Head Coach: John Groce
Location: Champaign-Urbana, IL
Conference: B1G 10
Nickname: Fighting Illini
Last time out: Beat Minnesota
Typical Rotation Depth: 9-10 players
Line: Illinois by 4
Shirt not to wear: Orange, Bright orange, neon orange, puke orange
Fun Fact :
0 Tai Webster 6-4 194 Fr
2 David Rivers 6-7 198 Jr
5 Terran Petteway 6-6 209 So
31 Shavon Shields 6-7 219 So
35 Walter Pitchford 6-10 234 So
13 Tracy Abrams 6-2 190 Jr
25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 Fr
24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 Jr
21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 Fr
32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 Jr
Illinois got out to a 12-4 lead before the Husker clawed back for a 1 point half time lead thanks to a Gallegos buzzer beating layup. Nebraska pulled away with a 13-3 run with 8 minutes to go to clinch what had been a close game. Shavon Shields channeling his inner Jack Moore by going 15-15 at the free throw line help him to be our player of the game.
As always, the current game is the biggest of the year and it's a game we're not favored to win by Vegas or Bracketogists. A win puts Nebraska within tasting distance of the NCAA tourney. A loss means we need to win the next 3. Gotta love that we find ourselves here either way.
After enduring an 8 game conference skid, John Groce decided to insert two freshmen into the starting lineup and subsequently have gone 2-2. The Illini have shot a little better from 3 thanks to Kendrick Nunn but still managed to only put up 39 points in a home game against Ohio State in their last home game. Last game after putting up 24 points on the road in Minnesota the Illini found their fight and 38 2nd half points to knock off the Gophers.
Both teams play great defense and struggle to shoot the ball. Expect yet another low scoring, defensive struggle with both team going through scoring droughts. This is truly anyone's game to win and here are some factors/thoughts/questions to consider outside of the Xs and Os:
- Illinois has had 7 days to prepare for what is a must win game for their NIT chances
- How quickly can the Huskers adjust if the Illinois game plan deviates from what they've seen on film?
- While this is a home game for Illinios, they've lost their last 5 at home
- How engaged will the crowd be for a Wednesday night game against Nebraska?
- Both teams are somewhat better since their last meeting. How much better?
- Has Nebraska truly figured out what it takes to win on the road?
- Which team has a role player that provides extra points?
- How motivated is Illinois to win? Are they more motivated than the Huskers? Which players are more bought into their team?
It's possible that Nebraska is due for a let down or this is the game that Illinois doesn't brick it up from downtown. However, doesn't it seem like these Huskers would beat Illinois by 15 in Lincoln today?
Prediction: Huskers 62 - Illinois 58