Illinois to face Arizona State in Maui Invitational
Illinois and Arizona State, two teams looking to rebound from agonizing seasons a year ago, will meet in the first round of the Maui Invitational basketball tournament. The pairings were released Tuesday.
Illinois and Arizona State meet in the final first-round game at 10:30 pm. on Nov. 19. ESPN2 will televise the game. The Illinois-Arizona State winner meets the Duke-Princeton winner in the semifinals the following day. The championship is Nov. 21.
Illinois finished with a 23-12 record after losing a 12-point lead late in a loss to Virginia Tech in the NCAA tournament's first round. The Illini failed to reach the NCAA's second round for the first time since not receiving a tournament berth in 1999.
Arizona State compiled an 8-22 record in Herb Sendek's first season as Sun Devils coach. Arizona State was 2-16 mark in the Pac-10 Conference, but a competitive run in the league's second half and a recruiting class ranked No. 16 nationally by Scout.com have Arizona State poised to step forward.
James Harden, a shooting guard ranked as the No. 11 recruiting nationally by rivals.com, is the star of Arizona State's recruiting class. The Sun Devils also return junior forward Jeff Pendergraph, an all-conference honorable mention pick who posted team highs with 12.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Illinois makes its third appearance in the event at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui -- just 1,000 yards up the shore from the Pacific Ocean -- and first since taking third in the 2000 tournament.
Marquette meets tournament host Chaminade and LSU faces Oklahoma State in first-rounds pairings in the upper half of the tournament bracket. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 12 games.
SHUMPERT UDPATE: Oak Park-River Forest guard Iman Shumpert, ranked No. 15 nationally among high schools seniors, trimmed his list to North Carolina, Marquette and Georgia Tech, according to a report by Scout.com.
Illinois, Bradley, Clemson and Notre Dame were trimmed from Shumpert's list. The news meant Illinois missed on the state's top four high profile recruits, after Chicago prospects DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), Michael Dunigan (Oregon) and Matt Humphrey (Oregon) already committed elsewhere.
Meanwhile, coveted forward Darius Miller from Maysville, Ky., told a radio station Tuesday that Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee remained on his short list.
John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.