CHAMPAIGN – Without any semblance of trouble, Illinois crushed Indiana 72-48 at the Assembly Hall today.
As a result, Illinois will open the Big Ten tournament as the No. 4 or 5 seed on Friday. The Illini secured a first-round bye and will face Michigan or Michigan State at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
If Michigan beats Michigan State today, the Illini will play the Wolverines. If Michigan State beats Michigan today, the Illini will play the Spartans.
And for the NCAA tournament?
“Regardless of what happens in the Big Ten tournament, Illinois won’t be sweating out Selection Sunday,” Yahoo! Sports bracketologist Brad Evans said at the final buzzer.
Evans said Illinois (19-12, 9-9 Big Ten) currently is a No. 9 seed in his bracket. Their ceiling is a No. 7 seed, their floor is a No. 11, he added.
The four seniors subbed out together at the 3:00 mark of the second half. Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale and Bill Cole received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd. In their final game at the Assembly Hall, the seniors combined for 50 points.
Demetri McCamey had 23 points, his best scoring total since he had 23 at Wisconsin on Jan. 15. Mike Davis added 13 points and nine rebounds. Tisdale added nine boards, while Cole had six points and three assists.
Indiana (12-18, 3-15) was led by the 12 points of Central product Verdell Jones III.
HQ Live Report – Illinois 68, Indiana 41 – 4:41 left in regulation
-Crandall Head made his first apperance when he checked in at 6:40. Judging by the reaction, fans want more Crandall Head.
-Lots of empty seats today, mainly where the students sit. Would be great to hand out those tickets to area elementary schools if students know they won’t make it. Guessing 14,000-15,000 in attendance.
-Head scored on his own miss to get in the points column.
-Tyler Griffey checked in at 5:29. This will be the sophomore’s most playing time since Jereme Richmond was out of the rotation and Griffey logged 10 minutes at Wisconsin. Still no Joseph Bertrand.
Back in a few.
HQ Live Report – Illinois 64, Indiana 39 – 7:17 left in regulation
-The Orange Krush is serenading Jordan Hulls with chants of “Airball.”
-If you think this season has been up-and-down, Illinois has the ingredients to be even more so next season.
-Out of that timeout, Tom Crean called an isolation play for Verdell Jones, who promptly took the Illini off the dribble for a smooth jumper. He has 12 points.
-The Mikes have seven rebounds apiece.
HQ Live Report – Illinois 62, Indiana 33 – 9:33 left in regulation
-Jereme Richmond is nursing his right shoulder again. Athletics trainer Al Martindale helped him ot the bench. Seemed like an unnecessary dive to the floor, a Kevin Garnett move.
-Tom Crean and Bruce Weber are out on the floor arguing with the officials. Referee Mike Kitts was told by the Illinois bench than an Indiana player kicked one of the Illini. Didn’t see it. They’re checking the monitors.
-D.J. Richardson is the only Illini that has played but hasn’t scored. He has gone scoreless only twice this season (the second game against Michigan State and the second game against Wisconsin).
HQ Live Report – Illinois 62, Indiana 33 – 10:14 left in regulation
-Jereme Richmond got a technical foul for slapping the backboard. That is his third technical on the season. He knew it right away, hitting his chest and saying, “My bad.”
-Marcus Jackson points out these officials have been consistent today. Klee agrees.
-This is the seventh 20-point game of Demetri McCamey’s senior season and the 24th of his career. It’s a good sign if Tracy Abrams is your starting point guard for the 2011-12 season opener.
-Meyers Leonard received a loud ovation for his hook-shot-plus-a-free-throw. He made the free throw and has five points, his highest scoring total since the Northwestern game on Jan. 6 (11 points).
Back in a few.
HQ Live Report – Illinois 55, Indiana 31 – 11:59 left in regulation
-Verdell Jones is bleeding from the mouth, Marcus Jackson reports. He has a team-high 10 points on 5-for-11 shooting. Verdell, not Marcus.
-Illinois hasn’t taken its collective foot off the gas. Bruce Weber has played nine guys, going as deep as Meyers Leonard and not past him. Yet.
-The Carle Alliance T-shirt Toss breathed some life into the crowd. The 24-point lead seemed to be expected.
-Sports info wizard Derrick Burson points out the Illini’s first four free throws were a result of and-ones.
-Mike Tisdale’s mom, Robin, is holding Mike’s niece in the bleachers. I think the niece’s name is Elena, if I remember correctly. This is the 1-year-old’s first game at the Assembly Hall. Don’t ask me why I know that.
HQ Live Report – Illinois 53, Indiana 29 – 14:59 left in regulation
-Bruce Weber hasn’t turned down the volume in the second half. His points of emphases: “Weak side!” and “Contain!” and “Get some energy!”
-Jordan Hulls is an unhappy Hoosier. He’s scowling.
-Up by 24 points, Illinois going to fullcourt pressure.
-Tom Crean and Bruce Weber are attempting to set a record for sideline yelling, shouting endless instructions since the opening tip.
-Jereme Richmond just checked in to the scorer’s table.
-The other Assembly Hall is the league’s best homecourt advantage, in our humble opinion. But how Illinois lost a game to these Hoosiers is still remarkable.
HQ Live Report – Illinois 51, Indiana 27 – 17:55 left in regulation
-Indiana coach Tom Crean entering the huddle: “Let’s see some energy here!”
-Hoosier great A.J. Guyton, one of Jerrance Howard’s close friends, is in attendance.
-Verdell Jones had eight points in the first half.
-Jereme Richmond was late coming out of the tunnel. He rejoined the team on the bench as the second half got underway.
-Demetri McCamey has 21 points, the third straight game he’s had at least 18. This is also the first time since Jan. 15 he’s topped 20.
HQ Live Report – Illinois 46, Indiana 27 – Halftime
-Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis have combined for 27 points. Mike Tisdale, Bill Cole, Meyers Leonard and Jereme Richmond had the rest.
-Illinois shot 54.3 percent in the first half. The Illini are on track to shoot better than 50 percent for the fourth straight game. That would be the first time this season. I know Indiana doesn’t have the players, but it shouldn’t be this bad on defense. Looks like their first half against Ohio State last week.
-Indiana fan Dave Burlison should listen to me next season when I say the Hoosiers won’t win more than five Big Ten games. Third straight preseason he said I was wrong and Indiana would be better. They’re not.
-HQ recruiting blogger Cody Westerlund caught up with Illini target Michael Orris at halftime. We’ll get his take in a minute.
-This big lead should assure the Illini of having a good crowd for the postgame Senior Day ceremony.
-Barring a crazy comeback, Illinois will lose fewer than three home games for the first time since 2006-06.
-There was a Chief sighting at halftime. He was on the center concourse and received a loud applause.
Back in a few.
-Borrowing a laptop from former Tuscola football and track star Ryan Bonner today. Trying to work out the formatting kinks. Mine’s in the laptop shop. Thanks, Illini Tech Center.
-Mike Tisdale was the fourth senior to score when he hit a three-pointer at the 8:38 mark. He said the other day teams are following him out to the three-point line more often.
-Demetri McCamey needs eight more three-pointers to tie Richard Keene for third on the UI’s alltime list. He has a game-high 16 points today. That is a very good sign for Illinois as heads to Indianapolis.
-Former News-Gazette All-Stater Matt Roth gets on the board with a three-pointer.
-Mike Davis has 11 points. Felt good about him having a big one today.
-Bill Cole swiped the ball from Verdell Jones on the top of the key.
Back in a few.
HQ Live Report - Illinois 26, Indiana 11 - 10:11 left in the first half
-Marcus Jackson notices that Jereme Richmond is usually open on in-bounds plays under the basket – but Illinois rarely finds him.
-The Orange Krush is taunting Tom Crean – “Tom, you can catch up on your tweeting!” – and whoever is on the end of the Indiana bench.
-Bill Cole hits a 3 to make him the third of four seniors to score. Mike Tisdale is next.
-Ron Zook is in attendance.
Back in a few.
HQ Live Report - Illinois 21, Indiana 9 - 11:51 left in the first half
-The Illinois coaches were on their feet applauding the Illini’s defensive effort on that last possession. They appreciated Jereme Richmond’s hustle.
-This is going to be over quickly. It’s equally remarkable that A) Indiana is still this bad B) Illinois lost to Indiana.
-DeAndre McCamey is here to watch his brother’s final game at the Assembly Hall. His mom, Sabrina Daniels, contributed some great baby photos of her son in today’s News-Gazette.
-Jereme Richmond scored the first non-senior points at the 12:24 mark. McCamey and Davis have the other 19 points for Illinois.
-There are Red Grange bobblehead dolls available on the concourse for fans that are 77 years old. You must show ID. Seriously?
HQ Live Report - Illinois 16, Indiana 7 - 12:55 left in the first half
-Illinois Wolves director and Demetri McCamey supporter Mike Mullins is here in attendance.
-Illinois Wolves alum Nnanna Egwu is here in attendance with Mike.
-Chris Griffey is here to support his son, Tyler.
-The seniors’ families are all here.
-I haven’t seen any progress for the Hoosiers over the past three seasons. This is essentially the same team – with the same number of Big Ten wins – as Tom Crean’s first season.
-Demetri McCamey has made a point to get out and run.
-Seniors Mike Davis and Demetri McCamey have accounted for the first 16 points for Illinois.
HQ Live Report - Illinois 14, Indiana 7 - 15:05 left in the first half
-Quick substitutions for Illinois: Jereme Richmond and D.J. Richardson checked in at the first opportunity, but they were at the scorer’s table much sooner than that.
-Bruce Weber: “Move the ball! Stop dribbling!”
-Illinois seniors have accounted for the first 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Of course, there were four seniors on the floor.
Back in a few.
HQ Live Report - Illinois 4, Indiana 4 - 18:31 left in the first half
-When Tom Crean learned he would have an 11 a.m. game today – roughly 36 hours after Indiana hosted Wisconsin – he went on Twitter to ask if Ashton Kutcher had Punked him. Coach Crean made it today. He was FIRED UP in the pregame huddle. There is no better entertainment in the Big Ten.
t;p>-Judging by the swath of empty seats in C-35 through C-40, Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day is still going on. Or the hungovers are.
-Demetri has tape on his right wrist again. He’s worn that for about two weeks, if my memory serves me.
-Mike Davis is “cut in” – as coaches say – today. Expecting another strong game from the senior.
-Indiana starting in a zone. Bruce Weber: “Matchup!”
-At least one Illinois coach laments the decision not to pursue Verdell Jones. He has Indiana’s first bucket.
-Appreciate the shoutout, Mike Davis.
HQ Live Report – Indiana (12-17, 3-14 Big Ten) at Illinois (18-12, 8-9) - Tipoff
-Your starting lineup: McCamey (112th career start), Paul (22nd career start), Cole (43 career start), Davis (97th career start) and Tisdale (101st career start).
-Here are the Big Ten tournament seeding scenarios.
If Illinois wins today:
-Illinois is the No. 4 seed with wins by Michigan and Minnesota and would play No. 5 Michigan.
-Illinois is the No. 5 seed with wins by Michigan and Penn State and would play No. 4 Michigan.
-Illinois is the No. 5 seed with a win by Michigan State and would play No. 4 Michigan State.
If Illinois loses today:
-Cancel the bus ride to Indianapolis and hide in a cave.
-Apologies for the typo on the records. They are fixed now. Back in a few.
HQ Live Report – Indiana (12-17, 3-14 Big Ten) at Illinois (18-12, 8-9) - 20 minutes until tipoff
-Former Wyoming coach – and current Indiana assistant – Steve McClain is on the court with the Hoosiers. Covered him for a couple years at Wyoming. High-energy.
-The Journey is here. Just taped a segment with them. Looks like part of Sunday’s episode will focus on Demetri McCamey and what March means to his professional future.
-Ron Guenther is on the floor, shaking hands. He will be a part of the Senior Day ceremony after the game.
-Here was Bill Cole’s best Bruce Weber memory:
“I like the one where he got so mad in practice one day he picked up the Gatorade cooler and threw it. Then he told us to get out (of the gym). I was a freshman, so when a coach tells you to get out, you’re kind of like, ‘What? Practice isn’t over yet.’ Then you know it when he started picking up the individual Gatorade cups and throwing them. Then everybody’s trying to get out of the gym and as soon as you get out of the gym, he says, ‘Get back in here!’ So you don’t really know what you’re doing. That’s probably one of my favorite Bruce Weber moments.”
Klee remembers that practice. Calvin Brock set him off. I think Illinois won its next three games.
-Crete-Monee point guard Michael Orris, a 2012 prospect, is here in attendance, Marcus Jackson reports.
Back in a few.
HQ Live Report – Indiana (12-17, 8-9 Big Ten) at Illinois (18-12, 3-13) – 60 minutes until tipoff
Morning everyone. Haven’t written that very often this season. Tom Crean would prefer it that way. Anyway, let’s get this started. Big one today…
-Illinois needs a win to avoid a sub-.500 Big Ten record for just the fifth time since 1980-81.
-Roommates Tyler Griffey and Mke Tisdale entertained their final pregame P-I-G session about 30 minutes ago. Tyler held a one-game lead – although there was some debate whether it was actually a two-game lead. Regardless, Griffey won today for a two-game triumph on the season. No mercy on the old man.
-The one man that doesn’t need a Red Bull – Jerrance Howard – is drinking an extra-large Red Bull. He spent a lot of time on the Indiana campus as a kid.
-Champaign’s Verdell Jones III is warming up with the Hoosiers. Tough matchup for Illinois. He’s wearing a brace on his right knee. Didn’t play in their first matchup at the other Assembly Hall. He’s averaging 13.5 points and four assists in four games against Illinois.
-Illinois recruit Mycheal Henry had 28 points in Chicago Orr’s win against Chicago Marshall, which is protesting the game because Orr arrived 30 minutes late. Good for Mycheal Henry. Playing well.
-Senior Day festivities will follow the game. More from the four seniors here.
-And thanks to the seniors’ families, who graciously offered their baby pictures that were published in today’s News-Gazette. Particularly enjoyed baby Bill Cole in a Cubs jersey (under a Michael Jordan poster) and baby Mike Davis wearing a Shaq jersey.
-HQ prediction: Click here.
Going back on the TIS College Bookstore pregame show if you are bored. Back here in a few.