Illinois Basketball: 5 big questions for the Illini against Fairleigh Dickinson

Dec 17, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood reacts
Dec 17, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood reacts / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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Illinois basketball is back in action on Friday night, as it is a reunion game against Fairleigh Dickinson.

The Illini have only played the Knights one other time in program history, and it was the first round of the 2005 NCAA tournament. This was the start of a run to the national title for Illinois, but Fairleigh Dickinson gave the Orange and Blue all we could handle that March.

This time around should be a little different. The Knights aren't very good, and Illinois has a chance to put this game away early. But there are still some questions I have entering the game.

Here are five big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Fairleigh Dickinson

1. Can Illinois set the single-game scoring record?

I don’t want to count chickens before they hatch, but Illinois is going into a game on Friday night that could see a pretty big number put up.

Illinois alone has been a high-power offense this season. We are averaging 81.0 points per game, which ranks No. 39 in the country. The Illini can shoot well from three-point range at times and getting to the rim is our specialty. It is hard to stop this program when we are going downhill to the basket.

But, against Fairleigh Dickinson, Illinois is going to get some help in the scoring department. That is why a big question is going to be, can Illinois set the program’s single-game scoring record?

As it sits right now, the Illini single-game scoring record stands at 127 points. That number came in 1988 when Illinois gave up 100 points but still won 127-100 against LSU.

On Friday night, don’t be shocked if Illinois puts up a huge number and maybe even clips that 127-point mark. In two out of the last three games, the Illini have scored at least 97 points. We put up 98 points against a tough Florida Atlantic program.

The Knights aren’t a good defensive team either. In fact, they are giving up 84.0 points per game this season, which ranks No. 351 out of 362 DI programs. This includes giving up 97 points to Queens University, 97 points to Robert Morris, and 92 points to Fairfield.

If I had to bet money, I would say Illinois definitely hits the three-digit mark. Do we get to 127? I think it is possible.