Illinois Basketball: 4 big questions for the Illini against Michigan

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Illinois basketball

Mar 2, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (21) dunks on Michigan Wolverines center Hunter Dickinson (1) in the second half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois basketball gets their first crack at the Michigan Wolverines on Friday night.

I think all Illini fans remember the massacre last season as No. 4 Illinois throttled No. 2 Michigan, 76-53. This was the only time the two teams played last year thanks to COVID, but it looks like we have the green light for the first matchup between the two teams for the 2021-22 campaign.

Michigan is coming into the game with a shockingly bad record of 7-6. The Wolverines have struggled greatly, but don’t expect them to just lay down. They are going to bring everything they got to Champaign on Friday night.

Here are four big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Michigan.

1. Who wins the Kofi vs. Hunter matchup?

For what might be the last time, Illinois basketball fans get to see the matchup between Kofi Cockburn and Hunter Dickinson.

While this big man clash doesn’t hold nearly as much water as that of Kofi against Luka Garza, it is still a fun battle that is rare in the college game.

In the lone game last season, Dickinson was dominated by Kofi. The Michigan center would finish with six points, five rebounds, and two steals in 22 minutes of action. He would go 1-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line.

While Dickinson was struggling, Kofi was having a solid game. Kofi would finish the game last season with 12 points, seven rebounds, and one block while hitting 6-of-10 from the field. It was clearly a victory for Kofi against Dickinson in round one, especially considering Illinois won the game by 23 points.

I will be watching to see who will win round two of this matchup between two giants. Dickinson is coming into the game playing some great basketball. Over his last six games, he is averaging 19.3 points and 10 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, in that same six-game stretch, Kofi is averaging 21.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.

It is going to be one of the better big man matchups we will see this season. I am excited to see these two face off for what could be the final time.

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