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Illinois (19-14) at Stony Brook (22-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 17th, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pritchard Gymnasium (1,680) -- Stony Brook, New York. Television: ESPNU. NIT Tournament Record: Illinois 3-5, Stony Brook 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Stony Brook Seawolves and Illinois Fighting Illini go toe-to- toe tonight in the first round of the 2010 NIT at Pritchard Gymnasium. The winner of this game will move on to face either Kent State or Tulsa in the second round.
The Seawolves earned an automatic bid to the NIT after winning the program's first America East Conference regular-season title. Stony Brook has established school records for wins, both overall (22) and in conference (13), as the team is making its first postseason appearance at the Division I level.
On the flip side, the Illini were considered on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but were left out of the "Big Dance" after losing six of their final eight games. This is Illinois' fourth appearance in the NIT and first since 1996. The program is 5-3 all-time in the event, including a third-place finish in 1980.
Tonight's game marks the first-ever meeting between Illinois and Stony Brook on the hardwood.
The Illini have the ability to be successful at both ends of the court, and they showed that this season by averaging 70.5 ppg while holding opponents to 39.8 percent field goal accuracy. Demetri McCamey is the go-to-guy for Illinois, as he not only leads the team in scoring (15.1 ppg), but assists (6.8 apg) as well. Mike Tisdale ranks second with both 11.8 ppg and 6.1 rpg, while D.J. Richardson chips in with 10.5 ppg. Mike Davis also gets involved and he nearly averages a double-double with 10.4 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds per game.
The Seawolves are guided by Muhammad El-Amin, the AEC Player of the Year, who averages 16.7 ppg to lead the squad. Bryan Dougher is another solid scorer at 13.6 ppg, and he is by far the team's best three-point shooter, hitting his perimeter shots at a 42.1 percent clip. Chris Martin checks in with 10.7 ppg for Stony Brook, which is netting 69.9 ppg, and Tommy Brenton rips down 9.8 rpg to lead the team in that department.
Although they are playing on the road, the Illini should still be able to control this game and use their size and talent advantage to defeat the Seawolves.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois 70, Stony Brook 60
03/17 10:37:03 ET
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