Illinois Men’s Basketball: Auburn Game Preview

The #12 Illinois Fighting Illini will play the Auburn Tigers at United Center in Chicago on Saturday night.

The United Center has been very kind to the Fighting Illini since their first game at the UC during the 1994-95 season. This match-up will be the team’s 44th game at the United Center and the Illini own a record of 32-11 (.744) at the UC.

Two Illini players that have seen some success at the United Center are senior guards, D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul.

Richardson has averaged 12.7 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game, and 2.3 assists per game at the UC. He had a game-high 19 points with season-high eight rebounds vs. UNLV in his last game at the UC. Paul is averaging 9.7 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game, and 2.7 steals per game at the United Center. In his last game at the United Center, he had seven points and career-high five steals vs. UNLV.

Nov 21, 2012; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Auburn Tigers guard Frankie Sullivan (23) shoots the ball against the Boston College Eagles during the first half at Silvio O. Conte Forum. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn is a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Last season, they finished tenth in the SEC with a conference record of 5-11. The Tigers are 5-6 so far this season. During one four-game stretch, they lost four straight games to Dayton, Boston College, Rhode Island (double OT), and DePaul.

The Tigers are 3-1 since their four-game losing streak.

Auburn has two players averaging double-digit points this season. These two players are senior guard Frankie Sullivan and junior guard Chris Denson. Denson technically leads the team, but not by much. Denson is averaging 17.0 points per game and Sullivan averages 16.9 points per game.

Another player that can score and rebound for the Tigers is senior center Rob Chubb. He is third on the team with 9.2 points per game and leads them in rebounding with 7.2 rebounds per game. However, in the team’s last loss to Winthrop, Chubb scored eight points and recorded five rebounds.

This will be the second overall meeting and the first meeting at a neutral site between the Fighting Illini and the Tigers. The last meeting between these teams was back on December 12th, 1987. The Illini lead the series 1-0 after winning that game 107-103 in overtime.

If Illinois wants to win on Saturday, they will need more than just Richardson and Paul to step up. In their last game against Missouri, sophomore center Nnanna Egwu recorded season-highs with 12 points and nine rebounds. The Illini should be in great shape if Egwu can perform like he did in the Braggin’ Rights Game. Also, senior forward Tyler Griffey had a game against Mizzou and scored 14 points.

The Fighting Illini should win the game if one of these two players can help Paul and Richardson.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

Topics: Auburn Tigers, Basketball, Chris Denson, Frankie Sullivan, Illinois Fighting Illini

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