Head Coach: Brad Underwood
Location: Champaign, IL
Nickname: Fightin Illini
Chief Illiniwek They got rid of Chief Illiniwek in 2007
Shirt not to wear: Orange, Blue
Last time out: Lost to Iowa
Typical Rotation Depth: 9+
Line: Nebraska by 5
Tempo: Fast paced
Defense: West Vriginia-esque pressrue
Style: Middle assist % / Low 3pa%
|Off. Reb. %:||37.4||30.9||29.1|
Most Frequent Lineups over the last 5 games
Starting PG Te'Jon Lucas is out for his second game with suspension. Both teams are 9+ deep even with a player out and will shuffle guys in and out of the lineup
Players to watch: Trent Frazier
Underwood teams tend to have a few guys who dominate the shots and dynamic freshman guard Trent Frazier has stepped into that role for the Illini. Look for him along with Leron Black to dominate the touches when on the court.
Give Away: PBA Court Rally Towels
Given to the first 1500 people so if you're planning to get there early, plan to get there early.
Give Away: Scarlet Reunion
I think this means former Scarlett dance squad memebers so Walt P has some real options to throw game at tonight if he's in town.
Underwood is from the Bob Huggins/Frank Martin tree of press the crap out of you/hit the offensive glass hard school of intensity. Thus far it's been to mixed success and this article does a great job at explaining why. At points Nebraska is going to crack under that pressure but how it responds will dictate the outcome of this game. Can Tanner or Dube keep guys of the offensive boards? If so, they'll play; if not they won't. Look for a large dose of Roby and Copeland tonight. Could you see 4 guards on the court at the same time? Against this fiesty undersized Illinois team would be the time to roll it out. Can Thorir handle the rock? Keep that in your back pocket. If Nebraska can make their way past the press there are easy buckets and Illinois has been notorious for fouling this year. We ready to make some FTs?
Defensively the biggest task is going to be keeping track of who does what with only 3 days of prep against a high post offense you don't see often while also dealing with the drama of your teammates Munsoning you. Part of Illinois keeping fresh legs is shuffling guys in and out all night. I keep seeing more and more 1-3-1 in the conference and Iowa used it to come back from 20 down on the road vs Illinois. Have they been practicing on how to break it? It's worth noting that junior sharpshooting stretch 5 Michael Finke has been in an absolute funk, 0-12 in conference play from deep. If he makes one he's worth keeping track of.
Underwood famously started out 0-6 in the Big 12 last year before last year winning 10 of 11 conference games in row to make the NCAA tournament and earn his way out of Stillwater. He had a change of heart after a sleepless night and changed his defense to spark the run. How's he been sleeping lately?
Prediction: Nebraska 80 - Illinois 71