5. Does Illinois get out of the rebounding funk?
Coming into the game on Tuesday, Illinois was one of the best rebounding teams in the country. We were averaging 47.1 rebounds per game, which ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time.
I was hoping Illinois would dominate the glass against Florida Atlantic. The Owls, while having a 7-foot-1 big man, weren’t a great rebounding team. Even at that, Vlad Goldin only had four rebounds on the night. Still, the Illini were outrebounded 28-26 against Florida Atlantic.
This was the worst rebounding performance of the season for the Illini. So, does Illinois get out of the rebounding funk against Tennessee, or do the rebounding woes continue?
I was pretty surprised that Illinois struggled rebounding against the Owls. We had won the rebounding battle in every game of the season leading up to Tuesday night, and we ended up losing to Florida Atlantic by two rebounds.
Illinois has now dropped to 44.5 rebounds per game, which still ranks No. 4 in the country. Tennessee is a pretty solid rebounding team as well, pulling down 38.0 rebounds per game. That is good enough to be ranked No. 99 in the nation.
The Volunteers have lost the rebounding battle in three out of the past four games this season. Those three games were all losses as well. I believe Illinois could dominate Tennessee on the glass. If we can manage to do so, stats show we will in the game. A nice dose of Dain Dainja and Quincy Guerrier should do the trick. Let’s see a double-digit rebounding margin in favor of the Illini.