GAME NOTES: The Illinois Fighting Illini (12-14 overall, 2-11 Big Ten) travel to Bloomington, Indiana to face the Indiana Hoosiers (14-12 overall, 7-7 Big Ten). The game will tip-off at 8:30 EST at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall and will be broadcast by BTN with Cory Provus and Shon Morris on the call.
Indiana leads the all-time series 90-87. The Illini won the match-up earlier this season, 73-71 at Illinois, but they are currently on a 3 game losing streak.
Brad Underwood is in his first year as the head coach at Illinois.
Vegas has the Hoosiers as an 8.5-point favorite. KenPom has IU as a 7 point favorite and gives the Hoosiers a 74% chance of victory.
Here is a sampling of the what the Illinois media is saying about the game and the Illini in general:
AGAIN WITH THE CANDY STRIPES?
The Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette published their “5 things to know” about tonight’s game and they managed to slip in a remark about Indiana’s warm-up pants. We’ll let you decide where they were going with this:
Anyone with an aversion to striped pants should be wary about a trip to Indiana where multitudes of fans will be decked out in their own version of the Hoosiers’ crimson and cream (most assuredly not red and white) warmups. And at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, candy-striped pants have no age limit.
The Gazette also noted that while this is Underwood’s first game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall as a coach, it is not his first trip to the iconic arena:
Today’s game won’t be Brad Underwood’s first in Bloomington. While the first-year Illini coach has never coached at Assembly Hall during his previous 22 seasons as a Division I assistant or head coach, he did play there as a Kansas State senior — a 78-71 Wildcats’ loss. “Great shooting gym,” he said.
FOCUS ON FRAZIER
The Bloomington Pantagraph (apparently Illinois even has a fake Bloomington to go with their former fake Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium) anticipates that Indiana will focus its defensive energy on trying to stop emerging freshman guard Trent Frazier who earned Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week honors on Monday.
The Hoosiers already know all about Frazier, who posted 32 points in a home loss to Wisconsin last week. That’s because he was a major thorn in the Hoosiers’ side a couple weeks ago, scoring 19 points and dishing out 3 assists in the 73-71 Illini victory.
Illinois coach Brad Underwood expects Indiana to pack the lane and force Frazier and the Illini to beat IU from the perimeter:
“We’ll see a loaded lane, no question,” Underwood said. “That’s the way Archie plays and we have to counter that. We have to move the ball.”
The Pantagraph also had a quote from Underwood regarding Michael Finke who was still being monitored by doctors after suffering a concussion Saturday at practice. They noted that he didn’t play Sunday and will only play Wednesday if cleared by the medical staff. Finke played 19 minutes in the first meeting with IU and had 2 points and 2 rebounds.
IT’S ALREADY OVER FOR UNDERWOOD?
We are truly sorry to expose you again to that hideous salmon colored thing that Brad Underwood wore against Indiana a couple weeks ago. Aside from Underwood totally missing the mark on the Illinois team colors, some are already suggesting that he might not be a match for the program either.
Off Tackle Empire paints a pretty bleak picture of the state of Illinois basketball and concludes it with this zinger (emphasis added) —
The one player he has is an excellent pickup at a position that’s stocked fairly well. The lack of size and athleticism on this roster cannot be fixed with Ayo Dosunmu alone, and if Brad Underwood fails to improve those aspects of the team after one of the worst seasons in Illinois basketball history, it’s entirely possible that his tenure will be over sooner than anyone expected.
This may be pretty difficult for IU fans to imagine since Indiana was one of Illinois’ two conference wins on the season, and yet IU fans are generally happy with their first year coach. But at 12-14 overall and 2-11 in Big Ten play, at least some of the Illinois natives are already getting restless.
UNDERWOOD’S PRESS CONFERENCE PREVIEWING INDIANA
Listen to Brad Underwood’s Indiana preview. Does anyone else hear a defeated man? It will interesting to see the energy that the Illini bring tonight.
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