Time: 6 PM
Location: State Farm Center, Champaign, IL
Watch: FS1, FoxSportsGo
Listen: AM670 theScore
Illinois is coming of a 20 point defeat to #2 Michigan State on Tuesday night. The Illini are sitting at 13-16, and 12th in the Big Ten. Purdue, won a close one against Penn State on Sunday night. The Boilermakers are sitting at 24-5 and 3rd in the Big Ten and 9th in the country. This will be the last game at home for the Illini, who will be honoring their seniors on the Thursday night game.
Scoring the basketball has been an ongoing issue for the Illini. Against Michigan State on Tuesday, the Illini were within 3 points at half time, but opened up the second half by scoring just 1 point in the first 5 minutes allowing Michigan State to go on a 12-1 lrun. Illinois needs to have other players score than freshman PG Trent Frazier who has led the team offensively as of late. As an Illini fan, I’m very excited to see what he can do in the next couple years.
But in the last couple games, production from Mark Smith, Kipper Nichols and Mark Alstork has dropped. The three players were to be stars this year, which clearly hasn’t happened. This season is a rebuilding year and Coach Underwood still does not have his players running the offense. Even with the cards stacked against them, the Illini cannot fall flat against the 7th ranked offensive team and the 10th ranked defensive team according to basketball stats-guru, KenPom.
Purdue has bounced back from losing in the Battle of Atlantis to start the season to with 19 consecutive wins before to losing to Ohio State on a last second shot earlier this month. Purdue outmatches the Illini with 2 7-footers in the front court, something Illinois hasn’t seen all year. But the Illini are quicker, faster and have the motivation to get that final home court win on Senior night. But with nobody close to them in height, the Illini will have an incredibly hard time matching up with the two players that are a menace on both sides of the game. With the Illini drawn to the middle, Purdue will be free to shoot from beyond the arc. The Boilermakers rank 8th in the country while shooting 41.3% from deep.
Illinois can’t matchup, and if they can’t score this one will be over quick.
Purdue 84 – Illinois 59