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Friday, Nov. 5

Illinois opens exhibition play vs. SIUE     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 5, 2004]  In their first exhibition game, the No. 5-ranked Fighting Illini will play Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at 7 p.m. Friday in the Assembly Hall at Champaign. The game will not be televised. Illinois posted a 26-7 record in 2004, while SIUE ended the season at 16-11.

Probable starters for Illinois

F -- 43, Roger Powell (senior, 6-6, 235, 11.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg)

C -- 40, James Augustine (junior, 6-10, 230, 9.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg) OR

C -- 45, Nick Smith (senior - r, 7-2, 250, 6.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg)

G -- 4, Luther Head (senior, 6-3, 185, 11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg)

G -- 5, Deron Williams (junior, 6-3, 210, 14.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 6.2 apg)

G -- 11, Dee Brown (junior, 6-0, 185, 13.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.5 apg)

Off the bench...

G -- 15, Calvin Brock (freshman, 6-4, 185)

G -- 33, Richard McBride (sophomore, 6-3, 215, 3.2 ppg, 1.2 apg)

F -- 34, Fred Nkemdi (senior, 6-5, 235, 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg)

F -- 41, Warren Carter (sophomore, 6-9, 210, 1.2 ppg, 0.6 rpg)

F -- 42, Brian Randle (sophomore, 6-7, 210, 1.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg)

C-F -- 50, Jack Ingram (senior - r, 6-10, 245, 2.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg)

F -- 55, Shaun Pruitt (freshman, 6-8, 245)

Series history: SIUE

Illinois defeated the Cougars 104-68 on Jan. 3, 1981, in their only previous meeting. Illinois shot 63 percent from the field, with Mark Smith (18), James Griffin (17), Eddie Johnson (16), Perry Range (13) and Bryan Leonard (12) all scoring in double figures against the Division II opponent.

Quick shots

  • Southern Illinois-Edwardsville assistant coach Marcus Belcher played two years at SIU under current Illini coach Bruce Weber.
  • Illinois has led the Big Ten in scoring each of the last four seasons.
  • Illinois' next exhibition game is against Lewis University on Nov. 14, with tipoff scheduled for 3 p.m.

Williams fifth straight Illini Preseason Player of the Year pick

At the recent Big Ten Media Day in Chicago, junior guard Deron Williams became the fifth straight Illini to be named Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.

Williams, who was also named to the All-Big Ten First Team last season, is just the third Big Ten player ever to lead the league in assists in each of his first two seasons, joining Michigan State's Magic Johnson (1978-79) and Illinois' Bruce Douglas (1983-84).

Williams has also earned Preseason All-America honors from Playboy Magazine and is among 50 preseason candidates for the Wooden Award.

Two Illini earn all-Big Ten honors

Junior guards Deron Williams and Dee Brown were both named to the Preseason All-Big Ten First Team at the recent Big Ten Media Day in Chicago.

Brown was an All-Big Ten Second Team selection in 2004 after being named the Preseason Player of the Year prior to his sophomore season.

Illinois begins season near the top

Illinois begins the 2004-05 season ranked No. 5 in the Preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, its highest preseason ranking since starting the 2001-02 season ranked No. 2. The Preseason Associated Press Poll is scheduled to be released next week.

[to top of second column in this article]

Recruiting press conference date changed to Dec. 12

The press conference to announce the Fighting Illini men's basketball recruiting class has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Nov. 12, at the Professional Development Room of the Bielfeldt Athletics Administration Building. The first day of the signing period is Nov. 10.

Valpo game time changed

Start time for the Dec. 19 men's basketball game against Valparaiso has been changed to 4 p.m. An Illini women's game against UCLA is scheduled to begin at noon that day. The men's game against Valparaiso is part of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.

Hot ticket to watch the Illini at the Assembly Hall

Illinois sold out of season tickets for the 2004-05 campaign, making it one of the hottest tickets in program history. As of Nov. 4, single-game tickets remained only for games against Florida A&M, Oakland and Longwood, all games not part of the student season ticket package.

Home cookin'

Illinois is 51-2 (.962) at the Assembly Hall over the last four years, with the only losses coming to Michigan State on Feb. 3, 2002, and to Purdue on Jan. 10, 2004 ... The Boilermakers broke a 23-game Illini winning streak at the Assembly Hall that at the time ranked fourth in the nation ... Illinois is 63-3 (.955) at the Assembly Hall over the past five seasons, the best home mark in the nation over that period The Illini have also won 31 in a row at the Assembly Hall against non-conference opponents ... Illinois has won 35 of its last 37 (.946) Big Ten games at the Assembly Hall Below is a look at Illinois' home record the past five seasons:

Year Overall Big Ten
2003-04 12-1 7-1
2002-03 14-0 7-0
2001-02 13-1 7-1
2000-01 12-0 8-0
1999-2000 12-1 7-1
Total 63-3 (.955) 36-3 (.923)

Weber wins Big Ten title in first season

With the win over Ohio State on March 7, Bruce Weber's Illini claimed sole possession of the title and becomes just the third Big Ten coach to win an outright league title in his first season, along with Wisconsin's Guy Lowman in 1918 and Minnesota's Bill Musselman in 1972.

Weber is the 11th coach in Big Ten history to win at least a share of the conference title in his first season. He is the third Illini rookie coach to win the league, following Doug Mills in 1937 and Bill Self in 2001.

New faces on the roster

  • Arnold transfers from Illinois State: Marcus Arnold, a 6-8 forward-center from Chicago, transferred to Illinois from Illinois State in the summer of 2004 and will sit out the 2004-05 season per NCAA transfer rules. He will begin the 2005-06 season with junior eligibility.
  • Freshmen duo: the 2004 recruiting class of 6-foot-4-inch guard Calvin Brock of Chicago. Simeon High School and 6-8 forward Shaun Pruitt of Aurora West High School. Brock was the Chicago Player of the Year in 2004, while Pruitt was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois last season.

[Kent Brown, assistant athletics director,
sports information director, University of Illinois]

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