Pregame: Illinois vs Auburn, Saturday, December 29th, 1:15pm CT, BTN

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For anyone looking for pregame festivities:

Joe's Bar on Weed St. (the official Chicago Illini bar) is doing an all-you-can-eat all-you-can-drink for $30 before the game. They will have a free shuttle too and from the United Center as well. Their is a group of Marching Illini Alums that will be playing from 11-12:30 before the game. It should be good time with good music. I'll be there playing and watching the game. Go Illini!
I had considered that but decided just to head to West End around 10:30 or 11:00 since its the closest bar to the United Center.
I don't know Anderson at all, but I like Shon Morris a lot. We are sometimes at the local BWW at the same time and I enjoy having a beverage with him and talking B1G sports. Nice guy.
Illini hope to regain Chicago edge

Not only have the Chicago losses been difficult to swallow for Illinois, they've also led to disappointing second-half finishes. After the Gonzaga loss, Illinois went 12-11 the rest of the year. After UIC, it went 10-13. After UNLV, it went 7-15. The Illini have been to the NCAA tournament once in the last three seasons.

With Illinois off to a 12-1 start this season, the Illini are optimistic that trend will change. A win over Auburn in Chicago could just springboard the Illini into the Big Ten season and set up another NCAA bid.

"That's what we're looking for," Richardson said. "Looking to go into this game, just having a refreshed start. It's going to be the second semester for school, second part of the season, just end the non-conference part on a good note. Try to go 13-1 in non-conference, go into the Big Ten, that's a whole season and get focused for that."

Scott Powers
Illinois will come out strong and never look back. BP and Bertrand will both have big games and the Illini will come out on top to give Groce his 98th career win. I'll be there cheering the boys on at the UC!

auburn- 63
Ticket update: Tickets for the 200-section of the United Center now have the following message next to them when you try to purchase them: "Sorry, no exact matches were found, but other tickets may still be available." It's official, only the highest/top section of the UC hasn't sold out (yet).
Christian County, IL
Poor shooting from both teams due to the tight rims at the UC, but still a positive result. . .

:illinois: 71
AU: 57
Table erupts in laughter across from us, Joe goes "Eddie Murphy better be over there telling jokes bc nothing is THAT funny" #JoeTales lol

Table of 6 girls just sat next to us, ages ranging from 22-25... @kevinberardini goes "let the selfies begin, duck face get ready" lmao
Little Rock, Arkansas
The guys were all at the Grand Lux Cafe tonight. I sat a few tables down from them with my girlfriend and her friends. They seemed to all be having a great time.

I talked to DJ while they were waiting (which wasn't long...while we had an hour wait haha) and got his thoughts on the crowd at the Braggin Rights game. He said it was a crazy environment to play in. I guess we should really get pumped and help the team out. Glad to hear we are selling so many tickets.

I'll be there tomorrow for an Illini win!
Chicago hope? Illini hope to end city slump

Illinois (12-1) has seven players on its roster from the Chicagoland area. The visit to the United Center provides an opportunity for friends and family to make a short trip to catch a game.

"Half our team is from Chicago plus a couple of guys, myself, from the suburbs, so we'll have a lot of people out there watching us," said Brandon Paul, a product of north suburban Gurnee.

But recent history hasn't been kind to the Illini. Paul and his senior teammates have lost three straight in the building: in overtime to Gonzaga in 2010, to Illinois-Chicago in '10 and to UNLV last year.

Marcus Jackson
HQ forecast: UI 76, Auburn 62

Despite the recent shooting woes, the Illini are going to keep firing away from three-point range. But with Big Ten play starting next week, they'd be best served to start making a few more. Illinois is 20 for 78 from three in the last three games, including 8 for 32 against Missouri. It starts with taking better shots and operating within the system, something the Illini got away from against Missouri. "We just got to trust that system a little bit more, let the offense work for us," Groce said. "I think we took more bad shots than normal. We had some good looks as well that we didn't make."

Marcus Jackson
Was there last year for the ugly UNLV loss and I'll be there again Saturday. Can't imagine how ugly the UIC loss was 2 years ago to those in attendance.
I was at that game and it was very embarassing for everyone except for the 230 UIC fans in attendance. It was the equivalent of U of I losing to Northern Illinois in football. Oh wait....good thing we don't play them.
Illini AD Mike Thomas on WDWS says they're expecting 16,000 - 18,000 for Auburn United Center game. (15,144 for UNLV game last year.)
I feel pretty strongly that we're done laying eggs at the UC.

I'd imagine that Groce envisions this particular game as a showcase for the current and future Chicago recruits. Playing poorly in this building isn't a good look for what Groce's recruiting blueprint is.

:chief: 84
Auburn 63
I remember that we were desperately trying to get Alabama for this game, but had to settle for Auburn. Turns out both teams are struggling and on the bottom of the SEC right now. Would've probably been a closer game if it were the Tide we were rolling :)D, get it?) over, but this game is most likely a win regardless of whether not it's Auburn or Bama we're playing.

:illinois: - 82
Auburn - 69
Loren Tate asked Mike Thomas if St. John's will be next year's United Center opponent. MT said game's opponent has yet to be set.
Any ILLINI fans in the Valley of the Sun gonna catch the game at a Sports Bar? Max's on Thomas , just west of Scottsdale Rd perhaps????? Love to watch this with some fellow Illini fans. JW
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