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ILLINOIS @ INDIANA: Game preview, odds, how-to-watch, and more

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*Insert cheesy Valentine’s Day joke here*

Wisconsin v Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Who? Illinois Fighting Illini (12-14, #113 KenPom) @ Indiana Hoosiers (14-12, #75 Kenpom)

When? Wednesday, February 14 at 8:30 p.m. EST – Big Ten Network

Where? Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

Vegas? Indiana (-8.5)

Pomeroy? Indiana 75-68, 74% chance of Indiana victory

Over the past week, Indiana appears to have finally found the rhythm they have been looking for all season. Coach Archie Miller seems to have found the right starting line up of Robert Johnson, Devonte Green, Zach McRoberts, Juwan Morgan, and Freddie McSwain.

Meanwhile in Champaign-Urbana, the Fighting Illini have struggled to find a rhythm of their own this season. Illinois is will look for their third conference victory Wednesday in hopes of avoiding the bottom of the sad dog pile that is the Big Ten conference this season.

The match-up does offer a story line as Indiana came up short against the Illini earlier this season in what many would look at as one of the worst games in the conference this year. Indiana turned the ball over 18 times and missed 13 free throws in what was only a two point loss.

How can the Hoosiers avoid the Valentine’s Day disaster and feel the love at Assembly Hall?

Four Factors

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Four Factors eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
Four Factors eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
INDIANA (#96 adj. offense) 50.5 (184th) 17.8 (116th) 32.3 (69th) 36.5 (100th)
ILLINOIS (#96 adj. defense) 51.9 (225th) 23.9 (3rd) 31.6 (286th) 45.1 (339th)
- - - - -
ILLINOIS (#134 adj. offense) 49.3 (227th) 20.7 (271st) 36.2 (8th) 33.2 (180th)
INDIANA (#55 adj. defense) 50.4 (164th) 19.7 (112th) 28.7 (172th) 31.6 (135th)

Right off the bat Illinois does two thing surprisingly well for a team that sits second to last their conference. The Fighting Illini rank in the top ten in KenPom nationally for offensive rebounding percentage and defensive turnover percentage.

The Hoosiers were on the receiving of the ladder earlier in the season as they had 18 turnovers, which is almost 50 percent higher than their average TO’s per game.

This doesn’t mean that Illinois doesn’t have two glaring weaknesses as well.

Illinois is 339th in the nation for defensive free throw rate and is 272nd in offensive turnover percentage.

As for the individuals, the Illini’s Aaron Jordan is one to the nation’s best from the other side of the great beyond as he is a 46.7 percent three-point shooter. Jordan also ranks in KenPom’s top 50 nationally for offensive rating.

Looking at the stats it makes sense why teams in the Big Ten would dread playing this Illinois team. They have some strengths that can frustrate and confuse even the best teams. Their true weaknesses lie in the fact that they tend to get in their own way of success.

Brad Underwood should expect this in his inaugural season as head coach in a program that has been longing for relevance over the past decade. Underwood has the third youngest team in the Big Ten and looks to be intimidating in the years to come. Especially with 5-Star recruit and Chicago native Ayo Dosunmu joining the Orange next season.

However, Illinois should be worried about these three things to watch for.

Three Things To Watch For:

  • Devont-Hey Gurl how you doing: While sophomore Devonte Green has excelled in recent games, their is a legitimate cause for concern of regression in this contest. Illinois does a great job of forcing turnovers which could intimidate Indiana’s newest point guard. Be sure to keep track of his assist to turnover ratio.
  • Don’t get stuck in the Fred zone this Valentine’s Day: Ever since his 16 rebound performance against Michigan State on February 3, Freddie McSwain has become the definitive defensive post player that the Hoosiers have been looking for. The senior will have to clean some significant glass for IU on Wednesday as Illinois has a top ten offensive rebounding team.
  • McRob your heart: Zach McRoberts has been bouncing around the top 20 nationally for steal percentage this season and this game should be no exception. The Illini have a rough offensive turnover rate (#271 KenPom) meaning that Hoosier fans should be expecting some big numbers out of the former walk-on.