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The Illinois game, take 2.

Illinois fighting Illini
Current record: 20-5 (8-4)
Current RPI: 13
Current Sagarin: 13
Current Pomeroy: 22
2007-08 record: 16-19 (5-13)
2007-08 RPI: 99
2007-08 Sagarin: 73
2007-08 Pomeroy: 40
Series: IU leads 82-79
Last IU win: 2/7/2008 (83-79 in Champaign, double OT)
Last Illinois win: 1/10/2009 (76-45 in Champaign)
Last Illinois win in Bloomington: 2/3/2004 (51-49)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 1pm Saturday, CBS

After a horrific 2007-08 season, Illinois is in the best position of the three four loss Big Ten teams (Purdue and Ohio State are the others) to mae a run at 2-loss Michigan State. As sadly goes without saying this year, Illinois cannot afford to lose to IU. While the Hoosiers have been competitive in all but two of their conference games this season, the trip to Champaign was the least competitive of the bunch, and like the trip to Kentucky, the game at Illinois was effectively over by the first TV timeout. IU has been competitive at home, losing by no more than 12 points, but Illinois probably is the best team IU has faced at home.
Illinois has been excellent defensively. The Illini currently rank #7 in the nation in defensive efficiency and are the best in the Big Ten in that category in league games. The Illini force opponents to turn the ball over on 22 percent of possessions and rank #5 in the nation in three point defense. Illinois does not stand out as a rebounding team. The Illini rank #7 in offensive rebounding in league games and #8 on the defensive side. IU is ahead of the Illini on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Illinois has been respectable but not great from behind the arc, shooting 35 percent, but the Illini made 13 three pointers in the blowout in Champaign. Withstanding the Illinois defense and finding a way to stop Trent Meacham, who went 7-9 from behind the arc against IU, will be key. Meacham and Dominique Keller, who made 4-4 against IU, both shoot over 40 percent from behind the arc.
The trip to Illinois was IU's third worst turnover performance of the conference season, second worst in terms of offensive efficiency, and second worst in defensive efficiency. On the other hand, IU's offensive and defensive rebound percentages were IU's second best of the season. If IU can continue that trend but do a better job containing Illinois's three point shooters and find some looks for their own, is it crazy to think IU can compete? I do think IU can and will compete. That has not been the problem this season. I expect a game decided by a single digit margin, but Illinois is deservedly favored.