Men ready to take on Indiana

By Lucas Deal

Finally back on the right track after a solid win over Northwestern on Wednesday night, the No. 14-ranked Illinois men?s basketball team will welcome the struggling Indiana Hoosiers to the Assembly Hall at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon.

The game will be nationally televised on CBS and will be ?Paint the Hall Orange? night ? with all Illini fans expected to show up donning the Orange and Blue.

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The game will be a bittersweet reminder of how important fan support is to the Hoosiers, whose head coach Mike Davis resigned Thursday as a result of growing disgust in his coaching practices by the school and its fans.

Davis will coach the Hoosiers for the remainder of the season, but it is unclear whether or not the university will attempt to hire his successor before the season?s end.

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    The Hoosiers opened the season well and were 12-3 after a win at Purdue on Jan. 21, but have since lost six of seven to fall to 13-9 overall, 5-6 in the conference.

    ?I feel bad for him,? Weber said of Davis after Wednesday?s win. ?I?ve said this many times, when I was a young coach, a lot of guys would lose jobs but I didn?t care because I only wanted to get a job. But the longer you?re in it the more you feel for him, because it could be you.?

    Illinois (21-4, 7-4) lost 62-60 at Indiana on Jan. 17, just days before the Hoosiers began their freefall. Weber hopes to get revenge on Sunday, but knows the Hoosiers could come in with chip on their shoulder as a result of Davis? resignation, a chip which just might be enough to knock off the Illini.

    ?Are they going to rally around him?? he asked. ?We?ll have to see what happens and see how they react. Obviously, they have some disarray as a program.?

    As for the Illini, they have beaten two ranked opponents by a total of 42 points during the last two ?Paint the Hall Orange? games, including an 18-point win over No. 1-ranked Wake Forest last year.

    Indiana will not be ranked entering the game, but the Illini will still have to deal with Hoosiers big man Marco Killingsworth. In last month?s loss at Indiana, Killingsworth recovered from a poor start and a bad back to finish with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds.

    ?Killingsworth is probably the best big man in the conference, and (Robert) Vaden is very good and they have good, athletic, quick guards,? Weber said. ?And, it?s (going to be) on CBS, national TV. They?re fighting to survive their season and to get into the NCAA Tournament, so I would expect that we?re going to have a barnburner.?