Illinois coach John Groce hoped to see enough at practice Tuesday to convince him that Rayvonte Rice would be good to go for Wednesday’s home game against Purdue (8 p.m., BTN).
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The status of Rice, who leads the Big Ten in scoring at 18.1 points per game, remained up in the air on Wednesday morning. Groce had no official update, and Rice was classified as a “game-time decision.”
Rice, a 6-4 junior, strained an adductor muscle in his hip during Sunday’s surprising defeat at Northwestern. Clearly bothered by the injury, he scored eight points on 2-of-11 shooting, the first time this season he failed to score in double figures.
The Illini (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten), who have struggled offensively of late, would be hard-pressed to win without Rice. Purdue is averaging 77.3 points, the most for a Boilermakers team in 16 years.
“Ray wants to play, obviously,” Groce said.
Purdue has won eight of nine in the series, but the Illini managed a 79-59 victory in the teams’ most recent meeting, last February at State Farm Center.