
assist-turnover margin (2.38).
wildcard decisions for March 8-9
The Minnesota at Illinois and Purdue at
Michigan games are the two contests up for selection by CBS for its
March 9 broadcast. CBS has until Monday, March 3, to decide which
game will be televised on Sunday, March 9, at 1 p.m. Central time
and which game will appear on ESPN-Regional TV at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 8.
Naismith Coach of the Year finalist
For the fourth consecutive year, Bill
Self is one of 25 finalists for the Naismith National College Coach
of the Year Award. He is the only Big Ten coach on the list of
out -- Illinois 80, Indiana 54
Illinois won its 16th straight at the
Assembly Hall in good fashion Tuesday night with an 80-54 win over
Indiana. Sophomore Roger Powell scored a career-high 22 points,
reaching the 20-point mark for the second consecutive game, to lead
all scorers. Brian Cook added 17 points, while Dee Brown scored 16.
Deron Williams scored six points but added four rebounds and seven
assists with no turnovers in 35 minutes and played terrific defense
against Indiana's Tom Coverdale.
Jeff Newton was the only Hoosier to
reach double figures, with 11 points.
Illinois shot 55 percent for the game
while holding Indiana to 37 percent shooting. The Illini also
dominated the glass by a 41-24 margin.
The Illini are contending for a Big Ten
title with a majority of playing time coming from underclassmen. Of
a possible 120 starts this season, 68 have come from freshmen and 25
from sophomores, with only 27 coming from seniors Brian Cook and
2002-03 starts by class (minute
Seniors: 27 (1,485 minutes played, 30.9
Juniors: 0 (0 minutes played, 0
Sophomores: 25 (1,166 minutes played,
Freshmen: 68 (2,149 minutes played,
defense is tops
After 24 games this season, Illinois
opponents are shooting just 37.4 percent from the field, including
just 27.7 percent from 3-point range. The Illini rank second in the
nation (as of Feb. 24) in field-goal defense percentage.
The 37.7 percent shooting by Illini
opponents would be the lowest allowed since 1956 and just the second
time since that teams shot under 40 percent. The other was in 2001,
also under Bill Self.
The 27.7 percent
3-point field-goal defense percentage is the lowest in school
Against Coppin State on Dec. 30,
Illinois held the Eagles to just 12 field goals, the fewest made
shots in the 40-year history of the Assembly Hall, and to just 29
percent shooting from the field. Coppin was the second Illini
opponent this season to shoot under 30 percent.
In the Big Ten opener, Illinois held
Minnesota to 30.5 percent shooting on its home floor, as the Gophers
made just 19.2 percent (5-26) from 3-point range. In a 70-40 defeat
of Michigan State on Feb. 18, the 40 points scored by the Spartans
tied the fewest points allowed by Illinois in Big Ten play in
Assembly Hall history.
Illinois has now held 13 of its last 18
opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field and has a
total of 15 such defensive efforts this season. Coppin State's 37
points were the fewest allowed by the Illini since defeating
Northwestern 63-30 on Feb. 19, 2000.
Illinois leads the Big Ten in
field-goal defense percentage and 3-point defense percentage and is
second in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of just
In the latest national statistics (as
of Feb. 24) compiled by the NCAA, Illinois ranks second in
field-goal defense percentage and seventh in scoring margin (plus
14.3), while ranking 14th in scoring defense (60.3).
The 2002-03 Fighting Illini season has
been trademarked with unselfish play. Illinois leads the Big Ten and
ranks third in the nation (as of Feb. 24) in assists per game (18.1
average), highlighted by a season-high 25 assists versus Oakland, 24
versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and 23 against Western Illinois, North
Carolina and Penn State. In the win over Coppin State, the Illini
were credited with 21 assists on 22 made baskets, an amazing 96
percent of shots made. Illinois has tallied 20 or more assists in
nine games and has recorded assists on over 66 percent of its
baskets (435 assists on 655 field goals) on the season.
Guards Dee Brown and Deron Williams
are tied for second in the Big Ten in assists with
an average of 4.67 per game.
Illinois is averaging 75.0 points per game
this season, outscoring its opponents by an
average of over 14.7 points per. Illinois is shooting 48.9 percent
from the field, ranking 11th in the nation in field-goal percentage
(NCAA Rankings as of Feb. 24), and has shot 50 percent or better in
13-of-24 games this season.
Illinois leads the Big Ten in
field-goal percentage (.489) and scoring margin (plus 14.7) and
ranks third in 3-point field-goal percentage (.366) and second in scoring
average (75.0). Four of Illinois' top six scorers are shooting 50
percent or better from the field.
Senior Brian Cook, a preseason Big Ten
Player of the Year selection, is proving the recognition was
deserved. He may deserve more -- as in National Player of the Year
candidate. Cook leads the Big Ten in scoring at 19.5 points per game
(49th nationally as of Feb. 24), while ranking fourth in rebounding
at 7.1 boards per contest. He also ranks eighth in the league in
field-goal shooting (.512) and 11th in free-throw percentage (.806).
Cook has been Illinois' leading scorer 15 times and leading rebounder 14 times in his
22 games this season.
Cook's 31 points against Wisconsin Jan.
11 were a career high and the most by an Illinois player since Kevin
Turner scored 35 versus Indiana on Jan. 3, 1998.
In one of the most inspiring
performances in Illini hoops history, Cook scored 26 second-half
points (to Michigan's 27) in leading the Illini from an 11-point
deficit and knocking off the previously conference-undefeated
Wolverines. Cook scored 19 points in the final 9:15 to finish with
30 for the game. Cook had a streak of consecutive made free throws
come to an end at 32 on Jan. 4 against Oakland, tying Rob Judson and
Andy Kaufmann for second place in school
history for consecutive free throws.
Cook enters the Michigan game with 1,579
career points, sixth on the UI career scoring list and 74 points
shy of Mark Smith for fifth place.
After sitting out the first two games
of the season (along with teammate Jerrance Howard) as an NCAA
penalty for playing in an unsanctioned summer basketball tournament,
Cook returned and immediately established himself in the Illini
Cook has scored at least 15 points in
all but three games this season, reaching 20 points or more 13 times.
He's also had at least eight rebounds 10 times.
Cook's best scoring game came against
Wisconsin with a career-high 31 points. Other top games were his 30
points versus Michigan; 25 points against Minnesota and Temple; 22
against North Carolina, Oakland, Purdue and Ohio State; 21 against
Eastern Illinois and Memphis; and 20 versus Coppin State, Iowa and
In the win over No. 11 Missouri, Cook
scored 17, making all 10 of his free-throw attempts, and pulled down
a game-high nine rebounds.
Cook has been named one of 20
finalists for the Naismith Award, is one of 30 midseason candidates
for the Wooden Award, is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS
Award and most recently was named a first team NABC all-District 11
Illinois head coach Bill Self should receive consideration for Big
Ten Coach of the Year after leading the only ranked conference team
with three freshmen and one sophomore in the starting lineup. After
winning Big Ten titles in his first two seasons, Self posted his
200th career win Feb. 22 against Northwestern and tied the Illini
record as quickest to 70 wins at Illinois. Self is the only Big Ten
coach on the list of 25 finalists for Naismith National College
Coach of the Year.
[to top of second column in this article]
Illinois began the week ranked No. 16
in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, extending its streak to 54
consecutive polls in which the Illini have been ranked, including
every poll during Bill Self's tenure. Illinois is also ranked No. 18
in this week's AP Top 25.
The Illini had a school-record streak
of 30 straight polls in the Top 10 snapped in January 2002 but have
never dropped out of the Coaches' Top 25 under Self.
Dee-bate, Dee can play
Who is the best freshman point guard in
college basketball? It's hard to find a rookie guard who has made
more of an impact than Illinois' Dee Brown. Brown has started every
game and leads the Illini in minutes played (33.9 average). He has
scored in double figures in 14 games and is second on the team in
scoring, averaging 12.3 points. Brown exploded for a career-high 25
points against Eastern Illinois on Dec. 10, hitting 10-of-14 shots,
including a career-high five 3-pointers.
In two December performances in front
of national television audiences, Brown first had a game-high 21
points with seven assists and five rebounds in Illinois' victory
over No. 11 Missouri to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors on
Dec. 21. He then followed with 19 points, including five 3-pointers,
as well as three assists and three boards with no turnovers, in 37
minutes against Memphis.
Brown had his best game in conference
play against Michigan State on Feb. 18, scoring a game-high 24
points on eight-of-13 shooting with five rebounds, five assists and
a career-high five steals.
Brown is second in the Big Ten in
assists with 4.67 per game and also leads the league with an
assist-turnover ratio of 2.38. He ranks 19th in the Big Ten in
scoring at 12.3 points per game. One of the quickest guards in
America, Brown's average of 1.75 steals per game leads the team and ranks
third in the
Through 13 Big Ten games, Brown has
totaled 61 assists with only 18 turnovers, leading the conference
with an assist-turnover ratio of 3.39 in league play.
Among the top freshmen in the league,
he ranks among the top four in assists (second), points (fourth) and
steals (first) per game.
In head-to-head matchups with other
heralded freshman point guards, Brown held North Carolina's Raymond
Felton to nine points (2-6 FG), three assists and eight turnovers.
Brown held Michigan's Daniel Horton to three-of-17 from the field
(seven points), with two assists and seven turnovers.
Williams joins Brown in all-freshman backcourt
Dee Brown and Deron Williams make up
one of the best freshmen backcourts in the nation. The two rank
first and second, respectively, in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover
ratio and have the Illini leading the Big Ten in team assists and
assist-to-turnover ratio. Brown leads the team in minutes at 33.9
per game, but Williams is third at 27.0 minutes. Williams is
averaging 6.6 points, is tied with Brown for the team lead in
assists with 112 and is tied for second on the team in steals with
31. He ranks second in the Big Ten in assist-turnover ratio at 2.38
and is tied with Brown for second in assists with an average of 4.67.
Air Rog takes off
Sophomore Roger Powell returned to the
starting lineup this week with a bang this week with strong performances against Michigan
State, Northwestern and Indiana, scoring at least 20 points in wins
over the Wildcats and Hoosiers.
After starting the first nine games of
the season, Powell suffered a toe injury against Memphis and sat out
the next two games. A slow return from the injury pushed back his
progress before a strong stretch of play beginning at Michigan State
on Feb. 2.
Last week, Powell had 10 points and
seven rebounds in the 70-40 win over Michigan State and a
then-career-high 20 points and four rebounds in the victory over
Tuesday against Indiana, Powell set a
new career high with 22 points and grabbed seven boards, making
nine-of-13 shots. In the last three games he has combined to make 21-of-31 field goals
(.677) in the three
wins and now ranks second in the Big Ten in field-goal shooting at
60.3 percent (76-126). Powell ranks fourth on the team with an
average of 8.4 points.
3 -- Sean Harrington
Senior Sean Harrington has been hot
from behind the arc this season. He has made 50-of-114 treys,
leading the Big Ten in 3-point field-goal percentage at
43.9 percent. Harrington nailed a career-high six 3-pointers in
Illinois' win over North Carolina on Dec. 3 en route to 20 points and tied
his mark by making six-of-eight treys on his way to 18 points
against Coppin State. He tied it again with six-of-nine treys on his
way to a career-high 22 points against Minnesota. Against Oakland,
he had 20 points, connecting on five 3-pointers.
In his five games as a starter this
season, Harrington averaged 13.8 points per game, including an
average of 20.0 points in his first three starts. It was the first
time in his career at Illinois that he scored in double figures in
three straight games.
Harrington is third on the team with 56
assists and has just 21 turnovers, for an assist-to-turnover ratio
of 2.67. He is third on the team with 25 steals. In games played at
the Assembly Hall, Harrington is 33-65 (.508) from 3-point range.
Harrington ranks fifth on the UI career
list with 177 3-point field goals.
Another member of the heralded Illini
freshman class to shine has been newcomer James Augustine. He has
bolstered the UI frontcourt, averaging 7.3 points, and is third in the
Big Ten in field-goal percentage, shooting 59.8 percent from the
field. He has scored in double figures seven times, recorded his
first career double-double with season highs of 19 points and 12
rebounds versus Penn State, and followed with another as he had 11
points and 10 rebounds against Michigan. In addition, Augustine is
second on the team -- behind Brian Cook -- in rebounding, averaging
5.9 boards. He has been Illinois' top rebounder in seven games,
highlighted by his 12-rebound performance against Penn State.
Augustine ranks 11th in the Big Ten in rebounding at 5.9 per game
and is 12th in blocked shots at 1.00 per game.
The Illinois bench has been productive
this season, averaging 18.9 points and 9.0 rebounds, while limiting
the opponents' bench to 16.0 points and 9.4 rebounds. Illinois'
bench is outscoring the opponents' bench by 2.9 points per game and
nearly matching opponents in rebounding.
Bench numbers (points-rebounds):
Illinois 32-9, Lehigh 9-7
40-18, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 14-8
32-9, Western Illinois 14-6
39-14, North Carolina 7-1
20-9, Arkansas 19-13
12-13, Eastern Illinois 18-12
13-3, Temple 8-8
30-13, Missouri 26-11
17-12, at Memphis 11-15
12-10, Coppin State 6-8
11-10, Oakland 5-7
14-11, at Minnesota 36-17
9-6, Wisconsin 11-8
21-11, at Iowa 22-3
26-13, at Indiana 22-6
6-6, Purdue 18-11
19-8, at Penn State 20-7
8-4, Michigan 13-13
22-7, at Michigan State 30-13
25-3, Ohio State 6-15
12-9, at Purdue 23-11
17-6, Michigan State 15-16
6-4, Northwestern 4-2
11-18, Indiana 16-8
Total 454-216, opponents 383-226
books more weekly honors
Senior forward Brian Cook earned
several Player of the Week awards the week of Jan. 6-12 after a pair
of stellar performances, averaging 28 points and 10 rebounds on 56
percent shooting to earn Big Ten, ESPN.com, The Sporting News,
FoxSports.com, College Basketball News and Dick Vitale Player of the
Week honors and lead the Illini to a pair of Big Ten wins.
The senior forward guided the Illini to
a road victory at Minnesota to open the Big Ten season, as he
equaled his then-career high with 25 points by hitting six-of-13
from the field and 13-of-17 from the free-throw line. Cook added 11
rebounds for his 11th career double-double.
The preseason Big Ten Player of the
Year put on an even more impressive show against Wisconsin, setting
a new career high with 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including a
pair of treys, in just 26 minutes on the court. Cook added nine
rebounds in the win to nearly record another double-double. The 6-10
forward produced 24 of his 31 points in the second half, including a
streak of 15 consecutive UI points, as he scored 22 of the Illini's
final 26 points in the game. His 12 field goals are the most by any
Big Ten player this season.
He earned his second Big Ten Player of
the Week accolade this season -- as he was also honored on Dec. 9 --
and the third of his career.
becomes first Illinois freshman to earn Big Ten Player of the Week
Dee Brown became the first freshman in
Illinois history to earn Big Ten Player of the Week recognition,
when he was honored on Dec. 23 after pouring in a game-high 21
points in the Illini's victory over No. 11 Missouri.
The first-year point guard connected on
a trio of 3-pointers, recorded a game-high seven assists and added
five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, in the win.
named Co-Big Ten Player of the Week following wins over UNC and
Brian Cook was named Big Ten Co-Player
of the Week on Dec. 9 after leading the Illini to victories over
North Carolina and Arkansas. He shared the award with Indiana's Tom
Cook scored a game-high 22 points in
Illinois' 92-65 victory over No. 12 North Carolina. He connected on
eight-of-12 shots from the field, grabbed a game-high eight rebounds
and tied his career high with five assists. Cook was also the
leading scorer in Illinois' 62-58 win over Arkansas, scoring 18
points in 39 minutes of action. Cook made seven-of-14 field goals
and added four rebounds and four assists versus the Razorbacks. On
the week, Cook averaged 20 points, six rebounds and 4.5 assists per
game on combined 58 percent shooting.
says 2003 final season
Guard Jerrance Howard has said that the
2003 season will be his final campaign as a player at Illinois.
Howard, who would have one season of eligibility remaining in
2003-04 after redshirting as a freshman in 1999-2000, will graduate
in May and plans to possibly enter the coaching field. He will be
listed as a senior for the remainder of his Illinois career.
sidelined with knee injury
Freshman center Aaron Spears suffered a
torn lateral meniscus in his left knee during practice on Dec. 16
and had arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 27. He is expected to miss four
to six weeks of action, with a possible return in mid-February. He
averaged 3.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in six games before he was
in final year as trainer
Longtime Illini men's basketball
trainer Rod Cardinal is in his 30th and final season on the bench.
Cardinal began his career in 1973-74 in Harv Schmidt's final season,
worked with Gene Bartow in his one season (1974-75), under Lou
Henson from 1976 to 1996, Lon Kruger from 1997-2000 and Bill Self
from 2001-03. Cardinal has been on the bench for more than 900 games
(918; 588-330 as of Feb. 23) and several thousand practices.
bask in season opener
For the first time in school history,
Illinois opened the season with three freshmen in the starting
lineup when James Augustine, Dee Brown and Deron Williams were on
the floor for the opening tip versus Lehigh on Nov. 24. Two
sophomores, Roger Powell and Nick Smith, rounded out the starting
lineup as the youngest in school history. Prior to the opener, the
five starters had combined for a total of four starts (all by Nick
The previous time Illinois started
three freshmen in any game was Feb. 20, 1991, when Rennie Clemons,
Scott Pierce, and Tom Michael started versus Ohio State.
In the opening two wins of the season,
the five Illinois freshmen scored 104 of Illinois' 186 points (56
percent), while grabbing 42 of the Illini's 90 rebounds (47
added to UI staff
Bill Self added veteran coach Tim
Jankovich to the Illinois coaching staff Nov. 20, replacing Billy
Gillispie, who moved to UTEP as head coach on Nov. 2. Jankovich, a
former head coach at North Texas, has worked as associate head coach
the last three seasons at Vanderbilt. He served on the same Oklahoma
State staff with Self in the early 1990s.
[Provided by Kent Brown,
assistant athletics director and
sports information director,
University of Illinois]