Well, that first round was fun. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the largest postseason comeback in program history? That’s worth celebrating.
But Indiana men’s basketball isn’t done. The Hoosiers will be back tomorrow at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to take on the No. 1 seed Illinois Fighting Illini.
The Hoosiers are +3.5 underdogs against the Illini, per DraftKings. It’ll be an uphill battle to win this one.
Indiana is well acquainted with Illinois, last year’s Big Ten Tournament Champions. The Hoosiers fell to the Illini 74-57 on Feb. 5 at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
Here’s a two things to keep in mind during the game:
Illinois Center Kofi Cockburn
Kofi Cockburn has been a force in the conference for all three years he’s played in it. When he isn’t powering his way to the rim for some points in the paint, he’s creating open looks for shooters on the perimeter.
Cockburn is second in the Big Ten in scoring with 21 points per game, first in rebounds with 10.6 and 12th in blocks with 0.8 points per game.
But as stated above, when Cockburn isn’t taking shots, he’s creating opportunities for his teammates to do so.
Illinois’ 3-point shooting
Illinois ranks fifth in the conference in 3-point percentage with 36.7% and second in total attempts with 757 total.
The Illini are lead in that effort by Alfonso Plummer, who ranks second in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage with 41.7%
So if Indiana manages to contain Cockburn in the paint, know that he’s fully capable of swinging a pass out to Plummer for a 3-pointer. Indiana will need to play a full defensive game to advance to the semifinals.