Well, old friend, we are back again. The Illinois basketball team takes on the Indiana Hoosiers tonight in Champaign.
It has been a rough season for the Illini, no question about it. They are currently on a six-game slide and sit at 0-8 in the Big Ten. But, tonight, yes tonight, could be the first Big Ten victory of the season. Illinois can get off their rough streak and start winning some basketball games. What better team to do it against than the Hoosiers?
Indiana comes into this game averaging 73.2 points per game which ranks No. 169 in the nation. Illinois is slightly above them averaging 76.5 PPG which ranks No. 95 in the nation. But, in reality, the Illini are only averaging 62.3 PPG their last three contests while Indiana is at 64.6 PPG. Both teams aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire with their offensive prowess.
The Hoosiers have won six out of their last eight games, which worries me. They aren’t playing bad basketball with their only two losses since Christmas being Wisconsin and Michigan State both on the road.
Illinois actually matches up pretty well with Indiana. The Illini are a shorter group and the Hoosiers reflect that now De’Ron Davis is out for the season. Juwan Morgan leads the way for Indiana on the rebounding front with 7.1 rebounds per game. He is only 6-foot-8, though, so Illinois should have an easier time handling him than the force Michigan State had on Monday.
I am excited to see what Mark Alstork can do against Robert Johnson as well. Alstork has been playing tremendous defense on the perimeter lately, and Johnson is the second leading scorer for Indiana averaging 13.9 PPG. These two players make the Hoosiers go.
Watch for Greg Eboigbodin be a factor tonight against Morgan. He should give him fits the entire game. Michael Finke and Leron Black will each have their turn against Morgan as well. Illinois is actually the bigger team in this game. These three need to shut down Morgan to have a shot at winning and I think they will.
Illinois will have a swarming guard presence to defend the Hoosier’s guards as well. Shutting down Johnson is important, and the Illini have the guards who can play defense. I think they will hold Johnson to one of his worst games of the season.
This might be bold, but I am calling it. Illinois won’t just win this game; they will win by double-digits. Illinois will win 76-59.