Preview: Evansville at Illinois, 7 p.m. today

Preview: Evansville at Illinois, 7 p.m. today

Lineups

Illinois

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Trent Frazier So. 6-1 19.0 Wellington, Fla.

G Ayo Dosunmu Fr. 6-5 13.0 Chicago

G Aaron Jordan Sr. 6-5 9.0 Plainfield

F Kipper Nichols R-Jr. 6-6 3.0 Cleveland

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili Fr. 6-9 9.0 Rustavi, Georgia

*Points per game are from exhibition

FYI: Four different Illini had multiple assists in their exhibition win against Illinois Wesleyan. Frazier had the most with five, but Alan Griffin's four came with zero turnovers.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Andres Feliz Jr. 6-2 20.0 Guachupita, D.R.

G Da'Monte Williams So. 6-3 1.0 Peoria

G Alan Griffin Fr. 6-5 4.0 Ossining, N.Y.

Evansville

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Shea Feehan Gr. 6-0 8.0 Peoria

G K.J. Riley Jr. 6-5 16.0 Bronx, N.Y.

G Marty Hill Sr. 6-5 12.0 Minneapolis

F John Hall R-So. 6-7 12.0 Philadelphia

F Evan Kuhlman So. 6-8 3.0 Liberty Twp., Ohio

*Points per game are from exhibition

FYI: Feehan is the first ever graduate transfer to join the Purple Aces. The Eureka College grad averaged 30.6 points in 2017-18 and shot 54 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

F Dainius Chatkevicius Sr. 6-9 17.0 Klaipeda, Lithuania

G Noah Frederking So. 6-4 8.0 Okawville

G Jawaun Newton Fr. 6-3 3.0 El Paso, Texas

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.

Online: BTN Plus (subscription).

Series history: First meeting.

FYI: Illinois last played a Missouri Valley Conference team in the first round of the 2017 NIT at State Farm Center. With Jamall Walker serving as interim coach following John Groce's dismissal, the Illini topped Valparaiso 82-57 behind a 25-point performance by Malcolm Hill and Leron Black's 13-point, 12-rebound double-double.

Scott Richey's storylines

Jordan's veteran presence

Aaron Jordan is the only player on the Illinois roster that is starting his fourth season with Illinois in today's opener against Evansville. That it's the last season opener of Jordan's career is something he has been contemplating as it approaches. "Man, this went by fast, I'd say," the Plainfield native said. "Just thinking about it I get emotional all over again. I'll probably be emotional all day (today) until tipoff. Then I'm just going to let loose for my teammates, the fans and for myself." Jordan had some of those same feelings even before the Illini's exhibition game against Illinois Wesleyan, but he's trying to tamp them down somewhat so he can fulfill his leadership duties. "Considering there's so many young guys, my mind kind of stays off of it," Jordan said, "because I'm always trying to keep up with them and help them out."

Prepping for the Purple Aces ...

Preparation for today's game began in earnest Tuesday with the scouting report on Evansville. The Purple Aces' big guards were an early takeaway, with a deeper dive into first-year coach Walter McCarty's team on Wednesday. Illinois' main focus, though, was on its own game and any possible improvements between the exhibition game victory against Illinois Wesleyan and today's official season opener. "Obviously, we played an incredible first half of that (exhibition) game," Illini sophomore guard Trent Frazier said. "The second half we didn't do our jobs. The coaching staff was very frustrated with that. We're still learning. The young guys are still picking things up. We're ready to go. We're more in tune this game. I think that's the biggest thing. (Assistant coach Chin Coleman) is impressing to these younger guys how serious we get when the season starts. It's go mode."

... And prepping for the unknown

Evansville has some question marks in its first season under McCarty. That happens when a team's best players are still in college basketball but on a different team. For the Aces, that's Ryan Taylor at Northwestern and Dru Smith at Missouri. "We don't know a ton about them," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "New coach. A lot of new faces. I think they're playing a little bit of position-less basketball, meaning they're playing two, three or four guys at the point of various sizes."

Prediction: Illinois 81, Evansville 69

Better rebounding. Fewer turnovers. Definitely fewer open corner three-pointers for their opponent. That's how the Illini open the 2018-19 season with a win at home because the offense — particularly in that three point guard lineup featuring Ayo Dosunmu, Trent Frazier and Andres Feliz — will be there.

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