Penn State men at Illinois
Tipoff: 8:15 p.m., Assembly Hall
Records: Penn State (8-17, 0-13 Big Ten); Illinois (19-8, 6-7 Big Ten)
Coaches: Pat Chambers is 20-37 in his second season at Penn State and 62-65 in his fourth season overall. John Groce is 19-8 in his first season at Illinois and 104-64 in his fifth season overall.
Radio: ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM
Probable starters: Penn State - G D.J. Newbill, 6-4 So. (16.0), G Jermaine Marshall, 6-4 Jr. (14.8), G Nick Colella, 6-3 Sr. (3.8), F Ross Travis, 6-6 So. (6.6), C Sasa Borovnjak, 6-9 Jr. (6.5). Illinois - G Brandon Paul, 6-4 Sr. (16.4), G Joseph Bertrand, 6-6 Jr. (8.3), G D.J. Richardson, 6-3 Sr. (12.7), F Sam McLaurin, 6-8 Sr. (4.3), C Nnanna Egwu, 6-11 So. (6.4).
Notes: This is the first and only meeting between these two teams during the regular season. ... Penn State is looking for its first Big Ten road win of the season and first conference road win under Chambers. ... In Big Ten play, opponents have made more free throws (268) than the Lions have attempted (226). Newbill (81) and Marshall (64) have accounted for 145 of PSU's foul shots in the league. The rest of the team has combined for 81. ... PSU freshman big man Donovan Jack will likely miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot. He has not played in the past three games. ... After losing six of seven and falling out of the Top 25, the Illini have now won four in a row. They had been ranked as high as No. 10. ... Illinois actually has a slightly better road record (3-3) than home record (3-4) in the Big Ten. ... The Illini rank No. 29 in the latest RPI, with the nation's sixth-strongest schedule.
Mirror Prediction: Illinois 71, Penn State 61
Comment: The Illini were completely out of sorts - even at home - for most of January, but have suddenly hit their stride. That does not bode well for the struggling Lions.
Mirror prediction record: 20-5
- Mark Brennan
FDU at St. Francis men
Tipoff: 7 p.m., DeGol Arena
Records: Fairleigh Dickinson (7-20, 2-12), St. Francis (3-22, 3-11)
Coaches: Greg Vetrone is 26-91 in his fourth season at Fairleigh Dickinson. Rob Krimmel is 3-22 in his first season at St. Francis.
Web stream: NECFrontRow.com
Probable starters: Fairleigh Dickinson - F Melquan Bolding, 6-3 Sr. (13.9), F Kinu Rochford, 6-6 Sr. (14.7), G Yves Jules, 6-2 Jr. (9.2), G Sidney Sanders Jr., 5-11 Jr. (4.6), F Xavier Harris, 6-6 Fr. (3.1). St. Francis - G Umar Shannon, 5-11 R-Jr. (11.7), F Earl Brown, 6-6 So. (10.5), G Ollie Jackson, 6-3 So. (7.9), G Anthony Ervin, 6-3 Sr. (2.9), F Ronnie Drinnon, 6-6 Fr. (4.8).
Notes: St. Francis leads the all-time series, 40-39, and is 25-11 against FDU in Loretto. ... Fairleigh Dickinson is on an 11-game losing streak. The Knights' last win was a 79-69 overtime victory over the Red Flash on Jan. 12 at Stratis Arena. ... According to realtimerpi.com, all but three of St. Francis' losses are considered bad losses - Notre Dame, Lehigh, Bucknell. Eight of the remaining 19 are dubbed as really bad losses. ... St. Francis is alone in 11th place in the NEC standings, while Fairleigh Dickinson is alone in 12th. The Knights have been eliminated from postseason contention, while the Red Flash will be eliminated with a loss. ... St. Francis wraps up its home portion of the schedule with a 1 p.m. game against Monmouth on Saturday.
Mirror prediction: St. Francis 65, Fairleigh Dickinson 62
Comment: The Red Flash have a real opportunity to win their final two home games of the season. A lot depends on which team shows up to play.
Mirror prediction record: 19-6
- Nate Foreman