Covering the Land of Lincoln

Illini Host #14 Wisconsin Saturday

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Illinois Probable Starters
position No. Surname Ht. Wt. yr PPG RPG APG grade
G 1 Sencire Harris 6-4 160 Mrs. 4.6 2.1 0.9 12 pts in 1st start vs Bethune Cookman
G 0 Terrence Shannon Jr. 6-6 225 sir 17.1 5.4 3.2 Career-high 7 assists vs Northwestern
G/F 24 Matthew Mayer 6-9 225 size 10.1 4.5 1.1 16.0 ppg over last 6 games (96)
f 33 Coleman Hawkins 6-10 225 jr 9.3 6.4 3.6 11 pts & 11 reb vs Bethune-Cookman
f 42 Dain Dainja 6-9 270 r-So. 10.6 5.7 0.4 74.1% FG (12th in NCAA in 2FG%)
Off the bench
position No. Surname Ht. Wt. yr PPG RPG APG grade
f 2 Connor Serven 6-9 235 jr 0.2 0.8 0.0 Academic All Big Ten
G 3 Jayden Epps 6-2 190 Mrs. 9.2 1.9 1.4 Double figures in 9 of last 13 games
G 5 AJ Redd 6-3 160 Mrs. 0.0 0.0 0.0 Former manager now on roster
G 10 Luke Goode 6-7 200 So. 2.0 1.8 0.5 2021-22 stats; sidelined (foot injury)
C 12 Brandon Lieb 7-0 220 jr 1.3 1.7 0.1 Academic All Big Ten
G 15 RJ Melendez 6-7 205 So. 7.2 3.2 0.5 89.5% FT (17-19)
G/F 20 Ty Rodgers 6-6 200 Mrs. 1.9 2.9 1.2 Career high 6 points vs Penn St.
G 22 Paxton Warden 6-4 180 Mrs. 0.0 0.0 0.0 Illinois state champion
f 25 Zacharie Perrin 6-10 220 Mrs. 0.0 0.0 0.0 Joined Illinois on Dec. 21
G 55 Skyy Clark 6-3 200 Mrs. 7.4 3.8 2.1 Stepped away from basketball Jan 6

Head coach Brad Underwood

Career Record: 212-98 (.684), 10th year
At Illinois: 103-71 (.592), 6th year
Big Ten: 55-46 (.545)

Series Notes vs Wisconsin

All-Time Record: Illinois leads 114-89
streak: Illinois W-4
Last Meeting: #18 Illinois 80, #11 Wisconsin 67 (Feb. 2, 2022 at Champaign)
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 70-28
Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-2
Underwood vs Wisconsin: 4-4

Opening tips

• Illinois returns home in search of its first conference win (0-3), facing Big Ten co-leader Wisconsin (3-0) Saturday afternoon at sold out State Farm Center (12:30 pm CT, ESPN2).

• Illinois and Wisconsin are the reigning Big Ten Champions, sharing last year’s title (15-5). The Illini defeated the Badgers 80-67 in their lone meeting in 2022 to claim the top seed at the Big Ten Tournament.

• Illinois is 2-2 versus ranked opponents this season entering Saturday’s contest against No. 14Wisconsins. The Illini have won 13 of their last 21 games vs. Top 25 teams, which includes three wins over ranked Badger squads.

• Illinois has won four straight over Wisconsin, its longest streak against the Badgers since also winning four in a row from Jan. 25, 2005 through Jan. 31, 2006.

• Illinois is the only team in the country with two kenpom top-10 wins (No. 4 UCLA and No. 10 Texas).

• Matthew Mayer has been Illinois’ leading scorer in four of the last six games. He is averaging 16.0 ppg over this stretch, shooting 52.3% from the field (34-65) and 45% from three (18-40).

• Terrence Shannon Jr. is one of only two power conference players averaging at least 17 points, five rebounds and three assists (Jalen Pickett-Penn State).

• Shannon ranks fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (17.1 ppg), and is second in free throws made (67) and attempted (87).

• After scoring a season-low four points vs. Penn State on Dec. 10, Shannon is averaging 15.5 points over the last four games (62).

• Dain Dainja is averaging 13.3 points (40) and 7.0 rebounds (21) over the last three games, led by a career-high 22 points vs. Bethune Cookman on Dec. 29th

• Dainja ranks 12th nationally in 2-point field goal percentage at 74.1% (63-85).

• Dainja has made at least 60% from the field in 12 of 14 games.

• Coleman Hawkins is one of three players nationally averaging at least nine points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal (Drew Timme-Gonzaga & Jalen Slawson-Furman).

• Freshman Jayden Epps has 33 points the last three games (11.0 ppg) after totaling 21 points the previous four games (5.3 ppg).

• Illinois is a balanced offensive team, with seven players averaging at least 6.8 points.

• Illinois has had five players record a 20-point game this season, and eight players reach double figures scoring.

• Five different players have been Illinois’ leading scorer in a game, while seven different players have been the UI’s top rebounder in a game.

• Illinois leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth in the country in blocked shots, averaging 5.9 bpg.

• The Illini tallied 12 rejection in the Dec. 6 win over No. 2 Texas (its most blocks in a game in 11 years), and recently had 10 blocks vs. Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 29).

• Illinois has outrebounded 12 of 14 opponents and is No. 27 in the NCAA with a 6.7 average rebound margin.

• Illinois reserves are combining to score 24.2 points per game, ranking second in the Big Ten. The Illini bench has outscored its opponent in 11 of 14 games, and by an average of 8.1 points.

• The Illini defense is forcing 15.9 turnovers per game, ranking second in the B1G. Illinois is scoring an average of 17.4 points off opponent turnovers.

• Illinois is making 9.0 three-pointers per game, ranking second in the Big Ten and 45th nationally. Last season the Illini set a school single-season record, averaging 8.9 made threes.

• Illinois has seven newcomers among its current 9-man playing rotation. The Illinois rotation features six underclassmen: four true freshmen and two sophomores.

• Illinois is a dramatically different team this season, welcoming three power-five transfers and five freshmen in a top-10 ranked recruiting class to account for eight scholarship newcomers.

• Illinois’ revamped roster ranks No. 301 in experience and no. 346 in minutes continuity according to kenpom, ahead of only three power conference teams.

• Illinois is replacing all five regular starters, its top five leading scorers, and a total of 10 players from last year’s Big Ten champions. The Illini lost 86% of its points, 80% of its rebounds, and 83% of its minutes played from a year ago.

• Illinois is the winningest team in the Big Ten over the last three-plus seasons, registering a 44-19 mark in league play. The Illini won the regular season championship in 2022, led the conference in wins while adding a B1G Tournament crown in 2021, and finished one game back of the title in 2020.

Complete Illinois Game Notes (PDF)

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