Home » Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Illinois-Michigan men’s basketball history

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Illinois-Michigan men’s basketball history

Tuesday night’s men’s basketball game between Illinois and Michigan marks the 180th game in a series that dates back to 1919. Including Illinois’ 88-73 victory in Ann Arbor on Jan. 18, 2024, a seven-game winning streak has widened the Illini’s overall series advantage to 94 wins and 85 losses.

Here’s some other trivia about the Illinois-Michigan series that you may not know or have forgotten:

➜ Illinois will be seeking its 60th home-court victory against Michigan on Tuesday compared to 28 losses. An Illini victory on Tuesday would improve its home winning percentage versus the Wolverines to .682.

➜ When the Illini are playing Michigan while ranked among the nation’s Top 10 teams, they have a 13-9 record against the Wolverines. When Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 but outside of the Top 10, it has a 19-12 record versus Michigan.

➜ The longest game in the Illinois-Michigan series was played 40 years ago on Jan. 28, 1984. In Illinois’ 75-66 four-overtime victory, Illini guard Bruce Douglas played all 60 minutes while teammates Efrem Winters and Quinn Richardson each chalked up 55 minutes. All-time, the Illini have a 5-5 overtime record against Michigan.

➜ The most individual points ever scored by an Illini player against Michigan was 33 by Greg Jackson on Feb. 22, 1969. Jackson’s performance was accentuated by 15 rebounds.

➜ Daniel Horton’s 39 points on Feb. 21, 2006, is the most by a Wolverine against the Illini. Altogether, 11 different Michigan players (on 16 occasions) have scored 30 points or more against Illinois.

➜ Wolverine great Bill Buntin had back-to-back 30-point efforts in his respective pair of 1965 games against Illinois. In addition, he averaged 15.5 rebounds per game. By the way, Buntin’s All-America teammate, Cazzie Russell, averaged 26.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in those same two games.

➜ The most individual rebounds by an Illini player versus Michigan came on March 2, 1971, when Nick Weatherspoon collected 23 rebounds. Illinois’ series record for individual assists is 12 by Derek Harper on Jan. 30, 1982, while Harper (1983), Douglas (1986) and Kenny Battle (1988) share the mark for steals against the Wolverines with seven apiece.

➜ Illini fans fondly recall Ayo Dosunmu’s game-winning free-throw line jumper at Michigan with 0.5 seconds left on Jan. 25, 2020. It’s the only time an Illini player connected against Michigan in that kind of a situation. Five Wolverine players — Joe Johnson (1975), Marty Bodnar (1979), Eric Turner (1984), Robert Henderson (1986) and Sean Higgins (1989) — all had buzzer-beating game-winners against Illinois.

➜ Illinois’ greatest margin of victory against Michigan was a 30-point decision (92-62) on Feb. 9, 1953. On March 4, 2013, the Wolverines defeated the Illini by 31, their most lopsided win. Conversely, Michigan has a 6-3 record in nine one-point results versus Illinois.

➜ Sergio McClain collected a triple-double against Michigan with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on Jan. 13, 2001.

➜ What’s the biggest crowd to ever witness an Illinois-Michigan basketball game? That occurred in the 1989 Final Four match-up in Seattle when 39,187 witnessed the Wolverines top the Illini, 83-81.

Illini Birthdays

➜ Sunday: Terry Hite, volleyball coach

➜ Monday: Hunter Whitenack, football (21)

➜ Tuesday: Lindsay Dwyer, gymnastics

➜ Wednesday: Reid Roper, baseball (32)

➜ Thursday: Dan Hartleb, baseball coach (58)

➜ Friday: Steve Kelly, WDWS Radio

➜ Saturday: Jim Blondell, football (59)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition available online). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @IlliniLegends. His websites are www.SportsLLL.com and www.IlliniPosters.com.