No. 23 Illinois (2-0)
P Name Ht. PPG Hometown
G/F Ty Rodgers 6-6 8.0 Saginaw, Mich.
G Terrence Shannon Jr. 6-6 15.5 Chicago
G/F Marcus Domask 6-6 6.5 Waupun, Wis.
F Quincy Guerrier 6-8 8.5 Montreal
F Coleman Hawkins 6-10 4.5 Sacramento, Calif.
FYI: Shannon is doing his part offensively for Illinois by getting to the free throw line. His 6.5 attempts per game in the first week of the season was on par with the frequency he got to the line last season. His 46.2 percent free throw shooting is not. Shannon made 79 percent of his free throws last season, but he's 6 of 13 so far this year at the foul line.
Off the benchP Name Ht. PPG Hometown
G Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn 6-1 9.0 Lafayette, Ind.
G Luke Goode 6-7 4.5 Fort Wayne, Ind.
F/C Dain Dainja 6-9 9.0 Brooklyn Park, Minn.
No. 4 Marquette (2-0)StartersP Name Ht. PPG Hometown
G Tyler Kolek 6-3 10.0 Cumberland, R.I.
G Stevie Mitchell 6-3 6.5 Reading, Pa.
G Kam Jones 6-5 21.5 Memphis, Tenn.
F David Joplin 6-8 9.0 Milwaukee
F Oso Ighodaro 6-11 13.0 Chandler, Ariz.
FYI: Jones isn't just Marquette's leading scorer through two games. The veteran guard is also averaging 4.5 rebounds, four assists and two steals and has made 50 percent of the 16 three-pointers he's attempted. He had a monster game in this past Friday's win against Rider, putting up 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Off the benchP Name Ht. PPG Hometown
G Chase Ross 6-5 11.5 Dallas
F Ben Gold 6-11 8.0 Wellington, N.Z.
G Sean Jones 5-10 6.5 Columbus, Ohio
DetailsSite: 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, WPXN 104.9-FM, WDAN-1490-AM and WDNL 102.1-FM.
TV: Jason Benetti (play-by-play) and Jim Jackson (expert analysis) have the call on Fox Sports 1.
Series: Illinois leads 9-6.
Last meeting: Marquette won 67-66 on Nov. 15, 2021, in Milwaukee, with Tyler Kolek scoring a go-ahead layup with 18 seconds to play before the Golden Eagles forced an Illinois turnover to seal the win. Trent Frazier scored a game-high 23 points for the Illini.
FYI: Illinois is 21-74 all time against opponents ranked in the top four of the Associated Press Top 25. The first matchup was a Jan. 29, 1949, win against No. 4 Minnesota at Huff Gym. The most recent was also a win with last year's overtime win against No. 2 Texas in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Beat writer Scott Richey's storylinesSo long, Gavitt GamesSome thought the Big Ten and Big East could find common ground and renew the annual early season matchups between the two conferences. Turns out the Big East was more interested than the Big Ten, with this season the last one for the foreseeable future. No Gavitt Games and no Big Ten/ACC Challenge will put the onus on scheduling games like that moving forward squarely on Illinois' shoulders.
"We'll have to wait and see what conference scheduling looks like in the future," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "Playing opponents like this is extremely beneficial. We're going to continue to do that. We always like to play great competition anyway. I think teams will have to continue to search for quality opponents."
Down the stretchHow Illinois has started games this season is something Underwood isn't trying to make too big of a deal about, but slow starts did trip up the Illini early against Eastern Illinois and Oakland. How Underwood has seen his team finish games, including the charity exhibition win against Kansas, has generated some pride. Illinois was strong offensively late to knock off the Jayhawks. Then stout defensively down the stretch in Friday's win against Oakland. Different closing groups were responsible for both.
"It's kind of by feel," Underwood said. "I like the depth we're developing. We're still a little unsettled in roles, but guys have got to keep practicing hard and we're doing that. Guys have to keep pushing each other, and we're doing that."
Tough with the ballMarquette coach Shaka Smart became synonymous with his "HAVOC" defense — a 1-2-2 full court press — during his time at VCU. But his best defense with the Rams, at least in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency wasn't even the one that made the Final Four. It's a metric Smart has had teams ranked in the top 10 once and top 30 seven times. Marquette might not go full "HAVOC," but the Golden Eagles still rely on superb defense.
"You've got to handle the initial thrust of them, whether it's in the press or in the halfcourt," Underwood said. "You see a hodgepodge of different things, and they're very connected. ... You've got to be ball tough, strong and be patient enough that there might be some possessions under 10 seconds."
The News-Gazette's pick: No. 4 Marquette 81, No. 23 Illinois 77The Golden Eagles will challenge the Illini in ways neither Eastern Illinois nor Oakland could. Marquette boasts arguably the best point guard in the country in All-American Tyler Kolek and essentially a point center in Oso Ighodaro with plenty of shooters around them. Illinois was strong defensively in the first week of the season. Repeating that against Marquette will seriously test the Illini. (N-G prediction record — 2-0).