Both Illinois and Minnesota enter Sunday's matchup seeking a Big Ten win to strengthen conference standing and to continues moves toward postseason play.
Illinois enters on the high of having just upset No. 1 Indiana in thrilling buzzer beater fashion. Minnesota looks to rebound after losing to Michigan State on the road.
Illinois (16-8, 3-7) @ No. 18 Minnesota (17-8, 5-5)
Sunday, Feb. 10, 5 p.m. – Minneapolis, Minn. – Williams Arena (14,625)
Big Ten Network (Announcers: Kevin Kugler, Eddie Johnson)
Notes (per Minnesota sports information):
- Minnesota will play host to the University of Illinois with the opportunity of sweeping the season series over the Illini for the first time since the 1996 conference season, which has since been vacated. Not counting vacated games, Minnesota hasn't swept Illinois since the 1978 conference slate.
- The Gophers opened the season series against Illinois in Champaign at Assembly Hall on Jan. 9. Minnesota came away with a 84-67 victory thanks to a career-high 29 points from Joe Coleman. Andre Hollins chipped in with 22 points, eight rebounds & six assists while Trevor Mbakwe contributed 19 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
- Andre Hollins is averaging a team and career-high 14.0 ppg this season, ninth-most in the Big Ten Conference. He is seventh in scoring in conference games with an average of 15.5 ppg. He has led the team in scoring seven times this season including a career-high 41 against Memphis. He has finished six games this season with 20 or more points.
- Trevor Mbakwe is averaging a double-double of 10.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game over the Gophers' last 12 games. He currently sits atop the Big Ten Conference in rebounding with an overall average of 8.7 rpg and also is tops during Big Ten play with a 10.8 rpg average.
- Mbakwe also led the conference in rebounding as a junior (2010-11). The graduate student has contributed seven double-doubles on the season and now has 30 for his career. He had a seven-game double-digit rebound streak snapped on Jan. 29 against Nebraska but still finished with a game-high eight rebounds. He collected a career-high 18 boards earlier this season against North?Dakota State and is coming off of a 14-rebound effort in the loss Wednesday at Michigan State.
Andre Hollins - G, Soph., 6-1, 200 – 14.0 ppg, 3.5 apg
Joe Coleman - G, Soph., 6-4, 210 - 10.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Austin Hollins - G, Jr., 6-4, 185 - 11.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Trevor Mbakwe - F, Sr., 6-8, 245 - 9.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Rodney Williams - F, Sr., 6-7, 205 - 11.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Off the bench:
Julian Welch - G, Sr., 6-3, 194 - 3.3 ppg, 1.6 apg
Wally Ellenson - G, Fr., 6-4, 200 - 2.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
Maverick Ahanmisi - G, Jr., 6-2, 192 - 3.9 ppg, 1.0 apg
Series record: Illinois leads 116-64
Series streak: Minnesota W2
Record @ Minneapolis: Minnesota leads 45-42
Series streak @ Minneapolis: Minnesota W1
Last meeting: No. 8 Minnesota 84, No. 12 Illinois 67 (1/9/13 in Champaign)
Groce vs. Minnesota: 0-1
Golden Gophers head coach Tubby Smith…
"We beat them at Champaign. They're a team that's getting better. They hit some tough times and lost some tough games. They played Michigan State tough and lost by five. We got beat by 11 there, so that gives you an idea about what their potential is. They're a team that averages 72, 73 points a game, so they're a team like we are that likes to get it up and down the court. We fare better when we play against teams like that. They've got some great players in Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson."
"We've got to be conscious about their offensive explosiveness, they're ability to knock down the 3. We know how poorly we played against guarding the 3 against Michigan State so we've got to do better."