Illini Basketball Game Preview, Prediction vs Indiana Hoosiers

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Sunday afternoon brings a match-up of two teams that are coming off their in-state rivalry games Thursday night when the Indiana Hoosiers visit the Illinois Fighting Illini. Check out college basketball expert picks to see who may win this matchup. For Indiana, they fell way behind early, clawed back into it at Purdue, but ultimately fell short in a game that was so utterly ugly, well there no true real winners.

Purdue played pretty bad, but IU was just that much worse, and now they have lost seven straight in the Crossroads El Classico rivalry. Illinois won comfortably, but never truly stepped on the throat of Northwestern. Many expected this basketball version of the Land of Lincoln trophy game to be more lopsided than it was, but at the end of the day, the Cats were not a true threat to the Illini.

Illini basketball vs Indiana Hoosiers FYIs

Tip: 1pm, BTN

Tickets: as “low” as $87

ESPN Basketball Power Index: Illini basketball win 68.6% IU win 31.4%

Illini Basketball  (19-9, 11-6 in Big Ten, Net #35, Polls RV, KenPom #20) Preview

“To walk around with your head held high, it’s an awesome feeling, what I’ve always wanted,” Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood on living the dream, and the high Illinois fan support right now. 

For the full quote and more, watch the video above. After setting a school record for losses last season, and missing the NCAA Tournament for seven straight seasons, Illini basketball is now back. Last night’s 74-66 win at Northwestern clinched a winning league record for the first time since 2010, and moved the Illini into “lock” territory for March Madness. They’re most likely a #7 seed right now.

“There is no substitute for building, you don’t just start with your house built,” Underwood said in Evanston last night.

“Building is not easy, you need to lay the foundation…it’s not there yet…but there’s been growth, progress.”

Yes, Illini basketball is definitely not what it once was in the early and mid 2000s, but it’s definitely back to early 2010s levels right now. “We’re doing some things better now no doubt,” added Underwood.

Last night was “The Alan Griffin Game.”

“I think when you make six threes in a game it gets everyone’s attention, now you can start game planning offensively around that,” said Underwood of the sophomore’s stellar turn.

With Kofi Cockburn seeing double and triple teams all season, Griffin could be the guy spreads the opposing defenders out, as they will have to respect his jump shot. Obviously, it will make everyone on the team better.

Illini basketball X Factor for this game- DaMonte Williams

“Damonte doesn’t get enough credit for his passing ability, to share it, spray it,” said Underwood. He needs the junior to come up big on the offensive boards too. “It’s our identity, it’s what we do” said the coach in reference to team offensive rebounding.

 

Indiana Hoosiers (18-10, 8-9 in Big Ten, Net #56, KenPom #38) Preview

The environment in West Lafayette was extremely hostile last night, but that’s to be expected. Archie Miller throwing a tirade court side, was not to be expected. He’s a very mild-mannered guy and he rarely, if ever gets as livid and as heated as he did last night.

The pressure appears to be getting to him, and his seat seems to be warming. He is 0-5 against Purdue now, and the IUBB program has lost their last seven against their biggest rival. That means a winless mark for a whole, entire senior class. That can’t happen at IU, where standards are always high.

Also always high in Bloomington is media attention, and there will be a ton of reporters who regularly cover the Hoosiers coming in to Chanpaign for this one.

archie miller

Are they going to watch and document the end of the Archie Miller era? Probably not, as long IU makes the dance, and as of right now, they’re usually projected to be about a #9 seed in the dance. In his third season in Bloomington, his league record is under .500, his overall record only slightly above and his next NCAA Tournament berth leading IU will be his first with the program.

Only Miller’s boss Fred Glass knows for sure, but if the bubble bursts, then a buyout could be in store.

Prediction: Illini basketball 79, IU 73

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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