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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Indiana vs. Illinois Rd 2

INDIANA (7)PtsRBAsstsStlsFg%3pt%FT%
GAJ Guyton16.
GBracey Wright17.
FBrian Evans13.
FDJ White14.
CAlan Henderson16.0 8.8 1.1 1.2 0.540 0.231 0.646
BF Jared Jeffries14.
G Eric Gordon20.
F Kirk Haston14.

Guyton: This guy could seriously play.  Not a true point guard but probably forced to play it because he's small for a shooting guard. Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1998, 1999, 2000; Player of the year 2000.
Wright: Big shooting guard who was afraid of playing defense.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2005
Evans: Played 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fiddle to the older guys his first three years but once he was the senior he showed everyone what he could do.  Averaged over 20ppg and won player of the year. Honors: 1st team all Big Ten 1996; Player of the Year 1996
White: Big, strong, physical post-man that dominated as a junior and senior.  Not especially agile on defense but a good rebounder.  Honors: All Big Ten 2008; Player of the Year 2008.
Henderson: Overshadowed by Calbert Cheaney and Damon Bailey but his numbers say it all.  Might be the most dominating big man they've ever had.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1995.
Bench: Jared Jeffries was player of the year in 2002 and carried the Hoosiers to the NCAA championship game. Eric Gordon also earned 1st team honors while proving to everyone Bloomington was just a temporary stop before the NBA.  Kirk Haston garnered 1st team  honors in 2001 for solid defense and was probably the best big man in the conference that year.

Strengths:  Size, defense, team play, bench scoring
Indiana really has a great team here and with Bob Knight running the show you can expect tough man to man defense for 40 minutes.  If  Guyton and Henderson are double teamed you can expect Evans to step up with the big shot.

Weaknesses: DJ White and Alan Henderson had tendencies to get into foul trouble while donning the cream and crimson.  Can Gordon play with Wright and Guyton?  Will the guards relax and let the game come to them or will they force the issue?

ILLINOIS (1) Pts RB A Stls Fg% 3pt% FT%
G Deron Williams 11.0 3.3 5.9 1.1 0.422 0.373 0.685
G Kiwane Garris 16.8 3.3 4.3 1.4 0.411 0.363 0.830
G Frank Williams 14.3 4.0 4.3 2.1 0.395 0.326 0.806
PF Brian Cook 13.2 6.2 1.3 0.7 0.509 0.339 0.793
C James Augustine 10.1   7.5   1.1   1.0   0.617 0.333 0.686
B: F Jerry Hester 14.7 5.3 1.6 0.8 0.457 0.335 0.790
G Dee Brown 13.2 3.3 4.9 1.7 0.421 0.359 0.724
G/F Luther Head 10.1 3.1 2.5 1.2 0.472 0.382 0.752

D. Williams: Big body but quick.  Excellent passer, good rebounder, very smart.  He was a much better player than his stats show.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2004, 2005
Garris: A shoot first point guard that was the centerpiece of the team all four years.  Not especially big but knew how to put up the points.  Honors: 1st team All Big 1996, 1997
F. Williams: Another guard that looked to shoot first but like the other two was not a ballhog.  Underrated defender. Honors: 1st team all Big Ten 2001, 2002
Cook: The 6'10" forward doesn't have overly impressive rebounding numbers but was solid in that area.  Also could step outside and shoot threes, opening up the lane for the guards.  Honors: All Big Ten 2003; Player of the Year 2003.
Augustine: This big man was overshadowed by the 3-headed guard monster of Williams, Head, and Brown but when the team needed a big bucket they could count on the guy.  Could shoot equally well with both hands in the paint.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2006.
Bench: Jerry Hester is a surprise inclusion on this team.  Quietly put up his numbers but was not what you could call an impact player.  Dee Brown was electric on the fast break, had a long range shot, and quick hand on defense.  A great player to have on the bench.  Luther Head often drove the nail through the coffin in close games with his ability to hit clutch shots.  When asked was a lock down defender also.

Strengths:  3 point shooting, guard depth, team unity, offensive adaptability
This is truly a team.  Five of these guys played together, this familiarity could help hide some deficiencies.  The guard depth on this team is just amazing.  Dee Brown off the bench?  The guards can score when needed or they can dish.  Also, these big men can run up and down the floor.

Weaknesses: Big man depth, starters FT%, Turnovers
One stat we don't show is turnovers because it's just too hard to find consistent data.  I can tell you though that these guards for Illinois were prone to turning it over.  That may be a result of their style of play, but it could be what dooms them if and when they fall.  The guy you want to have the ball late in the game (D. Williams) is a poor free throw shooter as is Augustine.  If Augustine or Cook is in foul trouble do you really want Hester getting big minutes?

What to Expect:
U of I will push the pace to extreme limits when Brown and D. Williams are on the floor at the same time.  IU will try to grind it out in the half court in an attempt to neutralize their bigs and force some turnovers.  Bob Knight's man to man defense may wear down but Indiana's depth down low will make this a game for the ages.  I wish I had tickets.

Matchup to Watch: Kiwane Garris vs. AJ Guyton
Garris passed the torch to Guyton for best combo guard in the conference.  It would be fun to see these two wily veterans go head to head.
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