1980–81 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team

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1980–81 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball
1980–81 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team.jpg
Illini Classic, Champion
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
Coaches No. 18
AP No. 19
1980–81 record 21–8 (12–6 Big Ten)
Head coach Lou Henson
Assistant coach Tony Yates
Assistant coach Dick Nagy
Assistant coach Bob Hull
Assistant coach Levi Cobb GA
Dan Smith GA
MVP Eddie Johnson
Captain Derek Holcomb
Eddie Johnson
Mark Smith
Home arena Assembly Hall
Seasons
1980–81 Big Ten Conference men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
No. 9 Indiana 14 4   .778     26 9   .743
No. 13 Iowa 13 5   .722     21 7   .750
No. 19 Illinois 12 6   .667     21 8   .724
Purdue 10 8   .556     21 11   .656
Minnesota 9 9   .500     19 11   .633
Ohio State 9 9   .500     14 13   .519
Michigan 8 10   .444     19 11   .633
Michigan State 7 11   .389     13 14   .481
Wisconsin 5 13   .278     11 16   .407
Northwestern 3 15   .167     9 18   .333
Rankings from AP Poll)

The 1980–81 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented the University of Illinois.

Regular season[edit]

In 1981, Illinois made strides in its return to the national spotlight with a 21-8 record, a third-place Big Ten finish and an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The team received a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament and beat Wyoming, 67-65, in Los Angeles to advance to the regionals in Salt Lake City, where Illinois lost to Kansas State, 57-52. During this season, the Fighting Illini led the Big Ten in scoring for the second consecutive season and were again led by Eddie Johnson and Mark Smith. Guards Craig Tucker and Derek Harper arrived to add backcourt punch, and Harper began his Illini career being named First-Team Freshman All-America by ESPN and ABC.

This season marked a change in location and name for the annual game with Missouri. The name was altered from the "Show-Me Classic" to the "Braggin' Rights" and took on a permanent location, St. Louis, with the St. Louis Arena as its original home. Prior to 1980, the location of the game alternated from Assembly Hall and the Hearnes Center. Since 1994, the game is played at the Scottrade Center.

Roster[edit]

1980–81 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight Year Previous school Hometown
G 10 Craig Tucker 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Jr Flint Northern High School Flint, Michigan
G 12 Derek Harper 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Fr North Shore High School West Palm Beach, Florida
C 13 James Griffin 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Jr Dunbar High School Grandview, Texas
G 14 Sherrod Arnold 5 ft 11 in (1.8 m) 150 lb (68 kg) So Wendell Phillips High School Chicago, Illinois
G/F 15 Mitch Arnold 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Fr Effingham High School Effingham, Illinois
G 20 Kevin Bontemps 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 180 lb (82 kg) So Morton High School Morton, Illinois
G 21 Quinn Richardson 5 ft 11 in (1.8 m) 175 lb (79 kg) So Eisenhower High School Robbins, Illinois
G 22 Perry Range 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Jr South Beloit High School South Beloit, Illinois
F 33 Eddie Johnson (C) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Sr Westinghouse High School Chicago, Illinois
F 42 Mark Smith (C) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Sr Richwoods High School Peoria, Illinois
F 43 Bryan Leonard Current redshirt 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 210 lb (95 kg) RS So Belleville High School-East Belleville, Illinois
C 44 Derek Holcomb (C) 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Sr Richwoods High School Peoria, Illinois
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • (W) Walk-on

All-Time Illini Roster

Source[1] [2]

Schedule[edit]

Source[3]

Date
time, TV
Rank# Opponent# Result Record Site (attendance)
city, state
Non-Conference regular season
11/29/1980*
no, no
No. NR Loyola Marymount W 98-65  1-0
Assembly Hall (11,168)
Champaign, IL
12/6/1980*
no, no
No. NR TCU W 84-62  2-0
Assembly Hall (14,370)
Champaign, IL
12/10/1980*
no, no
No. NR Missouri (#14)
Braggin' Rights
W 84-62  3-0
St. Louis Arena (14,370)
St. Louis, MO
12/13/1980*
no, no
No. NR Marquette W 69-68  4-0
U.S. Cellular Arena (11,052)
Milwaukee, WI
12/19/1980*
no, no
No. 17 BYU (#18)
Volunteer Classic
L 75-88  4-1
Stokely Athletic Center (12,700)
Knoxville, TN
12/20/1980*
no, no
No. 17 Iona
Volunteer Classic
W 106-84  5-1
Stokely Athletic Center (12,700)
Knoxville, TN
12/26/1980*
no, no
No. 18 Ohio
Illini Classic
W 84-54  6-1
Assembly Hall (14,230)
Champaign, IL
12/27/1980*
no, no
No. 18 Oklahoma
Illini Classic
W 93-63  7-1
Assembly Hall (15,411)
Champaign, IL
1/3/1981*
no, no
No. 16 SIU Edwardsville W 108-68  8-1
Assembly Hall (11,443)
Champaign, IL
Big Ten regular season
1/8/1981
no, no
No. 12 Northwestern W 88-64  9-1 (1-0)
McGaw Memorial Hall (7,741)
Evanston, IL
1/10/1981
no, no
No. 12 Indiana
Rivalry
L 61-78  9-2 (1-1)
Assembly Hall (17,083)
Bloomington, IN
1/15/1981
no, no
No. 18 Purdue W 87-65  10-2 (2-1)
Assembly Hall (16,506)
Champaign, IL
1/17/1981
no, no
No. 18 Minnesota (#20) W 80-76  11-2 (3-1)
Assembly Hall (16,630)
Champaign, IL
1/22/1981
no, no
No. 15 Michigan (#16) L 76-80  11-3 (3-2)
Crisler Center (11,055)
Ann Arbor, MI
1/24/1981
no, no
No. 15 Wisconsin L 45-54  11-4 (3-3)
Assembly Hall (16,495)
Champaign, IL
1/29/1981
no, no
No. NR Michigan State W 71-70  12-4 (4-3)
Jenison Fieldhouse (7,443)
East Lansing, MI
1/31/1981
no, no
No. NR Iowa (#13) W 79-66  13-4 (5-3)
Assembly Hall (16,555)
Champaign, IL
2/5/1981
no, no
No. 18 Ohio State W 82-63  14-4 (6-3)
Assembly Hall (16,586)
Champaign, IL
2/7/1981
no, no
No. 18 Iowa (#15) L 66-72  14-5 (6-4)
Iowa Field House (13,365)
Iowa City, IA
2/12/1981
no, no
No. 17 Wisconsin W 84-65  15-5 (7-4)
Wisconsin Field House (7,334)
Madison, WI
2/14/1981
no, no
No. 17 Ohio State W 63-57  16-5 (8-4)
St. John Arena (13,591)
Columbus, OH
2/19/1981
no, no
No. 15 Michigan (#18) W 67-64  17-5 (9-4)
Assembly Hall (16,492)
Champaign, IL
2/21/1981
no, no
No. 15 Michigan State W 82-62  18-5 (10-4)
Assembly Hall (16,559)
Champaign, IL
2/26/1981
no, no
No. 14 Minnesota L 59-76  18-6 (10-5)
Williams Arena (16,290)
Minneapolis, MN
2/28/1981
no, no
No. 14 Purdue W 81-70  19-6 (11-5)
Mackey Arena (14,123)
West Lafayette, IN
3/5/1981
no, no
No. 16 Indiana (#14)
Rivalry
L 66-69  19-7 (11-6)
Assembly Hall (16,663)
Champaign, IL
3/7/1981
no, no
No. 16 Northwestern W 98-76  20-7 (12-6)
Assembly Hall (16,622)
Champaign, IL
NCAA Tournament
3/14/1981*
no, no
No. 19 Wyoming (#17)
Second Round
W 67-65  21-7
Pauley Pavilion (12,340)
Los Angeles, CA
3/19/1981*
no, no
No. 19 Kansas State
Regional Semifinals
L 52-57  21-7
Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,450)
Salt Lake City, UT
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. (#) Tournament seedings in parentheses.
All times are in Central Time.

Player stats[edit]

Player Games Played Minutes Played Field Goals Free Throws Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Points
Eddie Johnson[4] 29 1009 219 62 267 70 6 30 500
Mark Smith[5] 29 914 150 102 172 98 18 36 402
Craig Tucker[6] 29 615 117 76 39 58 3 19 310
Perry Range[7] 29 815 101 65 115 70 0 33 267
Derek Harper[8] 29 934 104 33 75 156 8 39 241
James Griffin[9] 29 519 117 76 39 58 3 18 227
Derek Holcomb[10] 29 635 70 31 148 40 42 14 171
Bryan Leonard 25 200 26 7 44 12 8 3 59
Kevin Bontempts 19 78 12 12 7 17 1 2 36
Quinn Richardson 22 62 9 7 9 7 0 5 25
Sherrod Arnold 7 44 4 6 10 5 0 1 14
Mitch Arnold 3 27 1 0 5 2 0 0 2

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

Player NBA Club Round Pick
Eddie Johnson Kansas City Kings 2 29
Derek Holcomb Portland Trail Blazers 3 50
Mark Smith Milwaukee Bucks 3 67

[12]

Rankings[edit]

References[edit]