Who? Indiana Hoosiers (15-14, 6-12 #47 KenPom) at Illinois Fighting Illini (11-18, 7-11 #63 KenPom)
When? Thursday 8:00 p.m., Giant Spaceship in the middle of a rural Illinois farm
Vegas? O/U 141, Illinois -2
KenPom? Illinois by 1, 70-69, 46% chance of Hoosier victory
Everyone, meet Alma Otter.
STARE INTO HIS SOUL.
Great. I think you’re now officially ready for tonight’s basketball contest at Fauxssembly Hall in Champaign tonight.
This game is suddenly incredibly relevant for Indiana, who’s now the darling of bracketologists following two wins over Wisconsin and MSU last week. If the Hoosiers finish this week with two wins, and get a win in the Big Ten tourney next week, then amazingly they’ll look to be in good shape to make the Dance because of their six Quadrant 1 victories this year. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their last 2 wins came by a combined 3 points, and now against an Illinois team that’s much improved from IU’s 8-point win in January.
Illinois is led by sophomore Trent Frazier, but the two breakout players this season have been two freshmen: big man Giorgi Bezhanishvili, and shooting guard Ayo Dosunmu. In addition, Andres Feliz scored 26 in the Illini’s win over Northwestern, shooting an absurd 16-for-17 from the line. The Illini look to have turned a corner in Brad Underwood’s second season, and are definitely better than their 11-win record indicates. Illinois is a frustrating team to watch and to play against — they play more aggressively than other B1G teams and like to get opponents into foul trouble, which could cause issue for an IU team that has struggled from the line. They also like to play fast, and are up to 31st in tempo on KenPom, way above any other Big Ten team.
Can Indiana not trip over itself for once after two straight wins? Or will this Hoosier team fade into the sunset of a disappointing season? We’ll find out some answers tonight at 8.