Brandon Paul's consistency might be the best example of how well the 11th-ranked Illini are responding to new coach John Groce and his staff. The senior guard has flourished, averaging 18.7 points per game. He has scored double digits in every game this season. Point guard Tracy Abrams has had some bright moments and is never one to be questioned for toughness. He scored 27 points against Auburn and helped push the pace in the uptempo system. Key player: Center Nnanna Egwu is trying to fill a canyon-sized void NBA draftee Meyers Leonard left. Egwu has been active through the nonconference schedule with 6.2 points per game and some solid defense while cutting down on his fouls. Now if only he could get some more rebounds. He's averaging just 4.1 per game. Key stat: The Illini rank third nationally with 9.4 3-pointers per game, but they have been off the mark lately. In the last four games, they have connected on only 25.8 percent. Big Ten opener: Wednesday at Purdue.
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