Live! vs. No. 12 Michigan
No. 12 Michigan 84, Illinois 53 — Final
CHAMPAIGN — In the final game inside the State Farm Center before the renovation project begins, the Illini suffered their worst defeat in the 51-year-old building at the hands of the red-hot Wolverines on Tuesday.
Michigan shot 20 for 58 (56.9 percent) from the floor and 16 for 23 (69.6) from behind the three-point line in clinching the outright Big Ten championship for the first time since 1986.The 16 threes tied for the most three-pointers by an Illinois opponent in the 51-year history of this building.
Nik Stauskas hit seven of those Michigan threes en route to a game-high 24 points. Caris LeVert had 15 and Gelnn Robinson III added 13 for the Big Ten champs.
Illinois got 16 points from Rayvonte Rice and 14 from Kendrick Nunn.
More later on HQ.
No. 12 Michigan 68, Illinois 43 — 8:11 second half
"I've never seen anybody shoot like that. I've been doing this a long time." — John Groce just before the start of the second half.
It continued into the second half as Nik Stauskas buried another well-contested three from well beyond the line.
Jaylon Tate is not 100 percent, that's why you haven't seen him tonight. You could have Dee and Deron out there and I'm not sure it would make much difference the way Michigan is putting the ball in the bucket tonight.
Nik Stauskas buried another three and taunted the Orange Krush again. Kenny Battle is standing in the tunnel and all he could do was look up and shake his head.
It looks like Joseph Bertrand is done for the night. He can't go with the banged-up knee. "I really appreciate your effort tonight," John Groce told him when he had to take him out of the game.
Peoria native Max Bielfeldt has gotten some run here in the second half. The athletic administration building here at Illinois is named for him family.
"John, shut up," an Orange Krush member said to Beilein during a free throw.
The Illinois bench didn't take kindly to Maverick Morgan missing a free throw block out.
Michigan has made 15 of 22 from long range. That's 68.2 percent. Illinois has made a total of 17 field goals.
No. 12 Michigan 52, Illinois 30 — Halftime
It actually wasn't a terrible first half for the Illini offensively. The defense just let them down, which obviously hasn't been the case of late. Was it more Michigan just getting insanely hot, or was the defense poor?
I mean, Glenn Robinson III hit just his second three-pointer since Feb. 5. That's when it's just your night.
The Wolverines scored more points in the first half than he last four Illinois opponents did in an entire game.
You just knew Nik Stauskas was going to make that long, long three at the buzzer.
At one point Michigan was 7 for 10 from three-point range and 14 for 20 overall. Both were 70 percent. They've hit some real tough ones. And some real easy ones. Not a whole lot that can be done about that.
Rayvonte Rice has struggled of late making layups. He missed one midway through the half. It really doesn't matter at this point, though, as Michigan has shot the lights out from long range.
Paris Parham yelled at Tracy Abrams to get the team going during a free throw.
John Beilein had another encounter with Ted Valentine after Ekey got fouled on the baseline. Beilein wanted a charge.
Mike LaTulip got some first-half run for the Illini. He hasn't played meaningful minutes in a while. The crowd went kinda nuts.
Illinois went on a 6-0 run when he entered.
Jaylon Tate hasn't played yet tonight.
Illinois shot 54.2 percent from the floor (13 for 24) and 2 for 8 (25 percent) from behind the arc.
Kendrick Nunn with 11 points and Rayvonte Rice added nine.
Michigan shot 67.9 percent (19 for 28) from the floor and 11 for 14 from long range (78.6 percent).
Nik Stauskas led the way with 14 points. Glenn Robinson III had 11 and Zak Irvin had nine.
Michigan turned it over three times, Illinois had five turnovers.
No. 12 Michigan 20, Illinois 13 — 11:46 first half
Big Ten Freshman of the Week Kendrick Nunn got off to a hot start, scoring seven of Illinois' first nine points. He got a very friendly bounce on a three-pointer.
That streak of keeping opponents under 50 points is going to end here tonight. Michigan had 10 points in the first four minutes. That's a 100-point pace. The Wolverines are shooting the lights out. Both teams were extremely hot early on.
Tracy Abams was at practice early yesterday getting up extra shots. He missed badly on his first one today
Rayvonte Rice started out guarding Nik Stauskas. Kendrick Nunn got Caris LeVert.
Seniors Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey checked in after the first media timeout.
John Beilein was not happy Bertrand wasn't called for a charge on a transition bucket. No face-to-face confrontations, though. Chances are Beilein kept it clean. I'm told he doesn't swear.
Aja Evans was just honored during the under-12 timeout. The crowd chanted "USA! USA!" She danced along as they chanted.
No. 12 Michigan (21-7, 13-3) at Illinois (17-12, 6-10) — Tipoff (ESPN)
A very late-arriving crowd here at the start. The early tip has something to do with that. I was thrown off by it all day. It was light outside when I got here today. I'm used to those brutal 8 p.m. starts.
It wasn't especially full for the introduction of the senior managers and players, but they got some good cheers.
John Groce is wearing the orange blazer tonight. I believe he wore it on Senior Day last year, too.
Despite it being Senior Night, Illinois isn't messing with its recent formula of success. Tracy Abrams, Kendrick Nunn, Rayvonte Rice, Malcolm Hill and Nnanna Egwu are your starters.
Olympic bronze medalist Aja Evans will be honored here tonight. The former Illini track and field start was a member of the U.S. bobsled contingent in Sochi at the Winter Games last month.
Someone bring me some tissues if you have some. Taylor Rooks is down here getting all emotional. It's her last game working here, too. She graduates in May.
As I mentioned before, Ted Valentine is one of your officials tonight. He's joined by Larry Scirotto and John Gaffney.
No. 12 Michigan (21-7, 13-3) at Illinois (17-12, 6-10) — 6 p.m. ESPN
Just spent a few minutes with Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas. Asked him if there was any chance Illinois could host postseason games in either the NIT or CBI at Huff Hall and he said "No.' Illinois will have to go on the road in either of those tournaments. There are a bunch of logistical issues with being at Huff.
I also spoke real quick with Dan Dakich about Ted Valentine. As you know, Valentine made news on Saturday, getting into it with Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, hired by Mike Thomas at Cincinnati. Among other things, Dakich said Valentine was lucky he didn't get punched.
Valentine is here tonight officiating this game.
"I'm just here to report the game," Dakich told me. "Teddy will do a good job."
Dakich's son Andrew plays for Michigan. He's a freshman walk-on guard for the Wolverines.
Dan says no special treatment for his son if he gets in the game. He's going to call it like he sees it.
Tonight is also the final home game for Illinois' managers. Adam Metzger, Rachel Sloot, Marc Martindale and Max Haverland.
Metzger joined Bertrand and Ekey on staff at the Rebounders luncheon yesterday and he was hilarious. Might have a career in standup.
A couple keys for the Illini tonight: Shoot a high percentage because Michigan will most likely. And be physical. The Illini have to set the tone and get the Wolverines out of their rhythm.
Just saw Jon Ekey's family here getting ready for the presume festivities. Ekey says he didn't have a Senior Day at Illinois State.
Joseph Bertrand's mom will also be here. Joe says his brother and some other family members will be here, too. His high school coach is also here.
D.J. Richardson is here. He and Bertrand are very close. They were freshman roommates in the dorms. D.J. attended the Rebounders luncheon yesterday, too.
No. 12 Michigan (21-7, 13-3) at Illinois (17-12, 6-10) — 6 p.m. ESPN
Good evening and welcome to the last game at State Farm Center as we know it today. Not long after tonight's game this place will begin to undergo some major changes and begin taking shape for a renovation project that is expected to be finished in time for the start of the 2015-16 season.
It's also the last game in this building for fifth-year seniors Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey. There's still a very real possibility that Illinois could play postseason basketball in the NIT, but any potential home games won't be here because of the project. Illinois will have to go on the road.
The latest mock NIT projections I saw today had the Illini as a No. 4 seed playing Boise State. That would mean a game in Idaho.
Illinois, though, is hoping to continue winning games to make to bring the NCAA tournament back into play. Realistically, though, the only chance Illinois has of reaching the Dance is to win the Big Ten tournament. That Georgia Tech loss hurts, as does a loss to Northwestern and Purdue.
With the way these guys are playing now, winning the conference tournament would not surprise me.
Do you know how hard it is to get guys to play defense the way the Illini have? It's truly been something to watch.
The Illinois guys were out here early getting in some extra work. The transfers were doing their regular deal and it's the last time we'll see them presume this season.
Aaron Cosby put on a dunking exhibition and Ahmad Starks got up and caught a few self-alley-oops.
Assistant coach Jamall Walker approached the basket as if he was going to throw one down, but he thought much better of the situation and didn't jump.
Mike LaTulip's face looks a whole lot better today than it did on Saturday. Mike caught an elbow from Bertrand in practice on Friday.
The fans are starting to file in. There was a ticket promotion for tonight's game, four tickets for $40. As of lunch time yesterday, only about 1,000 remained. Should be a good atmosphere her tonight.
Illinois is wearing the white tonight. Michigan is going with the blue.
I'll be back soon.