Feb 07, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Tracy Abrams (13) during the first half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Basketball: Northwood (MI) Scrimmage Preview

The Illinois Fighting Illini continue their exhibition schedule tonight against Northwood (MI) University at State Farm Center. This will be the second exhibition scrimmage for the Illini in preparation for their 2013-2014 campaign.

Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The Northwood Timberwolves are a member of NCAA Division II and play in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Last season, the Timberwolves were 13-14 overall and 12-10 in the GLIAC.

The Timberwolves are only returning one starter from last year’s squad in junior forward/center Will Bowles.

Last season in 24 starts, Bowles averaged 12.3 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, and 1.7 blocks per game.

Expect Northwood to also lean heavily on senior forward Darvin Ham as well.

Off the bench last year, Ham averaged 9.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game, and 1.7 assists per game.

Before the Illini’s first scrimmage against McKendree University, the biggest thing head coach John Groce needed to begin to figure out was what kind of combinations can he put together on the court. That should not change tonight against the Northwood Timberwolves.

At the Big Ten Media Day on Thursday, Groce discussed how different this Illini team is from last year’s squad. He also said that the team was closer than usual to setting up a rotation for this year’s team.

After his performance in Illinois’ first scrimmage, it will be interesting to see how freshman Jaylon Tate fits into the team’s rotation.

Tate made all of his shots against McKendree along with six free throws to add up to 13 points.

Tate will get his second chance to show Illini Nation what he can do yet again tonight.

Expect the Illini to do some fine tuning in this scrimmage as they get ready to begin their regular season on November 8th at home against Alabama State.

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Tags: Basketball Illinois Fighting Illini Jaylon Tate John Groce Northwood Timberwolves

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