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Hoosiers vs. Illinois: Preview and Game Thread

Ben Woloszyn-USA TODAY Sports

It's a bit of stretch at this point in the season, but Indiana hosts the Illini in hopes of remaining in some sort of NCAA Tourney bubble conversation. The Hoosiers fell a Evan Gordon jump shot at the buzzer short of getting a win in Champaign, so you'd think that the Hoosiers are capable of a better performance at home. Of course, you would have thought that about the Northwestern game as well.

The Hoosiers have to focus on containing Rayvonte Rice in this one if they plan of grabbing the victory on their home court. Rice went off for 29 points last time and though it wasn't necessarily a hyper efficient 29 points it was still done in considerably impressive fashion. Rice wasn't the only player to put up big numbers for the Illini though. 59 of the Illini's 83 points came from the perimeter players for the Illini. Tracy Abrams added 17 to Rice's 29 points and Joseph Bertrand chipped in 13.

The Indiana guards have to do a better job of not just defending the Illini guard positions, but they've got to keep them off the boards. Those three guards also combined for over half of Illinois' rebounds in the game. Yogi Ferrell is probably culprit number one in that aspect. He's a solid but not great defender. He has to find that next level to make sure that while the other perimeter players rotate their turns on keeping Rice in check, Ferrell can't let Abrams run wild.

On the whole, it should be interesting to see how the Hoosiers handle this one. Both Will Sheehey and Stan Robinson seemed to have found themselves in recent weeks while the less productive and efficient Jeremy Hollowell and Troy Williams have taken a back seat. Hopefully we see Indiana jump out with some spark and life to their game while they do a decent job of hitting the easy shots. We know rebounding won't be a problem, so it truly is going to come down to whether Indiana can hit their shots once they get to the basket. It's what killed them against Northwestern and Michigan State. Stick around to see if that happens and go Hoosiers.