LIVE! from Crisler Center

LIVE! from Crisler Center

No. 7 Michigan 71, Illinois 58 — FINAL

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Trey Burke scored a game-high 26 points and dished out eight assists in leading No. 7 Michigan to a 71-58 win against Illinois on SUnday at the Crisler Center.

It was the first loss in three weeks for the Illini (20-9, 7-8 Big Ten), who saw their five-game winning streak come to an end.

Illinois got 10 points from Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Tracy Abrams against the Wolverines (23-4, 10-4), who outscored the Illini 43-27 in the second half.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 13 points and Glenn Robinson III added 10.

More later on HQ.

McLaurin 1-1 1-2 3, Egwu 4-8 1-2 9, Richardson 4-9 0-0 10, Paul 3-8 2-2 10, Abrams 4-11 2-2 10, Bertrand 1-5 2-2 4, Henry 1-3 0-2 3, Griffey 3-6 1-2 9. Totals 21-51 9-14 58.
Robinson III 5-9 0-0 10, McGary 3-4 0-2 6, Burke 8-11 8-10 26, Hardaway Jr. 4-11 4-5 13, Stauskas 0-5 0-0 0, Albrecht 1-2 0-0 3, Horford 2-4 0-0 4, LeVert 2-3 2-2 8, Morgan 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 25-49 15-21 71.
Halftime—Illinois 31-28. 3-Point Goals—Illinois 7-22 (Griffey 2-4, Paul 2-5, Richardson 2-5, Henry 1-3, Bertrand 0-2, Abrams 0-3), Michigan 6-18 (Burke 2-3, LeVert 2-3, Albrecht 1-1, Hardaway Jr. 1-4, Robinson III 0-3, Stauskas 0-4). Fouled Out—Bertrand. Rebounds—Illinois 28 (Abrams, Egwu 5), Michigan 29 (Hardaway Jr. 7). Assists—Illinois 7 (Richardson 4), Michigan 15 (Burke 8). Total Fouls—Illinois 16, Michigan 11. A—12,693.

No. 7 Michigan 49, Illinois 44 — 10:06 second half

Ran into Brady Hoke near the rest rooms at halftime. He’s an imposing figure. He looked out of breath.

Mitch McGary had a nice layup on the opening possession of the half, then picked up his third foul right after that. He went to the bench. Michigan’s students didn’t like the call. They called it “cow droppings”. Not in those words.

Tim Hardaway got a real nice hand from the crowd when he returned to the game after he went to the bench when he was hit in the face.

Michigan is moving the ball much better in the second half. They’ve put on a passing clinic so far.

The Michigan students are also getting on Groce who was complaining about a call to Mike Kitts. Maybe they’re still mad about last year’s NCAA tournament.

Groce told me yesterday that his point guard at Ohio, D.J. Cooper, really got jacked up for the Michigan game. He loves big-time matchups and Trey Burke was a big-time matchup for the Chicagoan.

Trey Burke is playing a lot more loose and with more confidence here in the second half. He spearheaded the 15-3 run to start the second half, scoring seven of the 15 points.

Joseph Bertrand went down real hard after getting fouled on a dunk attempt. He appeared to grab his hip. He had to leave the game.

Beilein picked Sam McLaurin to shoot Joe’s free throws. He split them.

The guy who mops up sweat off the floor was moping all around Bertrand as he lie on the floor, writing in pain. That dude was on top of his business.

Michigan has scored 21 points in the first 10 minutes of the hald after scoring 28 points in the opening 20 minutes.

Illinois 31, No. 7 Michigan 28 — Halftime

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Brandon Paul banked in a three to end the first half to give the Illini the lead entering the locker room. It was similar to D.J. Richardson nailing a three at the halftime buzzer at Minnesota two weeks ago. Coincidentally, that put Illinois’ halftime point total at 31, too.

Brady Hoke is sitting next to the Michigan bench. He has to be proud of the hit Spike Albrecht delivered on Joseph Bertrand right in front of him. Maybe Spike will be playing safety for the Wolverines next season.

Groce didn’t like it, thought it was a foul.

Myke Henry has been active in his time on the floor. He took an alley-oop pass, realized he couldn’t finish, found Brandon Paul behind the arc. Brandon missed the shot, but Nnanna Egwu tapped home the miss.

Illinois continues to play with a lot of poise and confidence, even after Michigan tied the game at 21 after an 8-0 run that was sealed with a Glenn Robinson III dunk.

Nnanna Egwu has a couple of nice tip-in putbacks. He’s having his best offensive game in a while.

John Groce has wanted Illinois to play better defensively without fouling. They’ve got the not-fouling part down. Illinois was whistled for four team fouls in the half.

Illinois shot 41.4 percent (12 for 29) in the half and hit 4 of 12 from three.

Michigan shot 12 for 25 (48 percent) and 2 for 7 (28.6 percent) from long range.

Brandon Paul leads Illinois with 10 points. Nnanna Egwu and D.J. Richardson each have six.

Each team turned it over six times. Illinois outrebounded Michigan 18-12 with eight offensive boards for 13 second-chance points.

Michigan got eight points from Tim Hardaway and seven from Trey Burke.

A group of ushers put on a wonderful dance routine during the under-12 timeout. The average age was about 71, but that didn’t stop them from doing a “Harlem Shake” routine. People in Harlem hate that, by the way. It’s taken over the Internet the last couple weeks.

There was a ceremony honoring Air Force recruits. That was even better than the dance.

Illinois 15, No. 7 Michigan 11 — 11:34 first half

Brandon Paul tried to put Mitch McGary on a poster, but missed the flush. D.J. cleaned it up and drilled a three. It’s the 35th stragith game with a three for D.J.

The crowd oohed and ahhed at a Trey Burke hesitation dribble move, but Nnanna Egwu quieted them real quick when he swatted Burke’s shot attempt in the lane.

Tracy Abrams has been aggressive, driving to the basket twice and getting a couple of tough buckets.

Myke Henry did a nice job when he checked in posting up Caris LeVert, a former John Groce commit, and drawing a foul. Myke missed both free throws, however.

Former “In Living Color” staf David Alan Grier took part in a timeout promotion. He’s got an ugly, ugly jump shot. Does not look athletic at all. He made a couple threes, though.

There are some empty seats here in the upper reaches of the Crisler Center.

They play a lot of Kanye West here in the arena. Shannon Ryan was just reading an article about Kanye. Apparently he hates the Justin Timberlake-Jay-Z song. Anyway.

Illinois (20-8, 7-7) at No. 7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4) — Tipoff (ESPN)

I caught up with Dan Dakich before tipoff. The most profound thing he said: Illinois assistant coach Dustin Ford is his hero. Seriously, he is.

When Dakich coached Bowling Green to the MAC championship in 2000, the Falcons needed help from Ford and the Bobcats to beat whoever their opponent was that day (Dakich thinks it was Ball State). “Dustin Ford hit like six threes against them,” Dakich said. There wasn’t a bigger Dustin Ford fan in the world than me. I love him.”

Dakich credits John Groce, D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul with Illinois staying the course. “They’ve got seniors, they’re supposed to be able to get through the tough times,” he said.

Ford said his back still hurts from all the back screens Dakich’s team levied on him.

We’ll have more from Dakich in tomorrow’s coverage.

Herb Gould from the Chicago Sun-Times, Shannon Ryan from the Chicago Tribune and Mark Tupper from the Decatur Herald and Review are all here. Read their stuff tomorrow.

Ryan is playing injured today. She went to the emergency room last night after suffering a sever cut on her left index finger. She’s having a heck of a time typing.

I just walked through the concourse here at Crisler and they have interactive monitors all over the place where you can scroll through and see team photos, letter winners, etc., from just about any Michigan sport ever.

Neat stuff.

Illinois will wear the road blues today. Michigan is in the Sunday whites.

Illinois (20-8, 7-7) at No. 7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4) — 30 minutes before tipoff (ESPN)

It appears as though all the Michigan student seats are accounted for. They’ve got all the seats behind the team benches, excepts for three rows of Illinois folks and an entire section in one of the corners.

The Illinois coaches are concerned with Michigan having a week off to prepare for today’s game.

That, coupled with the fact that they’ve heard about how bad they are for the last week makes one nervous. Michigan will come out with a chip on its shoulder and the Illini will have to withstand that initial punch. They’ve done that at times this season.

A guy like D.J. Richardson, the unquestioned leader of this Illinois team, will be crucial in the team handling that.

A communication major, Richardson says leading comes natural to him on and off the court.

“I talk to the guys a lot, I know how to talk to the guys and learning how to talk to the guys. I know how to talk to guys in certain ways to get them going. If someone makes a bone-headed play, I just tell them to let it go and eventually they let it go and make the next play. We’ve got guys that are not scared to make big plays,” Richardson said. “With me, I’m pretty good at studying people and getting to know them fast, that’s something I’m good at. That comes with my major. That’s something I’m good at one and off the court, me relating fast. It’s helped me out a lot, it’s a strength in my life and I think that’s what helped me become a leader for this team.”

Besides the Illinois family members here, there isn’t much orange in the stands.

It’s a sellout here today, too, with 12,693 expected.

Illinois (20-8, 7-7) at No. 7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4) — 60 minutes before tipoff (ESPN)

Tracy Abrams will return to the Illinois starting lineup today after coming off the bench in three of the last four games.

He’ll be joined by D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu.

D.J. Richardson, Devin Langford, Mike LaTulip and Kevin Berardini were the first Illini to take the court today.

Looks like a lot of the Groce family made the trip to Ann Arbor. Wife Allison is here with their two boys and some other extended family members will be seated behind the Illinois bench.

In terms of the NCAA tournament, Illinois is solidly in the field of 68 right now. A win today and the Illini would essentially be a lock.

There’s still some debate on where Illinois belongs in terms of seeding. On, Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket on Friday had Illinois as an 8 seed playing VCU in Lexington. That wouldn’t have any storylines at all.

Jerry Palm of CBS had the Illini as a 6 seed on Friday playing Temple in Kansas City.

Palm joined Jim Turpin and Loren Tate on WDWS yesterday.

“The single best thing you can put on your resume is quality wins away from home. Road games, neutral-court games, whatever. The ability to play tournament-quality basketball off your home floor, is probably the single best thing you can do to impress the committee,” Palm told Turpin and Tate on Saturday. “Winning at Gonzaga is impressive, almost nobody does that and beating Butler, whose a top-20 team, on a neutral court early in the season (is impressive). What Illinois did outside of conference play this season, playing quality opposition away from home, that really built them a cushion in terms of tournament selection in case of rough times in conference because everyone knows what a good league this is. Somebody’s got to finish sixth or seventh in this league and Illinois, by virtue of what it did outside the league, has enabled itself to survive a really rough start in conference play and still be considered a tournament-quality team.”

The Illini are in good shape, and barring a loss this week in the home finale against Nebraska, they’re in line for a favorable seed.

Groce knows all about the tournament. His Ohio team knocked off Michigan last year and then beat South Florida before losing in overtime to North Carolina. The Bobcats are having a good season without Groce and they were on TV last night playing at Belmont in a Bracket Buster game. The Bruins handled them. Belmont is really good. Director of operations Mark Morris went to watch them play at Eastern Illinois last week. They’ll win the Ohio Valley and get into the tournament.

Ohio is going to have to win the MAC championship to get in. That looks like a one-bid league.

We’ll be back with another update soon.

Illinois (20-8, 7-7) at No. 7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4) — 90 minutes before tipoff (ESPN)

Good morning from the beautiful Crisler Center where the Illini will look to continue their streaking ways against a Michigan team that has lost three of its last five games during an impossible slate.

The Wolverines lost at Indiana, beat Ohio State in an overtime thriller, lost an epic overtime game at Wisconsin and got throttled at Michigan State before returning home to beat winless Penn State.

“They’re still the same team, they’re still capable of doing the same thing they did to us last time so their record in the last few games doesn’t change anything at all,” Sam McLaurin said, referencing Michigan’s 74-60 win in Champaign four weeks ago.

Illinois is looking to win six straight Big Ten games for the first time since the national runner-up team of 2004-05 won its first 15 games before dropping the finale at Ohio State.

The first and only player on the court two hours before tipoff was Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. The junior slasher is wearing some bright sneakers. I think they’re supposed to be maize. You can see those things from the UP.

Michigan students, a part of the Maize Rage, lined up outside the arena, on the steps of Michigan Stadium. There are a few hundred of them braving the 20-degree windchlls.

Yesterday at about 8:15 a.m., Sam McLaurin was the lone Illini inside the Ubben basketball complex working on his shot.

Groce liked that. He relayed a story to Sam about guys who get up early and do extra. Good things are ahead for Sam whether it’s in basketball or otherwise.

Walked into the arena this morning with Dan Dakich. The former Hoosier is calling the game today for ESPN. He’s one of the best analysts in the business. A lot of people hate on Dakich, but he knows his stuff.

I’m told there should be about a dozen NBA scouts here today. Michigan has three players (Burke, Robinson, Hardaway) on the NBA radar. Brandon Paul is Illinois’ potential NBA guy.

I’m set to do the pregame show with Steve Kelly and Loren Tate. I’ll check back in with you soon.

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LoyalIllini wrote on February 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Most telling comment by ESPN announcers: "Is it me or does it seem like BP is sleep walking in this second half?"  Errors, stupid TOs and decisions, and missed opportunities from him more today than usual and it pulls others down with him.  Here's to Groce not putting up with this toxic inconsistency from his recruits.