Fun Facts: Illinois-Iowa, Ron Swanson Edition

Illinois has an awesome alum: TV's Ron Swanson

Published: March 8 2014 | 10:55 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:18 am in

This concludes our regular-season edition of Fun Facts. If you want the box set, I can't help you.

And now, on with the Fun Facts:

1. Illinois never lost by as much as 31 points in all of the 50 years its home arena was known as Assembly Hall. Tuesday night in State Farm Center (the first year it's been called that), the Illini fell to Michigan, 84-53.

2. Illinois is 17-13 and appears headed to the NIT. But if it gets a berth in that tourney, it can't host a game because renovation work on State Farm Center began this week.

3. Big Ten teams (Minnesota, Iowa) were runners-up in the last two NITs, and Big Ten teams have been in seven of the last 10 NIT championship games.

4. Illini students chanted "USA!" at Michigan's Nik Stauskas, a Canadian. Stauskas proceeded to score 24 points.

5. You could have an NCAA title-contender with an All-Canadian lineup of Stauskas at the 2, Andrew Wiggins of Kansas at the 3, Melvin Ejim of Iowa State at the 4, Tyler Ennis of Syracuse at point guard, and Khem Birch of UNLV or Jordan Bachynski of Arizona State at center.

6. If Iowa wins, its three seniors (Melsahn Basabe, Devyn Marble, Zach McCabe) will tie the program's senior classes of 1988, 2008 and 2009 with 54 home wins.

7. Marble has scored 20-plus points in five straight games, the longest streak of any current Big Ten player.

8. Illinois freshman guard Kendrick Nunn was the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week in each of the last two weeks. Nunn has scored 54 points in his last four games. He scored 50 points in his first 15 games.

9. Nunn wears No. 25. He is the fourth Illinois player from Simeon High in Chicago to wear No. 25 for the Illini since the 1984 murder of Illinois recruit Ben Wilson, a Simeon student who wore that number.

10. The 81 points Iowa scored in its win at Illinois last month was the most points the Hawkeyes scored on an Illinois team in their last 17 meetings.

11.  Illini senior guard Joseph Bertrand matched his season-high when he scored 20 points against Iowa on Feb. 1, but has scored just 15 points over his last seven games.

12. Illinois leads the series, 81-69. Yet, Iowa has a 53-20 advantage over the Illini in Iowa City.

13. Illinois center Nnanna Egwu is 6-foot-11. He has made his last 10 free throw tries and has sank 80 percent of his foul shots this season.

14. Egwu has a twin sister. Her name is Nnenna. She attends Purdue.

15. Egwu is 6-foot-11. He has made his last 10 free throws and is 80 percent from the line this season. Iowa 6-10 center Gabe Olaseni has made 26 of his last 31 free throws. Maybe good free throw shooting, seemingly an endangered species in college basketball not long ago, has made a comeback.

16. Nick Offerman, the redoubtable Ron Swanson in the wonderful "Parks and Recreation" sitcom, is an Illinois graduate. He also owns and operates a woodworking shop in Los Angeles.


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