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    Game Day Essentials: Game #27 vs Illinois

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      Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-19) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (17-9)

       

      Date: Monday, Feb 24th, 2020
      Time: 7:00 p.m. 

      Arena: State Farm Center (15,544, 22nd largest in D-I)

      Broadcast:  BTN

    Illinois Info

    70683592014.gif
    Head Coach: Brad Underwood

    Location: Champaign, IL 
    Conference: B1G
    Nickname: Fightin Illini

    MascotChief Illiniwek They got rid of Chief Illiniwek in 2007

    Line: Illinois by 14

    Typical Rotation Depth: 8+

    KenPom rank: 28

    Offensive Style: Slower, in the paint, offensive rebounds

    Defensive Style: Sit back and make you take a bad shot

     

    Players to watch:   Kofi Cockburn

    The freshman center is a monster, checking in at 7'0", 290#. Cockburn is 1st on the team in rebounds and blocks, 2nd on the team in scoring. His name is pronounced 'Co-burn', so not the same as Christian Standhardinger's nickname.

     

    Players to watch:       Ayo Dosunmu

    Illinois' leading scorer was Underwood's big 5 star recruit out of Chicago last year. Dosunmu was a fringe NBA draft pick last year but came back and is the focal point of Illinois' offense, capable of scoring from anywhere. His 3pt shooting, like a lot of his teammates, is down this season.

     

    Roster points

      PG SG SF PF C Pct
    1
    1 Trent Frazier
    6-2  175  Jr
    10 Andres Feliz
    6-2  195  Sr
    11 Ayo Dosunmu
    6-5  185  So
    20 Da'Monte Williams
    6-3  210  Jr
    21 Kofi Cockburn
    7-0  290  Fr
    10.0
     
    2
    1 Trent Frazier
    6-2  175  Jr
    11 Ayo Dosunmu
    6-5  185  So
    20 Da'Monte Williams
    6-3  210  Jr
    15 Giorgi Bezhanishvili
    6-9  235  So
    21 Kofi Cockburn
    7-0  290  Fr
    8.7
     

     

    Illinois return almost everyone from last year's team in addition to adding Cockburn.

     

    • Feliz and Frazier are both PGs who play a bit off ball with Dosunmu in the lineup. Frazier is more of an outside shooter, Feliz more aggressive with his shot
    • Da'Monte Williams plays because he provides rebounding and defense. Look for Nebraska to not guard him outside the paint when he's on the court given his lack of offense.
    • Giorgi remains a high energy stretch 4 for Illinois. His shooting percentage has gone down as he's taking more mid range 2s, perhaps a side effect of trying to not clog the lane for Cockburn
    • 6'5" guard Alan Griffin is the team's best shooter and needs attention whenever he is on the court hasn't ever developed any sort of consistency and gets 'let's see if he has it tonight' minutes
    • Senior Kipper Nichols was once an exciting dunking highlight machine but the last active player from the John Groce era 

     

    The Skinny:

    Brad Underwood spent the first two years at Illinois running his spread offense and high pressure defense that gain him so much success at Stephen F. Austin to propel him to Illinois via Oklahoma St. The pressure defense specifically didn't work as even though they generated tons of turnovers teams often turned the game into a layup drill once they got past the pressure.  Credit Underwood for basically scrapping everything as the defense is now focused on forcing bad shots and the offense is geared around Dosunmu's and Cockburn's abilities. They've changed from one of the faster offenses in the country to one of the slower. This is most likely an NCAA tournament team.

     

    The Nebraska defense is once again going to implement their pack and prey defense. Look for the Huskers to ignore Williams when he's on court to the point where Underwood won't play him if he's hurting their flow. No doubt the Illini will hunt for offensive rebounds in this one.  If they can do so without giving up transition buckets it will be a long night for Nebraska. Given the patience of the Illinois offense, Nebraska will need to maintain its focus throughout the shot clock.  At some point you have to imagine that the Illini break Nebraska.

     

    Defensively, Illinois is trying to run you off the 3pt line. Oddly, they aren't really a shot blocking team so Nebraska might be able to find success inside. Most likely, it's going to be a struggle. Speaking of struggle, when will Cam Mack's shot return? Since being taken out of the starting lineup vs Penn St Mack has shot 2-18 from 3pt (11%) and 8-31 from 2pt (25.8%).

     

    It is a lot to ask to win on the road in this conference and it's very much to ask for this constantly overwhelmed Nebraska team.

     

    Prediction: Illinois 79 - Nebraska 66

    Edited by hhcmatt

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    Cockburn is 20 years old and has been all of his freshman year. Sophomore Giorgi Bezhanishvili, turned 21 in November.

     

    When Cockburn was 17 (Ouedraogo's age), Cockburn was a sophomore in high school at Christ the King Regional High School, where he also played his junior year. He played his senior year at Oak Hill Academy. 

     

    When Bezhanishvili was 17, he played in something called the Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga. At 18, he was playing in the Austrian Basketball League, a step up from the OBB. At 19, he played a season at the Patrick School in New Jersey before starting as a 20-year-old freshman at Illinois.

     

    Here's to Yvan and Kevin, 19,  holding their own against these two mature and skilled players tonight.

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    Illini fan here.  Just curious if the Huskers ever play zone.  Illinois is not very good against the zone.

    Most bits and pieces of Husker games I have seen this year they were always in a man to man.

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    1 hour ago, jayschool said:

    Cockburn is 20 years old and has been all of his freshman year. Sophomore Giorgi Bezhanishvili, turned 21 in November.

     

    When Cockburn was 17 (Ouedraogo's age), Cockburn was a sophomore in high school at Christ the King Regional High School, where he also played his junior year. He played his senior year at Oak Hill Academy. 

     

    When Bezhanishvili was 17, he played in something called the Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga. At 18, he was playing in the Austrian Basketball League, a step up from the OBB. At 19, he played a season at the Patrick School in New Jersey before starting as a 20-year-old freshman at Illinois.

     

    Here's to Yvan and Kevin, 19,  holding their own against these two mature and skilled players tonight.

     

    He said Cockburn.

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    1 hour ago, Bob said:

    Illini fan here.  Just curious if the Huskers ever play zone.  Illinois is not very good against the zone.

    Most bits and pieces of Husker games I have seen this year they were always in a man to man.

    Yes, we've played very little zone, but it's in the repertoire. But seriously, Bob. Does it matter? Enjoy the win.

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    1 hour ago, jayschool said:

    Yes, we've played very little zone, but it's in the repertoire. But seriously, Bob. Does it matter? Enjoy the win.

     

     

    Right?  The only question is whether they'll cover...and honestly, it's probably even more appropriate to ask by how much will they cover?

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    39 minutes ago, 49r said:

     

     

    Right?  The only question is whether they'll cover...and honestly, it's probably even more appropriate to ask by how much will they cover?

     

    The thing about Nebraska is even if we get our teeth kicked in there is no bench. This Illinois team has like 4 guys who never play so chances are we will rack up points against these guys.  I would take Nebraska and the points with the caveat that whenever I offer any specific gambling advice I'm almost always wrong.

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    2 minutes ago, Nighthawk said:

    “Nebraska defense is once again going to implement their pack and prey defense. “


    Way things are going it should be called the pack and PRAY defense. 

     

    Sorry, was a typo. I actually meant 'pack and pray' though 'pack and prey' sounds like something we could build towards!

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    The Huskers are at the point Illinois was 2-3 years ago.  New coach, huge roster turnover, good fan base, no where to go but up.

     

    Takes a lot of patience for the fans.  It can't happen overnight.

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    3 minutes ago, Bob said:

    The Huskers are at the point Illinois was 2-3 years ago.  New coach, huge roster turnover, good fan base, no where to go but up.

     

    Takes a lot of patience for the fans.  It can't happen overnight.

    We're on year 124, but thanks for the kind words.

     

    FWIW, I covered the 1989 Final Four, which had Illinois, Michigan, Seton Hall and Dookie playing in Seattle's Kingdome. Hope you were around to enjoy that, as well.

    Edited by jayschool

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    16 minutes ago, Bob said:

    Takes a lot of patience for the fans.

     

    If there's a single quality that I could attribute to Nebrasketball fans, it would most definitely be patience.

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