4. Who wins the turnover battle?
Both Illinois and Rutgers do a decent job of taking care of the basketball. They aren’t sloppy teams by any means, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sloppy at times.
Entering Sunday, Illinois is averaging just 11.5 turnovers per game, which ranks No. 122 in the country. That number is shared by Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights are also averaging 11.5 turnovers per game.
When push comes to shove, which program is going to win the turnover battle when Sunday rolls around? Can Illinois come out on top in this important category?
Despite winning the game the first time around by 18 points, Illinois did not win this game efficiently. We had a total of 17 turnovers against Rutgers. This would usually doom a program, especially considering the Scarlet Knights finished with 10 turnovers.
But Illinois managed to forge ahead and dominate Rutgers. Coughing up the ball 17 times and having a total of seven more turnovers than the opponent will likely lead to a much closer game and maybe even a loss if we replicate those numbers, though.
The 17 turnovers in the first game against Rutgers was the second most turnovers of the season for the Illini, only second to 21 turnovers against Southern. Since that Rutgers game, Illinois hasn’t had more than 14 turnovers, and we have had 10 or fewer turnovers in five out of the past seven contests.
This is an Illinois unit that takes care of the basketball. We have done a great job of this since the first Rutgers game. Let’s see if this time around things can be different in the turnover department.