The #11 Illinois Fighting Illini will play the Purdue Boilermakers in their Big Ten Conference opener.
Wednesday night’s game against Purdue will be Illinois’ 108th conference opener in the Big Ten.
According to fightingillini.com, “Illinois is 66-41 all-time in Big Ten openers.” They have also won 11 of their last 13 conference openers and currently ride a four game winning streak in Big Ten opening games.
The Boilermakers come into this contest with the worst non-conference record of all twelve Big Ten teams. They are 6-6 on the season and the game against Illinois will be their conference opener as well.
Purdue has two players averaging double-digit points for them so far this season. Those players are junior guard Terone Johnson and freshman center A.J. Hammons.
Johnson leads the team with 12.5 point per game while Hammons is averaging 10.0 point per game as a freshman.
On top of being second on the team in points per game, Hammons also leads the Boilermakers with 5.8 rebounds per game this season. In his team’s last win over William & Mary, he scored 14 points and hauled in six rebounds.
This will be 180th game between the Fighting Illini and the Boilermakers. Purdue leads the series 95-84. Last season, the Boilermakers beat the Illini in both of their two meetings. Illinois is also going to try to snap Purdue’s winning streak against them.
Illinois has lost seven straight games to Purdue coming into Wednesday’s contest. That’s the longest losing streak against a conference opponent since the Illini dropped nine straight against the Boilermakers from February 20, 1996 to January 12, 2000.
Expect a big game from the Illini senior class against Purdue. Out of all the teams in the Big Ten, Purdue is the only team that Illinois’ current senior class has not defeated.
More importantly, senior guard Brandon Paul should have a nice game for the Fighting Illini.
So far this season, Paul leads the Illini with 18.7 points per game and entered this week second in the Big Ten in scoring (behind Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas). The most points he has scored in a single game this season is 35 points against the #10 Gonzaga Bulldogs.
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