Illinois vs. Illinois Wesleyan preview

Illinois vs. Illinois Wesleyan preview

Illinois vs. Illinois Wesleyan

7 p.m. today

Lineups

Illinois

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG

G Trent Frazier So. 6-1 12.5

G Ayo Dosunmu Fr. 6-5 25.2

G Aaron Jordan Sr. 6-5 7.9

F Kipper Nichols R-Jr. 6-6 10.0

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili Fr. 6-9 8.0*Points per game are from last season

FYI: Jordan finished the 2017-18 season third in the Big Ten in three-point percentage (46.3 percent) behind Michigan State's Cassius Winston (49.7 percent) and Purdue's Dakota Mathias (46.6 percent).

Off the bench

G Andres Feliz Jr. 6-2 20.0

G Da'Monte Williams So. 6-3 3.5

G Tevian Jones Fr. 6-7 20.5

Illinois wesleyan

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG

G Brady Rose Sr. 6-3 21.4

G Colin Bonnett Sr. 6-4 12.3

G Jason Gregorie Sr. 6-4 8.1

F Miles Curry Jr. 6-6 4.3

C Alex O'Neill Jr. 6-9 9.2*Points per game are from last seasonFYI: Illinois Wesleyan is O'Neill's third stop. The Peoria Christian product spent a redshirt season at Creighton in 2015-16 and played the next season at Division II St. Cloud State before transferring to IWU.

Off the bench

G Grant Wolfe So. 5-11 4.1

G/F Danny Baker Sr. 6-6 2.8

G/F Doug Wallen So. 6-5 1.3

Details

Site: State Farm Center (15,544), Champaign.

Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Deon Thomas (analysis) will have the call on the Illini Sports Network on WHMS 97.5-FM, WDAN 1490-AM, WDNL 102.1-FM and WPXN 104.9-FM.

Series history: Illinois leads 6-0.

Last meeting: Illinois won 37-19 on Dec. 16, 1933, in Champaign.

FYI: Illinois played a top Division III team last year during the regular season, beating Augustana by 34 points. The Illini's top three scorers in that game — Michael Finke, Leron Black and Mark Smith — have since moved on, but Aaron Jordan did go 4 of 4 from three-point range for all 12 of his points against the Vikings. Augustana and Illinois Wesleyan split their series in CCIW play later in the season.

Scott Richey's storylines

Scrimmage standout

Illinois' "secret" scrimmage against Vanderbilt this past weekend revealed something the Illini coaches have known for several months. Andres Feliz is a load in the backcourt. Statistically, the junior college transfer guard was arguably Illinois' top player in the three-point loss to the Commodores. "Andres was incredible in our scrimmage," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "Nobody kept him out of the paint. If we had it correct, I think he drew 11 fouls in the scrimmage. He plays with great tempo, great pace and he's getting much, much better on the defensive end. He's a very good defender."

crowd control

Scrimmaging Vanderbilt gave the Illinois players and coaches their first look at how they'd fare against another opponent after a lengthy spring and summer of workouts and a month-plus of practices. Playing Illinois Wesleyan today will double down on that with an actual crowd at State Farm Center. "You're curious to see how guys react, and I think that's very much the case," Underwood said. "I'm equally as excited for them. I know why these guys are here. I know why they want to compete. ... I'm excited to see them respond. There will be mistakes. There will be a slew of them, and I expect that, but we've got to play through those and get some of those things out of the way."

remember the titans

Underwood knows what the Illini will face in a Ron Rose-coached Illinois Wesleyan team given his relationship with Rose dating back to the latter's time as an assistant at Wichita State in the early 1990s. Rose, a former Illinois Wesleyan player himself, has maintained the same high level of play as his predecessor (and former coach) Dennie Bridges. "Like I tell our team, there's an advantage to being old," Underwood said. "They're a great example of that. They know each other and they've got great chemistry. It will be a great opportunity for our guys to go against a team that executes and runs good motion and then they play extremely hard defensively."

Prediction: Illinois 89, Illinois Wesleyan 68

This Illinois team is so new that today's exhibition is a hard game to project. The Illini might have to rely on returning players Trent Frazier, Kipper Nichols, Aaron Jordan and Da'Monte Williams. It's also the first time, though, for one of those numerous Illini newcomers to shine.

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