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News & Notes - January 26th

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Old Jan 26, 2013, 09:43 AM   #1
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Location: Champaign, IL
Illinois tips off rugged stretch against No. 2 Michigan

"For us, it's about 80 percent us and 20 percent opponent right now," first-year Illinois coach John Groce said Friday. "That's how you have a chance to get better, especially with a team that's learning a system and developing the habits we want them to have."

D.J. Richardson's career night (30 points, 6-for-9 three-point shooting) headlined the Illini's 71-51 victory Tuesday at Nebraska. But Illinois is concerned about living up to its toughness-and-togetherness motto as it heads into five games that feature four ranked opponents and Wisconsin, which blew them out Jan. 12 in Madison, Wis.

"I can't hang my hat on [the Nebraska game]," Richardson said. "We came out together. The T-and-T showed. We have to keep coming out the same way. Be aggressive. Throw the first punch. We have a lot of ranked opponents coming up, but every team in the Big Ten's good."

Herb Gould
What do Trey Burke and Magic Johnson have in common? Illinois' John Groce breaks it down

"I saw a stat the other day that the last player in the Big Ten to average 17-plus points and 7-plus assists was Magic Johnson," Groce told reporters Friday in Champaign, Ill. "And he was pretty good.

"So if people are talking about him being a national player of the year candidate, then deservedly so."

Through 19 games, Burke's leading the Big Ten in assists at 7.2 per game. He's also third in the league in scoring at 17.8 points per game. His assist-turnover ratio is +3.9, which is fifth nationally.

Abrams shows grit

"I'm all good, man, it's part of the game. You've just got to be tough," Abrams said. "That's life in the Big Ten. I knew coming into the season it was going to be real tough, but you've just got to overcome the bruises and whatever you might have."

Abrams limped off the floor in Tuesday's win at Nebraska and went to the locker room for a stretch during the game for treatment. He returned and is expected to be fine for Sunday's game against No. 2 Michigan.

Marcus Jackson
DJ is a helicopter

Rob McColley

Last edited by Dan; Jan 26, 2013 at 09:53 AM.
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