Illinois fighting Illini
Current record: 18-12 (8-9)
Current RPI: 39 (IU is #177)
Current Sagarin: 30 (IU is #98)
Current Pomeroy: 21 (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: IU leads 83-82
Last IU win: 1/27/2011 (52-49 in Bloomington)
Last Illinois win: 1/30/2010 (72-70 in Champaign)
Last IU win in Champaign: 2/7/2008 (83-79, 2OT)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: noon Saturday, Big Ten Network
Blog: Hail to the Orange
Barely 36 hours after the conclusion of IU's game against Wisconsin, the Hoosiers will tip off in the Flying Saucer against Illinois in the final regular season game for both teams. While Tom Crean complained about this schedule when it came out, Dan Dakich had an interesting approach on the radio earlier this week, suggesting that at this time of year, it is an advantage. He said that kids are tired of practicing and tired of listening to their coaches at this point in the season. Will it be an advantage that IU had to hop on a bus yesterday, while the Illinois players have been listening to Bruce Weber squeak and squawk at them since Wednesday.
Over the last two seasons, IU has played as well against Illinois as against any other Big Ten program. Of course, IU upset the then-ranked alumni a few weeks ago when the teams played in Bloomington, and last season's games were among the most heartbreaking of the season. IU lost in Champaign on a Demetri McCamey buzzer-beater and blew a big lead at home against Illinois. The win over Illinois in January prevented IU from falling behind in the all-time series for the first time since the 1970s.
The Illini have a talented and senior-dominated roster but have managed to be less than the sum of its parts this season. That hasn't been unusual under the leadership of Bruce Weber, who has utterly squandered the championship-caliber team that he inherited. The has been some dissension on this team, with the coach publicly criticizing his players and vice versa. Purdue fans must be ecstatic that they dodged a bullet by keeping Gene Keady around a couple of years too long. Still, based on their computer rankings and record, but without having paid much attention to bracketology, it would appear that Illinois is pretty comfortably in the NCAA Tournament unless they lose to IU.
Currently, IU sits in the 11 seed for the Big Ten Tournament. If IU wins, the Hoosiers would end up in the 10 slot unless Iowa upsets Purdue. We'll see.