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
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.

Team[edit]

No. Player Hometown High School Class Position
10 Craig Tucker Flint, Michigan Flint Northern High School Jr. Guard
12 Derek Harper West Palm Beach, Florida North Shore High School Fr. Guard
13 James Griffin Grandview, Texas Dunbar High School Jr. Center
14 Sherrod Arnold Chicago, Illinois Wendell Phillips High School So. Guard
15 Mitch Arnold Effingham, Illinois Effingham High School Fr. Guard/Forward
20 Kevin Bontemps Morton, Illinois Morton High School So. Guard
21 Quinn Richardson Robbins, Illinois Eisenhower High School So. Guard
22 Perry Range South Beloit, Illinois South Beloit High School Jr. Guard
33 Eddie Johnson (captain) Chicago, Illinois Westinghouse High School Sr. Forward
42 Mark Smith (co-captain) Peoria, Illinois Richwoods High School Sr. Forward
43 Bryan Leonard Belleville, Illinois Belleville High School-East So. Forward
44 Derek Holcomb (co-captain) Peoria, Illinois Richwoods High School Sr. Center

Schedule[edit]

Source[2]

Date
time, TV
Opponent Result Record Site (attendance)
city, state
Regular Season
11/29/1980*
no, no
Loyola Marymount W 98-65  1-0
Assembly Hall (11,168)
Champaign, IL
12/6/1980*
no, no
TCU W 84-62  2-0
Assembly Hall (14,370)
Champaign, IL
12/10/1980*
no, no
Missouri (#14)
Braggin' Rights
W 84-62  3-0
St. Louis Arena (14,370)
St. Louis, MO
12/13/1980*
no, no
Marquette W 69-68  4-0
U.S. Cellular Arena (11,052)
Milwaukee, WI
12/19/1980*
no, no
BYU (#18)
Volunteer Classic
L 75-88  4-1
Stokely Athletic Center (12,700)
Knoxville, TN
12/20/1980*
no, no
Iona
Volunteer Classic
W 106-84  5-1
Stokely Athletic Center (12,700)
Knoxville, TN
12/26/1980*
no, no
Ohio
Illini Classic
W 84-54  6-1
Assembly Hall (14,230)
Champaign, IL
12/27/1980*
no, no
Oklahoma
Illini Classic
W 93-63  7-1
Assembly Hall (15,411)
Champaign, IL
1/3/1981*
no, no
SIU Edwardsville W 108-68  8-1
Assembly Hall (11,443)
Champaign, IL
1/8/1981
no, no
Northwestern W 88-64  9-1 (1-0)
Welsh-Ryan Arena (7,741)
Evanston, IL
1/10/1981
no, no
Indiana L 61-78  9-2 (1-1)
Assembly Hall (17,083)
Bloomington, IN
1/15/1981
no, no
Purdue W 87-65  10-2 (2-1)
Assembly Hall (16,506)
Champaign, IL
1/17/1981
no, no
Minnesota (#20) W 80-76  11-2 (3-1)
Assembly Hall (16,630)
Champaign, IL
1/22/1981
no, no
Michigan (#16) L 76-80  11-3 (3-2)
Crisler Center (11,055)
Ann Arbor, MI
1/24/1981
no, no
Wisconsin L 45-54  11-4 (3-3)
Assembly Hall (16,495)
Champaign, IL
1/29/1981
no, no
Michigan State W 71-70  12-4 (4-3)
Jenison Fieldhouse (7,443)
East Lansing, MI
1/31/1981
no, no
Iowa (#13) W 79-66  13-4 (5-3)
Assembly Hall (16,555)
Champaign, IL
2/5/1981
no, no
Ohio State W 82-63  14-4 (6-3)
Assembly Hall (16,586)
Champaign, IL
2/7/1981
no, no
Iowa (#15) L 66-72  14-5 (6-4)
Iowa Field House (13,365)
Iowa City, IA
2/12/1981
no, no
Wisconsin W 84-65  15-5 (7-4)
Wisconsin Field House (7,334)
Madison, WI
2/14/1981
no, no
Ohio State W 63-57  16-5 (8-4)
St. John Arena (13,591)
Columbus, OH
2/19/1981
no, no
Michigan (#18) W 67-64  17-5 (9-4)
Assembly Hall (16,492)
Champaign, IL
2/21/1981
no, no
Michigan State W 82-62  18-5 (10-4)
Assembly Hall (16,559)
Champaign, IL
2/26/1981
no, no
Minnesota L 59-76  18-6 (10-5)
Williams Arena (16,290)
Minneapolis, MN
2/28/1981
no, no
Purdue W 81-70  19-6 (11-5)
Mackey Arena (14,123)
West Lafayette, IN
3/5/1981
no, no
Indiana (#14) L 66-69  19-7 (11-6)
Assembly Hall (16,663)
Champaign, IL
3/7/1981
no, no
Northwestern W 98-76  20-7 (12-6)
Assembly Hall (16,622)
Champaign, IL
NCAA Tournament
3/14/1981*
no, no
Wyoming (#17)
NCAA Division I Tournament
W 67-65  21-7
Pauley Pavilion (12,340)
Los Angeles, CA
3/19/1981*
no, no
Kansas State
NCAA Division I Tournament
L 67-65  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 Field Goals Free Throws Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Points
Eddie Johnson[3] 29 219 62 267 70 6 30 500
Mark Smith[4] 29 150 102 172 98 18 36 402
Craig Tucker[5] 29 117 76 39 58 3 19 310
Perry Range[6] 29 101 65 115 70 0 33 267
Derek Harper[7] 29 104 33 75 156 8 39 241
James Griffin[8] 29 117 76 39 58 3 18 227
Derek Holcomb[9] 29 70 31 148 40 42 14 171

NCAA basketball tournament[edit]

  • West
    • Illinois 67, Wyoming 65
    • Kansas State 57, Illinois 52

[10]

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

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

[12]

Rankings[edit]

References[edit]