Head Coach: John Groce
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: Beat Northwestern
Typical Rotation Depth: 9+
Line: Nebraska by 4.5
Style: Low assist, low 3pt attempts
4 Factors Good: Defensive Rebounds, Not fouling
4 Factors Bad: Not drawing contact, not generating turnovers
|Off. Reb. %:||30.0||26.7||29.3|
Most Frequently Used Lineup over the last 5 games
This combo gives the Illini three 3pt shooters and a rebounder to complement the dynamic Malcolm Hill. Jacobson is the mobile 4 to counter Michael Finke that not every team has.
Player to watch: Te'Jon Lucas
Normally this is where you would read about Malcolm Hill who is among the B1G leaders in scoring and drives this Illinois team. However, let's dig deeper and look at Freshman Te'Jon Lucas who has started the last 8 games for the Illini. Lucas has taken over Tracy Abrams starting job and brings spot up 3pt shooting plus on ball defense for Illinois.
Illinois, with Michigan St at home and Rutgers on the road, sees this game as pivotal in their slim chances of making the NCAA tournament. On the other hand, Nebraska sees this as a game crucial to their chances at the NIT tournament. Both teams are playing to stay out of the B1G play-in game; both are highly motivated to win.
Illinois has been playing better defense as of late and this has been the key to a late season resurgence which has seen them sweep Northwestern in the month of February. This seems like a team an defense the Huskers can crack though as they are one of the worst shot blocking teams in Div 1. Look for the Huskers to attack the paint all night and have wide open 3s available when the Illini crash down.
On defense, Nebraska should be able to contain Malcolm Hill with a combination of Tai Webster and Evan Taylor. The key is being able to single cover Hill and center Maverick Morgan so the rest of the 3pt shooters don't punish you. Nebraska plays good enough defense that it would be surprising to see Illinois explode on the road.
This is a team that Nebraska really matches up well against and it contains guys like Glynn Watson, Ed Morrow, and Isaiah Roby who really weren't priorities for John Groce and the Illini in recruiting
Prediction: Nebraska 79 - Illinios 64