Illinois fighting Illini
Current record: 14-6 (4-3)
Current RPI: 30 (IU is #166)
Current Sagarin: 25 (IU is #104)
Current Pomeroy: 13 (IU is #71)
2009-10 record: 21-15 (10-8) (lost to Dayton in third round of NIT)
2009-10 RPI: 74
2009-10 Sagarin: 57
2009-10 Pomeroy: 53
Series: tied at 82
Last IU win: 2/7/2010 (83-79 in Champaign)
Last Illinois win: 1/30/2010 (72-70 in Champaign)
Last Illinois win in Bloomington: 1/9/2010 (66-60)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 9 p.m., Big Ten Network
Blog: Hail to the Orange
It has been decades since any Big Ten school other than Purdue has held the edge in the all-time series with Indiana. That will change tonight unless IU can rebound from the loss to Iowa with its best performance of the season. This is a particularly bitter pill, partially because it is Illinois, but mostly because both of last year's matchups with the Illini were within IU's grasp. In Bloomington last year, IU led by as many as 15 in the second half, but the lead slowly dwindled until Illinois took it over for good in the final two minutes. In Champaign a couple of weeks later, IU overcame a 13 point first-half deficit to lead for most of the second half, and lost 72-70 on Demetri McCamey's tiebreaking buzzer beater. Illinois, despite avoiding those losses to IU, ended up in the NIT last year, and the current version will present a more formidable test than did last year's team.
Here are the Illini's individual stats:
The Illini are an experienced bunch. All three of the Illini who are averaging in double figures (Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis, and Mike Tisdale) are seniors. The Illini have been a very effective team offensively. They rank #14 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and #28 in effective field goal percentage. They are #4 in the nation in three point shooting at 41 percent. As you can see above, McCamey is shooting better from outside the arc than inside (50 percent from outside, 46 percent overall). All of the five Illini who take more than one three point shot per game are shooting at least 36 percent, and three of them are above 40 percent. That's not to say that Illinois is a bad team defensively--as with all team ranked as highly as they are, they are good at both ends of the court--but their offense stands out in particular. On defense, Illinois holds its opponents to 30 percent three point shooting and 45 percent inside the arc. Good news for IU is that they aren't particularly adept at steals or forcing turnovers. Thanks to the interior presence of Davis and Tisdale, the Illini do block a good number of shots, 12.6 percent of those attempted.
This strikes me as a tough matchup for IU. The Illini's interior presence, combined with their strong field goal defense, combined with the expected absence of two of IU's top four scorers (Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones III) makes me nervous. Watford will need to reproduce his effort against Iowa but against a much better front line. Hulls and Roth will have to light it up from outside. Apparently there is some chance that Jones will play against his hometown team, but it seems unlikely. At this point in the season, IU has two home losses: one a bad loss that doesn't seem quite as bad considering Penn State's recent respectability, and another to the #1 team in the nation. This would be a nice time to begin defending our home court. We' will see.